Blog - Engage Africa Foundation

Home / Blog / Your Africa Health News Bites for April 2016 By Dara Oloyede

Your Africa Health News Bites for April 2016 By Dara Oloyede

April Health News

Lessons From The Ebola Outbreak

Angola: Yellow Fever Outbreak

Mozambique's Enduring Discrimination Leaves Gay Men Untreated For HIV

Giants Rats Are Used To Diagnose Prisoners With Tuberculosis In Jails

Nigeria: 1.6 Million Nigerians Live With Diabetes As Disease Kills Over 40,000

 

Lessons From The Ebola Outbreak

From the three countries impacted by the Ebola virus in terms of issues such as intervention and education we have learned a lot about what went well and didn’t go well.  According to researchers, one of the things that was done well during this outbreak was “the systematic implementation of effective infection and prevention control measures” (npr.org). This practice helped to reduce transmission and improve hygiene practices. Another thing that went well was the recognition of the importance of responding to the needs of Ebola survivors. In addition the development of an effective vaccine was another success. What health leaders say didn’t go was the slow global response to the Ebola outbreak. Another problem was that  “fear dictated the quality of clinical care” (npr.org). In addition, the outbreak overshadowed another diseases, disrupting prevention and treatment support for other health ailments, and weakening health systems overall. Most importantly not paying enough attention to the local culture and engaging with the communities to build trust was a huge misstep. Also, the lack of recognition and support for the work that local community health workers were doing, was another issue that could have improved.

For more details about the lessons from this outbreak, check out this article at npr.org: WHO Says Ebola Epidemic Is Over. What Have (And Haven't) We Learned?

 

Angola: Yellow Fever Outbreak

Since January, Angola has been dealing with Yellow Fever outbreaks. “More than 1,200 people have been sickened, and nearly 200 have died” (npr.org). Dr. Tom Frieden who heads the U.S. CDC says that vaccines are the key to stopping the fever and reducing transmission. However, the issue is that not many companies are creating yellow fever vaccines. Dr. William Perea who works for the WHO says that “yellow fever is a forgotten disease.” In addition to being a forgotten disease, since the markets for the vaccines are in poor countries many companies are manufacturing few if any of these vaccines (npr.org).  WHO and other organizations have created a stock of vaccines to deal with outbreaks, but they have already used their resources to vaccinate more that 5.6 million people in Angola (npr.org). Dr. Frieden calls for more funding to fight this disease.

For more information check out this article at npr.org: A 'Forgotten Disease' Is Suddenly Causing New Worries

 

American Fast-Food Chains Are Invading Africa

In the last few years more American fast-food chains have emerged in South Africa, and these companies are planning to expand more on the continent. So far Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Krispy Kreme, Burger King, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut are in South Africa, and soon Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Baskin-Robbins will launch as well (theglobalpost.com). This recent emergence of junk food brands is being seen as concerning due to the increasing obesity rates in South Africa. “A World Health Organization report earlier this year found that the prevalence of overweight and obese children on this continent had surged from 4.8% to 6.1% in the last 25 years. The number of these children has doubled, from 5.4 million to 10.3 million” (globalpost.com). In addition to being a threat to the health of many, these growing American chains pose a threat to South African fast food chains that are working to expand as well.

 For more information check out this article at globalpost.com: American fast-food chains are invading Africa

 

Mozambique's Enduring Discrimination Leaves Gay Men Untreated For HIV

Last June Mozambique dropped a law that criminalized homosexual activities. Despite this discrimination persists, and it is “jeopardizing government efforts to reduce the high incidence of HIV/AIDS” (theguardian.com). This nation has one of the highest HIV rates in the world.  The ministry of health has enacted a 3 year HIV response plan that acknowledges the importance of reaching out to stigmatized populations, such as men who have sex with men, and providing them health services (theguardian.com). In a survey of men who have sex with men, it showed that “as many as 6 out of 10 men who visited health centers in the past year left without getting an HIV test” (theguardian.com). The study found that some men are uncomfortable with discussing their sexual practices because of the fear of stigma and discrimination. This disparity is resulting is missed opportunities for treatment, prevention, and education. GLBTQ health advocates recommend opening and creating more LGBTQ friendly health clinics, and in addition sensitivity training for healthcare workers is also recommended.

For more information check out this article at theguardian.com: Mozambique's enduring discrimination leaves gay men untreated for HIV

 

Giants Rats Are Used To Diagnose Prisoners With Tuberculosis In Jails

Studies down in Tanzania, Malawi, and the Ivory Coast reveal that TB rates are “10x higher in prisons than in the general population” (theguardian.com). In Tanzania and Mozambique scientists are training rats to detect Tuberculosis in prisoners. Due to health systems that are not efficient in cost and accuracy to screen against TB, many cases are undiagnosed. APOPO, the organization doing this research, is using funding from USAID to train more rats to carry out screenings that is predicted to be faster and more accurate than current methods. “The rats’ accuracy at detecting TB is almost 100%” (theguardian.com).  They plan to expand this program to more prisons, and also shantytowns, factories, and other locations (theguardian.com).

For more information check out this article at theguardian.com: Giants Rats Are Used To Diagnose Prisoners With Tuberculosis In Jails

 

Nigeria: 1.6 Million Nigerians Live With Diabetes As Disease Kills Over 40,000

Today there are 1.6 million Nigerians living with diabetes. Dr. Adewunmi Alayaki who is the Secretary General of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) notes this is due to “inequities in availability, affordability, and accessibility of efficient and effective healthcare delivery” (allafrica.com). Since 1980 diabetes has quadrupled to 422 million adults (allafrica.com). Some factors that are behind this rise also include being overweight and obesity. The NMA is encourage Nigerian to do regular check-ups and also they encourage the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration, and Control to follow standard mandates, and prevent the importation of fake or tampered medication and medical equipment. In addition the NMA advocated for more government funding for more jobs, to create more efficient health facilities, and have better health care equipment and resources.

Fore more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Nigeria: 1.6 Million Nigerians Live With Diabetes As Disease Kills Over 40,000

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 involved in the African Students' Association. She 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 Graduate studies in Public Health after graduating 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.

Want to help us to keep making impact? There are different ways to support Engage Africa Foundation: follow us on Twitter @engageafricafdt, ‘Like’ us on Facebook (share our posts), also you can donate here: http://www.engageafricafoundation.org/fundraise/?gt=donate&pid=1page

 

 

Mission

Fighting non-communicable diseases in Africa through the voices and creativity of everyday people

  Recent Images
  Contact Us
  Engage Africa Foundation

73 ASPEN HILLS TERR SW,
CALGARY AB T3H OP4,
CANADA

info@engageafricafoundation.org
Business Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM