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Your Africa Health News Bites for February 2016

February 2016 Health Bites

 

10 Million African Children Are Now Obese Or Overweight

Nigeria: 58,000 Babies Are Born With Virus Annually

14 African Nations Awarded for the Efforts in Reducing Malaria

Zimbabwe: High Rate of Schoolchildren Smoking

Ethiopia: The Fight Against Hypertension

 

10 Million African Children Are Now Obese Or Overweight

As African nations become more urbanized obesity among children increases (globalpost.com). According to the World Health Organization, “the prevalence of overweight and obese children has surged from 4.8 to 6.1% in the last 25 years, [and] the number of obese children has doubled from 5.4 million to 10.3 million” (globalpost.com). The move from rural areas to cities has meant that children have been getting less exercise and also are eating more processed foods. In addition, malnutrition early in a child’s life can put them at risk for later developing obesity (globalpost.com).

 

For more information about the World Health Organizations’ recommendations for reducing obesity among youth, check out globalpost.com: 10 Million African Children Are Now Obese Or Overweight

 

Nigeria: 58,000 Babies Are Born With Virus Annually

In Nigeria 58,000 babies are born every year with the AIDS virus and with a 50% survival rate (allafrica.com). There are 3.2 million people in Nigeria currently living with the virus (allfrica.com). Mr. Miche Sidibe, who is the Secretary General and executive director of UNAIDS, says that the key to ending the virus is making sure people are getting tested and know their status (allafrica.com). Sidibe stresses that Nigeria needs to start producing its’ own drugs instead of relying on medicine from abroad (allafrica.com). In addition, he is calling for more funding and political support to control this epidemic in Nigeria (allafrica.com).

 

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Nigeria: HIV/Aids - 58,000 Babies Are Born With Virus Annually in Nigeria - UNAIDS

 

14 African Nations Awarded for the Efforts in Reducing Malaria

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) awarded 14 African countries for their efforts in reducing malaria. The countries that received awards for their performance in malaria control were Senegal, Liberia, and Rwanda. From 2011 to 2015, Liberia, Rwanda, and Senegal were able to reduce malaria incidences by 75% (theguardian.com). The countries that received awards for being the most improved in malaria control were Mali, Comoros, and Guinea. The countries that met the millennium development goal of halting and reversing malaria were Botswana, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Eritrea, Swaziland, Rwanda, Cape Verde, and Namibia. In the midst of the Ebola crisis, the work around malaria prevention was especially a challenge for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. One of the practices that helped many of the nations succeed was their investment in the local production of insecticides and bed nets (theguardian.com).

 

To read more about ALMA’s sustainable development goals for 2030, check out this article at theguardian.com: African Countries Congratulated For Driving Down Malaria Deaths

For more information about the African Leaders Malaria Alliance check out alma2030.org

 

Zimbabwe: High Rate of Schoolchildren Smoking

The World Health Organization says that there has been a substantial increase in the number of schoolchildren in Zimbabwe who are smoking (voanews.com). Although selling tobacco products to children is illegal, they are still able to gain access to cigarettes (voanews.com). According to the WHO’s Global Youth Tobacco survey, 20% of children and youth are smoking (voanews.com). The survey also showed that some students are not only smoking on school campuses, but also the laws against selling tobacco products to youth is not being enforced (voanews.com). One of the researchers, Shungu Munyati, says that laws that prohibit kids from buy tobacco products needs to be enforced, however, what poses a challenge is that tobacco is one of the resources that Zimbabwe depends on for its’ economy (voanews.com).

 

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: WHO Worried by High Rate of Schoolchildren Smoking in Zimbabwe

 

Ethiopia: Fight Against Hypertension

AstraZeneca is a global pharmaceutical company that has a program called Healthy Heart Africa. Healthy Heart Africa is a program that supports local health systems by increasing awareness of hypertension and by increasing accessibility to treatment. This organization is partnering with the Ethiopian Government’s National Strategic Action Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases to address hypertension. In Kenya, Healthy Heart Africa and the Ministry of health was able to screen over 1 million Kenyans for hypertension and found over 150,000 people living with hypertension. In Ethiopia, this organization is building a plan tailored especially for Ethiopia’s context. The organization will measure its’ success by its’ ability to raise hypertension education and awareness, train health care providers on hypertension, and increase access to low-cost and high-quality medication and treatment.

 

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Africa: Pro-Poor Health Initiative Expands Across Africa

For more information about AstraZeneca and Healthy Heart Africa go to www.astrazeneca.com/our-company/sustainability/access-to-healthcare/healthy-heart-africa.html

 

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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.

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