Posts Tagged ‘Sophie Okolo’

Fighting Elder Abuse in Angola

In Elder Abuse, Elderly on December 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Two weeks ago, we wrote about elderly abuse in Africa. This time, we want to congratulate the Ministry of Welfare and Social Reintegration on tackling elder abuse in Angola.

In Luena Angola, the Minister of Welfare and Social Reintegration, João Baptista Kussumua, recently opened an elderly shelter home. The goal of the shelter home is to provide greater protection and psychosocial assistance to the elderly, especially those that are in family abandonment situations. According to the Minister, the initiative will contribute to the elder’s social and economic conditions and thus retrieve the respect to people submitted to various abuses.

This initiative will help to decrease the incidence of elderly street begging that results from the elderly leaving their homes due to elder abuse. In addition, the elder’s quality of life will be improved. Our hope is that old age homes will increase and elder abuse can be confronted. Check out Villa Sunfield Old Age Home and Frail Care Facility in Durban, South Africa.


The Untold Story: Elder Abuse

In Elder Abuse on November 18, 2012 at 5:06 am

In Angola, the ill-treatment suffered by many elderly people contributes a lot to their departure from the home and their families (Ministry of Welfare Social Reintegration). Although some families take care of their elderly parents, others subject their parents to physical and emotional abuse. This results in a reduced quality of life for the elderly. “The disrespect that old people receive from their relatives compel them to leave their residences to other places, seeking better living conditions”, said Berta Mendonça, the Deputy Provincial Director of Welfare and Social Reintegration.

Since old age homes are not widespread in Angola, and elder abuse is rarely reported, the elderly end up living on the streets. Ms. Mendonça explains that “the abuse situation is also the cause behind the increase in the number of old people who are street beggars”. In addition to being a marginalized and vulnerable group, elderly street beggars are at risk for diseases, malnutrition, and mental health issues. There are very few health systems that currently address this problem because elderly street begging is common in Africa. Governments should make this a priority by launching elderly home care and adult day programs, for instance. Moreover, NGOs and humanitarians can play a part too. This video portrays the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Namibia.


UN Launches De-worming Effort In West Africa

In NTDs on November 2, 2012 at 3:51 am

The recent hunger crisis in West Africa`s Sahel region has spurred a series of intestinal-worm and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that have spread in the wake of regional flooding. In response to the problem, the United Nations just launched a de-worming effort in West Africa. According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), simple de-worming interventions will ensure that people can fully benefit from the food aid distributed. The concern is that malnourished children and adults are very susceptible to contracting these NTDs, transmitted via contaminated water, soil and parasites. NTDs are a group of poverty-associated chronic infectious diseases “such as bilharzia, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms” that are endemic in poor and rural populations in the developing countries of Africa, America and Asia, according to WHO. The diseases affect over 1.4 billion people worldwide, and cause severe morbidity and mortality. They are transmitted by insect bites, flies, water contact or worms in the soil, and are easily spread in areas of poor sanitation.

Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO`s African Regional Director, reported that the flooding created the ideal breeding ground for contracting NTDs and worm-like diseases in the Sahel region. As a consequence, people are now more at risk of malnutrition because of the rise in the number of NTD cases. Despite the Sahel flooding, NTD cases are always on the rise because of low quality drinking water and inadequate latrine coverage. This, in addition to the flooding, creates a sad reality for the people living in these areas. Integrating de-worming activities is “feasible and cost-effective” costing less than 50 cents to treat a person for a year, according to WHO. Since de-worming activities is feasible and cost-effective, I wonder why treatment is still rare in the affected countries. It is time for more humanitarian agencies, public and private sectors, and even lay persons to know about NTDs and get involved in any capacity. This video highlights the current work in Tanzania.

Culled from UN News Center

Investing in Africa’s Youth

In Youth on October 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

One of the main issues of The African Union Youth Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (12-14 Sept 2012) was to highlight the need for youth empowerment in Africa. This is a welcome development because youths make up the next generation of workers, parents, and leaders. Therefore, investing in them is top priority for the continent’s transformation. Currently, Africa is the most youthful continent in the world. At least 35 per cent of its more than one billion population is between the ages of 15 and 35.

The challenges of Africa’s youth can no longer be ignored. Youths have substantial energy and resilience, and the power to induce change. When educated, empowered and employed, there are gains on various levels. For instance, if they are equipped with the knowledge and experience, they can challenge the current health policies and improve the quality of health care in Africa. It has been proven that income affects one’s health status. Therefore, the goal is to reduce health disparities and produce a generation that can further enhance the current state of healthcare delivery in Africa.

At the end of the two-day Conference in Addis Abba, the African Union’s ministers in charge of youth assigned the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa to identify policy recommendations for African governments in order to adequately address the challenges of young people. It is gratifying that this is beginning to receive some attention among various policy makers on the continent. Ultimately, it should be the central focus of development strategy at the regional and national levels. This video portrays the challenges of Somalia’s youth today.

Adapting to Meet the Health Needs of Elderly with Dementia

In Dementia, Elderly, Mental Health on October 5, 2012 at 6:31 am

One of the main health challenges for the elderly in Africa are non-communicable diseases such as dementia, but current health systems are not designed to meet such chronic care needs. Dementia is set to become a major problem for African countries. The World Alzheimer report 2011, from Alzheimer’s Disease International, estimated that by 2050 the number of people living with dementia would rise from 36 million to 115 million. The proportion living in low- and middle-income countries would rise from 58% to 71%, and African countries are part of the list.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), health systems in Africa, need to adapt to meet the chronic care needs of the elderly as the shift to aging populations gathers pace in low- and middle-income countries in the world. As populations age rapidly, infrastructure must be put in place to address the needs of elderly with dementia.


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

Africa’s Elderly Faces New Crisis

In Elderly on September 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm

As Africa’s population grows, so does the number of older people. Traditionally, extended families have taken care of elderly members but that’s now changing, meaning aging Africans are facing new problems. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that around 50 million people above the age of 60 account for around five percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population. In the past, most of them turned to their families for help but that practice is becoming less widespread.

Unfortunately, convincing people that the elderly in Africa are in need of help is no easy task. Even development policy debates tend to marginalize issues related to the elderly. One example is The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that focuses only on women and children. Despite these issues, we should not give up hope because the elderly need our help. This video highlights the current situation in Zimbabwe:

Culled from Deutsche Welle

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