(Ecofin Agency) – This week in Africa: in Cameroon, training in oncological care is being prepared for health professionals; at the same time, the Africa CDC is launching training in epidemiology to strengthen public health skills on the continent. In the Central African Republic, MSF is concerned about the rise in violence, which is seriously disrupting health care; diphtheria epidemics are raging in Guinea, Nigeria and Algeria. In Burundi, a cholera epidemic is hitting the Imbo plain, and in Mali HIV remains a challenge, despite efforts to eradicate it by 2030.
Cameroon: strengthening in the fight against cancer
Cameroon is preparing to launch training in oncological care for health professionals. The project, part of the fight against cancer, is initiated jointly by the Ministry of Public Health (known as “Minsanté”) and the American Cancer Society, an American organization founded in 1913 to fight cancer.
The training will be provided online and in class, with the support of the Center Hospitalier Universitaire de Yaoundé (CHUY). Ultimately, it will be a question of providing the medical profession with skills adapted to Cameroon’s needs in terms of oncology, according to the Ministry of Higher Education.
The initiative was presented to the Ministry of Higher Education on August 31 in order to seek support from this ministerial department, as reported by the media Stop Blablacam.
Last June, Cameroon adopted a National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Cancer, one of the objectives of which is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to cancer by at least 10%. In 2020, some 13,199 people died from cancer in the country, and 20,745 new cases were diagnosed, of which 12,235 were mainly gynecological (breast and cervical cancer, the most common and fatal). , according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Africa CDC opens training in epidemiology
The African Union CDC Agency offers training in epidemiology to strengthen public health prevention and response capacities at the continental level. This initiative is open to applicants from AU Member States interested in applied epidemiology, according to the Africa CDC. Participants must be employed in an African country, hold a doctoral level degree in public health or a similar field, have at least three years of experience in public health and be fluent in one of the AU working languages. The application deadline is October 26.
Central African Republic: MSF denounces the rise in violence
The humanitarian association Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is sounding the alarm in the Central African Republic (CAR), particularly in Batangafo, where violence threatens the continuity of health care.
Indeed, since the start of 2023, MSF has recorded 16 incidents, mainly violent robberies perpetrated by local armed groups. Two of these attacks degenerated into sexual violence. These actions endanger essential medical activities in Batangafo, risking depriving residents of the region of vital access to health care.
” We are scandalized by this violence committed against patients, our staff and the drivers who carry out the transfers. They travel while being clearly identified as belonging to a humanitarian organizationexplains Gisa Kohler, MSF operations manager for the Central African Republic. Our teams are regularly held up at gunpoint, and the evasive responses provided by local armed groups, who always attribute the actions to uncontrolled elements to avoid any responsibility, are unacceptable.. »
Moreover, ” The repeated attacks affecting MSF and our patients are jeopardizing the continuation of our medical activities in the outskirts of Batangafo. If we were forced to leave, it would significantly reduce access to care for residents. “, we add.
From January to July 2023, the humanitarian association claims to have carried out nearly 115,000 medical consultations and transferred more than 2,000 patients from rural areas to the city hospital.--
Diphtheria in Africa: Epidemic in Guinea, Nigeria and Algeria
At Nigeria, the diphtheria epidemic, under surveillance since the beginning of the year, persists. From May 2022 to July 2023, the country reported 4,160 suspected cases, including 1,534 confirmed cases. Among confirmed cases, 137 deaths (case fatality 8.9%) were reported.
At the same time, another diphtheria epidemic is occurring in another West African country, Guinea. According to the WHO, this began on July 4 in the Kankan region. From the start of the outbreak on July 4 to August 27, a total of 117 suspected cases were reported, including seven confirmed cases. A total of 37 deaths have been reported, including all confirmed cases. Nine (24.3%) of the deaths occurred in the community. Currently, 189 active contacts are under monitoring. Note that the Siguiri district, in the Kankan region, represented 85.5% of total cases (100). Vaccination coverage, for the third dose of the pentavalent vaccine (which includes the diphtheria vaccine), was 47% in 2022, and even lower in the Kankan region according to a recent survey.
In the North of the Continent, in the Maghreb, Algeria also reports an outbreak of diphtheria. The Algerian Ministry of Health announced emergency measures to contain this outbreak in the southern regions on August 3. 90 cases, including 16 confirmed cases, have been reported.
Note that diphtheria remains a serious bacterial infection, caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It usually affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, sometimes the skin. The disease is spread from person to person through droplet transmission, usually by inhaling the bacteria after an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even laughs. Vaccination remains essential to protect against the disease.
Burundi: cholera epidemic in the Imbo plain
In Burundi, a cholera epidemic is hitting the Imbo plain, with 12 cases recorded in one day, according to local media. The most affected areas are the northern districts of Bujumbura as well as the communes of the provinces of Bujumbura and Cibitoke. The lack of drinking water is identified as the cause of this epidemic.
According to the same source, currently, 22 patients are hospitalized (in the provinces of Bujumbura and Cibitoke), all treated in cholera treatment centers. Burundian health authorities stress the importance of hygiene, including hand washing with soap and water.
Mali: 100 new infections and 88 HIV-related deaths recorded every week
In Mali, there are still 100 new infections and 88 deaths linked to HIV/AIDS every week, according to the High National Council for the Fight against AIDS (HCNLS), highlighting a 2022 UNAIDS report. Thus, in Mali in 2022, 119,000 people were living with HIV, including 6,200 newly infected. This situation contrasts with the WHO’s global goal to eradicate HIV/AIDS by 2030, in a context of “relaxation” in terms of prevention of viral disease. According to the executive secretary of the HCNLS, Dr Ichaka Moumine, this relaxation is due to underfinancing of the fight against AIDS in Mali. In particular, the partners’ commitments have been negatively impacted by the socio-political and economic situation of the country. Thus, although HIV-related expenditures increased in 2022, reaching 22.9 billion FCFA compared to 21 billion in 2021, the HCNLS estimates that this funding remains insufficient to meet the needs planning, valued at 27.3 billion FCFA. The Malian state contributed only 2.2 billion FCFA, or 11%, while the rest of the funds came from abroad. Despite these challenges , the High Council says it is determined to achieve the goal of “zero deaths from HIV and zero new transmissions by 2030”.
Ayi Renaud Dossavi
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