Lack of necessary capacity in African countries to convert relevant new scientific knowledge into practices that could improve the people’s welfare and the general development is to blame for the increased number of poor people in the continent.

“The weak institutional linkages that often lead to undue and ill thought out over reliance on international donor funding is partly to blame for the miseries in most African countries,” Dr. Rebecca Hanlin, Development and policy expert from the Open University, Britain says.

Dr. Hanlin observes that Africa can develop faster once the governments starts allocating reasonable funds to science and innovation development adding that annual budgetary under funding by the African governments only helps drag the continent backward.

Worried by the soaring cases of people presenting to health facilities with diseases that cause excruciating pain such cancers and HIV/AIDS, medical practitioners in sub-Saharan Africa now want palliative care given the prominence it deserves.

They are pushing for a comprehensive policy on Palliative Care to reduce the disease burden, particularly on the poor.

Salt MinesPerturbed by the low use of iodine, African governments are now putting on the top of their health agenda this critical micro-nutrient celebrated for its role in brain development.  

For the first time, the topic was discussed during last week’s Special Session at the 46th annual meeting of Ministers of Health from Eastern and Southern Africa held in Seychelles.

The recent publication of the amended Biosafety Bill 2007 that is due for tabling in parliament has now given consumers and farmers more voice to protect their interest as the country gears to legalize the use of genetically modified foods.

In the new amended Bill, the number of consumers and farmers representatives in the National Biosafety Authority has been increased to 2 each from the earlier recommended one.

%AM, %13 %124 %2008 %04:%May

Kenya may loose Global Fund Funding

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The country is not going to be allowed to use HIV/AIDS money for Round 7 that was allocated recently, until specific and comprehensive mechanisms are put in place to address serious absorption capacity for Round 2 money that the Fund has been unhappy with.

Of the funds given for Round 2 more than three years ago, over US$57 million (Ksh 3.6 billion) is yet to be spend in the phase 2 of the round. Of these, US$ 17 million is supposed to buy antiretroviral drugs, with the rest going to strengthening structures and reporting systems. The Global Fund has warned that this money will be returned and future funding stopped if it is not used by the end of November.

Journalists who covered and were psychologically affected by last year’s post election violence are now going to benefit from a trauma counseling programme that was launched last week.

Organized by the Kenya Association of Photographers, Illustrators and Designers (KAPIDE) and Kenya Correspondents’ Association (KCA) and funded by International Media Support (IMS), the programme will provide trauma counseling to a total of 150 journalists.

%AM, %01 %161 %2008 %05:%Apr

Sleeping sickness makes a comeback in Uganda

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fly. Image courtesy of ILRISleeping sickness, a disease that was thought to have been wiped out in Uganda has started re-emerging at an alarming rate, sending panic with the Ugandan health sector and across the border.

Caused by tse tse flies and rated as one of the neglected tropical ailments in the developing world, the disease is already spreading to new areas of Uganda where it was once eradicated.

A new study released last week  shows that 40 percent of health workers in  public, private, faith based and non governmental health facilities exhibit stigma and discrimination tendencies against HIV Aids positive patients.

 Conducted between 2006 and 2007 in the country’s five provinces, the study reveals how government hospitals are operating without standard policy guidelines for People Living with HIV Aids (PLHIV), despite the policy documents lying at the Ministry of Health.

%PM, %28 %507 %2008 %14:%Feb

Shattered by a bullet

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The road leading to Mashimoni village in Kibera is long and rough. Sewers stream like small rivers under handmade wooden bridges.  

Pamela Aoko Ndhiwa has lived here for the last three years. She seems oblivious to the the sewage just inches from her plastic sandals as she crosses the small bridges leading to her house.

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