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Tag search: "Africa"

WHO elections

How did Tedros win at WHO but Amina lose at the AU?

The Star Kenya looks at the campaigns of Tedros Adhanom and Amina Mohamed to secure the top job at WHO and the African Union Commission. One successful (Tedros) and one not (Amina): it seeks the answer as to what Tedros did right (hiring a professional lobbying firm) and what Amina failed to do

May 27, 2017
Star Kenya

Former Ethiopian health minister becomes first African head of the World Health Organization

The former Ethiopian health minister has become the first African head of the World Health Organization. In a secret ballot, the World Health Assembly elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to be the agency’s new director general. Many felt it was Africa’s turn to lead the agency and the African Union strongly supported the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom throughout

May 23, 2017
Guardian Nigeria

Ethiopia's Tedros gets Dangote, AU chief's final backing for WHO DG post

The chair of the African Union has issued a rallying push in favour of Ethiopia’s former health and foreign affairs chief to become director-general of the World Health Organization. In a tweet, AUC chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, alluded to the strength of Africa when it is united with one voice. Preceding the AU chief was Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, who also took to Twitter to endorse Dr Tedros

May 22, 2017
Africa News

Physician’s letter in Lancet casts new shadow on Tedros WHO bid

The physician who leads the Africa Tobacco-Free Initiative published an open letter in The Lancet speaking out against the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom to become director general of the World Health Organization. He raised questions about the Ethiopian government’s deal-making role in a tobacco industry at odds with global health goals. Ashall references Ethiopia’s sale of shares in its National Tobacco Enterprise in 2016, a U.S.$510m deal overseen by two Ethiopian ministers and celebrated as an inroad into the Ethiopian market by Japan Tobacco International. This deal falls foul of the WHO Framework on Tobacco Control, and ‘as a former health minister aiming to become DG of WHO Tedros should have spoken out publicly against this tobacco deal,’ Ashall said

May 20, 2017
Africa Times

Mzembi carries Africa’s hope

Tourism and hospitality industry minister Walter Mzembi is seeking to be elected as the secretary general of the UN World Tourism Organization. The election is part of a two-pronged approach by the African Union candidates to win both the UN WTO role and the UN WHO Director General

May 12, 2017
News Day

Promoting health through the life course

White House Pushes Military Might Over Humanitarian Aid in Africa

Pentagon officials are concerned that shifting to a military-heavy presence in Africa will hurt American interests in the long term by failing to stimulate development. An absence of schools and jobs, they say, creates more openings for militant groups. If Congress passes Mr. Trump’s proposed Pentagon budget for the 2018 fiscal year — it calls for an additional $52 billion on top of the current $575 billion base budget — the United States will spend more money on military affairs in Africa but reduce humanitarian and development assistance across the continent

June 26, 2017
New York Times

Teach the fathers of tomorrow to keep girls in school today, study shows

The Asante Africa Foundation said girls` attendance increased by 80 percent in Kenyan and Tanzanian schools where its project taught about 9,000 adolescent girls, 3,000 mothers and 500 boys about problems like teenage pregnancy and domestic violence. "If we want to ensure that the next generation of women are given the chance to receive a quality education then we must train our boys to be champions for girls` equality," Erna Grasz, founder of the U.S.-based charity, said

June 19, 2017

Record hunger in Horn of Africa pushes development banks to step in

In an unprecedented move, the World Bank is giving $50 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to distribute emergency food, water and cash in Somalia. The African Development Bank (ADB) has also announced $1.1 billion to combat drought in six countries, mostly in the Horn of Africa. In a "Grand Bargain", struck at last year`s World Humanitarian Summit, donors promised to make their funding more flexible to respond to growing humanitarian crises globally

June 13, 2017

One in five twins dies under age 5 in sub-Saharan Africa - Lancet

One in five twins born in sub-Saharan Africa die before turning age 5, even as infant mortality has dropped for lone babies in the region, scientists say in a new study, this new research report indicated that mortality rate was 213 per 1,000 pregnancies, compared to 11 per 1,000 in Finland as an example. The gravity of these findings calls for policy action, the researchers said

June 1, 2017

South African men march against abuse of women and children

Hundreds of South Africans who have been angered by a rise in violence against women and children took to the streets and marched in protest, calling for action, in the South African capital Pretoria

May 20, 2017
BBC, AlJazeera
May 21, 2017

China supports AU's plans to set up centres to control and detect disease in Africa

The Chinese government backs the AU’s plans to set up African Centres for Disease Control in the hope that early detection and treatment of diseases will stymie the devastation of such outbreaks.  The first centre headquarters would be in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and would take three years to build. A further five regional centres would be built in Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Gabon. China has a large number of expats living in Africa and a yellow fever outbreak a while back in Angola saw some return home and put a strain on the Chinese health system. So it is in China’s national interest – the spokesperson said 

May 14, 2017
Independent Online

In South Africa, mothers lead push to get pregnant women tested for HIV

South African mothers are leading the push to get pregnant women tested for HIV; mothers2mothers support groups are helping women to understand the value of HIV testing for young pregnant women and how this is leading to a cut in transmission of a virus that can pass AIDS from mothers to babies

May 5, 2017

WHO says 69% of pregnant women lack access to preventive malaria treatment in Africa

In a statement ahead of World Malaria Day, WHO called on all malaria endemic countries in Africa to urgently improve access to preventative malaria treatment and other critical tools for pregnant women on the continent. Despite progress made in malaria prevention in pregnant women in Africa, 69% of them are still not receiving the recommended doses of intermittent treatment in pregnancy therapy required for protection against malaria infection

April 21, 2017
Financial Nigeria

WHO says 69% of pregnant women lack access to preventive malaria treatment in Africa

In a statement ahead of World Malaria Day, WHO called on all malaria endemic countries in Africa to urgently improve access to preventative malaria treatment and other critical tools for pregnant women on the continent. Despite progress made in malaria prevention in pregnant women in Africa, 69% of them are still not receiving the recommended doses of intermittent treatment in pregnancy therapy required for protection against malaria infection

April 21, 2017
Financial Nigeria

Celebrated African women hope to inspire girls to narrow gender gap

Twelve women from Mali, Morocco and Zimbabwe among other countries, were honoured at a ceremony hosted by the New African Woman magazine in the Senegalese capital Dakar. The awards seek to celebrate successful African women in fields ranging from politics and business to agriculture and the arts and they seek to inspire girls across the continent to strive towards closing the gender gap, winners of the New African Women Awards commented

April 13, 2017
Reuters, GNN Liberia
April 14, 2017
Africa News

Health department intensifies efforts to curb teen pregnancies

The latest shock statistics on pre-teen and teen pregnancies in South Africa revealed that 193 pupils in Grades 3,4 and 6 fell pregnant between 2014 and 2016. If school pupils from Grade 6 and 7 were added this number would jump to 1,449. The Department of Health acknowledged the issue and explained how it was intensifying its efforts to address this societal crisis

April 5, 2017

Preparedness, surveillance and response

South Africa confirms two more cases of H5N8 bird flu on poultry farms

South Africa`s agricultural department confirmed two more outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu have been detected on commercial layer farms in the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Two previous outbreaks of avian flu in recent weeks have also been detected in South Africa, including on a farm belonging to poultry producer Astral

July 12, 2017

WHO: Lassa fever outbreak response remains ongoing, mitigation measures to continue

An outbreak of Lassa fever has recently been reported by officials from the World Health Organization in multiple West African nations including Nigeria. As of last month, a total of 501 suspected cases have been reported, 104 of which resulted in the deaths of the patient involved. In the remaining reported cases, 189 have been further classified by public health officials and 175 have been laboratory confirmed as Lassa infected. Seventeen Nigerian states have reported at least one confirmed case

