Your Africa Health News Bite For The Week of August 7 By Dara Oloyede
Rwanda: Deaths From Aids-Related Causes Decline Drastically
“The United Nations announced that Aids-related deaths and new HIV infections fell by over a third in a decade” (allafrica.com).This raises a lot of optimism for plans to eradicate this disease by 2030. The problem, however, is that more than half of the 35 million people living with HIV are unaware that they are infected, says Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS. “Africa has been the hardest-hit continent, with 1.1 million deaths in 2013, 1.5 million new infections, and 24.7 million people living with HIV” (allafrica.com). Rwanda, however, has managed to keep the HIV prevalence rate as 3 percent since 2005. The Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho says that Rwanda has been able to achieve this through strong health policies that advocate for voluntary testing and giving ample care to the sick.
For more information check out this article at allafrica.com: http://allafrica.com/stories/201407180309.html
Cameroon Steps Up War On Malaria
Cameroon is looking for new ways to engage its citizens to participate in a campaign against rising malaria deaths.“Government officials in the central-west African country say regular flooding due to erratic rains is partly responsible for the recent spike in deaths from vector-borne diseases, because standing water encourages malaria-carrying mosquitoes to breed”(www.trust.org). Alim Hayatou, secretary of state in charge of epidemics and pandemics, says that the Cameroon government is sparing no effort to reverse this trend. Hayatou says that the 2014 campaign aims to step up official efforts to reduce the death rate from malaria by at least 75 percent before 2018, and to alleviate its heavy social and economic burden on the population.Government officials, health experts and environmentalists are working together with UNICEF, Plan Cameroon and Malaria No More and have announced a boost to the anti-malaria campaign K.O.PALU (Kick Out Malaria). This includes a door-to-door distribution of treated mosquito nets to families, especially with pregnant women and children, accompanied by environmental education.
For more information check out this article: http://www.trust.org/item/20140501143431-fljun/?source=search
Outbreak Spreading Quicker than Efforts to Contain it
The World Health Organization warns that West Africa's Ebola outbreak, which has killed more than 700 people since February, is spreading far quicker than efforts to contain the disease (www.aljazeera.com). Margaret Chan, the WHO’s chief, said that the outbreak is by far the largest in the 40-year history of the disease, with 729 deaths so far, including more than 60 healthcare workers, and 1,323 cases overall(www.aljazeera.com). Chan has urged the presidents of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast at a meeting in Guinea's capital Conakry to step up efforts to avoid "catastrophic consequences", after the global health organization announced a $100 million plan to combat the epidemic (www.aljazeera.com). Epidemiologists have said that the pathogen is relatively difficult to catch and is not airborne. Cultural practices and traditional beliefs are significant cause of the spread and a barrier to containment and need to change.
For more information check out this article: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/08/who-ebola-out-control-20148113582852795.html
South Sudan Capital Faces Worsening Cholera Outbreak
Health officials are warning that a cholera outbreak in South Sudan's capital, Juba, which has left 23 people dead and forced more than 670 others to seek treatment, could be getting worse (allafrica.com). “Officials are setting up new treatment centers across the city and treating the water sources they believe are responsible for spreading the disease” (allafrica.com). Health Minister Riek Gai Kok officially announced the cholera outbreak and pledged "as the government, as a country [we] will support any efforts made to contain this disease” (allafrica.com). Despite the renewal of agreements for cessation signed by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, fighting has ensued. “The UN reports that an additional 70,000 people have been displaced since and some into areas without clean water or enough latrines” (allafrica.com). UN agencies and partners have begun focusing on some of the most serious water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) concerns, and have also put out radio advertisements and messages giving people sanitation tips and urging them to look out for signs (allafrica.com).
For more information check out this article: http://allafrica.com/stories/201405281597.html?page=2
Nigeria: Doctor Strike Paralyses Healthcare, Commercial Activities
The strike by Nigerian doctors in government-owned hospitals has paralyzed medical and commercial activities within and around government hospitals in the FCT. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the strike had begun on July1st as a response to the government’s failure to meet the Nigerian Medical Association’s demands. At the National Hospital, Abuja, a Pharmacist, Kilani Jelili, Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, said that the number of patients had reduced as a result of the strike. Commenting on the strike, he said that doctors had a right to press home their demands but not at the detriment of other health workers and the patients. "Every association has a right to demand for certain things but doctors should fight for what is theirs only and not concern themselves with what they think other health workers should or should not get" Jelili said. A lot of citizens had expressed concern that the poor are really suffering because of this strike. NAN reports that the NMA demands include a 24-point request.
For more information check out this article at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201407221337.html
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.