African Health & Wellness

Tanzanian Government Kicks Against Arbitrary Use of Antibiotics.

Since the system inflames antimicrobial resistance, the Tanzanian government has frowned against pharmacies and drug dispensing outlets selling antibiotics to patients without a doctor’s prescription. 

Improper use of antibiotics, according to Chief Pharmacist Daudi Msasi stands as a threat to public health, calling on stakeholders to help spread education on the proper usage. He noted that the government has already authorized Pharmacy (Prescription Handling and Control) Regulations since June last year in handling antimicrobial resistance.

Mr. Msasi further explained that the respective authorities had started holding accountable pharmacists who go against the laws, as he outlined the penalties in the regulations which included fines, facing a jail term, or closing down their businesses by revoking their licenses, among others.

While he presided over a meeting to discuss the problem ahead of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, Mr. Msasi said, antimicrobial resistance is costly because when diseases are responding to the drugs, it will force the government to look for others which might be expensive”.

The meeting was organized by the Roll Back Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative (RBA Initiative). It is a non-governmental organization with the aim to fight back antimicrobial resistance. It supervises both rural and urban communities as critical players in addressing antimicrobial resistance. 

Mr. Msasi lauded the organization for a job well done in Dodoma and Bahi districts, stating that the initiatives ought to be rolled out in the whole region and country at large.

According to him, the regulations governing pharmacies have been approved by the government, as well as other drug dispensing outlets to ensure that they abide by the laws while conducting business. He said these regulations are also focused on safeguarding public health by making sure that all dispensing outlets adhere to the regulations.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is aimed at increasing awareness among the public on antimicrobial resistance and encouraging only the appropriate use of drugs. The chief pharmacist noted that appropriate use of medical drugs includes sticking to only doctor’s prescriptions, where to get them, and the duration of the patient’s medication among others.

“However, people should use antibiotics according to their doctors’ prescriptions and avoid buying such drugs without being recommended by any medical personnel,” he pointed out.

He also explained how antimicrobial resistance varies and is dependent on the drug of choice, mentioning that the nation, for example, was treating malaria with chloroquine. Nevertheless, it developed a 50% resistance rate and had to be stopped. Suphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), which was also stopped since it was not working as intended, took its place. The Chief Pharmacist added that medications are removed from treating certain diseases when they exhibit a 50% resistance to the drug since patients will no longer respond to it.

According to Thereza Evarist, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (Po-RALG), antibiotic usage and abuse in humans and farm animals exacerbates antimicrobial resistance.

She stated that a new study demonstrates the evolution of resistance to artemisinin, an antibacterial used in the treatment of malaria, despite the paucity of data in the African region.

She noted that the African region is more severely impacted than any other region of the world by the estimated one in ten medicines that are thought to be substandard or fabricated internationally.

In addition, she urged all parties involved to collaborate in order to ensure that future generations have access to safe, effective antibiotics. This included making investments in infrastructure related to water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as restricting the use of antibiotics in livestock and aquafarming.



Expansion of Guinea’s Dental School in Pioneering.

The dire need to give the people of Guinea access to quality dental care is taking a major step forward with the expansion of the country’s only dental school.

Lack of access to affordable, safe dental and surgical care has been an issue in Guinea, like much of sub-Saharan Africa.

Across 47 countries, Sub-Saharan Africa, as a whole, only had 11 dental schools offering dental training to an undergraduate level in 2000. This number has since increased to 35 dental schools across 16 countries in the region. But despite an increase in dentists, overall population growth has still left nations desperately under-served dental care.

International charity Mercy Ships is funding the expansion project in Guinea as part of its ongoing partnership with University Gamal Abdel Nasser of Conakry (UGANC) to enhance the quality of dental education for generations to come.

The crisis in dental care struck American dentist Dr. David Ugai hard when he first visited Guinea after his graduation while volunteering for Mercy Ships in 2012-13 for ten months.

Despite treating patients, the queue for treatment continued to increase.

He also observed that dental students, entire studies were just theoretical, and unlike his training, there was no practical training for dental students. The first time students treated real-life patients clinically was after they had graduated.

He said: “If you really did a true assessment of the dental need, it’s going to be high, whether that’s access to care, whether that’s the cost for dental treatments, whether that is the access to providers, whether they have enough dentists in-country or not.

“In the U.S. we’re used to, you know, one dentist per 2,000, or 3,000, or 5,000 people. You go to some African countries, you’re at one dentist per 1 million. You can’t start talking about dental care being functional and developed and being able to treat the population because you don’t even have a workforce to start that conversation.”

In 2018, he returned to Guinea with Mercy Ships and participated in the launch of a new kind of partnership: Mercy Ships’ collaboration with Guinea’s only public dental school at UGANC in Conakry which is training all the dentists for the country.

