Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

Tuesday Talks: MedAfrica launches to bolster health systems across continent

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

We have been following MedAfrica (formerly called MedKenya) as it develops new ideas to share health and medical knowledge through the growing number of mobile phone users across the African continent placed against the extreme lack of doctors available in many African countries. Increasing access to better health information with technology and knowledge.

Tuesday Talks: preventing pediatric HIV

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) posts regular “frontline reports” about their work. This is a great example of some of the critical health work being done to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Kenya. MSF is working at the frontlines of pediatric HIV prevalence. There have been amazing medical steps forward to prevent PMTCT, but these innovations are not as easy or accessible in rural regions. Yet another example of the importance of investing in health infrastructure where access is limited and needs are great.

Tuesday Talks: Young People can innovate for health too!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Our key stakeholders in the United States are young people and students at universities. More often than not, business leaders, non-profit directors, politicians, and other “experts” don’t think that young people have much to contribute in the way of new ideas of skills to improve or make a difference on global health issues. This video was chosen today because it is an excellent example of how young people are entering into development projects with an open mind, understanding of community control over projects, and the limitations of their work. These students from Harvard present an excellent idea adapted from a Western development project to improve the health and nutrition of people in Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.

The video is very quiet, turn up the volume and listen closely.

Tuesday Talks: Health insurance for Africa

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

With the growth of health sectors across the world one of the most critical areas moving forward is how to pay for health care. South Africa’s NIH is facing resistance with its national health care scheme. A few years ago Ghana was working on a similar national health insurance plan. In many countries there are innovative micro-health insurance programs some like Mpesa that are available on your mobile phone. What will be the future of health financing in Africa. This video from a Kenyan news agency looks into the meeting of African Health Ministers talking about health insurance for Africa.

The Week of Health in Africa

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

(Photo Credit: see above)

Anti-HIV Gel May Take Years to Hit Market

Is 39% reduction enough? The dust has barely settled after the announcement of the first positive results from a microbicide trial, but scientists and policy makers are already asking themselves, ‘What’s next?’ “It’s very early, we still need to analyze all the data – and the study collected a lot of very good data – and understand it better before we get to the point of developing a product,” Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), said at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna. More:

A Radical New AIDS Treatment Strategy

UNAIDS has launched a “simpler, more cost-effective approach to HIV treatment” The approach, dubbed “Treatment 2.0″, aims to drastically scale up testing and treatment using current best practices and future innovations in antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and diagnostics. UNAIDS estimates that successful implementation of Treatment 2.0 could avert 10 million deaths by 2025, and reduce new infections by one-third.

African Leaders Seek Solution to Maternal and Infant Mortality

At the 15th African Union (AU) Summit in Uganda leaders and health experts will meet to reassess key health goals. In 2000, African governments agreed to reduce by two-thirds the number of mothers and children who die annually from pregnancy-related complications and preventable childhood illnesses. Ten years later, little has been achieved on that noble commitment, as statistics show an African woman’s risk of dying in child birth is still one in 11 compared to a 1 in 7,300 risk among women in developed countries.

The Buck Stops with Hospital CEOs

In South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo told the heads of the seven major hospitals that they will be held accountable for failing systems at their institutions. “If we want to turn around the tide of health outcomes that are terrible in this country, then you have to look at KwaZulu-Natal,” said Dhlomo. “We have the highest rates of TB, HIV and infant mortality and a large population.”

More than five million people receiving HIV treatment

WHO estimates that 1.2 million more people received HIV treatment in 2009 than in 2008. In addition HIV-related mortality can be reduced by 20% in the next five years if guidelines for early treatment are put into action.

New Mosquito’s Buzz Worse than its Bite

A malaria-proof mosquito has finally been developed and Kenya is expected to use it to eradicate the disease in seven years. Researchers at the University of Arizona, US, say they have made the perfect insect. The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, which starts a national data collection exercise on malaria indicators Saturday morning, says it will use a combination of tools, including bed nets, education, new innovations and medicines to meet the 2017 targets.

Vaccine Trialists Sue US Drugs Firm for Billions

Victims of the 1996 Pfizer meningitis trovan vaccine test which caused over 200 deaths and several others permanent disability have again sued the drugs manufacturing giant for a whopping sum of $384 billion.

You, too, Can Help Fight Niger’s Famine

In poverty-stricken Niger, it comes as no surprise that drought is pushing the most vulnerable people to the brink of hunger. Right? But then you hear a statistic like this one, with the power to shock even the most cynical: right now, fully half of the country’s 13.4 million inhabitants are facing famine.

