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Chronic Disease Brief For Africa (November 2018) By Dara Oloyede

South Africa: Diabetes Rises to the Second Leading Cause of Natural Death 

Ghana: Using Shopkeepers to Screen for Hypertension

South Africa: Diabetes is Linked to Food Insecurity

Nigeria: 9.9 Million Work-Related Deaths 

South Africa: Durban’s Only Needle Exchange Program Reopens

 

South Africa: Diabetes Rises to the Second Leading Cause of Natural Death 

According to data from StatsSA 2016, diabetes mellitus ranks number two as one of the leading causes of natural death. The Department of Health estimated that one out of every three people know that they have diabetes. November 14 was World Diabetes Day. The theme for this year is ‘The family and diabetes’. The Department of Health in South Africa observed this occasion by encouraging communities to promote healthy living and support family members who were living with diabetes. The goal of the theme this year was to draw attention to the effect diabetes has on not only individuals but also on families. Families play an important role in preventing and controlling diabetes. Family members can help a patient manage their disease and their support can be very beneficial for those living with diabetes (SAnews News Agency, 2018). 

For more information check out this article at South African Government News Agency: Help reduce diabetes.

 

Ghana: Using Shopkeepers to Screen for Hypertension

The Novartis Foundation in partnership with the Ghana Health Service, FHI360, The Ghana School of Public Health and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine implemented a community-based hypertension improvement project (ComHIP) in Ghana. This project tested a new approach to detecting, diagnosing, and treating hypertension early through the use of screening checkpoints in community shops and businesses. This method allowed patients to be reached beyond the traditional medical setting. Digital health tools at the screening points helped to keep community health workers and doctors connected, support nurses, and also enable patients to manage their own health condition through their mobile devices. Among those who participated in the program for 12 months, “hypertension control rates rose from 36% to 72%” and they also experienced a decrease in their systolic blood pressure (Novartis Foundation, 2018).  

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Africa: When the shopkeeper measures blood pressure

The Novartis Foundation: Community-Based Hypertension Improvement Project (ComHIP).

 

South Africa: Diabetes is Linked to Food Insecurity

In South Africa, about 5.4% of the adult population lives with diabetes (Vilakazi, 2018). A large number of people remain undiagnosed because it can take about 7 years for people to recognize symptoms of the disease. The longer a person remains undiagnosed the worse their health outcomes tend to be. It is crucial that people are able to recognize early signs of diabetes. Households that are low-income often experience challenges in managing diabetes due to reasons such as healthcare costs, limited knowledge about food options, and time for exercise. Food-insecure patients who are diabetic often have to balance the choice of paying for the health care costs of managing their disease and buying the necessary resources for their household. Often patients choose to take care of their family’s needs over managing their disease. Interventions are needed so that patients can have access to affordable and cost-effective care. These interventions should also promote healthy food choices using local and affordable food items (Vilakazi, 2018). 

For more information check out this article at The Daily Maverick: Diabetes is linked to food insecurity, and needs coordinated, multisectoral intervention

 

Nigeria: 9.9 Million Work-Related Deaths 

The Society of Occupational and Environmental Health Physicians of Nigeria is pushing the Federal Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour and Employment to institute policies and interventions to implement and improve best practices for occupational health and safety (Onyenucheya, 2018). During the 40th Anniversary and Scientific Conference, they highlighted that current regulations and policies are not enough to support effective and accessible occupational health and safety services. Nigeria has had 10,023 fatal occupational related accidents and 32,858 fatal work-related diseases. Nigeria has also had 9.9 million non-fatal accidents. The Chief Medical Director, Dr. Adejuwon Dada, said that there is a need for improvement in the work environment to protect worker’s health and safety.  The Federal Minister of Health Prof. Issac Adewole said that the ministry will work with other stakeholders in occupational health to create a database on occupational injuries and death. The Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige calls for collaboration to protect the health and safety of workers (Onyenucheya, 2018). 

For more information check out this article at The Guardian: Occupational Therapists Seek Interventions As Nigeria Records 9.9 Million Work-Related Deaths

 

South Africa: Durban’s Only Needle Exchange Program Reopens

Durban’s only needle exchange program, TB/HIV Care, closed 6-months ago and is being reopened in December (Van Dyk, 2018).  This program provides drug users with materials such as sterilized needles and water for injecting and mixing drugs. They provide these resources to help reduce and prevent infections that can be caused by dirty needles or water. South Africa’s national HIV and TB plan states that harm reduction programs for drug use should be available to people who use drugs. This program was shut down after being blamed for over 50 needles and syringes that were found on Durban beaches. Authorities stated that this incident proved that this program was a public health risk since they were not able to collect and properly dispose of the needles given out. TB/HIV Care collected data that showed that 70% of the needles they have handed out are returned. While this program has been shut down, drug users have not been able to access clean needles. The program was scheduled to open December 5th, but the city has set out specific conditions that this program must first meet (Van Dyk, 2018). 

For more information check out this article at bhekisisa.org: Tired of needles on Durban's beautiful beaches? Then you'll want to read this.

 

 

 

Dara Oloyede is the African News Correspondent for Engage Africa Foundation. She holds her Masters of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and Program Management. 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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