July 12, 2017
Homeland Preparedness News

African swine fever detected in wild boars in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has detected African swine fever (ASF) in two wild boars, the Agriculture Ministry said. The infected animals were found in Zlin, 300 km (186 miles) south-east of the capital Prague, State Veterinary Administration spokesman Petr Vorlicek said. No pig farm was affected so far. A 10-km sanitary perimeter has been established including a farm with around 5,000 pigs that are being inspected

June 27, 2017

South Africa bans sale of live hens to contain bird flu

South Africa has banned the sale of live hens throughout the country in a bid to control an outbreak of highly contagious H5N8 bird flu, but no humans have been affected, the government said. Exports of processed poultry products, live chickens and fresh produce will continue depending on the requirements of importing countries, the department of agriculture said. "To date, no human cases of infection with avian influenza H5N8 have been reported. However, people handling wild birds, sick or dying poultry must wear protective clothing and wash their hands with disinfectants," the department said

June 26, 2017

Red Cross official warns of cholera, famine risks in East Africa, Yemen

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned United Nation member states that outbreaks of cholera are compounding famine risk in East Africa and Yemen. According to IFRC figures, Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan are now grappling with escalating cholera outbreaks that have infected more than 220,000 people and killed nearly 2,100 people since the beginning of 2017. In Yemen alone, more than 166,000 cases have been reported since the end of April, a figure that is climbing by an average of 6,000 cases every day, IFRC said. In Somalia, there have been more than 51,000 cholera cases and nearly 5,000 in South Sudan

June 26, 2017

South Africa reports outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, industry body says

South Africa reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at a farm in the Free State province, agricultural industry body group AgriSA said. Poultry producer Astral confirmed that the H5N8 bird flu strain was found on its Villiers farm on the outskirts of the Free State province. The company said the farm had been quarantined and the site affected would be depleted of all birds. "Astral assures all stakeholders that everything is being done to contain this incident. If this incident is contained to that specific site and/or farm Astral’s contingency plans do ensure continued operations with no impact,” Astral Managing Director, Agriculture, Gary Arnold said

June 23, 2017

Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and partners plan new approach to detect and r...

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in collaboration with WHO met with partners in May to plan a new approach to detect and respond to disease outbreaks in Africa. The new approach, called ‘event-based surveillance,’ involves using open source information, such as social media posts, to detect events that might pose a risk to public health. Africa CDC will partner with the World Health Organisation and others to strengthen event-based surveillance in the 18 countries that have already begun using this approach and will work to introduce it in the remaining 37 African countries

June 20, 2017

South Africa suspends Zimbabwe chicken imports after bird flu outbreak

South Africa said it was suspending all trade in birds and chicken products from neighbouring Zimbabwe after it reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at a commercial poultry farm

June 8, 2017

Congo's Ebola outbreak threatens CAR after violence forces thousands across border

An Ebola outbreak in the DRC could spread to the neighbouring CAR, where militia violence has forced thousands of people to flee across the border, the World Health Organization said, this is because recent attacks by militias in the CAR border town of Bangassou have driven about 2,750 people into Bas-Uele, raising the risk that the Ebola outbreak could spread across the border. WHO is worried as these refugees are now close to the epicentre of the ebola outbreak

May 25, 2017

In Africa, Scientists Are Preparing to Use Gene Drives to End Malaria

In Burkina Faso, Mali and Uganda the groundwork is being laid for a powerful kind of experiment. A project is underway to release mosquitoes that have been genetically programmed to drive themselves and their malaria-producing brethren towards extinction

March 14, 2017
MIT Technology Review, Science Slashdot, Stat News

How Hepatitis Became A Hidden Epidemic In Africa

It is estimated that 100m people are affected by chronic hepatitis B in Africa, most of whom don’t know they have the infection; 19m adults have hepatitis C. Despite a lack of accurate epidemiological data at national levels, various estimations put B prevalence at around 8-10% of the population in many countries

March 10, 2017
Huffington Post

Study discovers new TB strain in SA

A new study has found that two thirds of patients with extensive drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) have incurable TB. XDR-TB is resistant to four key TB antibiotics and TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa among both men and women 

