[Photos] An Historical Look at Tuberculosis

Yesterday marked World TB Day. There is still much to be done to eradicate the infectious disease globally. Here in the United States, TB rates remain around 3.4 cases per 100,000 people. And 62% of TB cases in the United States are from foreign-born persons. While tuberculosis was rampant in the early to mid part of the twentieth century in the United States, TB has … Continue reading [Photos] An Historical Look at Tuberculosis

A Global Update on Tuberculosis on World TB Day

Today marks World TB Day, a day that has been celebrated since 1982 to remember those who have succumbed to the disease, celebrate the achievements met to lower TB rates, and resolve to do more to treat those who have tuberculosis. According to the Stop TB Partnership 1.5 million people die every year from tuberculosis. That number is down sharply 41% since 1990. The leading … Continue reading A Global Update on Tuberculosis on World TB Day

2020 Marks The International Year of The Nurse and The Midwife #SupportNursesAndMidwives

It is no surprise that the world needs more health workers. In fact, even though there are currently 22 million nurses and 2 million midwives globally there is an urgent need for 18 million more health workers in order to reach universal health care coverage by 2030 according to the World Health Organization.

There is a particular need for 9 million nurses and midwives as they are critical components to a robust health system and are often on the front lines of general and critical care including:

  • Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases
  • Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases
  • Sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, and maternal and newborn health care, including immunization and breastfeeding support.
Continue reading “2020 Marks The International Year of The Nurse and The Midwife #SupportNursesAndMidwives”

First Malaria Vaccine Rolls Out in Malawi

It is heartening to see progress in the fight against malaria. Over the past thirty years and with hundreds of millions of dollars invested thus far, the RTS,S malaria vaccine was officially rolled out yesterday in Malawi. In 2017, I wrote about the vaccine trials that began in 2009 and the announcement of the three countries that had been chosen for the vaccine rollout: Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to prevent approximately 4 in 10 malaria cases, including 3 in 10 cases of life-threatening severe malaria. Now two years later the vaccine is officially in use to curb the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of African children under the age of five. The Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program will continue through 2022.

Continue reading “First Malaria Vaccine Rolls Out in Malawi”

Ensuring Safer Pregnancies for Kenyan Women in Urban Slums

File 20170503 4133 1yqyw00
Antenatal care is important during pregnancy.
Reuters

Blessing Mberu, African Population and Health Research Center; Kanyiva Muindi, African Population and Health Research Center, and Patricia Elungata, McGill University

Globally, there’s a general decline in the number of women who die from pregnancy or childbirth complications. However in Kenya, it remains high at 488
deaths per 100,000 live births. Maternal mortality is a health indicator of the wide gaps
between rich and poor, urban and rural areas within countries.

The lack of appropriate maternal health services and an almost near absence of public health facilities within the slums has led to the reliance on for profit health facilities.

Most of the health facilities available in the slums face challenges like the lack of skilled personnel and necessary equipment to deal with maternal and child health emergencies.

Transport costs and poverty are barriers to proper utilisation of maternal health care services in the slums leading to deaths of mothers during this critical period.

Continue reading “Ensuring Safer Pregnancies for Kenyan Women in Urban Slums”

Three African Countries Chosen for First Malaria Vaccine Trials

For decades, there has been consistent chatter, research, and hope for a potential malaria vaccine. Now, all three are finally coming to fruition to roll out the world’s first clinical malaria vaccine trials. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced today that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have been chosen for the WHO-coordinated pilot implementation program that will make the world’s first malaria vaccine … Continue reading Three African Countries Chosen for First Malaria Vaccine Trials

Maternal Malnutrition Affects Future Generations: Kenya Must Break the Cycle

By Elizabeth Echoka, Kenya Medical Research Institute and Lydia Kaduka, Kenya Medical Research Institute

Nutrition of women before and during pregnancy and when breastfeeding is critical in determining the health and survival of the mother and of her unborn baby.

Undernourished pregnant women have higher reproductive risks. They are more likely to experience obstructed labour, or to die during or after childbirth. Poor nutrition in pregnancy also results in babies growing poorly in the womb and being born underweight and susceptible to diseases. These mothers also invariably produce low quality breast milk.

