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Your Africa Health News Bites For November 2015 by Dara Oloyede

November 2015 Health Bites 

  • Ugandan Ministry Of Health Announces Plans To Ensure That Ugandans Live Longer

  • Mental Health in Zimbabwe

  • Sierra Leone Declared Ebola Free

  • Huge Gains On Meningitis A In Africa Could Be Under Threat

  • Nestlé’s Campaign Helps To Reduce Salt Intake Across Central And West Africa

  • Nigeria: Creating Demand For Uptake Of HIV Counseling And Testing

  • Ugandans Working To Tackle Growing Drug Problem

 

Ugandan Ministry Of Health Announces Plans To Ensure That Ugandans Live Longer

Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of the Ministry of Health in Uganda, has presented the steps the ministry will take to make sure Ugandans will live longer and healthier lives (in2eastafrica.net). The plans are “meant to ensure that the goal of the health sector, which is attainment of a good standard of health by all people in Uganda, is achieved” (in2eastafrica.net). This plan includes seven strategies to improve public health at a community level (in2eastafrica.net). The minster also wants to implement “Village Health Teams, [whom would serve as ] Community Health Extension Workers who are well trained and located [in the communities]” (in2eastafrica.net). The minister also unveiled plans to begin Universal Healthcare coverage so that everyone can receive quality healthcare without dealing with financial burdens (in2eastafrica.net).

To read more about the Health Ministry’s plan, check out this article in2eastafrica.net: Ministry of Health to ensure that Ugandans live longer

 

Mental Health In Zimbabwe

According to health experts, anxiety and depression is rising among people in Zimbabwe due to the stress that is caused by living in poor economic conditions (voanews.com). Dr. Rutendo Bonde, who is a part of the Zimbabwe Wellness and Lifestyle Institute, advocates for the need to address mental health illnesses. “She pointed out that while more resources are being allocated to tackle diseases like HIV/AIDS, very little is being done about problems like depression” (voanews.com).  Dr. Bonde found that those who are unable to seek treatment for their depression can sometimes take desperate measures such as suicide (voanews.com). The stigma associated with mental illness is a barrier for people to seek treatment.

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: More Attention to Mental Health Issues Urged in Zimbabwe

 

Sierra Leone Declared Ebola Free

After almost 2 years, Sierra Leone is declared Ebola free. The World Health Organization has said that “2 Ebola virus incubation cycles have passed since the last person confirmed to have the disease had a second negative blood test” (cnn.com). According to Dr. Anders Nordstrom, who is a representative from the WHO in Sierra Leone, now is the time to support Sierra Leone to create a durable and effective health care system that is resilient and can withstand any public health challenges (cnn.com).

For more information on this topic check out this article at cnn.com: Nearly Two Years Later, Sierra Leone Declared Ebola-Free

Huge Gains On Meningitis A In Africa Could Be Under Threat

Significant measures have been made in 26 countries because of the vaccination campaign for Meningitis A (theguardian.com). These efforts can potentially be threatened if the vaccine is not incorporated in routine childhood immunization rounds (theguardian.com). “The WHO says one-off vaccination campaigns are not enough to stave off epidemics such as meningitis” (theguardian.com). The organization warns that countries that do not adequately and consistently follow up with vaccination programs will see “catastrophic resurgences of the disease in approximately 15 years”(theguardian.com).

For more information check out this article at theguardian.com: Huge Gains On Meningitis A in Africa Could Be Under Threat

Nestlé’s Campaign Helps To Reduce Salt Intake Across Central And West Africa

The ‘Healthy Living Africa’ campaign by Nestlé has reached over 11 million people through social media (pulse.com). Nestlé in Central and West Africa has launched a digital campaign to encourage people to cut their intake of salt (pulse.com). This campaign has a different theme each week that focuses on tips for reducing salt and making healthy lifestyle choices (pulse.com).

For more information check out this article at pulse.com: Nestlé’s Campaign Helps To Reduce Salt Intake Across Central And West Africa

Here is the link to the campaign website: http://www.nestle-cwa.com/en/nhw/hla-english

Nigeria: Creating Demand For Uptake Of HIV Counseling And Testing

The UNAIDS reports that the country with the second to highest rate of new HIV infections is Nigeria (ifrc.org). “An estimated 3.6% of the population aged 15-49 years is living with HIV” (ifrc.org). The number of people who receive HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) is low in general and even more so in rural areas (ifrc.org). In order to increase the demand for HIV couseling and testing at the community level, the Nigerian Red Cross Society has collaborated with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to implement HCT in three local government areas (ifrc.org). 

For more information, check out this article at ifrc.org: Nigeria: Creating Demand For Uptake Of HIV Counseling And Testing

Ugandans Working To Tackle Growing Drug Problem

Since 2011, illegal drugs have had an increasing presence in Kampala, Uganda. Health workers are calling it an “invisible epidemic” (voanews.com). Syrus Malcolm, who is an activist, says that addiction is one of the many risks that come with drug use. He says "most of the drug users don’t know that, [when] injecting drugs, they’re exposing their lives to the risk of HIV transmission” (voanews.com). In Uganda, needle-exchange programs are not permitted and there are also no rehabilitation centers. Malcolm’s organization, Uganda Harm Reduction Network, is advocating for a needle-exchange program as well as treatment centers for those who are addicts.

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Ugandans Try to Tackle Growing Drug Problem

 

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 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 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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