February 28, 2017

Non communicable diseases

Racism tied to worse asthma symptoms for black youth

African-American children and young adults with a hard-to-treat type of asthma may have a more difficult time keeping symptoms in check when they have experienced racial discrimination, a recent study suggests. Researchers asked 576 black youth in the U.S. with asthma whether they had been hassled, made to feel inferior or prevented from doing something because of their race, ethnicity, color or language in situations at school, in medical settings or at restaurants and stores. Roughly half of them reported experiencing some form of discrimination at some point in their lives. When they had not experienced these forms of discrimination, the children and young adults were almost twice as likely to have well-controlled asthma than when they had, researchers report in the journal PLoS One

June 22, 2017

High obesity rates stealing the youth of SA kids

Rising obesity rates in South African youth are crippling their ability to live healthy lives and fully enjoy their youth as more and more develop life-threatening chronic diseases like Type II diabetes. This is according to the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA), an alliance of organisations with a mission to promote healthy living. According to PRICELESS SA, a 20 percent sugary drinks tax is needed to facilitate much-needed daily dietary adjustments to reduce sugar consumption as it has been modelled to result in 220,000 fewer obese South Africans. Proof that this policy lever can be effective has also been established in a study conducted among households of lower socio-economic status in Mexico which showed a decline in sugary drinks consumption two years after a tax was implemented

June 17, 2017

SA must place much greater focus on beating cancer - Institute

South Africa needs a more concerted policy focus on cancer and other non-communicable diseases, says the Institute of Race Relations, in a report, “Non-communicable diseases barely at heart of policy”, issued to coincide with National Cancer Survivors Day, the institute’s health-care analyst and author of the report Tawanda Makombo notes: “Cancer has a devastating effect on communities and households in South Africa.” This is particularly true for poorer households, who struggle to afford treatment and care options.

June 5, 2017

Experts Say Chronic Kidney Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa on Rise

Amid rapid urbanization, the HIV epidemic and increasing rates on NCDs people in sub-Saharan Africa are especially vulnerable to kidney disease. With CKD on the rise across the continent many are liable to die each year simply due to lack of access to affordable treatment

March 15, 2017
Voice of America
March 13, 2017
Guardian Nigeria

TB, Diabetes leading causes of natural deaths in 2015 - Stats SA

The leading underlying natural causes of death among South Africans in 2015 were tuberculosis and diabetes, Statistics South Africa said in a report

February 28, 2017

Health systems

Trump Budget Cuts Could Drastically Affect SA's Fight Against HIV And Aids

South Africa is holding its breath while the US Congress decides whether to approve President Donald Trump`s proposed budget cuts to global health programmes -- cuts that, if approved, could significantly reduce support for HIV and Aids in South Africa. While South Africa reportedly funds most of its HIV and Aids programmes itself, donor funding accounts for 18.5% of the HIV and Aids funds available for the 2017/2018 fiscal year

July 26, 2017
Huffington Post, iol.co,za

Nigeria accounts for 2nd highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide – NEPWAN

The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria says Nigeria accounts for second highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide after South Africa. Nigerians that died due to the disease would not have died if the government had taken up ownership of the fight by ensuring availability and access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and support programme. The country’s HIV response was largely donor driven with about 93 per cent of HIV funding sourced from external sources, however, Nigeria only contributed seven per cent of the funding

July 3, 2017
Nigerian Observer

Central African Republic health plan threatened by violence - WHO

As displaced people return to their homes in the capital of war-torn Central African Republic, they will need medical services but renewed violence threatens an already wounded healthcare system, the World Health Organization`s Africa director said. After more than four years of violence that have caused "extensive degradation" of health services, Central African Republic`s new national plan aims to re-establish public health systems and infrastructure, the WHO said

June 23, 2017

Africa Not Able To Meet Blood Needs – WHO

The World Health Organisation says Africa still falls short of meeting its blood needs in spite of increase in the number of donors in the region. A 2016 report on the status of blood safety and availability in the region revealed that the number of blood donations between 2013 and 2016 increased from 3.9 million units to 4.5 million units. However, in spite of the progress, the region could only meet 50 per cent of its annual blood needs

