Preventable Diseases - Africa

UGANDA: Distribution Policy Means Not Enough Drugs for Clinics

The nurse at Najembe Health Centre in Buikwe district says the centre’s supply of malaria drugs will be finished in two days. A malaria epidemic has hit the area and the demand for the drugs is high. But the centre, which serves the entire sub-county, will have to wait up to six weeks before their supply will be replenished.

Prices for DR-TB drugs remain too high worldwide.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

HEALTH: High Drug Prices Hamper Drug-Resistant TB Treatment

Access to treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) remains compromised, especially in developing countries, because too few pharmaceutical companies manufacture quality-assured drugs. Lack of competition has led to skyrocketing prices and this means that public health budgets are quickly spent.

Regulators say many of the drugs sold on the informal markets in Sierra Leone are fake or substandard, posing a huge risk to the public.  Credit: Poindexter Sama/IPS

SIERRA LEONE: Substandard and Counterfeit Drugs Flood the Market

Bubble-wrapped pills are scattered across the crude table in a busy market beside crumpled boxes of lubricant, paracetamol and anti-fungal powder.

Rose Nakanjako, the chairperson of Mama Club, a group of women Living with HIV/AIDS said she did not receive proper antenatal care. Credit: Wambi Michael

RIGHTS-UGANDA: Government Needs to Prioritise Maternal Health

Just a week after a group of civil society organisations petitioned Uganda’s constitutional court demanding that the government’s non-provision of essential services for pregnant mothers was a violation of the right to life; Margaret Nabirye lost her baby in childbirth.

Juane K. Nabieu, a community health officer in the district

SIERRA LEONE: A Quarter of Vital Donated Drugs Missing or Stolen

Three-year-old David bolts up from his feverish stooper as a needle pricks his thumb, producing a tiny bead of blood. He looks down horrified but is too exhausted to cry and falls back into his mother's lap as the blood is wiped away

UGANDA: The Value of Immunisation Programmes

GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunisation, secured pledges of 4.3 billion dollars from donors in London on Jun. 13 with the aim of securing funding to ensure life-saving vaccinations for every child on the planet.

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

KENYA: Small Profit Margin Hinders Access to Subsidised Anti-malarial Drugs

On the streets of Nairobi James Odhiambo goes from one pharmacy to the next in search of anti-malarial drugs marked with the Global Fund’s logo of a green leaf. He is looking for this specific brand because he understands that it is more than ten times cheaper than the same drug produced by different manufacturers.

DR CONGO: Measles Claims Lives as Public, Private Resources Stretched Thin

More than 3,000 cases of measles have been recorded in the past three months in two districts of Maniema Province, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Sex and Chocolate" delivers messages about sexual health in the context of real pressures on young people. Credit: Rachel Coomer/LAC/IPS

NAMIBIA: Feature Film Explores Realities of Safer Sex

A new film explores the real complexities of relationships for young people in Namibia, and the effects of gender inequality and culture on the choices people make about their sexual lives.

Indigenous women hauling water in Chiapas, Mexico. Credit:  Mauricio Ramos/IPS

DEVELOPMENT: Women Demand Access to Water and Energy

"Women in LDCs bear the brunt of economic and social hardships," said Wubitu Hailu, managing director of an Ethiopian NGO, the Kulich Youth Reproductive Health and Development Organisation. The failure to provide access to basic services like clean water and electricity is a major factor preventing women from realising their full potential.

Motorcycle ambulance in South Sudan - distance to a healthcare facility and a shortage of trained personnel are key factors in maternal deaths. Credit:  Peter Martell/IRIN

AFRICA: More Skilled Attendants Needed to Reduce Maternal Mortality

Sub-Saharan African countries have claimed nine of the ten bottom places in a ranking of maternal health around the world. "The Mothers' Index", a new survey of motherhood by Save the Children, analyses health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 164 countries.

Blessjah Adegoke had cataracts removed at an ORBIS clinic in Ilorin, southwest Nigeria. Credit:  Clare Louise Thomas/Image Incubator

AFRICA: Childhood Blindness – Catch Them Young

Every minute, somewhere in the world, a child goes blind according to the World Health Organization. Three in five poor children who go blind are likely to die within two years of losing their sight - yet half of cases of childhood blindness are avoidable.

Treatment supporter Zodwa Mhlabane talks to a patient. Credit:  Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

Twin Boost for TB Treatment in Swaziland

The fight against tuberculosis in Swaziland will be reinforced on two fronts this month. A new tool for the quick and accurate diagnosis of TB will begin its roll out and a monthly stipend for treatment supporters will help ensure patients get through the lengthy and unpleasant course of TB drugs.

This young woman from Makeni dropped out of school when she had her first child at 16. Credit:  Anna Jeffreys/IRIN

Sierra Leone Facing Facts of Teenage Pregnancy

On Apr. 5, the United Nations Children's Fund will launch a report on teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone. Teenage pregnancies account for 40 percent of maternal deaths in the country, and the report comes as public health authorities recalibrate strategy to address a problem that endangers both mothers and children.

SOUTH AFRICA: Who Says Research Can’t Be Dramatic?

In the early 1990s, a group of researchers set off for a small rural village in the eastern part of South Africa. Their intention was simple: teach the community how to rehydrate sick babies.

Schoolchildren dutifully washing their hands in Blantyre. Credit:  Claire Ngozo/IPS

MALAWI: Enterprising Approach Underlies New Sanitation Campaign

The market can do better: a sanitation and hygiene campaign to be launched in Malawi plans to apply this tenet to improve cleanliness and public health in the country's cities.

Zaituni Ombuki, a nurse at the Kakamega Hospital Maternal and Child Healthcare Clinic. Credit:  Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Integrating HIV Care with Broader Maternal and Child Health

From the outside, little has changed at the Maternal and Child Healthcare Clinic: pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers wait patiently on wooden benches. A chorus of infant call-and-response betrays the less long-suffering approach of their children to the wait.

Kenyan nurse preparing ARVs for a patient in Kenya: activists are calling on governments to take responsibility for funding treatment. Credit:  John Nyaga/IRIN

AFRICA: ‘We Cannot Leave Lives of Nationals to Development Partners’

As donors retreat from funding HIV prevention and treatment, the vulnerability of national programmes reliant on external funding has become apparent. Without long-term sustainability, the lives of millions could be at risk.

AFRICA: Pneumonia Vaccine Rollout Will Protect Millions

The Kenyatta International Conference Centre resembled one big nursery with parents and their crying babies. Hundreds of parents with their infants thronged the Centre where they received their first shot against pneumonia, and not even their tears as the shot broke through their skin could dampen the smiling faces of their mothers.

ZIMBABWE: Filtering Fact From Fiction About D.I.Y. Water Treatment

The southern Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo has not been spared the heavy rains that have fallen across Southern Africa; the water is welcome in this semi-arid part of the country, but the coming of the rainy season has provoked fresh memories of the 2008 cholera epidemic.

SOUTH AFRICA: Delayed Drug Registration Could Affect Region

Delays in drug registration by the country's Medicines Control Council (MCC), contribute to depriving South African HIV patients of important fixed dose combination antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. But there are indications that the effects of the delays are being felt even farther afield.

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