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Your Africa Health News Bite for the Week of August 25, 2014 by Dara Oloyede

This week's headlines:

UN Predicts African Baby Boom

African Aluminum Pots May Contain Lead

Controversial HIV Bill in Uganda

Botswana Government Will Provide HIV Treatment to Foreign Prisoners

Africa’s Next Big Health Challenge: Non-Communicable Diseases

 

UN Predicts African Baby Boom

Within the next four decades Africa will have a massive baby boom, which the United Nations’ children’s agency says represents both a challenge and a huge opportunity (voanews.com). “By the year 2050, UNICEF predicts in a report that Africa will be home to about 41 percent of the world’s births. By that time, one in four people on this planet will be African” (voanews.com). The boom is the caused by the fact that Africa is home to one of the world’s youngest populations; has high fertility rates; and has seen a reduction in child mortality (voanews.com). UNICEF predicts most of the boom will happen in East and West Africa, which have high fertility rates.  Thi Minh Ngo, a UNICEF economic and social policy specialist based in Dakar, Senegal says that Africa’s booming population will shift global dynamics. She believes that if they start preparation now by investing in the youth, they can harness the power of that youthful, exuberant, productive population. Ngo says that governments need to start looking urgently at health and education sectors as well.

For more information check out this article at www.voanews.com UN Report Predicts African Baby Boom

http://www.voanews.com/content/un-report-precits-african-baby-boom/2412241.html

African Aluminum Pots May Contain Lead

“Locally made aluminum pots and pans are very common in Africa and Asia. But a new study in Cameroon has raised questions about their safety, saying high levels of lead are leaching from the cookware into food (voanews.com)”. The lead awareness campaign was done in partnership with the Education Center for Development, a Cameroonian NGO. The researchers wanted to know how much lead was being served with daily meals. They found that the average or median level was about 97 micrograms of lead per serving – serving size being about 250 milliliters. This is a very high concentration of lead and a type of exposure that people would likely get on a regular, daily basis if using this kind of cookware.  Perry Gottesfeld, Occupational Knowledge International’s executive director, said lead exposure has effects that are both acute and chronic. “‘We know that lead poisoning is a huge problem throughout Africa, but almost all of it goes undetected because there are no facilities to test for blood lead levels in most countries in Africa. So we know that there are literally millions of children and adults, who are overexposed to lead. And they just continue to suffer with these symptoms and they’re often misdiagnosed with some other unrelated disease’ said Gottesfeld (voanews.com)”.

For more information check out this article at www.voanews.com Study African Aluminum Pots Contain Lead

http://www.voanews.com/content/africa-aluminum-cookware-15aug14/2414509.html

Controversial HIV Bill in Uganda

“Even after the presidential assent, health rights civil society organizations want amendments to the contentious provisions in the 2014 HIV Prevention and Control Act (www.observer.ug)”. The law has been publicly criticized by officials leading HIV response, who say the law will take the country’s HIV/Aids campaign in the wrong direction (www.observer.ug)”. “The CSOs are wary of several provisions that breach the right to confidentiality such as Clause 18, which makes HIV testing for pregnant women and their partners mandatory and allows medical providers to disclose a patient’s HIV status to others without consent(www.observer.ug)”.

For more information check out this article at www.observer.ug HIV Law:After Assent,Museveni Under Fire   http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=33447:-hiv-law-after-assent-museveni-under-fire&catid=34:news&Itemid=114

Botswana Government Will Provide HIV Treatment to Foreign Prisoners

The Botswana High Court ordered the government to provide anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to HIV-positive, foreign prisoners at state expense. The court held that the denial of ARV treatment to foreign prisoners violated their constitutional rights. "This court decision has affirmed that the government is legally obligated to immediately provide life-saving ARV treatment to foreign prisoners living with HIV. "The court further affirmed that providing ARV treatment to all prisoners who need it is critical to effectively addressing HIV," says Cindy Kelemi of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), one of the applicants in the case. In reaching its decision, the court highlighted the importance of ensuring that all prisoners have access to ARV treatment, not only for their own health, but also to protect other prisoners from acquiring HIV and other opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis.

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com Botswana Government Must Provide HIV Treatment to Foreign Prisoners, Says High Court 

http://allafrica.com/stories/201408221657.html?aa_source=mf-hdlns

Africa’s Next Big Health Challenge: Non-Communicable Diseases

Each year more than 7,000 Kenyans seek treatment for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer and cardiovascular disease outside their nation’s borders in European and Asian countries (globalpost.com). NCDs are a growing problem in Kenya and is Africa’s next biggest health challenge. “For every death due to HIV in 2005, cardiovascular disease killed five others in Africa. By 2015, chronic diseases will account for a quarter of deaths in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. And by 2020, the largest increases in NCD deaths will occur in Africa, by far surpassing any of the developed countries, the WHO estimates. Global health experts predict that if this trend continues, NCDs alone will kill more people than deaths due to communicable and nutritional diseases put together. Although there has been a global pledge to reduce NCDs, funding for tackling these diseases has not caught up with the magnitude of the problem (globalpost.com)”.

For more information check out this article at www.globalpost.com Africa’s next big health challenge: non-communicable diseases

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/global-pulse/africa-heart-disease-diabetes

 

Dara Oloyede is the African News Correspondent for Engage Africa Foundation. She is currently a Sociology and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder in Colorado. She was born in Nigeria, and currently is the Director of Events for African Students Association at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She currently works at Community Health on her campus as a student coordinator and gives presentations centered on promoting student wellness through education and support. She hopes to pursue further studies in Public Health after graduating from with her Bachelors degree. During her free time she likes to read books, hang out with friends, go to the movies, concerts, as well as events that celebrate different cultures. 

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