June 14, 2017
PM News Nigeria

Teamwork can solve healthcare’s severe resource constraints

Over the years, a crippling capacity shortage in South Africa has become increasingly serious and now threatens to have a significant effect on the delivery of healthcare. Since 1994, not a single medical school has been built in SA, although one is due to come on stream in the next few years. The number of doctors and specialists has not kept pace with population growth, which has doubled since 1976. Local medical schools produce about 1,300 doctors a year, when some estimates are that at least 4,000 a year are needed. There is also a severe nursing shortage of between 40,000 and 80,000, depending on which report is referenced

June 13, 2017
Business Live

Pfizer, Roche and Aspen face South African probe into cancer drug prices

South Africa`s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into three drug companies accused of over-charging for cancer medicines, the agency`s chief said. Tembinkosi Bonakele, head of the Competition Commission, said the agency would investigate Aspen Pharmacare, Africa`s biggest generic drug maker, U.S. company Pfizer and Swiss-based Roche Holding. The Commission, which investigates cases before bringing them to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication, said it suspected the lung cancer treatment xalkori crizotinib sold by Pfizer had been excessively priced as have the breast cancer drugs Herceptin and Herclon sold by Roche. It also said it would look into whether Aspen, a local company based in Durban, might have over-charged for Leukeran, Alkeran and Myleran cancer treatments in South Africa

June 13, 2017

Cutting HIV and Aids treatments costs in South Africa

About 15% of India’s pharmaceutical exports arrive in Africa and in South Africa, in particular, with the availability of generic antiretrovirals from India leading to a significant drop in the cost of treatment for millions of people with HIV or Aids. The BBC’s Taurai Maduma reports on Africa Business Report for the BBC World Service

May 26, 2017

Cancer rates are soaring in Africa, yet Tanzania's radiotherapy hub stands idle

The Guardian reports on Mwanza in Tanzania, where a state of the art oncology clinic lacks the funding and staff to get its equipment up and running, despite thousands of people requiring its life saving treatment

March 20, 2017
The Guardian

'I thought cancer was a disease for the elderly': tackling Nigeria's 80% mortality rate

NGO’s are working hard to change cancer treatment in Nigeria, despite poor facilities and a lack of awareness. The Guardian reports on the work of the Nigeria-based Health and Psychological Trust Centre, known as Project Pink Blue, which is trying to bring best practice cancer care to Abuja

March 20, 2017
The Guardian

UNICEF said a lack of early testing for HIV, and widespread stigma, leaves fourth-fifths of chil...

UNICEF said a lack of early testing for HIV, and widespread stigma, leaves fourth-fifths of children with the virus in West and Central Africa without life-saving drugs, which in turn means tens of thousands could die within years 

March 15, 2017

Shortage of paramedics imminent

Krugersdorp Paramedics recently expressed their concern about the Department of Health and the Health Professional Council of South Africa’s decision to terminate all Critical Care Assistant and Basic Life Support paramedic short courses at the end of 2017 

February 28, 2017
Krugersdorp News

Communicable diseases

SA/Japan Collaboration on Early Warning System for Malaria – CSIR

South Africa has experienced an unprecedented outbreak of malaria in several districts in Limpopo this year. The CSIR-hosted Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) Programme, in collaboration with researchers in Japan, have studied the malaria outbreak in Limpopo, as well as worldwide climate phenomena and discovered that there is an association between climate change and malaria

June 27, 2017
Political Analysis South Africa

Malaria ‘epidemic’ looms as mosquitoes defy insecticides

According to a study, genetic analysis of mosquito populations in Africa shows that recent success in controlling malaria through treated bed nets has led to widespread insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. Previous research indicates there are four classes of insecticides recommended for malaria control of which only pyrethroid was approved for use on LLIN. It has been shown that the loss of this insecticide’s effectiveness will lead to increase in preventable deaths, particularly in the most vulnerable groups, hence the need to maintain the effectiveness of LLIN in an era of growing resistance

