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Your Africa Health News Bites For March by Dara Oloyede

This Month's Headlines

  • Measles Vaccination Rates Tanzania Are Better Than the U.S.
  • Senegal’s Pharmacies Are Better Than Yours?
  • Nigeria Is On the Verge of Eradicating Polio
  • 21 Million Nigerians Have Psychiatric Disorder
  • Sierra Leone: Ebola Leaves 12,000 Orphans
  • Sierra Leone’s Young Community Leaders Are the Best Weapon Against Ebola
  • Kenya: State surveillance of cholera increased after eight people die

 

Measles Vaccination Rates Tanzania Are Better Than the U.S.

Although, Tanzania is number 200 out of 228 countries when it comes to GDP per capita, it turns out that 99% of Tanzanians have been vaccinated against measles, while 91% of Americans have been vaccinated (npr.org). 

For more information check out this article: Measles Vaccination Rates: Tanzania Does Better Than U.S  and this interactive map from the World Health Organization: how vaccination rates compare worldwide

Senegal’s Pharmacies Are Better Than Yours?

Donna A. Patterson is a historian with training in African medicine at Wellesley College. She has written a book called Pharmacy in Senegal: Gender, Healing, and Entrepreneurship In her book she examines how pharmacies in Senegal “became the ‘forefront of health care’” (npr.org).Most of the Senegal’s pharmacies are privately owned, and many “prefer to visit a pharmacy to get diagnosed and treated for minor injuries, infections and illness”, because it is “cheaper and more convenient than visiting the doctor” (npr.org). 

Another interesting fact is that women own 48% of these pharmacies (npr.org). Check out this article: Senegal’s pharmacies Are Much, Much Better Than Your Local Drugstore

Nigeria Is On the Verge of Eradicating Polio

In 2006, Nigeria reported over 1,000 cases dealing with Polio, and last year they only reported 6 (npr.org). “If polio really had been stopped in Nigeria it would be a major step forward in the global effort to drive the virus in to extinction” (npr.org). Researchers are hesitant to say the polio virus has been completely eradicated because, the virus is hard to locate, and just because there has not been any reported cases, does not mean the virus has completely disappeared (npr.org). 

A barrier in polio eradication in Nigeria is the Boko Haram. They have “denounced vaccinations and made it nearly impossible to vaccinate kids in parts of Northern Nigeria" (npr.org). Using a tactic that worked in Pakistan called “hit and run,” vaccinators have set up “checkpoints on major roadways in order to immunize children as they enter or leave areas dominated by Boko haram” (npr.org). For more information check out this article: Nigeria Is On the Verge of Bidding Goodbye to Polio

21 Million Nigerians Have Psychiatric Disorder

There is a huge population of people in Nigeria who need psychiatric attention (thisdaylive.com). The problem is that “the country has a few neuropsychiatric hospitals and trained psychiatrists” (thisdaylive.com). Dr. Rahman Lawal, who is the Medical director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Yaba, Lagos, addresses in this article some of the challenges and the need for more neuropsychiatric hospitals in other states. 

Challenges with finance, creating an infrastructure that would support the amount of people who they need to be reached, inadequacies in Neuropsychiatric hospitals, brain drain in the profession, strikes by health professionals, as well as misconceptions and myths around psychiatric illnesses, are all barriers and challenges that Nigeria is dealing with. For more information check out this article: 21 Million Nigerians Have Psychiatric Disorder

Sierra Leone: Ebola Leaves 12,000 Orphans

A report has showed that 12,000 children have been orphaned due to this devastating disease (theguardian.com). “Many are living in fear without the support and security of parents” (theguardian.com). The stigma of Ebola has caused many orphans to be rejected by other family members as well as friends. 

The British Charity Street Child has sent many social workers to research and find out what is going on across the nation. The director of this foundation, Tom Dannatt, says the organization is “providing humanitarian and psychosocial support to almost 11,000 children” (theguardian.com). 

One of the biggest challenges for the orphans is education (theguardian.com). “Schools are scheduled to reopen on March 30th, but some will be unable to afford to do so” (theguardian.com). For more information check out this article: Ebola ‘leaves 12,000 orphans in Sierra Leone’

Sierra Leone’s Young Community Leaders Are the Best Weapon Against Ebola

Since June, a youth led organization called Restless Development, has been contacting volunteers to help fight Ebola (theguardian.com). 350 people responded to the call to action and were willing to go out on bikes into various neighborhoods. They went into these communities “not with syringes or stretchers but with information, training, and the trust and legitimacy that only someone from your own community can offer” (theguardian.com). 

Within 2 months they were able to reach “200,000 people within isolated areas through personal contact” (theguardian.com).For more information check out this article: Sierra Leone's young community leaders are best weapon against Ebola

Kenya: State surveillance of cholera increased after eight people die

In Kenya, the ministry of Health has reported 166 Cholera cases in Homa Bay, Migoria, and Nairobi counties (in2eastafrica.net).  A committee has been created to look at the situation and plan a response. “The ministry attributed the cholera outbreak to the dry spell in the country, which has led to a scarcity of clean water” (in2eastafrica.net). For more information check out this article: Kenya: State surveillance of cholera increased after eight people die

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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