Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Publication on Research Priorities for Chagas, Leishmaniasis and Sleeping Sickness

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm

The World Health Organization has released a new public health publication9789241209755_cf200 titled Research Priorities for Chagas Disease, Human African Trypanosomiasis and Leishmaniasis. This report presents an evaluation and listing of research priorities for three insect-borne diseases:

  • Chagas disease
  • Human African trypanosomiasis
  • Leishmaniasis

These diseases disproportionately afflict poor and remote populations with limited access to health services, and the pathogenic mechanisms are poorly understood but typically entail immunological processes. The work is the output of the disease reference group on Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis (DRG3), which was part of an independent think tank of international experts established by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) to identify key research priorities through systematic review of research evidence and input from stakeholder consultations.

The research priorities fall into the general areas of diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, vector control and health systems. They include:

  • Diagnostics for case detection and characterization, including tests for drug resistance and tests of cure.
  • Therapeutics to avoid drug resistance, including exploration of combinations of approved anti-kinetoplastid drugs, re-purposing of existing approved drugs, and development of new drugs.
  • Vector control technologies, including markers of successful vector control.
  • Vector population characteristics, including insecticide resistance.
  • Operations for integrated disease and vector control.
  • Vaccines to prevent infection and disease and to block transmission of leishmania.
  • The importance of asymptomatic infection.

The mandate for DRG3 was to identify priority areas for future research and investment, including areas common to the three diseases as well as disease-specific priorities that are useful to researchers, policy and decision-makers, funding bodies, implementation organizations, and civil society. This is one of ten disease and thematic reference group reports that have come out of the TDR Think Tank, all of which have contributed to the development of the Global Report for Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty.

A full English version of the book is available here:

Distributed in North America by Stylus Publishing:


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Healthy Policies: Regulating the Nigerian Aviation Industry for Disaster Prevention

In avaiation, Health Policies, News, Uncategorized on December 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm

The recent aviation disaster in Nigeria is a call to the Nigeria Government to examine practices within its aerospace.  News reports indicate that a State governor and five other individuals were killed when a military helicopter crashed enroute Nigeria’s oil capital, Port Harcourt. This is a developing story and you can read more about it HERE.

Air incidents are increasingly becoming significant public health events in Africa’s most populous nation. This year alone, aside from the current event, there have been three reported air disasters which altogether have left close to 200 people dead or injured.

In order to prevent such disasters, the Nigerian Government has to step up to the plate to determine best practices for its aviation industry.

The video below is a record of the site of the DANA air crash that occured in the month of June, this year. Please be warned. The images in the video below are graphic and can be disturbing

Horrible Conditions in Ghanaian Mental Health Institutions and Prayer Camps

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm

We are shocked to learn of the conditions of mental health services in Ghana. According to  Human Rights Watch, Individuals with mental health issues undergo severe abuses in psychiatric institutions and spiritual healing centers, also known as prayer houses.

In a report titled “Like Death Sentence: Abuses against People with Mental Disabilities in Ghana”, Human Rights describes  the inhuman conditions of living that mental health consumers have to deal with at the psychiatric hospitals and prayer houses. These hospitals are overcrowded while human waste products and vectors littered the wards. Sanitary conditions  were equally as bad in those prayers houses. Also, mentally ill residents of prayer houses were bound in chain.

The video below is culled from a BBC report on the conditions of a mental hospital in Ghana. Please be warned that the images are graphic and can be disturbing.

Nutrition Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region

In Nutrition, Uncategorized on September 25, 2012 at 12:30 am

“My other children were able to walk when they were 8 months old, but not Ereta,” said Zaïnabou Mamataya. At 8 months, Ereta weighed only 2.6 kg and was admitted to hospital in Nokou, Western Chad’s Kanem Region.

According to UNICEF, the Kanem region in Chad has been affected by the food and nutrition crisis afflicting Africa’s Sahel area. Since the beginning of 2012, with poor rains continuing to affect agricultural output, the nutrition situation has been deteriorating in Chad. This is devastating for thousands like Ereta. Food is the most basic need for human survival, and a food crisis in the early stages of child development can lead to serious complications including stunted growth, poor mental health and much more. UNICEF reports that an estimated 127,000 children in Chad will be at risk of severe acute malnutrition, a deadly condition, this year. The organization is now increasing its support to hospitals and health centers in the Kanem region, providing them with the supplies to treat malnutrition.

UNICEF is also working on prevention, which is important. As public health professionals, our goal is to tackle the underlying causes of malnutrition. Roger Sodjinou, UNICEF Chad Nutrition Officer, states “people have an unbalanced diet, mainly based on cereal. Mothers don’t think of practicing exclusive maternal breastfeeding.” It is not surprising because Chad has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world: only 3 in every 100 women exclusively breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is proven to be most beneficial for babies and this poses a public health concern in Chad. UNICEF reports that an estimated 13 percent of all deaths among children under age 5 could be prevented with breastfeeding. In addition, many children in Chad are fed unsafe water that can cause diarrhea and other illnesses.

In order to work toward a healthier future, raising awareness about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding should be continued in Chad. Despite poor rains in Chad, the incidence of the nutrition crisis can reduce if breastfeeding rates increase. As the quote reads: “small change produces big impact.”

Culled from UNICEF

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