Category archives for: Health

Zambia: Lungu Dares Those Opposing Mandatory HIV Testing

By Clement Malambo

President Edgar Lungu has dared stakeholders planning to take him to court over his recent pronouncement on mandatory HIV testing to go ahead.

President Lungu says his duty and responsibility is to protect the lives of Zambians and to see to it that they are healthy.

The Head of State said this at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport shortly before departure for Rwanda to attend the inauguration ceremony of that country’s President-elect Paul Kagame.

President Lungu says government means well; therefore Zambians should not panic or be scared following the pronouncement on mandatory HIV testing.

He says it is unfair that some people are even labeling him a dictator simply because the landmark pronouncement he made.

President says he cannot be a dictator when he is showing commitment in promoting good health practices.

The President left KK International Airport aboard the presidential jet at 15:10hours and was seen off by now acting President Inonge Wins, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila, some cabinet ministers, defence chiefs, senior government and PF officials.

Zambia

Don’t Abuse Dismissal of Charges, Ruling Party Tells Hichilema

The ruling Patriotic Front has advised freed UPND President Hakainde Hichilema to stop using the language that has the… Read more »

Nigeria: Epidemic Looms in Lagos Over Piling Heaps of Waste

By Oluwatosin Areo

Except the state government and general public urgently rise to the occasion and impose sanity on the environment, Lagos may be in for disease outbreak of epidemic proportion.

Public health physicians, who gave this warning, expressed concerns over the state of Lagos environment that is currently in squalor. Their fears are worsened by the high population density and congestion of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, which is already a risk for any form of outbreak.

And true to type, the backlash of unkempt Lagos environment is beginning to unfold. Specifically, Lagos residents were last Thursday alarmed at the news of another outbreak of Lassa fever. The rodent-related disease has claimed two victims, with 150 under surveillance.

About two weeks ago, it was also reported that two persons have been confirmed dead, while 25 other were receiving treatment in hospitals following an outbreak of cholera at Somolu, Oshodi-Isolo, and Surulere local government areas of the state.

Many were, however, not surprised amidst heaps of loose rubbish around major markets and streets.

A public health expert, Prof. Akin Osibogun, added that improperly disposed refuse could cause common hazards that are the breeding of vermins and vectors of disease.

Vermin (colloquially varmint or varmit) are pests or nuisance animals that spread diseases or destroy crops or livestock. Use of the term implies the need for extermination programmes.

Osibogun, former Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), explained that common houseflies that are in abundance at sites of improperly disposed refuse could also transmit diarrheal causing agents of disease. Rats will breed rapidly in the presence of improperly disposed refuse.

He stressed that environmental factors obviously have impact on human health and, therefore, the general public should all be concerned about the state of their surroundings. Other determinant of one’s health includes human genetics, individual lifestyles, and health care system of the people.

Emphasising on the effects associated with dirty surroundings, he said: “We know that rats are associated with the spread of diseases such as Lassa fever, and Leptospirosis. Rats also cause economic losses by consuming and spoiling household food items.

Osibogun added: “In addition, improperly disposed refuse also pose fire hazards and can be the source of physical injuries to man in addition to its unsightliness and the psycho-social aversion it creates.

“It can also cause blockage of drainage systems with resultant flooding during raining seasons, which also lead to an increased incidence of diarrheal diseases as a result of contamination of food and drinking water sources.”

The public health analyst further advised individuals and communities to be properly organised to dispose of their refuse in hygienic manner to prevent the spread of diseases related to improper refuse disposal.

“Individuals can bag their refuse in polythene bags or stored in covered bins that prevent access by rats and vermins. There must also be organized mechanisms for the removal and disposal of refuse in every community,” he added.

Addressing the media recently on the filthy state of the environment, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who associated the cause of the outbreak to the heavy rainfall and the aftermath of flooding in the state said, it is obvious that the cause could not be from dirty water but also the general dirt on the streets.

Although, the Ministry of the Environment in July said, the Sanitation Intervention Programme would ensure that no vacuum is created during the transition from the old waste management system to the Cleaner Lagos Initiative and had removed refuse dumped indiscriminately in places such as Ojuwoye, Mushin, Eti-Osa, Agege, Alimosho, Ojo, Ikeja, Badagary, Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and other areas in order to restore cleanliness and purity within the environment in Lagos State, there is still a dire need for intense sanitation.