More: Aid Caravan to the East

Dire Humanitarian Situation Continues to Grip Somalia

Withdrawn aid due to Al-Shabab’s bombings in Kampala have left the Somali people with even less international assistance. It is vital to ensure adequate funding to assist the 3.2 million people – or more than 40 per cent of the population – who rely on international aid, a senior United Nations aid official stressed this week.

Other news:

Bringing African Perspectives into US Activism (#USSFafrica)

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Thursday and Friday I attended many of the Africa focused workshops – most were very exciting and engaging. They really brought the African perspective into the ideas of the US Social Forum and made delegates think about the US role in issues affecting communities on the African continent.

24 Thursday 10am-12pm

African Unity Towards What? (Pan-Africanism & Nationalism is not enough!) by: University of Kmt

I still haven’t exactly figured out this group and what they do. They run the Kmt Press which publishes books and journals, but all of their sessions that I attended were focused on teaching with an African historical perspective. Their missions states that they are dedicated to educating the new generation of African leaders. Interesting that they are in Detroit and I wonder if they know of the Detroit Public School (DPS) Initiative starting in 1992 where Africa was integrated into school curriculums from math to literature.

24 Thursday 1-3pm

Prioritizing Africa & the African Diaspora Agenda from Detroit to Dakar (D2D) by: Priority Africa Network (PAN)

This People’s Movement Assembly was geared towards bringing African perspectives into the US Social Forum and continue the discussion as preparations are made for the 2011 World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal. The room was full of delegates from many African countries, Detroit, and US Africa Advocacy groups.

Briggs Bomba, Director of Campaigns at Africa Action, spoke strongly about building solidarity with those most affected in Africa. He said, “corporate led globalization has harshest effects on those in the perifery, the underdeveloped.” He reminded us that all of us the privilege to attend conferences like these and make the policies need to prioritize the communities most affected.

A delegate from South Africa spoke eloquently about the social apartheid of displacement – ideologically, locations, in decision-making and governments; in voting process lack of people power and transformational action, and in the social mainstream. “We cover many issues, but it is the same struggle. We come from different areas, but share common experiences.” (i.e. colonialism)

Some top issues that came out of the PMA:

  • Militarization in the Congo (DRC)
  • HIV & STDs from Detroit to Africa
  • political economy – effects seen in everyday Africa
  • African defense (defend communities), liberation (not yet liberated), and autonomy

An exciting and dynamic session that really makes me excited for the World Social Forum in Dakar!

24 Thursday 3:30-5:30pm

The New Africa Command & U.S. Military Involvement in Africa by: African Security Research Project (aka: Daniel Volman)

This session was an interesting overview of AFRICOM by some leading scholars on the topic of US national security interests in Africa. The attendees were less diverse than the Detroit to Dakar session and most people came to learn more because it looked interesting and had studied Africa to some small degree in the past.

Most interesting was when the discussion turned to private military contractors (PMCs) in Africa responsible for fighting wars in Libera, Southern Sudan, and Somalia. A Ugandan delegate actually talked about being trained by PMCs in Iraq to then return and fight the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. Great to hear the perspective of the Ugandan delegate and Dan Volman as well as to see so many people interested in learning more about African issues!

25 Friday 1-3pm

Power-sharing Deals in Africa: Implications for Democracy – The Case of Zimbabwe & Kenya by: Africa Action

This was by far the most organized session that I attended at the US Social Forum. The Africa Action team did an amazing job of gathering great speakers, formatting the session, and bringing people into the room for the discussion. Many African voices were heard from delegates representing Zimbabwe and Kenya.

In both cases of power-sharing, the speakers agreed that the power-sharing deal was a sigh of relief that stopped the fighting and opened their doors to the international community and economy again. However, they also all recognized that power-sharing was a positive in the short-term, but can be positive as in the case of South Africa when Mandela and de Klerk signed a power sharing deal until the national democratic elections.

Here are some take-aways:

  • A weak state can and will be manipulated (i.e. Museveni in Uganda – waiting for a similar situation as Kenya and Zimbabwe soon, elections next year)
  • “The people” are separated from the power – people-centered in needed
  • Power-sharing allows for lessened tensions and time to create national unity towards something better
  • Coalition governments show defeat of “people power”

The Africa Track at the US Social Forum (#USSFafrica)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

There are a number Africa-related organizations represented at the US Social Forum focused on bringing Africa into the larger US social justice context and ensuring that there are African voices represented. During the June 22-25 conference there will be 14 workshops presented by: Africa Action, TransAfrica, HealthGAP, Support Darfur Project, All African Peoples Revolutionary Party, University of Kmt, Priority Africa Network, Community Alliance for Global Justice, African Security Research Project, Athletes United for Peace, Detroit to Dakar, and International Development Exchange (IDEX). See list below:

