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Security Issues, Rains Hampering Relief Efforts In Horn Of Africa

Security issues and torrential rains are hampering relief efforts aimed at fighting severe malnutrition and disease in the Horn of Africa, the Guardian reports. Last week, two workers with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were kidnapped, allegedly by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, prompting the group to evacuate some of its staff from two of three refugee camps on the border of Somalia and Kenya, according to the newspaper.

Donors Need To Look Beyond Emergency Funding To Long-Term, Strategic Solutions

“Americans are among the most generous people in the world, giving more money to charities than citizens of any other nation in the world,” but “[m]uch of our charity goes to disaster relief,” entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson writes in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post’s “Black Voices.” She adds, “I believe we can do more. We need to think long-term and become true partners in reshaping history. We need to boldly invest in innovative responses to Africa’s problems that are relevant locally, and that put Africans in the driver’s seat of determining the future of their continent.”

Cholera Outbreak In West, Central Africa Accelerated By Increased Migration, UNICEF Official Says

“More than 85,000 cases of cholera in West and Central Africa are making this one of the region’s most severe epidemics in recent memory,” VOA News reports. “Grant Leaity, UNICEF’s chief of emergency operations for West and Central Africa, says the epidemic is due, in part, to a greater movement of people across the region,” VOA writes, noting, “Three simultaneous cross-border outbreaks are affecting people in two dozen countries along the coast from Guinea, and in the Lake Chad basin to the West Congo basin and around Lake Tanganyika.”

Associated Press Highlights Challenges Of Global Population Growth

As the world’s population approaches seven billion, “experts say most of Africa — and other high-growth developing nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan — will be hard-pressed to furnish enough food, water and jobs for their people, especially without major new family-planning initiatives,” the Associated Press/San Jose Mercury News reports. In the article, “Associated Press reporters on four continents examin[e] some of most distinctive examples” of how “population challenges vary dramatically around the world” (Crary et al., 10/15).

World Food Prize Symposium Examines Link Between Food Security and Health, Poverty Efforts

KPLU 88.5’s “Humanosphere” blog reports on the World Food Prize symposium and Borlaug Dialogue taking place in Iowa this week, where “about 1,000 people, including many former heads of state and top agricultural policy folk, are gathered together to talk about … how to feed the planet’s growing population.” The blog examines the debate around a “new proposed Green Revolution for Africa,” led by “the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which was launched largely thanks to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” and provides links to recent media coverage related to global food security and hunger (Paulson, 10/12).

DRC Worst Off Among 26 Countries Facing 'Alarming' Or 'Extremely Alarming' Hunger Levels, According To New Global Hunger Index

“Twenty-six countries have ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’ hunger levels, with the situation deteriorating particularly badly in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to this year’s Global Hunger Index,” AlertNet reports. The report (.pdf) was released by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe, and Concern Worldwide and “focuses on the impact of rising food prices on the world’s poorest people,” the news service writes. “DRC … has the highest proportion of undernourished people — about 70 percent of the population — and one of the highest child mortality rates,” AlertNet notes, adding that “the report does not reflect this year’s famine in the Horn of Africa, because of time lags in obtaining data” (Batha, 10/11).

Malaria Drops From First To Third Cause Of Infant Mortality In Africa, RBM Executive Director Says

“Over the past three years, malaria passed from first to third cause of infant mortality in Africa, Awa Coll-Seck, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership [RBM], said Tuesday in Paris,” Afrique en ligne reports. “‘At least 1.5 million children were saved from the disease in recent years, thanks to the successful implementation of national strategies, supported by the international community,’ she said,” in an interview with [the Pan African News Agency (PANA)], according to the news service.

Study Finds Vitamin D Is Critical In Human Immune Response To Tuberculosis

“Vitamin D is needed to activate the immune system’s response to tuberculosis (TB),” a finding that “could lead to new treatments for the lung disease,” researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) said in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, Agence France-Presse reports. “Researchers have long known that vitamin D plays a role in the body’s response to TB, but the study … shows it must be present in adequate levels to trigger the immune response,” AFP writes.

AMREF Selects Ugandan Midwife To Lead Maternal Health Campaign

The African Medical and Research Foundation [AMREF] has selected Esther Madudu, a midwife at the Tiriri health center in northeast Uganda, to lead its global campaign, Stand Up for African Mothers, the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” reports. The goal of the project is to reduce maternal deaths worldwide by 25 percent and train an additional 30,000 midwives, “including 10,000 in Uganda,” according to the blog. Madudu will travel to France this week, “where she will address delegates at the Women’s Forum Global meeting, alongside Uganda’s minister of health, Christine Ondoa,” the blog notes (Ford, 10/12).

VOA News Examines How A Public-Private Partnership Will Combat Cancer Among Women In The Developing World

This VOA News editorial examines how a public-private partnership between PEPFAR, the George W. Bush Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, as well as private sector partners will launch a program called Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon to “combat cervical and breast cancer for women in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.” “In the developing world, women’s cancers are often neglected and associated with stigma that discourages women from seeing a doctor,” VOA writes. The editorial quotes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who said, “If we want to make progress on some of the toughest challenges we face in global health — fighting HIV, preventing childhood deaths, improving nutrition, stopping malaria, and more — then investing in women must be at the top of the agenda” (10/11).