Public health practitioner, Dr. Dumebi Owa, expressed worries over the state of the environment, especially considering the health implications. Owa said: “I remembered in March, when Meningitis broke out, I was angry with my country because we do not plan adequately. I warned then that the level of filth in Lagos State would cause a big problem if nothing were done.

“Everywhere is dirty, Ikoyi, Ikeja, Surulere is dirty. Even the second avenue of Festac is dirty because of the full canal. The drainages now have materials that are non bio-decaying and this causes flooding and emergence of diseases,” she said.

Owa, a former president, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), added that the effects are already upon the citizenry.

“A few weeks ago there was outbreak of cholera, now we are dealing with Lassa fever. I am very angry because these diseases are preventable. I don’t know why we have to wait till there is a crisis, especially when it is on health issue. The outbreak of these diseases (cholera, dysentery, typhoid) is when there is an open defecation, and it goes to contaminate water sources.”

Addressing the challenges caused by improper waste management, Owa said it ranges from loss of lives, environmental degradation, to decrease in the state’s economy and psychological distress.

“I feel very pained because many times the people blame the government. But this intervention at this critical time requires the effort of everybody.”

Speaking on the way forward, Owa emphasised that people should keep their environment clean; there should be more public enlightenment, market campaign that could be tagged Lagos Filth Free campaign. Landlords and other associations should be directly involved. Government should go out and ensure that lives of its residents are protected from looming death and epidemics outbreak.

She, therefore, charged Lagosians to clean the mess because if nothing were done, there would be more diseases and more death. “Two years ago Lagos was very clean; I don’t know what is happening; now it is the mega city of refuse. Before the worse will happen let us do the needful,” she said.

An ICT expert, Abimbola Jeremiah, said the reason one would see heaps of dirt in many parts of the state is because the government was yet to conclude plans with the Cleaner Lagos Initiative before the PSP stopped working. “So the gap between when this new initiative would become effective is the cause of the rubbish in the metropolis,” he emphasised.

“In fact, Lagos has not been this dirty. Although it depends on which part of Lagos that we are looking at, but generally speaking, the filth is seen in more crowded areas of the state where commercial activities are taking place. Although private organisation has stated something such as the STEM initiative by Sterling Bank, it is not still enough, it takes the effort of everyone to ensure a cleaner Lagos,” Jeremiah noted.

Speaking on the people having the right orientation about waste management, he said, “Basically, Lagos State has tried but more importantly, it has to do with the people having the right orientation, you see some people indiscriminately throw dirty in the gutter or anywhere, and this on the long run leads to environmental disaster.

Expressing his view about how waste had been managed in his environment, an entrepreneur, Chijioke Nwabuzor said, the PSP were effective in my area of Ikorodu. They come weekly or bi-weekly to help us properly dispose our waste. But recently, we were told that they would not be coming again. We have no option than to wait for the government to do something about this dirt, we are having heaps of them already.

In a different opinion, Adegbenle Adewale said his own environment has been generally clean. “I stay in Berger and since Governor Ambode has built the New Berger, one could scarcely see dirt heaped.”

The stench readily perceived while passing through the city appears to be defiling all publicised actions and promises of the Lagos state government with its ‘Clean Lagos Initiative’.

Filth that has been raised by the recent heavy rainfall and flooding is visible in every part of the metropolis. No one can possibly doubt the need for a clean environment, because it ensures better health of the residents and tourists. Hygienic environment helps us to stay fit and augurs for a longer, healthier life. It is a known fact that dirty environment breeds mosquitoes, Lassa rats, insects and flies that carry a lot of germs and bacteria in them, which are the main transmitters of diseases cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, malaria and jaundice. The mega city would also lose the much-attracted tourist, which would in turn affect the economy of the state. Non-degradable wastes such as plastic waste also lead to degrade in the soil.

Drastic measures must be taken to ensure a filth-free environment. All hands must be on deck to savage this situation, both government and private individuals are to be fully involved. Furthermore, medical practitioners are to be at alert to ensure that prompt medical treatment is given to patients.