June 26, 2017

Ebola virus burial teams may have 'saved thousands of lives'

New research suggests Red Cross volunteers who helped bury most of the bodies of Ebola victims in West Africa could have prevented more than 10,000 cases of the deadly disease. A major part of the response was ensuring the safe burials of people who had died of Ebola. The bodies of victims were particularly toxic. Community funerals, where people helped wash the bodies of their loved ones, contributed to so many people becoming infected in the earlier stages of the outbreak. The study used statistical modelling to measure the impact of the Red Cross safe and dignified burial programme

June 22, 2017
BBC, Medical Xpress

America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic

The New York Times asks why America’s black gay and bisexual men have a higher HIV rate than any other country in the world, according to the CDC, who last year published a survey which predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will become infected with the virus. That compares to a lifetime risk of one in 99 for all Americans and one in 11 for white gay and bisexual men. For perspective, Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate at 28.8%, if gay and bisexual African-American men made up a country its rate would surpass that of this impoverished nation and all other nations

June 6, 2017
New York Times

HIV/AIDS prevalence on the rise in East Africa

Stigmatization and discrimination among commercial sex workers, transgender, prisoners and homosexuals has been identified as the main cause for the high prevalence of HIV/Aids in East Africa, according to findings from a workshop on Kenya National Advocacy, aimed at reducing violence and discrimination against these key populations. When these groups are stigmatized and discriminated against they do not have the incentive to seek health services and legal protection and this can be an important factor in propagating the infection

May 25, 2017
Citizen TV

Many toddlers are falling through SA's vaccination net

One in 10 of Mpumalanga’s children under the age of two has not had any of the shots required under a government childhood immunization programme, according to the DHMS 2016 survey. The findings signal potential deadly weaknesses in the childhood immunization programme, as inadequate coverage of the population increases the likelihood of disease outbreaks. Both Gauteng and Western Cape have seen measles outbreaks this year

May 15, 2017
Business Daily

Private providers sense opportunity in Africa healthcare

A 2012 report by IFC estimated the market for healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa would more than double to $35bn by 2016. In the decade to 2020, it said some $25bn-$30bn would be needed in investment in physical healthcare assets alone, including hospitals and clinics. Now it is now longer just about communicable diseases, as it was believed to be five years ago. As lifestyles change and diseases of affluence gain traction private providers in Africa sense an opportunity as most African healthcare systems are developing from a woefully low base

May 10, 2017
Financial Times

Philips Partnership with Kenya and the UN will Advance Healthcare Agenda

Royal Philips announced its support for a new Kenyan government and UN initiative aimed at strengthening primary and community healthcare in Africa. Philips is the first private sector partner to establish an SDG Partnership Platform in Kenya for accelerating primary healthcare trans formation in support of universal healthcare coverage

May 10, 2017
Africa Science News

Private education plays expanding role across Africa

As many as one in four young Africans, or 66m pupils, could be enrolled in some form of private education by 2021, furthering what has been a surge of private schooling across the continent, according to a report. The growth in private education has been driven by parents’ lack of faith in public education, or an inability to find a place. The report concluded that African governments that block the advance of private education on ideological grounds risk losing out on both finance and expertise 

May 3, 2017
Financial Times

World Health Organization hails major progress on tackling tropical diseases

The WHO director general announced that significant strides have been made in the fight against sleeping sickness, elephantiasis and other neglected tropical diseases. Data from WHO showed that in 2015 more than 60% of the 1.6bn people suffering from neglected tropical diseases received treatment. In the same year there were fewer reported cases of sleeping sickness than in any other year since records began. There were roughly 3,000 cases of sleeping sickness recorded in 2015, an 89% reduction in numbers since 2000. There were only 25 cases of Guinea worm disease, a condition that affected 3.5m people in 1986

