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Your Health News Bites for April

Kenya: Law Penalizing Women for Passing HIV to Child Declared Unconstitutional

Ghana: Its Democracy is Driving Progress in Health and Education

South Africa: Botched Ritual Circumcision Leads To World's First Penile Transplant

Alarm As Cholera Affects 200 Pupils

Kenya: Illegal Pharmacies Fleecing Buyers

 

Kenya: Law Penalizing Women for Passing HIV to Child Declared Unconstitutional

Kenya’s action to change its 2006 HIV and AIDS Prevention Act that criminalized women for passing HIV to their child has been declared unconstitutional (theguardian.com). The law said that a person who is aware that they are HIV positive must disclose that information to any sexual partners they have, or they else they could face jail time for 7 years, for “knowingly and recklessly” putting another person at risk (theguardian.com). On March 18th, the high court repealed the 2006 Act, saying “it could be interpreted to apply to women who expose or transmit HIV to a child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding” (theguardian.com). The law was initially enacted to help to limit the spread of HIV and Aids in Kenya, but human rights groups have argued that the law stigmatizes and discriminates against women (theguardian.com).

For more information check out this article at the guardian.com: Kenya court urges change to law that penalizes women who pass HIV to baby

Ghana’s Democracy is Driving Progress in Health and Education

Ghana became one of a few countries, not a part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to have free and universal health coverage (theguardian.com). From 1998 to 2008 child immunization rates have risen from 19% to 70% (theguardian.com). Also in 2007, Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to pre-primary education mandatory, and because of this “the number of kindergartens doubled from 6,321 to 13,263 between 2001-02 and 2010-11”(theguardian.com). The progress in Ghana is due to the improvement of state-society relations, political competition, as well as the socioeconomic transformations (theguardian.com).

For more information check out this article at theguardian.com: Ghana's democracy is driving great progress in health and education

South Africa: Botched Ritual Circumcision Leads To World's First Penile Transplant

In the Xhosa tribe of South Africa, they have a traditional rite-of-passage ritual called ukwaluka (npr.org). “Young men around 18 years of age are circumcised by a traditional practitioner called an incibi” (npr.org). At times, circumcisions can cause complications such as: “sepsis, mutilation, gangrene and excessive bleeding” (npr.org). Experts at the Stellenbosch University “estimated that each year at least 250 penises are amputated in South Africa alone as a result of botched circumcision” (npr.org). One teenager who had his penis amputated because of a botched circumcision, became the world’s first penile transplant (npr.org). The procedure took 9 hours and the surgeon who led the procedure was Dr. Andre van der Merwe (npr.org). In just 5 weeks the teen said that he had a fully functioning penis and was even able to engage in intercourse (npr.org). A public health intervention, as discussed in the article by Dr. Dimitri Erasmus, Tygerberg Hospital's CEO, would not be to end the ritual since it is a part of peoples culture, but to offer advice on “on blades and techniques and supplies such as dressings and anesthetics” (npr.org). The medical community is also “offering the option of inviting young men to go to a medical clinic for the circumcision, then return to their village to complete the ceremony” (npr.org).

For more information check out this article at npr.org: Botched Ritual Circumcision Leads To World's First Penile Transplant

Alarm As Cholera Affects 200 Pupils

In Migori County 11 new cases of cholera have been reported (in2eastafrica.net). This report has caused concerns among health care professionals about the number of unreported cases of people who have died (in2eastafrica.net). “Though campaigns against cholera are now being intensified in schools, it has emerged that most victims who have been treated in local hospitals and health centers were children under the age of 15” (in2eastafrica.net). Joel Gondi, the county health director, is concerned that because some households lack access to clean water, efforts to completely eradicate cholera infections has had little progress and will continue to have little progress (in2eastafrica.net).

For more information check out this article at in2eastafrica.net: Alarm As Cholera Affects 200 Pupils

Kenya: Illegal Pharmacies Fleecing Buyers

A report has said that about 2,000 registered pharmacies in Kenya and more that 4,000 pharmacies that operate without permits (in2eastafrica.net). “The confidential report, seen by The Standard, estimates that 30 per cent of these chemists sell illegal or substandard drugs” (in2eastafrica.net). There are complaints by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board that they are having trouble keeping track of illegal pharmacies. The problems they face include “corruption, stretched resources and failure to sustain any prosecution” (in2eastafrica.net).  

For more information check out this article at in2eastafrica.net: Kenya: Illegal Pharmacies Fleecing Buyers

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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 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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