Lagosians are advised to imbibe personal hygiene by washing of their hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the rest room. Boil water before drinking, especially if you are not sure of the source of water, stopping open defecation, which has been linked to outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea.

Cameroon: Mercy Ships – Free Transportation, Feeding of Patients

By Christopher Jator

The mobile hospital, Africa Mercy, was officially received by three members of government in Douala yesterday.

In view of ensuring that patients receive free surgeries and healthcare from Africa Mercy, by the international faith-based organisation, Mercy Ships, throughout the 10 months of stay in Douala, government has taken the disposition to transport patients to Douala and then to the seaport. In his keynote address during the welcome ceremony at the Douala Seaport in the presence of the Minister of Transport, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, the Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda, pointed out that all beneficiaries who are from the 10 regions of the country will be hosted at the Laquintinie Hospital, Gaenyco-Obstetric and Paediatric Hospital as well as the Nylon District Hospital all in the city of Douala.

Mercy Ships has equipped wards in these health establishments whereby the patients will also be hospitalised. The beneficiaries will be gathered at the Party House in Bonanjo every day in order to be programmed for the treatment per day. Their feeding and all that is needed for lodging have been prepared and made ready. To begin with, he said the patients will be directed from their local hospitals to Douala, where they are expected to receive treatment free of charge. Already, three thousand have so far been considered for the treatment and while registration is currently going on in order to meet the expected 5000 beneficiaries. Furthermore, government has in place a special technical team to evacuate waste from the ship,

supply potable water and remove polluted oils, among other things. It was disclosed that some 11000 Cameroonians have been recruited to work as volunteer in the ship throughout the ship’s stay in the country. Speaking during an official reception of the faith-based organisation at the seaport, the Managing Director of Mercy Ships, Warrie Blackburn, expressed gratitude to Cameroon’s First Lady, Chantal Biya, for coming to the aid of patients to alleviate suffering.

Apart from surgeries, the expected 5000 patients will be treated in the area of obstetric fistula, ophthalmic, orthopaedic, dental, and palliative care. First treatment will begin in the first week of September. Between now and first week of September, the healthcare mission will be setting up equipments, arranging wards while preparing to begin. Private hospital ship will also improve the local healthcare infrastructure and build capacity by providing training opportunities for medical professionals along with curative surgical interventions.

Cameroon

Cameroon-U.S. Relations – Exponential Growth Within Three Years

The outgoing Ambassador of the United States of America to Cameroon, Michael Stephen Hoza made the declaration on August… Read more »

Zimbabwe: Low Cost, High Benefit Medical Aid Plan Launched

Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) yesterday launched its first ever low cost or high benefit product called the Shield Plan, which is tailor-made for the informal sector, which has become a critical player in the economy. PSMAS communications and brand manager Mr Arthur Choga, said the product has been in the pipeline for a long time.

“Backed by years of research and with detailed input from members of the informal sector, the Shield Plan offers unmatched services at an entry price of $10 per member per month.

“With an annual global limit (total cost of the benefit package) of $3 000, Shield Plan boasts the best benefits package of any similar subscription by far,” said Mr Choga.

The Shield Plan gives members access to general practitioners, medical specialists, hospitalisation, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, dentistry, refraction, optical, maternity, radiology, psychiatric services, ambulances and other services.

Mr Choga said through the Shield Plan, PSMAS has taken note of the concerns and needs of its members.

He added that the new product dovetails with the company’s turnaround programme.

“We have taken time to listen to our members and we will ensure that they access the best possible service. “We are committed to getting PSMAS back on the firmest path and we have been shaping our society from within, ensuring a stronger structure that lives by our values of teamwork, communication, commitment, integrity and empathy,” said Mr Choga.

PSMAS said it was going to have agents on the streets of Harare from yesterday and would soon launch a new FlexiHealth version of the Shield Plan, as well as their Premier Lifestyle wellness programme.

Zimbabwe

Dairy Sector, Banks in Funding Talks

The Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) has engaged the banking sector in efforts to secure funding for the… Read more »

Nigeria: 50 Killed As Disease Hits Kogi, Kwara

Photo: The Guardian

Kogi State.