Maternal malnutrition has inter-generational consequences because it is cyclical. Poor nutrition in pregnancy is linked to undernourishment in-utero which results in low birth weight, pre-maturity, and low nutrient stores in infants. These babies end up stunted and, in turn, give birth to low birth weight babies. Optimal maternal nutrition is therefore vital to break this inter-generational cycle.

In Kenya, women’s nutritional needs during pregnancy has not received much attention. This has exposed a gap in efforts to improve maternal and child health.

Continue reading “Maternal Malnutrition Affects Future Generations: Kenya Must Break the Cycle”

HIV ‘Test and Treat’ Strategy Can Save Lives

By Sydney Rosen, Boston University

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to take a tremendous toll on human health, with 37 million people infected and 1.2 million deaths worldwide in 2014. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the HIV epidemic has been most devastating, more than 25 million people are HIV-infected, about 70 percent of the global total.

But as of 2014, only about 11 million people infected with the virus in Africa were receiving treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications, which can stop the progression of disease and reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

That leaves 14 million people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa untreated. This is partly because, until recently, most countries have provided ART only for patients who reached a specific threshold in HIV disease progression. And starting ART can be a lengthy and complicated process, leading many patients to drop out of care before they even begin treatment.

Continue reading “HIV ‘Test and Treat’ Strategy Can Save Lives”

5 Historic Photos of Southern, Rural Midwives

From time to time I like to look back into history and share photos I find in the Library of Congress archives. I have done that previously with breastfeeding, newborn health, and tuberculosis. Today, I am sharing photographs I found of rural midwives in the south.

midwife 3
Delano, Jack. Midwife in doorway of her house. Near Siloam, Greene County, Georgia. 1941 May. Reproduction Number: LC-USF34-044303-D (b&w film neg.)

midwife 4
Delano, Jack. Midwife wrapping her kit to go on a call in Greene County, Georgia. 1941 October. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-fsa-8c29209 (digital file from original neg.) LC-USF34-046569-E (b&w film nitrate neg.)

Continue reading “5 Historic Photos of Southern, Rural Midwives”

Researchers Say Donor Funding Will Make Malaria Drugs More Affordable

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest burden of malaria sickness and death. In fact, 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa  according to the World Health Organization. Children under the age of five are particularly susceptible of dying from malaria and adults can be completely debilitated by the infectious disease as it zaps their energy little by little for weeks. It is important, then, that those who live in malaria prone areas have the medicinal options needed to fight off the disease.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and New York University business schools have written a recent paper showing that more donor funding from U.S. multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as from foundations like the Clinton Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are critical to keeping the price of malaria drugs low for poor people to afford. Buying these Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) is literally a matter between life and death.

Continue reading “Researchers Say Donor Funding Will Make Malaria Drugs More Affordable”

Why Newborns are on the World Health Assembly’s Agenda

Today the 67th World Health Assembly convened in Geneva, Switzerland. On tap this week will be discussions about health issues ranging from climate change to tuberculosis. Also on the agenda is a key discussion about newborns and the draft of the Every Newborn Action Plan (item 14.2 on the agenda). You might remember that as a network of moms we helped provide comments on the … Continue reading Why Newborns are on the World Health Assembly’s Agenda

Support Our Partner, End 7

One thing is certain: I do not know how to read a fiscal budget, but I have sat in awe watching experts dissect the President’s budget line by line and then meticulously explain what programs have been cut and programs that have been relatively spared. So, when our partner, End 7, reported that funding for the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Neglected Tropical Disease … Continue reading Support Our Partner, End 7

The Face of Neglected Tropical Disease

When we think about diseases in Africa we think about the biggest of them – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. We forget about the neglected tropical diseases that debilitate so many in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia from intestinal worms to elephantiasis. These diseases are real and they are easily prevented, but as their name suggests, these diseases are nearly neglected. In fact, the WHO Regional … Continue reading The Face of Neglected Tropical Disease

One Man’s Anger: When the Global Water Crisis Hits Home

When I was in Zambia in July reporting on infectious diseases, something happened one day while visiting the N’Gombe compound in Lusaka that really made me think critically about the global water problem and how extensive and intricate it really is. While we sat inside the small, tidy home of a family that was affected by tuberculosis and listened intently to their personal story we … Continue reading One Man’s Anger: When the Global Water Crisis Hits Home