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Your Africa Health News For September by Dara Oloyede

This Month's Headlines:

Detrimental Health Costs of South Africa's Coal Fired Power Stations

Kenya: Breakthrough in the fight against Cervical Cancer

Liberia: Within Weeks Ebola Will Infect Thousands More People

Malawi: First Country to Put HIV Positive Pregnant Women On ARVs

East African Countries on High Alert for Ebola

Detrimental Health Costs of South Africa’s Coal-fired Power

Stations

According to environmental groups, South Africa’s reliance on coal to produce 85% of its electricity is taking a substantial toll on the public’s health (theguardian.com). A report from Greenpeace in February estimated that up to 2,700 premature deaths are caused every year by emissions from the country’s 16 coal-fired power plants (theguardian.com). “[The power plants emit] sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM) at levels often more than double the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)”(theguardian.com). Greenpeace released the report after Eskom, South Africa’s public power utility, filed to postpone adhering to the new minimum emissions standards that were meant to help reduce the damaging health impacts of air pollution” (theguardian.com). “Although the government designated Mpumalanga’s Highveld region a priority area for air quality in 2007, pollution levels have continued to increase as Eskom has returned three mothballed coal-fired power stations to service” (theguardian.com).    

For more information check out this article at theguardian.com: South Africa’s coal-fired power stations carry heavy health costs http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/sep/09/south-africas-coal-fired-power-stations-carry-heavy-health-costs

Kenya: Breakthrough in the fight against Cervical Cancer

“Earlier this year, scientists working at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi made a potentially momentous breakthrough in the fight against cervical cancer. In a world-first clinical trial led by the University of Manchester, researchers found that the commonly used antiretroviral drug Lopinavir could kill the virus that leads to the disease.The study examined 40 Kenyan women with the human papilloma virus (HPV) who were asked to self-apply the drug − which is usually taken orally − to the cervix twice a day for two weeks. Just three months later, cervical smears found marked improvements in over 90% of the women, with no adverse effects reported. Although cervical cancer is largely well-managed in many developed countries, the disease is a growing concern across much of Africa. Medical tests and treatments exist − and if the trials of Lopinavir prove successful, healthcare professionals will have yet another useful weapon in their armory − but ultimately it is issues around accessibility, affordability and education that are now key” (thinkafricapress.com).

For more information check out this article at thinkafricapress.com:"This Disease is No Longer a Death Sentence": Combating Cervical Cancer in Kenya http://thinkafricapress.com/kenya/combating-cervical-cancer-cure

Liberia: Within Weeks Ebola Will Infect Thousands More People.

“The World Health Organization has said that Ebola is spreading fast in Liberia, where many thousands of new cases are expected over the coming three weeks.  The transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially.In Liberia, the disease has killed 1,089 people out of 1,871 cases – the highest national toll.Fourteen of Liberia's 15 counties have reported confirmed cases. The organization noted that motorbike and regular taxis are ‘a hot source of potential virus transmission’ because they are not disinfected in Liberia, where conventional Ebola control measures ‘are not having an adequate impact’. The UN agency said aid partners needed to scale up efforts against Ebola by three to four times in Liberia and elsewhere in West African countries battling the epidemic. The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centers"(theguardian.com).

For more information check out this article at theguardian.com: Ebola will infect thousands more people in Liberia within weeks, says WHO  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/08/ebola-liberia-thousands-new-cases-in-weeks-who

Malawi: First Country to Put HIV Positive Pregnant Women On ARVs  

President Arthur Peter Mutharika says Malawi was the first country to adopt a policy of putting all HIV positive pregnant and breast feeding women on anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, regardless of their CD4 Count (allafrica.com). In terms of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, it is true that Malawi was the first country to adopt the policy (allafrica.com). As a country, Malawi has come a long way in the fight against HIV and Aids and has continued to scale up interventions that work (allafrica.com). “‘Today all Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) clients are on a better treatment regimen, with less side effects as recommended by the World Health Organization,’ said Mutharika” (allafrica.com). The Malawi leader said Malawi has reduced the national HIV prevalence rate from 16 percent recorded in 2004 to 10.3 percent in 2013 and that the country has also reduced the number of new HIV infections from 130,000 recorded in 1994 to 34, 000 in 2013 (allafrica.com).

For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: Malawi First Country to Put HIV Positive Pregnant Women On ARVs - APM. http://allafrica.com/stories/201409020117.html

East African Countries on High Alert for Ebola                

East African countries take many precautionary measures to limit the spread of the Ebola Virus (cnbcafrica.com). In Kenya a team of experts and stakeholders have been formed to address the outbreak (cnbcafrica.com). “The nation’s health ministry has also raised the cost of fighting the Ebola epidemic to 670.9 million Kenyan shillings from the 533 million Kenyan shillings. The money will go towards the purchase of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies, training and orientation for medical personnel” (cnbcafrica.com).  “In Uganda, the government has intensified campaigns to educate the public on the virus and how to manage an outbreak in the country by giving out pamphlets and putting up posters” (cnbcafrica.com).  The Tanzanian Health Ministry has also taken precautions by advising citizens to postpone travel to Ebola affected countries (cnbcafrica.com). “The country has also deployed a team of health workers at entry points in one of its major administrative cities, Arusha, as preventive measures against the deadly Ebola virus, and has provided an isolation ward for patients in case of an Ebola breakout” (cnbcafrica.com).  The Rwandan Ministry of Health said that its observation and emergency management systems are in place and they have also trained health workers across the country (cnbcafrica.com).

For more information check out this article at cnbcafrica.com: East African States Take Stringent Measures To Remain Ebola-Free http://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/east-africa/2014/08/19/east-africa-ebola-crisis/

 

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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