As COVID-19 surges globally and leaves fear and panic in its wake, global efforts are underway to find a cure. Yet, the same level of response is lacking for several other infectious diseases that kill millions annually. These kinds of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)
are a broad group of communicable diseases which affect more than two billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.
Coronavirus is now a pandemic and the World Health Organization considers Europe as its new epicenter. Italy, Spain and France are on lockdown
and several nations are banning travelers from countries where cases are on the rise.
Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said
, “We have an epidemic caused by Coronavirus, but we have a pandemic caused by fear “.
Recently, Nigerian feminist author Ukamaka Olisakwe spoke
about her post-partum depression after giving birth in the city of Aba, southeast Nigeria. This follows her 2019 Longreads
essay, in which she narrated painful details of her experience.
The coronavirus outbreak
-- which began in Wuhan, China, and causes a pneumonia-like illness -- is raging across Asia, infecting close to 300 people and killing four. It was initially known to be transmitted from animals to human, and was just confirmed to be transmitted from human to human
Recently, Madhukar Pai, the Director of McGill University Global Health Program wrote about the inequity in global health research
. He observed that researches are skewed in favor of the global north. We agree that this inequity exists. However, we also have found that global fellowships such as the Atlantic Fellowship, of which we are both Senior Fellows, are platforms to reverse this inequity, foster international partnerships and amplify voices of development practitioners from the global south.
Three years ago, I led an evaluation of an HIV project that focused on increasing access to quality care and supporting services for people living with HIV in Nigeria. It also aimed to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
, a Dutch doctor who helped perform surgeries and train colleagues in surgical skills in underserved areas of Sierra Leone died of Lassa Fever
. He was infected as a result of performing a Caesarean section on an infected pregnant woman.
Free movement of people and goods across Africa increases the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. The continent must realise that it is no longer a question of if disease outbreaks will occur, but instead, of when, and how fast.
United Nations World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 under the theme: “Our Actions ARE Our Future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World
”. This theme is timely, especially, because across Africa and around the world, there has been a gradual rise in malnutrition and diet-related non communicable diseases, as highlighted in The Lancet
study and a United Nations Report
published earlier this year.
As a Public Health Doctor, I often meet people who experience stigma simply because they live with HIV. One person who still haunts me is a woman who is HIV positive and when she was in labor, a midwife would not help her. Instead she shouted at her to just push out the baby and then she stood far away from the bedside, disgusted by the woman’s HIV status. No one should go through such stigma at a vulnerable situation when they are about to birth life.
Two African women were recently appointed to top global health positions: Winnie Byanyima
as the Executive Director of UNAIDS and Dr. Matshidiso Moeti
reappointed as the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched
global consultations for a new Roadmap on how to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The roadmap would help achieve universal health coverage by 2030, address health emergencies and promote healthier populations.
The 2019 G20 Summit was held recently in Osaka, Japan. The Summit ended with the “G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration
”, which identifies health as a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and the leaders committed
to various efforts to improve epidemic preparedness.