24 Thursday (10am-12pm)

  • Africa & Pan- Africanism in this hemisphere: fighting neo-colonialism, racism, class, and gender oppression
    • All African Peoples Revolutionary Party @ Cobo Hall – Rm. W2-61
  • Building a Pan-African Solidarity Movement in North America
    • Support Darfur Project @ WC3 – Rm. 317
  • AIDS isn’t over: Solidarity in the fight for justice for people with AIDS worldwide
    • HealthGAP @ WA – Rm. 1472
  • Gender Militarism and US Corporate Violence in Oil Producing States
    • Priority Africa Network (PAN) @ Cobo Hall – Rm. O2-40

24 Thursday (1-3pm)

  • Africa Unity Toward What? (Pan-Africanism & Nationalism are not enough!)
    • University of Kmt @ Cobo Hall – Rm. O2-38
  • The Politics of Exploiting Need: AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), the Gates Foundation, & the Food Crisis
    • Community Alliance for Global Justice @ UAW – Rm. Taurus
  • Migration & Militarization of U.S. and European Borders: A Comparison & Contrast
    • Priority Africa Network @ Cobo Hall- Rm. O2-40
  • Youth-led Activism in NYC’s Public High Schools
    • Support Darfur Project @ WBC – Rm. WB2
  • The World Cup, Sports & Social Justice: The Beautiful Game & Beautiful Struggle, Together
    • Athletes for Peace @ WSU S – Rm. 29

24 Thursday (3:30-5:30pm)

  • International Financial Institutions & Climate Change: Community Impacts in the Congo
    • Africa Action @ WC3 – Rm. 337
  • The New Africa Command & U.S. Military Involvement in Africa
    • African Security Research Project @ UAW – Rm. Pres

25 Friday (1-5pm)

  • Prioritizing Africa & the African Diaspora Agenda from Detroit to Dakar (D2D)
    • Priority Africa Network @ Cobo Hall – Rm. W2-69
  • Educating African People: K12 through Ph.D. levels
    • University of Kmt @ Cobo Hall – Rm. O2-38
  • GM Crops – the poisoned chalice: perspectives & victories from South Africa
    • International Development Exchange (IDEX) @ Cobo Hall – Rm. D3-23
  • Power Sharing Deals in Africa: Implications for Democracy – The Case of Zimbabwe & Kenya
    • Africa Action @ WSU S – Rm. 261

The Week in African Health

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Photo Credit: African Health Platform

After a long overdue absence, The Week in African Health is back. Subscribe to the blog to continue to get the latest news and innovations related to health and health care across the African continent.

Bringing everything full circle, Alanna Shaikh provides us with a repost: Why you can’t understand global health

Alanna reminds us all that if we overlook the intricate relationship between poverty and ill-health then we are set to misunderstand global health. “If you can read this, that’s not you. By definition, you speak English and you have access to the internet. You earn more than a dollar a day. You can’t understand.” For all the talk, analysis, and good intentions – we must remember that it is the poor who know best what interventions will work for better health around the world.

The World Health Organization has released the first ever guidelines for procurement of effective anti-malarial medicines

The guidelines emphasize testing for effective treatment. The WHO cites in 2008 that only 22% of suspected cases were tested in 18 of the reporting African countries. Thanks to new quality assured Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) that use a dip stick, testing is easier and quicker.This emphasis on testing will assist in stemming drug-resistance issues with quick and effective treatment.

South Africa has launched a massive HIV Testing campaign that marks a definite reversal from its past HIV/AIDS initiatives more focused on denial.

Beginning on April 15th, everyone who enters a clinic will be offered an HIV test, regardless of history or symptoms. Every health facility “should” be prepared to test by April, but the larger problem will then be access to medications and clinics have not yet been certified to distribute ARVs, especially those located in remote or peri-urban areas.

One of the few good things that I have heard about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is that most countries are on track to reach the goal on access to clean water.

With 80% of all disease transferred by contaminated or dirty water, this MDG is a critical piece to improving health. Some countries are even set to exceed this goal by 2015. On the flip side the UN reports that unless “huge efforts” are made most countries will fail to achieve the sanitation MDG. This could be an unfortunate setback as clean water sources require proper sanitation to remain clean.

“If you kiss for five minutes you get it” HIV/AIDS in Namibia

This is one of the lessons learned by young students in one of Namibia’s HIV/AIDS after-school courses. The primary student ended by saying, “People with AIDS should keep to themselves.” Some of the teaching may be misguided, but the program offers much needed psychosocial assistance to young children who have difficulty coping. One student learned he was HIV-positive 3 years ago at age 8, but that hasn’t ended his dreams of becoming a doctor someday.

Need HIV/AIDS help? Look on the map!

A new program in East and Central Africa has printed 20,000 road maps that pinpoint the locations of roadside clinics where truck drivers can go for help with HIV/AIDS. One driver said, “Many of us want treatment but at times you might not know where to get it when you are on the road but these maps can help us now.” The wellness centres and clinics have been constructed in areas where high-risk populations converge.

Tweeting Against Malaria

The UN has selected a group of 24 social media envoys to tweet for malaria control. The WHO says that 3.3 billion people (half the world’s population) is at risk for malaria and sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter where 90% of malaria deaths occur.

Other interesting articles of the week:

Year of Water Project – Michigan

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Launched in September at Michigan Technological University (MTU) with the Michigan Organization of Residence Halls Associations (MORHA).

Charity:Water and SCOUT BANANA believe that access to clean water is a basic human right, and this year, 2007, we are doing something about it. Charity:Water was founded in 2006 and since has provided people with clean drinking water through construction and rehabilitation projects on wells. Through on-the-ground organizations Charity:Water has built 158 wells in five African countries that will give close to 100,000 people clean drinking water. SCOUT BANANA is an organization dedicated to providing access to basic health care. Access to clean water is extremely important to being and staying healthy as 80% of all sickness is due to unsafe water. In Michigan, we take for granted that we are surrounded by the world’s largest source of freshwater. The Great Lakes hold enough water for each of the 300 million people of the US to have 19 million gallons of water. Between 2000 and 2004, Michigan increased its water use by 1 billion gallons per day (gpd), to almost 11 billion gpd, or 4 trillion gallons per year, with 81% being withdrawn by power plants. This is enough to cover the entire land area of Michigan with 4 inches of water. 89% of water withdrawn in Michigan comes from Great Lakes sources. The remaining 11% comes from inland surface and groundwater sources (DEQ 2004 Report). There is a term in water management known as “unaccounted for” water. This is treated water that leaks from faulty pipes and is completely wasted. This water, ready for usage, that leaks from pipes every year in Detroit alone would be enough to give every person in the combined countries of the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, and Uganda with 297 gallons of treated water. (, August 2002). In Africa just $20 can give a person clean water for 20 years. The estimated cost of the leak is $23 million worth of water that never reaches homes and businesses, this could provide over one million people with the clean water they so desperately need.

Charity:Water Facts
• Over 1.1 billion people on the planet do not have access to clean drinking water.
• 42,000 people will die this week from disease related to poor drinking water. 90 percent of them will be children under age 5.
• A child dies from unsafe water every 15 seconds.
• 80 percent of all sickness on the planet is caused by unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation. It kills 2.2 million people every year. That’s more than all forms of violence, including war.
• Millions of women in developing countries walk 3 miles every day, to get water is likely to make them sick.

Bobi, Uganda
The first six wells built and rehabilitated by Charity:Water were in the war-torn region of northern Uganda. In the village of Bobi, 31,000 people now have access to clean water. Here is the story from Charity:Water founder, Scott Harrison.
“20 years of war displaced nearly two million people in Northern Uganda. Seeking solace from Joseph Kony’s rebel soldiers, they gathered in camps for safety. Bobi is the largest IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp in the Gulu Province. When I visited in August, I found 31,638 people living there. They drank from only one working well. On October 24th our partners on the ground in Northern Uganda used those contributions to begin work in Bobi. The rehabilitation of 3 broken hand pumps and 3 newly constructed wells were completed in November. Water committees were formed and trained to maintain the new water sources. The wells have transformed the lives of the 31,638 men, women and children living there. Bobi, one of the most hopeless and depressing places I’ve ever visited in Africa, now looks to the future with hope and health.”

Uganda Facts
(CIA, The World Factbook)
• Slightly smaller than Oregon with a population of over 30,250,000.
• Life expectancy at birth is approximately 52 years.
• The high rates of HIV/AIDS have significantly increased mortality, impacting life expectancy and population.
• There is a very high risk for contracting waterborne diseases including: bacterial infections, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.
• 35% of the population lives below the poverty line with average income at $1,500.
• The country hosts over 250,000 refugees from Sudan, the DRC, and Rwanda, along with 1 million internally displaced peoples (IDPs).
• Agriculture employs 80% of the workforce. The major export of the country is coffee.

To Fetch A Pail of Water
Of all the water on earth, 97.5% is salt water. The remaining 2.5% is fresh water, 70% is frozen in the polar ice caps and the other 30% is soil moisture or lies in underground aquifers. In all, less than 1% of the world’s fresh water is readily accessible for direct use. Moreover, there is a natural inequity in resource distribution that allows some countries to be rich in water, while others struggle.

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