By Itodo Daniel Sule, Romoke Ahmad and Akor Ojoma

At least 50 people have been killed in the last three weeks by a yet-to-be ascertained ailment in three communities in Kogi State, the state government announced yesterday.

The affected communities are Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa all in Yagba West local government area of the state, according to the state health commissioner Dr Saka Audu.

Authorities in neighbouring Kwara State are also investigating reports of an outbreak which allegedly claimed some lives in Oro-Ago community in Ifelodun local government area of the state.

The Oloro of Oro-Ago, Oba Tafa Dada and the President of Oro-Ago Development Union, Mr Olaniyi Olushola raised the alarm of the strange illness that hit some members of the community, especially the herders which they said claimed many lives.

But Dr Audu confirmed yesterday during a visit to the affected communities to assess the health situation, saying a technical team was earlier sent to take samples which were sent to General Hospital Irua, Edo State, for investigation.

“We are here to make sure we determine the cause of these mysterious deaths and then quickly proffer a solution to it,” he said.

“From this stage now, the government has taken full responsibility to take care of those who are already ill and to make sure that we arrest the spread of this disease,” the official said.

He said, “It has been confirmed that it is not Lassa fever, but whatever it is, we will carry out a further investigation with information we have with us now and come up with a definite diagnosis.

“We are going further to find out what the real cause may be. We don’t know what it is currently, but all hands are on deck to make sure that we find out the definitive cause of the mysterious deaths among the kids.”

Also speaking, a consultant at the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) Hospital Egbe, Dr Jannette Hathorn, said a child of two-and-a-half years was brought to the hospital which later died after 12 hours.

“We had definitely had a misleading news about patients bleeding around, so we tried to make a diagnosis for viral hemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever), but the lab results came out negative.

“We are sure it is not Lassa fever but on the other hand, our concern is that we do not know exactly the cause of what was happening. We had a differential but we never came to a definitive diagnosis,” she said.

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The doctor said two other adult patients were also brought, one presented with ulcer-viral illness but there was no bleeding component of any hemorrhagic symptom.”We isolated them and both of them were treated for malaria. So, when they started improving, we let them go,” she said.”But our concern was another parent who brought their child to the hospital and pleaded with us for help that about 40 to 50 people had died in their villages with similar symptoms as their child in the last three weeks.”So, we called the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our local state person, who came after the child had died yesterday to take the samples of everything; we must know exactly what we are dealing with,” she said.A community leader, Oba J.D Ogunyanda, said the outbreak started over three weeks ago, and they immediately alerted the local government administrator to come to their aid.The leader of the Fulani community, Damina Ibrahim, said that the outbreak which started about three weeks ago affected mostly children and adults, who were said to be stooling and vomiting.He explained further that when death tolls increased, the victims were rushed to the hospital, where the doctors could not ascertain the cause of their illness. “Some of them died in the hospital while some were discharged without any cure, “Ibrahim said.He added that over 50 people had died since the outbreak of the strange ailment, and appealed for urgent efforts to address the epidemic.In Kwara State, the Commissioner for Health in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Alege, yesterday told journalists in Ilorin that his ministry had not confirmed the outbreak of disease or fatalities in any part of the state.But community leaders Oba Dada and Olushola who raised the alarm said many people had died as a result of the strange illness within two weeks adding that it had been reported to the state Ministry of Health in Ilorin, through one Dr Lawal.The commissioner said the ministry had deployed its epidemiology team of the ministry comprising of state epidemiologists, director public health, disease surveillance information officer and the disease surveillance information officer for the local government.”We heard it started at Gaa Olokuta at Ifelodun local government area of the state close to Oke Ode, the state epidemiologists went there and asked the residents of the community but they could not confirm any outbreak of any disease or mortality of any case. Along the line, we heard another rumour and immediately the state epidemiologists summoned the local government epidemiologists and they took samples even though the community denied the outbreak of any disease.”This outbreak need to follow normal surveillance system because, without proper confirmation of a case, we cannot say that there is an outbreak. We went to Oro-Ago with our team and the WHO. We met the Fulani on the ground. Samples were taken on patients that day and we have sent it to virological centre in Lagos and we are expecting the result today and once the result is ready, we will let the whole world know the outcome,” he said.‎The Community Health Officer, Public Health Science, Obayan M.O Philip in charge of ECWA clinic and maternity Oro-Ago, said he only recorded four deaths in June out of which one was brought dead to the health centre.”I resumed here on June 1, 2017, and when I came in, the Fulani around here brought a case of somebody vomiting blackish substance which medically is called coffee grand vomitus. It is not only the Fulani that was affected, it also affected those guys who are into the migraine work that is the guys who engaged in the felling of trees in the bush. I categorised them as migraine guys. They were also affected by the problem. From the little research I have done, I discovered that people who have contact with the bush constantly are the ones that were actually affected because it didn’t affect anybody living in the town,” he said.”The Fulani were greatly affected because of their nature of moving from bush to bush to feed their cattle. In June I lost four people, one old woman, one young guy and a young lady and a small boy. In fact, the small boy was brought in here dead.”Since the second week of July once they come in and I discovered is the same symptom, I don’t usually admit them, I will just refer them to the general hospital in Omun Aran. From July, I have referred close to 10 people to the general hospital,” he said.Our reporter gathered that there is the possibility that the source of the Fulani water was contaminated.One of the Fulani leaders, Umaru Alkali, appealed to the government at all levels to come to their aid ‎by finding a solution to the strange ailment.We’re investigating – NCDCWhen contacted, the Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) said it had received reports from its surveillance officers on the situation. It added that blood samples had been collected and investigations had commenced.

