Health – .:EABizInfo.Com. East African Business News - Tanzania Business News Kenya Business News Uganda Business News Rwanda Business News Burundi Business News Habari Za Biashara Afrika Mashariki Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:50:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 70759117 Africa:Despite Drop in Under-Five Mortality Rate, 7,000 Newborns Die Every Day – UN Report Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:45:00 +0000 More must be done to stop babies from dying the day they are born, United Nations agencies said in a new report issued Thursday, which argued that life-saving know-how and technologies must be made readily available - particularly in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa - where they are most needed.

Although the number of children dying before age five is at a new low - 5.6 million in 2016 compared with nearly 9.9 million in 2000 - the proportion of newborn deaths during that period has jumped from 41 to 46 per cent - or 7,000 babies.

This is according to the Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017, released today by the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) - comprised of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the Population Division in the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs.

"The lives of 50 million children under-five have been saved since 2000, a testament to the serious commitment by governments and development partners to tackle preventable child deaths," said Stefan Swartling Peterson, the UN Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Chief of Health, in a joint press statement.

But without a greater effort to stop babies from dying the day they are born, or days after their birth, this progress will remain incomplete. "We have the knowledge and technologies that are required - we just need to take them where they are most needed," he added.

Current trends suggest that between 2017 and 2030, 30 million newborns will die within first 28 days of life. As such, the agencies stress that measures must be taken to achieve universal health coverage and ensure that more newborns survive and thrive, including by serving marginalized families.

Universal health coverage and improving quality and availability of services

"To prevent illness, families require financial power, their voices to be heard and access to quality care," says Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Family, Women's and Children's Health. "Improving quality of services and timely care during and after childbirth must be prioritized."

Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group said that it is unconscionable that in 2017, pregnancy and child birth are still life-threatening conditions for women.

"The best measure of success for universal health coverage is that every mother should not only be able to access health care easily, but that it should be quality, affordable care that will ensure a healthy and productive life for her children and family. We are committed to scaling up our financing to support country demand in this area, including through innovative mechanisms like the Global Financing Facility," he added, referring to the principle financing arm of the UN-backed Every Woman Every Child initiative.

Despite progress, large disparities in child survival still exist across regions and countries - especially in Southern Asia sub-Saharan Africa.

"This new report highlights the remarkable progress since 2000 in reducing mortality among children under age five," said UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin.

Yet many deaths at these ages are easily preventable through simple, cost-effective interventions administered before, during and immediately after birth. "Reducing inequities and reaching the most vulnerable newborns, children and mothers are essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target on ending preventable childhood deaths and for ensuring that no one will be left behind."

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Africa:The Road Out of Poverty Depends On Feeding Our Children Nutritious Food First Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:40:00 +0000 By Mercy Lung'aho

Nairobi — One drizzly morning in some lush green tea plantations in Rwanda, I was on my way to visit a local community, to assess nutrition indicators among women and children. We stopped in a green blanket of tea fields and spoke to one young tea picker, I'll call her Mary, who had a baby strapped to her back.

What I remember distinctly is that while her baby was probably the same age as my young son at home, he was about half the size. We chatted briefly about her job. Surrounded by the tea leaves, she said she was curious about how they tasted. She had never tasted tea.

Later that day, we got the tea pickers together for a discussion. I asked them how often they ate meat. There was a ripple of laughter through the group. "Christmas Day," they all said in unison.

When I asked the group what they would do with every extra dollar saved, they did not tell me they would buy better food. Instead, they all agreed: "We would buy shoes". Waking up at 4am to walk to the tea farm would be more comfortable in good shoes.

What I understood more fully after this meeting was what I had already suspected: that nutrition had taken a back-seat in this farming community.

We have collected evidence which shows that eating specially-bred, high-iron beans twice-a-day for just four-and-a-half months can reduce iron deficiency and actually reverse anemia in young women in Rwanda.

The nutrition evidence we collected that day showed that anemia was prevalent. Like the small baby on her back, Mary was malnourished. So the cycle of malnutrition continues. Agriculture has a strange way of leaving the vulnerable behind, and this is what we must stop.

The nutritional magic of beans

At the Pan African Bean Research Alliance in collaboration with HarvestPlus, we have collected evidence which shows that eating specially-bred, high-iron beans twice-a-day for just four-and-a-half months can reduce iron deficiency and actually reverse anemia in young women in Rwanda.

Our research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, was the first of its kind to show that eating "biofortified" beans, bred to contain more iron, can have a significant impact on iron levels in the blood and improve brain function.

Our results were tremendously exciting: they show for the first time that these beans are an excellent vehicle for delivering long-term, low-cost major health solutions - with profound implications for global nutrition, agriculture and public health policy.

Our research further shows that, fast-tracking nutrition in mothers before they even become pregnant is essential if we want to tackle malnutrition and put a stop to the vicious cycle of poverty and economic stagnation that poor diets perpetuate. Adolescent nutrition before pregnancy has a bigger impact on stunting in children than we thought.

We need to target undernourished women like Mary with nutritious food - well before they are pregnant.

Tackling malnutrition before it strikes

Instead of focusing on preventing malnutrition, we are too busy responding to food crises. We are fighting fires, instead of making sure they don't happen in the first place. This is a crisis, and we must treat it like one. That is why we are spearheading the development of a Nutrition Early Warning System, or NEWS.

It will take advantage of the latest advances in "machine learning" to create a powerful tool that can process, track and monitor a constant flow of data relevant to food and nutrition - alerting decision makers well before malnutrition becomes apparent.

We are currently working on a prototype of NEWS, which will initially focus on boosting nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, eventually targeting vulnerable populations globally. It will analyze the nutritional status of populations in select countries in sub-Saharan Africa to find options for successful interventions.

I cannot look the other way while women and children are dying of anemia and stunting on our watch. I'm positive that we can fix it. As I join other food security experts at the Borlaug Dialogue this week - I will be sharing these lessons, as evidence that investing in agriculture can create vibrant rural areas that provide a road out of poverty.

A pathway towards employment, wealth creation, and economic growth that includes young people. But unless we focus on getting our young people a more nutritious diet, we will continue to fail millions like Mary - and her baby - before they have even had a chance to make a start in life.

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Nigeria:Help the Country Out of Cancer, Dolapo Osinbajo Tells Medical Practitioners Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:01:00 +0000 By Victoria Ojeme

All the machines are broken down- Durosimi-Etti

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, has called on medical practitioners to help rid the country of cancer.

Mrs Osinbajo made the call during the third cancer summit organised by the Cancer Education Advocacy Foundation Of Nigeria CEAFON, in Abuja.

She said, "For all the figures that he showed us in his chart, what I see are individuals, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons. So, beyond the statistics, figures, pie chart; we know that there are a lot of things needed to be done. The real awareness, the treatment and the researching towards cancer cure are necessary and what a wonderful day it will be, when a cure is found for cancer".

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, noted that radiotherapy was not the only method of treating cancer. He said that "what is important is what CEAFON is doing, the increase of awareness, for the people to have a better understanding of cancer therapy." He said that 40 per cent of our cancer can be prevented through the change in our lives style and what we eat, while 40 per cent also, if detected early will be cured.

Prof Adewole noted, "we can control about 80 per cent of the cancer cases and secondly, we can change the narrative of cancer in Nigeria, for about that same percentage of the cancer patients come late at the time when we can't do anything about them- even if they go to India or Cameroon nothing will happen.

"For at the stage 3 and 4, they are not going to get cure. The only ways to get them closer early, is to start the screening program and that is why this year, we are concentrating services on breast for women and prostrate for men who are above 50 years of age. Currently, we are working on eight of our cancer centres, but the main focus is on two this year, for we would not want to bite more than we can chew".

He added, "between now and December this year, the oncology centre in National Hospital should be completed for it costs us about N400 million, then that of LUTH, I believed we have started."

On his part, the National president of CEAFON, Prof Francis Durosinmi-Etti said, "we tried to look at the fact that cancer has become an epidemic in Nigeria, but I am glad that the keynote speaker in his Presentation shows that the volume has just increased. We all have to wake up and do something about it. To do this, it means we need to increase funding and pay more attention to the prevention of cancer in the country.

"In a nutshell, educating the members of the public on how to prevent it and for those who are diagnosed with cancer, must have the opportunity to be treated, just like you heard, many of the machines are broken down in the country at the moment and only a few are working. All the machines we have in the country are just what you will get in one department in America and that is all we have in the whole country.

"We need to involve more people for possibility of having the public -private partnership advocated for, so that investors can invest in the services and then the patient can have a good chance of getting a cure."

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Namibia:Sauyemwa Centre for Visually Impaired Gets Mosquito Nets Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:39:00 +0000 By John Muyamba

Rundu — The Sauyemwa centre for the visually impaired in Rundu received a donation of 21 treated mosquito nets from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN).

"We always try to offer assistance where needed. In this case we are giving 21 treated mosquito nets for free to the centre residents so that they can sleep under treated mosquito nets to prevent getting malaria from mosquitoes," said Martin Alfred, a field officer for ELCIN Department of Diakonia and Social Services for Kavango West, Kavango East and Zambezi Region.

Alfred handed over the nets through the ELCIN project against malaria.

ELCIN is involved in the fight against malaria in the northern and north-eastern regions.

"What the church is doing is responding to the government's call that churches meet government halfway. They should not only wait for government to provide for our people, but churches and every individual who is fortunate enough should support those who are in need of a helping hand," said Rundu Urban Constituency Councillor Victoria Kauma.

Kauma applauded the organisation for providing nets to the visually impaired.

"These nets will help prevent mosquito bites that can possibly lead to malaria. As the recipients you must take care of the nets as they will protect you from mosquitoes," she said.

She encouraged the community to support the fight against malaria in order to save people from dying of the deadly disease.

"Please don't forget to always sleep under a treated mosquito net," she urged.

This year 43,000 cases of malaria have been diagnosed in Namibia, 10 times more than the corresponding figure in 2012. There were 24,000 cases in 2016, and 34 deaths in 2017 compared to 104 deaths in 2016.

Of all the regions in Namibia, Kavango West had the highest number of malaria cases and mortality at 80 percent of all malaria cases in the country.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services is currently running anti-malaria campaigns, hoping to bring an end to the deadly disease.

On September 28 the health minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku, launched the indoor, residual spraying (IRS) campaign as part of the anti-malaria initiative in Kavango West.

Haufiku strongly urged individuals, families and communities to take good care of their own health - most importantly, prevent ill health, whether it is by avoiding mosquito bites by following advice from healthcare professionals such as staying indoors from sunset to sunrise, wearing long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts, and long trousers or skirts; or if one is outside at dawn, avoid sitting near stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, and use mosquito nets and repellents.

During the launch Haufiku also advised Namibians to allow teams of health workers to spray their houses and rooms where mosquitoes hide.

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Namibia:Pet Owners Urged to Vaccinate Animals Against Rabies Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:22:00 +0000 By Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek — The Ministry of Health and Social Services has urged pet owners to vaccinate their animals against rabies. Public relations officer in the Health Ministry Manga Libita said there is a shortage of anti-rabies vaccine in the country at present and that is the case globally.

"We have got too many dog bites. Most of the dogs are not vaccinated against rabies and that is worrying," said Libita. If a dog with rabies bites a human that person can contract rabies, which is potentially fatal, she explained. "We should avoid that by all means," Libita stressed.

She said many pet owners do not care for their pets and stressed that owners should be more caring towards their animals.

Dr Annie Marggraff, a veterinarian at Windhoek Animal Hospital also stressed that animals should be vaccinated against rabies to prevent the pets from contracting the disease. She also explained that dogs and cats can contract the disease from bites from squirrels and wild animals, such as jackals.

Symptoms of rabies in dogs can vary, but in most cases the animal behaves strangely and salivates excessively, said Marggraff, who emphasised that prevention is always better than cure.

Rabies in animals can be fatal, Marggraff warned. She advised that if humans are bitten by a dog that is suspected to have rabies they should seek medical attention immediately.


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South Africa:Life Esidimeni MD – ‘Doctors Failed to Speak Out’ Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:56:00 +0000 Relatives of Life Esidimeni patients broke down and sobbed on Wednesday as they heard how the former managing director (MD) of the facility begged the Gauteng department of health for information about where patients were being moved to.

Life Esidimeni former MD Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa told the hearings that it was "a command" to move patients to various NGOs, despite his repeated pleas for information about the names, addresses and contact details for these NGOs.

Transfer patients

Mkhatshwa said he failed to understand how department officials, some of them trained medical officials, didn't stand up and speak out.

"It was sad for me to see how clinicians could succumb to what I'd call political pressure. I said it's bad if you forget the oath you took [as a medical practitioner]," he said.

"How could they not stand up and say 'over my dead body, I will not do that'," Mkhatshwa said.

He said he warned officials about the plans to transfer patients from Life Esidimeni to a number of unlicensed NGOs, some of which he had known nothing about.

This was following an incident in 2007 where 17 children were taken from Life Esidimeni and placed in an NGO.

Mkhatshwa said they later died because they had been severely dehydrated and malnourished.

"Why couldn't we have learned from the 2007 incident? Did we just choose to be oblivious to it, or did we just ignore it?" he asked. "Expert advice was ignored".

During his testimony, Mkhatshwa recalled how representatives from the various NGOs just started arriving at Life Esidimeni to collect patients. Some even hand picked patients.

"They said they were coming to pick their patients and I said 'get the hell out of here, this is not an auction'. These are people," he said.

Better facilities

Responding to a question about patients being collected on the back of bakkies, Mkhatshwa said he told the official to "take that damned thing out of our facilities".

Mkhatshwa said the decision to move patients from Life Esidimeni to the various NGOs wasn't "rationally clinically" or "rationally business-wise", with the former MEC of health Qedani Mahlangu telling him there wasn't a budget to pay for the Life Esidimeni contract.

"We were ensured that the users would leave Esidimeni for equal or better facilities," he said.

Mkhatshwa said he resigned from his position at Life Esidimeni because he too was traumatised by the way it turned out.

"I ask myself if there is anything I could've done. I don't know," he said.

"I think the families did more. They went and toyi toyi'ed at the department... they demanded an apology... they demanded to know where their loved ones were".

The hearings continue on Thursday.

Source: News24

South Africa

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Kenya:15 Women Die While Giving Birth in Wajir County Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:50:00 +0000 By Bruhan Makong

Fifteen women have died while giving birth in Wajir County since the onset of the nurses' strike.

Nurses have been on strike for 136 days since June 5.


In an interview with the Nation, Wajir County Chief Officer of Health Noor Sheikh Mohamed said that some of the women lost their lives in various private hospitals and other while giving birth at home.

But those hospitals do not have sufficient skilled medics and equipment, he said, adding that some women gave birth at home as they could not afford private hospitals.

The Chief Officer said that some private hospitals only have a capacity to accommodate one pregnant woman at a time and thus it is impossible to attend to all the women, compared to the Wajir Referral Hospital that has enough equipment and personnel.

"We carry out an average of nine to 15 deliveries per night in the referral hospital because of the availability of personnel and equipment. However, due to the nurses' strike, some of the patients were forced to seek assistance elsewhere," Mr Mohamed said.


The nurses' strike in the county at some point led to a closure of the referral hospital, including the maternity wing, for more than a week in August. More than five pregnant women died that week.

The paediatric unit was also closed during the period, locking out children from receiving medical assistance.

Nursing officers and other heads of different department who are not allowed to strike were recalled to the hospital to handle emergency services.

"Currently the services have resumed in the hospital and we are carrying out emergency and outpatient services. The paediatric ward, maternity unit and male ward is now functional," Mr Mohamed said.


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Somalia:Italy Donates 300,000 Euros to Somali Red Crescent Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:15:00 +0000 Turkish and Somali paramedic carry wounded people to a Turkish military plane that will transport the injured to Turkey, at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, 16 October 2017. The death toll from the 14 October truck bomb attack has risen to at least 230, the deadliest attack in Somalias recent history. EPA/SAID YUSUF WARSAME

Italy has donated 300,000 euros to the Somali Red Crescent following last weekend's terrorist attack in Mogadishu, the foreign ministry in Rome said on Wednesday.

"I have arranged through the Italian Cooperation Service for the emergency funding of 300,000 euros to the Federation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent (FICROSS) to at least partly alleviate the tragic consequences of the terrorist attack in Mogadishu a few days ago" said Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano.

"The Somali Red Crescent Society will be able to use this money from Italy to provide medical care to those injured in the attack". Central Mogadishu was hit by the terrorist attack on 14 October - 327 were killed and over 400 injured. "Italy wishes to show its support to all the families of the victims and the injured," concluded Alfano.


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Malawi:Hospital Guardians Lament Guardian Shelter Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:12:00 +0000 By Sheila Kathewera

Kasungu — Guardians at Kasungu District Hospital have expressed concern over their security and health at the shelter as they sleep on open ground.

Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana), one of the guardians Magret Mughogho said the situation is very critical.

