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Chronic Disease Brief For Africa (February 2017) By Dara Oloyede

February 2017 Africa Health News

South Africa: Psychiatric Patients Die Due to Negligent Treatment

One in Eight People Have High Blood Pressure in Nairobi’s Slums

Nigeria: New National Health Policy

Tanzania: Men Forgotten in Cancer Care

Kenya: Ministry Creates Easy to Understand Booklets and Fliers on Cancer

 

South Africa: Psychiatric Patients Die Due to Negligent Treatment

In an effort by the state to cut costs, over a thousand patients were transferred from state care at the Life Healthcare group, located in Gauteng Providence, to 27 charitable organizations (nytimes.com). Bodies of patients were reported dead after being moved from state care to these charitable organizations (nytimes.com). An investigation launched to assess the situation, and reported that these charitable organizations not only operated under poor conditions and management, but that also these facilities were overcrowded and patients were starved (nytimes.com). On top of that, all 27 of the organizations had invalid licenses (nytimes.com). Many patients died from preventable ailments such as “dehydration, diarrhea, epilepsy, and heart attacks,” and only one person died from a mental illness (nytimes.com). Families and health workers advocated against the transfer, saying that there was not a thorough plan and that the facilities were not adequately assessed to make sure patients would receive proper treatment (nytimes.com).

For more information check out this article at the nytimes.com: 94 Psychiatric Patients in South Africa Died of Negligence, Report finds

 

One in Eight People Have High Blood Pressure in Nairobi’s Slums

In Nairobi’s slums many struggle with food and water insecurity, as well as limited access to health care (nation.co.ke). Much attention has been given to communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS which has a prevalence rate of 12%, however,  the African Population and Health Research Center reported that “one out of eight adults living in Nairobi’s slums have high blood pressure” (nation.co.ke). Often non-communicable diseases are seen as primarily  affecting the people who living in more wealthier communities, however high fat, salt, and greasy foods are becoming more accessible and affordable in the slums of Nairobi (nation.co.ke).

For more information check out this article at nation.co.ke: Lifestyle choices linked to high blood pressure in Kenya’s urban slums

 

Nigeria: New National Health Policy

In Nigeria a new health policy has been approved, called “Promoting the health of Nigerians to Accelerate socio-economic development” (allafrica.com). Issac Adewole, who is the Minister of Health, said that the policy will “provide direction necessary to support the achievement of significant progress in terms of improving the performance of the national health system” (allafrica.com). In addition the policy emphasizes the importance of primary health care, and providing “financial risk protection” to economically disadvantaged populations (allafrica.com).

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Nigeria: Govt approves new national health policy

 

Tanzania: Men Left Behind in Cancer Care

The most prevalent cancers in Tanzania are “cervical cancer, breast cancer, Kaposi sarcoma, and cancer of the esophagus” (allafrica.com). Breast cancer and cervical cancer affects women the most, however Kaposi sarcoma and cancer of the esophagus affect both men and women (allafrica.com).  Nationally, there is more awareness of the cancers that predominantly affect women than there are of men (allafrica.com). Due to this there is also much more resources for detecting cancers in women such as breast and cervical cancer screenings (allafrica.com). More research is needed to assess the prevalence of cancers in men, and also there is a need for more resources and interventions to enocourage men to get screened and also to increase treament services for them as well (allafrica.com).

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Tanzania: Men ‘Overlooked’ in Cancer Care

 

Kenya: Ministry Creates Easy to Understand Booklets and Fliers on Cancer

The Kenyan Network of Cancer Organizations, American Cancer Society, and the Ministry of Health have collaborated to create booklets and fliers in order to increase awareness about cancer among Kenyans (allafrica.com). These educational materials were created in both English and Kiswahili to be culturally relevant and easy to understand (allafrica.com). These organizations have also created documents for health workers, educating them on how to talk to cancer patients and their families (allafrica.com(. Dr. Anne Ng’ang’a who is the head of the National Cancer Control Program at the Ministry of health, said that creating these education materials was important in addressing this disease in order to promote prevention and treatment (allafrica.com).

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Kenya: Ministry Launches Easy Reading Information on Cancer

 

Dara Oloyede is the African News Correspondent for Engage Africa Foundation, and she is pursuing her Masters of Public Health at Boston University. During her free time she likes to read books, spend time with friends, go to the movies, concerts, as well as events that celebrate different cultures.  

 

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