Nigeria: 50 Feared Killed By Strange Disease in Kogi State

Photo: The Guardian

Kogi State.

By Chukwuma Muanya, John Akubo and Oluwaseun Akingboye

A strange disease, the symptoms of which include diarrhea, bloodstained vomiting and high fever, has killed 50 people at Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa villages in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.

Initial reports had suspected Lassa fever, but medics told the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Audu, who visited the affected areas yesterday, that it was a strange disease.

“We initially suspected Lassa fever after getting some misleading reports about people bleeding, so we made a diagnosis for viral haemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever), but the result was negative,” Dr. Jannette Hathorn, a consultant at ECWA Hospital, Egbe told Audu.

The commissioner said that analyses had not confirmed the disease to be Lassa fever, but whatever it is, they would carry out further investigation to come up with definitive diagnosis.

Hathorn said that the first case was that of a child of two and half years, who died 12 hours after he was brought to the hospital.

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“Two adult patients were also brought here; one showed symptoms of ulcer-viral illness, but there was no bleeding component of any haemorrhagic symptom.”We isolated them and both of them were treated for malaria. When they started improving, we let them go. But our concern was another parents who brought their child to the hospital and pleaded with us for help that about 40 to 50 people had died in their villages with a similar symptom as their child in the last three weeks.”There are concerns over Lassa fever as another doctor at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), that had contact with the index case, has developed symptoms of the disease and is now on admission.Also, 70 persons out of the 150 that have been under surveillance, because they had contact with the index case, have been certified free of the virus after the mandatory 21 days observation period.Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, who confirmed this to The Guardian yesterday said: “The important thing to note now is that Lassa fever is in town but it is under control. We are happy that with the support of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, we have enough equipment, drugs, facilities and medical experts to contain the situation.”LUTH, last week Tuesday, confirmed that two patients treated had died within a few days of admission in the past one week.Bode enjoined all LUTH workers to maintain a heightened level of alert in the wake of this new outbreak and observe universal precautions in handling all suspected cases of this viral hemorrhagic fever.In a related development, the Ondo State government has trained 54 surveillance officers and informants to avert Lassa fever across the 18 local councils.The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Taiye Oni, during the training exercise in Akure yesterday, said the action was necessary to build up the capacity of the trainees for good delivery.Represented by the Deputy Director of the state Public Health, Dr. Ayodele Adelusi, he said Governor Rotimi Akeredolu approved the training to combat any likely outbreak of the disease in any part of the state.According to him, the trainees would be disease notification officers that would alert the appropriate authorities if anything strange is seen in their respective assigned areas.

