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Your Africa Health News Bites For October 2015 by Dara Oloyede

October 2015 Health News Bites

  • Healthcare for Africa’s Older Population At Risk

  • Cameroon Finds Resistance to Polio Vaccination Campaign

  • Kenyan Men With Breast Cancer Fight Disease and Stigma

  • Uganda Tackles High Levels of Antibiotic Resistance Through Social Media and Community Outreach

  • Malawi Rehabilitation Center Suffers From Lack of Funding

  • Mental Health Is An African Problem Too

Healthcare for Africa’s Older Population At Risk

A report on aging populations in Africa shows that health care for the older generation (60 and up) may be at risk due to future population increases. Toby Porter who is the chief executive of HelpAge International says that it is important that African nations start planning for large older populations (voanews.com). Although medical and technological improvements are increasing longevity for Africans, “older Africans face harsh futures unless their families or governments can establish decent income sources and medical care for them” (voanews.com).

To read more about the 4 areas of concern for the elderly, check out this article at voanews.com: Report: Africa’s Older Population Invisible in Rankings 

 

Cameroon Finds Resistance to Polio Vaccination Campaign

Due to growing resistance, Cameroon is stopping a polio vaccination campaign (voanews.com). According to leaders “7% of children are still at risk of contracting the crippling disease” (voanews.com). Dr. Noulna Desire, who is a part of the vaccination campaign says that the resistance is due to misinformation. He also that despite resitance, he will continue to push this campaign forward (voanews.com).  

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Cameroon Finds Resistance to Polio Vaccination Campaign

 

Kenyan Men With Breast Cancer Fight Disease and Stigma

Oftentimes Kenyan men with breast cancer have not been open with their condition because of the diseases’ association with women. With prospects for reducing stigma, doctors and patients are starting to talk about the disease openly. Dr. Andrew Odhiambo who is an oncologist at Kenyatta Hospital, says that “breast cancer in men is rare, but it does exist, and that early detection is hard” (voanews.com). Diagnosis is challenging for people who live is rural areas and do not have consistent access to health care facilities. Physicians can also mistreat and misdiagnose men with breast cancer, simply due to its rarity. “According to Kenya’s Ministry of Health, every year more than 28,000 Kenyans dies from various forms of cancer each year” (voanews.com).

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Kenyan Men With Breast Cancer Fight Disease and Stigma

 

Uganda Tackles High Levels of Antibiotic Resistance Through Social Media and Community Outreach

“Although it is technically illegal to distribute antibiotics without a prescription in Uganda, pharmacies are often teeming with customers buying the drugs with little or no oversight” (voanews.com). The consequence of this is that many have built up resistance through the overuse of drugs. In Uganda, “80% of the bacteria that cause diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis are resistant to antibiotics” (voanews.com). The Rational Medical Use Campaign uses social media and community outreach to encourage people to get correct diagnosis before seeking and starting medication. They also discourage sharing medicines and encourage people to complete their given dosages (voanews.com).

For more information check out this article: Uganda Tackles High Levels of Antibiotic Resistance

 

Malawi Rehabilitation Center Suffers From Lack of Funding

Since 1995, the Kachere Rehabilitation Center has been Malawi’s only free inpatient rehabilitation facility that has helped many who suffer from injuries ranging from strokes to spinal cord injuries (voanews.com). Although the center is doing great work, sparse funding sets the organization back in fulfilling its mission. Equipment and follow-up care for discharged patients is one of the 2 main areas where the organizations needs more funds in order to be able to do (voanews.com).

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Malawi Rehabilitation Center Suffers Lack of Funding

 

Mental Health Is An African Problem Too

Many people are misinformed that Africans do not experience mental health disorders. According to the a study done by the World Health Organization, “in the African Region, it is estimated that one out of every six people suffers from some form of mental disorder” (WHO). This estimation is quite startling but not surprising since mental health issues are often not talked about as being disorders and there are few health facilities that are providing treatment and therapy services.

For more information check out the message from the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti at http://www.afro.who.int/en/rdo/speeches/4756-message-of-the-who-regional-director-for-africa-dr-matshidiso-moeti-on-world-mental-health-day-2015.html

 

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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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