"As guardians we come in large numbers to escort our relatives who are due, this has seen us to have no place to sleep as we are not allowed to sleep inside the hospital wards unless she is about to deliver.

"We feel insecure as our belongings such as groceries and beddings easily get lost, we are also at risk of diseases since the toilets and bathrooms are dirty," said Mughogho.

In her remarks Kasungu district hospital spokesperson Catherine Yoweri agreed that it is true that these guardians sleep outside on their own will as the shelter is available despite being far from the hospital.

"The hospital has a shelter for them to sleep but it is small and it is not in good state, so the community built another shelter for them outside the hospital but these guardians refuse to sleep in that claiming it is too far," said Yoweri.

Yoweri added that the situation becomes worse during rainy season which results in others sleeping in hospital.

Further investigations by Mana found out that the guardian shelter which is said to be available is used as a house of one of the workers at the hospital and it is about 0.3 kilometer from the hospital premises.

Kasungu district hospital was built 49 years ago in 1968 and Government of Malawi has promised to build a new hospital and the land has already been identified.


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Zimbabwe:Govt in Drive to Contain NCDs Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:02:00 +0000 By Takunda Maodza

Government is making efforts to establish an Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) because such diseases need a multi-sectoral response, President Mugabe has said. NCDs are chronic diseases that cannot be passed from person-to-person and include cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Addressing the World Health Organisation Global Conference on NCDs, which was officially opened by Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez yesterday, President Mugabe, who arrived here on Tuesday, said Zimbabwe had adopted several strategies to combat challenges posed by new health outbreaks, including NCDs. He said the country, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, had also developed a national NCDs policy.

"Efforts are also underway to establish an inter-Ministerial Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases through the Ministry of Health and Child Care. This initiative comes from our awareness that non-communicable diseases need a multi-sectoral response, and comes on the back of our highly-acclaimed Aids Levy. We have established Health Levy Fund, an innovative financing mechanism to raise resources for the procurement of medicines, supplies and equipment for the management of non-communicable diseases, among other conditions. This fund is derived from a five percent surcharge of mobile communications usage," he said.

"In the case of non-communicable diseases, Zimbabwe has adopted a National Health Strategy spanning from 2016-2020, which we have dubbed 'Equity and Quality in Health: Leaving No One Behind'. The strategy provides the framework that guides the efforts of our Ministry of Health and Child Care and all stakeholders in contributing to the attainment of the SDG3 (Sustainable Development Goal)". President Mugabe said Zimbabwe had a policy on NCDs.

"Zimbabwe has also developed a national non-communicable diseases policy, a palliative care policy, and has engaged United Nations agencies working in the country, to assist in the development of a Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control strategy to cover the period 2016 to 2020." President Mugabe said like all developing countries, Zimbabwe was harmstrung by the lack of adequate resources for executing programmes aimed at reducing NCDs and other health conditions afflicting the people.

"My Government thus remains committed to work closely with the World Health Organisation, the private sector and the donor community, in efforts to mobilise resources for programmes aimed at reducing non-communicable diseases," he said. President Mugabe expressed gratitude for Zimbabwe's election as the chair of the 71st World Health Assembly from 2018 to 2019. The country was elected two months ago in Victoria Falls at the WHO Afro-regional meeting.

"It is an honour we receive with great humility, mindful of the responsibilities which it carries. We are all committed to address the global non-communicable diseases, which threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals," he said. NCDs are primarily linked to common risk factors like harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. This means changing lifestyles and adoption of a regimen of exercise can help prevent NCDs. President Mugabe said developing countries were struggling to move from commitment to action because of resource constraints and lack technical capacity. This has been worsened by global economic challenges facing fragile economies negatively impacting on national health systems.

"Against this inauspicious backdrop, the importance of strong national health systems and interventions cannot be overemphasised. And these are predicated and should underline the need to strengthen health systems, health care infrastructure, human resources for health and social protection systems, particularly in developing countries," said President Mugabe.

He said in the fight against NCDs, the onus must fall on all parties - principally governments, all development partners, civil society and communities. President Mugabe acknowledged the leading role played by WHO as the primary specialised agency on health matters.

"Through it, international cooperation must be marshalled in support of national, regional and global plans for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. This should be done through the exchange of best practices in the areas of health promotion, legislation, regulation, strengthening of health systems, training of health-care personnel and the development of appropriate health-care infrastructure and diagnostics," said President Mugabe.

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