South Africa: Monitoring Outcomes Is Key to Improving Mental Health Treatment in South Africa

analysisBy Jason Bantjes, Mark Tomlinson and Xanthe Hunt

The traditional way of understanding medical treatment is that a doctor matches a particular treatment to a particular illness. The problem is that people with the same illness can respond differently to the same treatment.

Precision medicine – or personalised medicine – is a relatively new approach that takes account of individual differences when planning treatments. Here, doctors individualise interventions by matching patients with appropriate treatments. This entails using evidence to select the most effective intervention for a patient based on their genetic makeup, circumstances, lifestyle and collection of symptoms.

To do this doctors need to collect detailed information about how different patients respond to different treatments.

Many health related disciplines are moving towards the practice of precision medicine. For example, research suggests that about 55% of people who are diagnosed with depression will respond well to antidepressant medication. In precision medicine, doctors try to understand what individual factors predict these different treatment responses. This enables doctors to make evidence based decisions about which patients with depression should be prescribed medication and which should receive other kinds of treatment. Using this approach could help patients recover quicker and can save time and resources

But this approach to collecting and using evidence to plan interventions is not being widely used when it comes to psychological treatments. This is particularly true in developing countries like South Africa where psychologists aren’t routinely monitoring their treatment outcomes and using evidence to improve their practice.

This is a serious problem. A precision approach would enable psychologists to use scarce mental health resources more efficiently, select the most appropriate treatments, and provide better care to the high number of South Africans suffering from mental health problems.

It was in this context that we embarked on a project to implement a routine outcome monitoring system in a community psychology clinic in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Our results showed that it’s possible to monitor treatment outcomes as part of routine psychological care, although the tools used to achieve this need to be refined.

Giving evidence-based approaches a chance

So why has psychology been so slow to move towards precision medicine?

Research published recently in the South African Journal of Psychology highlights the fact that many psychologists are reluctant to use empirical evidence when treating individual patients. It seems that many psychologists also resist objectively monitoring how their patients respond to psychological interventions and measuring treatment outcomes.

Part of the problem is that many psychologists don’t believe that psychological functioning can be quantified.

It’s true that it can be difficult to measure psychological change and it’s impossible to use a single measure of treatment outcome for all patients. But there are a number of tools that have been developed that can provide useful information about how patients respond to psychotherapy. These tools are more widely used in developed countries and their use is advocated by the American Psychiatric Association as a way of improving standards of care. But this isn’t the case in most developing countries.

We believe that it’s not enough for psychologists to rely heavily on theories which are unsupported by evidence or subjective accounts of recovery. Psychologists in South Africa have a duty to begin thinking about how they can adapt and apply tools that have been developed elsewhere to collect information about treatment outcomes. This will move the practice of psychology in South Africa closer to an evidence-based approach.

Based on this understanding, we implemented a treatment monitoring system at a community psychology clinic. We asked all patients at the clinic to give us regular feedback about their level of emotional and social functioning. Patients were asked to complete short questionnaires about changes in their symptoms, perceptions of their emotional well-being and changes in the quality of their relationships. We encouraged the clinicians working in the clinic to use this patient feedback to monitor patient responses and refine their treatments.

The goal was to see whether a system that has been used to monitor treatment outcomes in other countries, such as the US and Australia, could be usefully incorporated into routine care in a South African context. We found that it is possible to monitor treatment responses as part of routine psychological care and that the tools that currently exist could be used in South Africa. But we may still need to do some work to make sure that these tools are easily understood by patients and correctly used by psychologists.

More work to be done

Monitoring systems like the one we implemented normally rely on patients to self-report their symptoms and level of functioning. One of the challenges we experienced is that patients didn’t always understand what they were being asked. This meant that their responses could not always be accurately interpreted.

More work is clearly needed to refine the system to make it more user-friendly for patients. This will entail more than just directly translating the instruments into local languages. We need to make sure that the words and ideas used are culturally appropriate and meaningful in different South African contexts.

But even if the system is perfected, this will be of little value if psychologists don’t use it. In our research we found that some clinicians did not use the system consistently or correctly, even when they were trained to do so.

More work with practising psychologists is needed to understand their reluctance to monitor treatment outcomes as part of routine patient care. Maybe there are good reasons for their resistance. But it might also simply be that some psychologists need to make an ideological shift in the way they think about their work and the way they understand the importance of evidence-based practice.