April 19, 2017
The Guardian, Reuters, BBC
April 18, 2017
Financial Times
April 20, 2017
The Times

Togo's battle with coastal erosion

The Togolese Environmental Department and the World Bank have launched projects to limit the damage being caused by coastal erosion. The strategy involves building physical structures to inhibit the destructive power of the wind and the waves. Secondly, encouragement for coastal communities to play an active part in defending their shorelines and to help them to develop alternative sources of income to replace those that contribute to the severe coastal erosion the country is currently experiencing

April 17, 2017
Deutsche Welle

How the genomics revolution could finally help Africa

Nature magazine explains the down side of precision medicine when it fails to take account of local community gene variants which may alter the impact of a single-targeted drug solution, by highlighting the less than successful WHO recommendation to incorporate the antiretroviral drug efavirenz as a first-line therapy for a programme in Zimbabwe. It goes on to highlight the new approach called ‘Precision Public Health’ a new approach to precision medicine that bases health decisions on populations and communities rather than just on individuals. It takes account of genomic insights into a population to inform general treatment programmes. And gives examples of how some African countries have applied this and are seeing the benefit

April 5, 2017

Former US President Bush Touts Signature Africa AIDS Program in Botswana

Former U.S. President George W. Bush touted his signature aid project for Africa during a visit to Botswana, saying he hoped Washington would recognise its importance in saving lives threatened by AIDS. ‘I hope our government, when they analyse what works around the world, will understand that PEPFAR has saved over 11 million lives,’ Bush said  

April 4, 2017
Voice of America, Business Insider UK, Africa Review, WKZO, Reuters

How AIDS denialism spreads in Russia through online social networks

The Huffington Post reports on a research project carried out by an international team into AIDS denialism in Russia, with a focus of online communities and on getting a handle on what themes or ideas drive the thinking of those involved. Much to their surprise ‘three important factors were determined: inadequate counselling, denial of the diagnosis because the informants felt OK and an unwillingness to follow antiretroviral treatment.’ They also pointed to ‘an arrogant and paternalistic approach’ which many doctors employed, leading to the deniers seeking their own answers often online. They concluded with some advice ‘believe whatever you want about AIDS but check your immune system just in case’

April 3, 2017
The Huffington Post

Positive signs as Asia-Pacific moves towards SDGs

Dr Shamshad Akhtar, under-secretary general of the UN and executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific, praised the efforts made by Asia Pacific nations to push ahead with the implementation of the 17 SDGs. She highlighted the domestication of the action plan by these countries, many of whom have developed a national sustainable development strategy, as a particular success. She picked out progress on gender equality in primary education and maternal mortality rates which are down, except for isolated pockets

April 3, 2017
The Phnom Penh Post
April 2, 2017
Malay Mail
April 3, 2017
Eurasia Review
March 31, 2017
The Irrawady

How successful were the millennium development goals?

A new study tries to measure the success of the Millennium Development Goals. The research indicates that at least 21 million lives were saved due to accelerated progress. Two-thirds of the lives saved were in sub-Saharan Africa, around a fifth were in China and India and the remainder were spread across the developing world. Between 8.8 to 17.3m of the lives saved were due to faster progress on child mortality; 8.7m due to expanded treatment for HIV Aids, 3.1m due to declines in TB deaths and approximately half a million due to improvements in maternal mortality

March 30, 2017
The Guardian
January 11, 2017
Brookings Institute

West African urban polls find clean water top priority

Reuters reports on examples of several African cities which are polling people on the fringes of urban areas to learn what were their main desires/needs. The results from the Resilient Africa Network regional lab indicated that ‘access to clean water and/or sanitation’ where priorities for them

March 17, 2017

New Trial Looks at HIV’s Risks to Hearts of Aging Patients

Scientists are embarking on a massive clinic-based trial to test a drug which will reduce the chances of people living with HIV developing heart diseases and suffering from heart-related illnesses like strokes. The trial will span four continents and involve 6,500 participants

February 27, 2017
Voice of America, Times Live
February 28, 2017