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Chronic Disease Brief For Africa (January 2017) By Dara Oloyede

January 2017 Health News

Africa: E-Cigarettes Have Become A Health Dilemma

Increasing Number Of Africans At Risk Of Mortality From Chronic Diseases

Tanzania: Cervical Cancer Prevention And Treatment Initiatives

Uganda: Diabetes Cases On The Rise

Zimbabwe Tackles Mental Health With ‘Friendship Benches’


Africa: E-Cigarettes Have Become a Health Dilemma

There are many debates around the health risks of E-cigarettes. The difference between a cigarette and an e-cigarette is that an e-cigarette contains nicotine but it does not tobacco nor does it produce ashes like cigarettes ( Often e-cigarettes are used by people who are trying to quit smoking, because it “stimulates the experience of smoking through the inhalation of vaporized liquid nicotine, instead of burning tobacco” ( The market for E-cigarettes is expected to grow in Africa; already the use of e-cigarettes is growing in South Africa and Tanzania.  The World Health Organization (WHO) says that “smokeless tobacco products are a public health concern,” and products such as e-cigarettes need regulation (

For more information check out this article at Africa: E-Cigarettes Have Become a Health Dilemma


Increasing number of Africans at risk of Mortality from Chronic Diseases

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 46% of Africans have high blood pressure ( This information was found from a recent WHO survey done in 33 countries (  The WHO attributes “increasing urbanization and unhealthy lifestyles” to the rising number of Africans who are at risk of chronic diseases ( The survey also shows that a majority of adults “have at least one risk factor" that contributes to their likelihood of developing a chronic disease (

For more information check out this article at More Africans at risk of dying from chronic illnesses, warns WHO


Tanzania: Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Initiatives

In Tanzania “cervical cancer is the most common cause of cancer related deaths among women” (  Currently the incidence rate is 51 for every 100,000 women and the mortality rate is 38 for every 100,000 women ( In order to reduce the rate of women with cervical cancer, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children is starting a cervical cancer prevention initiative by “providing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines to girls aged 9-13 years” ( In addition the Ministry is partnering with organizations to increase and support screenings and treatment (

For more information check out this article at Tanzania: Cervical Cancer Vaccine for Teens in the Pipeline


Uganda: Diabetes Cases On the Rise

The Uganda Diabetes Association reports that more people have a higher risk of developing diabetes due to lifestyle behaviors ( Dr. Moses Muwanga who is the manager at the Entebbe General Hospital, said that currently they are dealing with 700 cases of diabetes, and receive at least 10 new cases a day. He says that the lack of drugs and affordable drugs  is a challenge. Ms. Sarah Nayange, who is the chairperson of the Entebbe Diabetes Association says that there is a rising number of children being born with or acquiring diabetes later on (

Fore more information check out this article at Uganda: Diabetes Cases On the Rise-Experts


Zimbabwe Tackles Mental Health With ‘Friendship Benches’

It is estimated that about one in four Zimbabweans have depression or anxiety ( In the nation there are only 12 psychiatrists to service a population of 14 million people. A group of doctors came up with an initiative called “friendship benches” ( The way it works is that people can have six individual counseling sessions with “grandmother health providers,” who are specifically taught to provide problem solving therapy ”( According to a study on this intervention, those who utilized the friendship benches were “five times less likely to have suicidal thoughts” ( Not only did it help in improving people’s mental health it also improved other health outcomes such as “hypertension, diabetes, and adherence to medication for people with HIV” ( The friendship benches are in 60 locations in Harare and also are in a couple different cities (


For more information check out this article at Zimbabwe Tackles Mental Health With ‘Friendship Benches’


Dara Oloyede is the African News Correspondent for Engage Africa Foundation, and she is pursuing her MPH in Public Health. 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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