Disclosure statement

Jason Bantjes receives funding from South African Medical Research Foundation.

Mark Tomlinson and Xanthe Hunt do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Somalia: WHO Calls for Urgent Support to Combat Measles Outbreak

WHO and its health partners urgently need support in response to a measles outbreak in Somalia, according to a press release.

They are currently working with Somalia health authorities to offer essential health services.

To improve outbreak response activities and conduct a measles immunization campaign in November, WHO requires $6.8 million.

“Somalia is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Millions of people, already on the brink of famine, are now at risk of rapidly spreading infectious diseases like cholera and measles,” said Ghulam Popal, PhD, WHO representative in Somalia. “Normally, these diseases are easy to treat and prevent, but they can turn deadly when people are living in overcrowded spaces and are too weak to fight off infection.”

According to WHO, the current measles outbreak included 14,823 suspected cases as of July 31. Insufficient rainfall and poor harvest have left millions in Somalia vulnerable to malnutrition and mass displacement and unable to access clean water and sanitation, creating a perfect climate for infectious disease outbreaks, the organization said.

Although WHO and its partners have vaccinated roughly 600,000 children aged 6 months to 5 years for measles across the country, transmission continues, facilitated by the humanitarian crisis, according to the release.

Millions of children are still under-vaccinated, with those aged younger than 10 years accounting for more than 80% of cases, WHO said.

To contain the outbreak, WHO is planning a nationwide campaign for November 2017 to stop transmission of the disease that will target 4.2 million children and strengthen routine immunization, according to the press release.

WHO is requesting $14.4 million to conduct the vaccination campaign — with a cost of $3.36 per child — of which $6.8 million is still needed.

Concurrently in Somalia, the oral cholera vaccination campaign conducted by WHO has successfully reached almost half a million vulnerable people, and the number of cases has declined by more than 2,000 between May and June, according to the release.

Health authorities said they believe that similar success may be achieved in controlling the measles outbreak with the correct interventions.

Somalia

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Sudan: Sudanese and Ethiopian Ministers of Information Discuss Aspects of Joint Cooperation in Media

Khartoum — Minister of Information, Dr Ahmed Bilal discussed with his Ethiopian counterpart, Negeri Lencho, cooperation in media between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Dr Bilal pointed out that the meeting indicated to importance of revival of the Joint Media Cooperation Agreement via exchange of knowledge, expertise, visits and training sessions, indicating that the deal covers cooperation between the official information institutions in the two countries , namely Sudan News Agency(SUNA) and the National Broadcasting and TV Corporation.

From his part, the Ethiopian Minister commended the relations between Ethiopia and Sudan which, he added, would positively affect the two countries’ media relations, stressing that Ethiopia would press ahead with implementation of the Joint Media Cooperation Agreement.

Negrei hoped that his Country would benefit from Sudan experiences in enhancement of Arabic language skills on Ethiopian mass media.

Sudan

South Kordufan Governor Says Tourism Festival Reflect the Stability His State Enjoys

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Sudan: Conduction of First Exploratory Operation At IBN Al-Nafis Heart Surgery Center

Khartoum — The Consultant of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Salah Al-Basha, has conducted, Thursday, the first operation of an exploratory catheterization at Ibn al-Nafis Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery at Omdurman Teaching Hospital.

The Director of the General Department of Therapeutic Medicine, of khartoum state Ministry of Health, Dr. Yousif Tebin, during the launching of medical operations at Ibn al-Nafis Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery at Omdurman Teaching Hospital, noted that ministry’s future plan is to provide more than one catheter in the hospital as well as a pediatric surgery department to become a reference center for cardiac surgery to reduce the burden on the People’s Hospital and Ahmed Qasim Hospital, and to serve the citizens of Omdurman.

He revealed the existence of (7) catheters in government hospitals and (8) in private hospitals, pointing to the twinship and coordination between the People’s Hospital and Omdurman Hospital in scheduling operations by senior cardiologists.

Sudan

South Kordufan Governor Says Tourism Festival Reflect the Stability His State Enjoys

The governor of South Kordufan state, Issa Adam Abakar, has confirmed that the festival his state was currently… Read more »

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