Preventable Diseases - Africa

Major Effort to Reduce Child Mortality Not Enough

Ghana has taken a major step towards reducing its under-five mortality rate by becoming the first African country to introduce two new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.

Careless Handling of Benin’s Medical Waste Could Cost Lives

Fifteen-year-old Aicha is one of the many spice vendors hawking their wares in the Dantokpa market, in Benin's economic capital, Cotonou. But a closer look at her tidy stall reveals a disturbing detail: the powdered spices are packaged in recycled medicine vials.

MALAWI: Cholera in a Time of Floods

They survived floods and witnessed the horrific scenes of their houses, livestock, household items and gardens being swept away at the end of January. Now, the people of the Nsanje and Chikhwawa districts on Malawi’s southern border with Mozambique are facing another menace; a cholera outbreak, which has already killed one child and infected up to 103 people.

UNICEF Funding Falls Short Leaving Millions of Children at Risk

If the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had 1.28 billion dollars it could help 97 million people around the world.

HEALTH-DR CONGO: Konzo Still Leaving Women and Children Paralysed

Nadine Mbwol suffers from konzo, an epidemic paralytic disease that affects the lower body. "I lost my marriage because of this disability," she says sadly.

‘Nothing at Busan for African Women, Children’

Although there has been considerable progress towards reducing maternal and infant mortality, millions of women and children in Africa are still in need of better health services, food and sanitation.

GHANA: Tropical Ulcer Persists Despite Affordable Solutions

For the past 10 years, Buruli ulcer has been eating Benjamin Essel’s leg. The skin above his ankle is totally gone, and a swollen, pulpy and reddish wound rises almost up to his knee and wraps around his calf. Even still, this is an improvement over recent years.

A four-year-old girl with meningitis sleeps in a makeshift tent in Sigale camp. Her parents left her to go beg for aid.  Credit: Shafi

SOMALIA: Aid Dwindles, Disease Spreads

Doctors in Mogadishu are warning that famine victims in internally displaced camps have become vulnerable to contagious diseases like cholera and measles, as conditions here are ripe for an outbreak. This comes as internally displaced persons complain that relief aid to some camps has dwindled or stopped.

Malawi is experiencing a drug shortage. Credit: Claire Ngozo/IPS

MALAWI: Painkillers Prescribed for Malaria Amid Drug Shortage

Malawi is experiencing a drug shortage as the country's international donors remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector.

New arrivals at Dadaab wait for a medical check up. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

SOMALIA: Rape – The Hidden Side of the Famine Crisis

When Aisha Diis* and her five children fled their home in Somalia seeking aid from the famine devastating the region, she could not have known the dangers of the journey, or even fathom that she would be raped along the way.

DR CONGO: Hard to Save All Women Suffering from Fistula

"Every quarter, more than a hundred women with fistulas - including many younger than 20 years old - are admitted for surgery in Maniema province," says nurse Julie Mawazo. "The number of affected women who don't have the means or awareness to come in must be far greater."

Ester Abeja, who was abducted by Lord

UGANDA: Post War Reconstruction Ignores Victims of Sexual Violence

Ester Abeja has experienced both physical and emotional atrocities. She was captured by Uganda's feared rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and was forced to join them. But not before the soldiers made her kill her one-year- old baby girl, by smashing her skull in, and then gang raped her.

Hepatitis vaccines are a key element in controlling the disease. Credit:  Bios/Wikicommons

HEALTH: Battling Hepatitis in West Africa

West African health experts are calling for governments to take the prevalence of hepatitis B and C more seriously, and to act to reduce the cost of treatment as part of more effective control of the disease.

HEALTH-MALI: Community Also Has a Role in Preventing TB

Tuberculosis remains a leading cause of death in Mali despite the availability of free treatment. The resurgence of the illness, linked to poverty and HIV infection, could be reduced by changing behaviour, doctors say.

A mother and daughter who survived the dangerous journey from south Somalia to an aid camp in Mogadishu.  Credit: Abdurrahman Warsameh/IPS

SOMALIA: “I Carried Him a Whole Day While He Was Dead, Thinking He Was Alive”

As the first of food aid from the United Nations World Food Programme was airlifted into Mogadishu on Wednesday, it came too late for Qadija Ali's two- year-old son Farah.

A child from drought-stricken southern Somalia who survived the long journey to an aid camp in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Credit: Abdurrahman Warsameh/IPS

EAST AFRICA: ‘It’s Not a Heartless Mother Leaving a Child Behind, Just One Who Wants to Survive’

On the road between the Kenyan and Somali border lie the dead bodies of children who have succumbed to the famine and the hardships of making the journey from their drought-stricken villages to Kenya.

A contaminated stream in Kimicanga, a suburb in Kigali. A majority of people in rural Rwanda still consume polluted water from rivers.  Credit: Aimable Twahirwa/IPS

HEALTH-AFRICA: Improving Sanitation, Still a Long Way to Go

When Callixte Munyabikari, a potato farmer from Gakenke in northern Rwanda, was rushed to a regional hospital after he fell ill with diarrhoea, he thought it was just a bad case of food poisoning.

ZIMBABWE: Mending the City’s Water Leaks

Thomas Njini is used to working with burst sewers and water pipes. It is a daily experience for him to respond to calls where he has to shovel human waste to clear blocked sewers. It is a job he continues to do with unenviable dedication in this city of two million people.

HEALTH-UGANDA: Self Medication Blamed for Increased Drug Resistance

In pharmacies in the heart of Kampala men and women line up to buy drugs that you usually need a prescription for, like Coartem, a drug used to treat malaria.

SOUTH SUDAN: Women Hope Independence Means Less Maternal Deaths

Mother of eight, Jessicah Foni, 36, hopes that independence will mean a hospital will soon be built in her village. Foni, who has travelled from a remote village in South Sudan to the state’s capital to celebrate independence, lost two babies at birth because of the lack of medical facilities in her area.

The drugs subsidised through the Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria.  Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

KENYA: No Longer Forced to Buy Ineffective Anti-Malarial Drugs

People in Western Kenya are now able to buy effective anti-malarial drugs at low prices thanks to the success of the Global Fund’s subsidy programme, and thanks to honest pharmacists who are reselling the drugs at the recommended low prices.

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ira heinichen