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Your Africa Health News Bites For September by Dara Oloyede

September 2015 Health News Bites          

  • Diabetes a Growing Health Concern in Africa

  • Kenya Launches The National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy 2015 (ASRHP)

  • Botswana Court Grants Access to HIV Testing/Treatment to Incarcerated Foreigners

  • Sierra Leone: Ebola’s Impact on Mental Health

  • Drugmaker Profits Undermine Malaria Diagnosis in Nigeria

 

Diabetes a Growing Health Concern in Africa

Communicable diseases are a common problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, but now diabetes is becoming a rising concern (voanews.com). It is a concern because it is taking place in countries where health infrastructures and health workers are not (yet) equipped with the resources to deal with this issue (voanews.com). “Diabetes now affects 21 million African men and women, a number that authors of an article in the journal ‘The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology’ say is expected to climb to 35 million in the next 20 years” (voanews.com). Rifat Atun, a Harvard University global health expert, says that the problem is tied to “social and lifestyle transitions now taking place in Africa, [as well as the] move away from agrarian occupations (voanews.com). Atun also says that right now the health infrastuctures in Sub-Saharan Africa are specifically for dealing with “communicable diseases, such as HIV, TB and malaria, not non-infectious diseases such as diabetes” (voanews.com).  

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Diabetes a Growing Health Menace in Africa

 

Kenya Launches the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy 2015 (ASRHP)

In Kenya, The Standard did a report on the number of illegal and dangerous abortions in Kenya, and the report said that 375,000 are done annually and 3,000 women die because of the process (in2eastafrica.net). James Macharia, who is the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Health, has launched the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy 2015 (ASRHP) in Nairobi, Kenya (in2eastafrica.net). The policy is but part of a 5 year plan which entails “the introduction of sex education and products for children aged 10-19,” as well as financial plans to fund “the comprehensive health of mothers and newborns, all at a cost of about Sh223 billion” (in2eastafrica.net). In addition money will also go towards providing contraceptives, as well as safe abortion services (in2eastafrica.net). “The Kenya Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Investment Framework is the first policy document indicating a specific budget line for sex education, safe abortion and mother and child health” (in2eastafrica.net). This policy will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education as well (in2eastafrica.net).

For more information about this policy check out this article at in2eastafrica.net: Kenya Government launches policy on abortion and women’s health

 

Botswana Court Grants Access to HIV Testing/Treatment to Incarcerated Foreigners

In Bostwana the court has ruled that the government must provide incarcerated immigrants testing and treatment for HIV. Previously, non-citizens were denied this access to health services but now they have the right to have HIV testing just as prisoners who are citizens can. “The decision’s enforcement will mean access to life-saving treatment for people who are particularly vulnerable to HIV.” Actvists say that this is a step forward in improving “access to HIV treatment across southern Africa.”

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Botswana Issues Historic HIV Ruling

 

Sierra Leone: Ebola’s Impact on Mental Health

The devastating impact of Ebola has left many dealing with mental health issues (voanews.com). “The virus’ effects continue to haunt many residents, including those who buried the bodies of Ebola victims” (voanews.com). The emotional impact of watching people die and having to bury many bodies has been intense for community health workers as well as burial teams (voanews.com). “The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has brought in psychosocial experts to administer psychological first aid” (voanews.com). These experts have encouraged using comedy, song, and dance to relieve distress (voanews.com). “Joshua Abioseh Duncan is a coordinator for the Mental Health Coalition of Sierra Leone, which was created in 2011 to strive to make sure that mental health professionals are available in every district of the country” (voanews.com).  His organization also helps to teach people how to provide support for each other (voanews.com).

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: In Sierra Leone, Ebola Fades But Still Impacts Mental Health

 

Drugmaker Profits Undermine Malaria Diagnosis in Nigeria

“The World Health Organization’s data shows that more than 430,000 kids still die from the mosquito-borne infectious disease in Africa each year” (voanews.com). Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) is a tool used to help diagnose illnesses, but despite its availability, a significant amount of health workers are not using it (voanews.com). Professor Obinna Onwujekwe, who works at the University of Nigeria, put together a team to study why health workers are not using RDT’s and the found that  not only do health works not trust the RDT’s they also found that “drug sellers put profit ahead of patients” (voanews.com).

For more information check out this article at voanews.com: Study: Drugmaker Profits Undermine Malaria Diagnosis in Nigeria

 

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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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