David said: “Initially, we just renovated the space. They allowed us to use a room for our normal Mercy Ships dental program. And then, during the field service, the Dean at the time asked if we could incorporate some of the students into our program so they could get some experience in the clinic.

“That was kind of the birth of how we slowly started engaging with the dental school, started working more specifically with students, and really started forming a true partnership with the university and the dental department.”

When the ship left in 2019, David decided to stay. Four years later, he remains in Guinea as the Mercy Ships Country Director and Director of dental education and investment. In this role, he oversees the education and clinical experience of the young dentists who work their way through the university’s dental program.

He has been instrumental in the expanded two-floor clinical training building that will more than double the capacity for dental students to study and treat patients to 22 dental chairs. It will also include a greatly expanded radiology department and equipment which will now house 6 intra-oral x-rays, 1 panoramic, and 1 Cone Beam CT with cephalometric.

Dr. Ugai said the upgrade will allow all current and future students access to simulation and clinical training which will greatly improve the quality of teaching and dentists that qualify. The dental school has up to 150 students at any one time.

It is hoped the invested education will not only help Guinea but the neighboring countries as well.

National Community Health Day: Malawi Launches Tipewe Cholera/Covid-19 Campaign.

Malawi government, on the 25th of October, launched the National Community Health Framework (2023-2030), the “Tipewe Cholera/Covid 19” campaign, and re-launched the Human Papillomavirus vaccination drive.

The Ministry of Health, through the Community Health Services Section and its partners, has been implementing community health services as one of the strategies to attain Universal Health Coverage by 2030. In 2019, the government, through the Ministry of Health set this day with the purpose of raising awareness about the importance of community health in Malawi. Express appreciation for community health impact and community health workers and other actors across the community health system. As well as advocate for more resources for community health interventions.

Speaking at the launch and commemoration in Likoma, H.E. the President of Malawi, Dr Lazarus Chakwera encouraged communities to have all girls aged between 9 and 14 receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

He stated that Malawi has a life-saving vaccine that provides primary prevention of cervical cancer. This vaccine is freely available for all.

“Malawi introduced the HPV vaccine in 2019, targeting girls at nine years old. Although the program started well, the last two years have seen a significant decline in the uptake of the HPV vaccine among our girls. The re-launch of the HPV vaccination program in Malawi is a critical step in our commitment to promoting optimum health”, President Chakwera said.

He stated that despite Malawi making strides in containing Cholera, preventive measures are critical for the vulnerable and those in high-risk areas especially this rainy season, a time when water-borne diseases are at strife.

The President expressed his gratitude to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the United States Agency for International Development, The Global Fund, GAVI, Last Mile Health, Mother2Mother, the Embassy of Iceland, and the private sector players for the continued support to the government in the implementation of community health services in the country.

In her remarks, United Nations Resident Coordinator Rebecca Adda Dontoh reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to quality health service delivery and human rights protection. She stated that collaborative efforts have successfully reduced Cholera and Covid-19 cases in Malawi including tackling the aftermath of natural disasters like Cyclone Freddy.

She said community health programs are vital in Malawi. “They bridge distances and costs, offering high Return on Investment (ROI), and serving as emergency response channels. The Government of Malawi’s investments in life-saving interventions through Community Health programs over the past few decades have saved millions of lives. There has been a notable decline in under-five mortality. Successes include impactful interventions like immunization, Safe Motherhood, WASH, nutrition programs, and response to public health emergencies”, she said.

Meanwhile, President Dr Lazarus Chakwera took time to appreciate various developments taking place in the area, a solar-powered system that is used as a source of energy on the Island, port services, and the expansion of Chima Health Centre.

According to Director of Health and Social Services Dr Gracewell Mathewe, Likoma district currently relies on St Peters Hospital, under the Anglican Church which is overwhelmed.

“We have one small delivery room, which has been divided into antenatal, post-natal, and another ward where we put neonates that have complications. “The population is growing, and as government, we need to effectively serve the community. We hope that after construction of this OPD at Chima, we will have a fully-fledged Maternity Wing and other structures to address the district’s needs,” says Mathewe.

Gambia: Capacity Building On Integrated Polio Surveillance.

The Gambia played host to a four-day capacity building on integrated polio surveillance in the African Region.

This event which took place at Bakadaji Hotel, sought to expose participants to new skills and approaches required in terms of surveillance towards totally eradicating polio virus on the continent.

Speaking to journalists, Dr. Ndoutabe Modjirom, coordinator of the WHO-led polio outbreaks Rapid Response Team for the African Region, explained that they are meeting in Banjul to train and strengthen the capacity of francophone when it comes to early detection of all polio cases in Africa region and to work towards implementing quick response to combat further spread of all types of polioviruses so that by 2024 the virus will be eradicated in the continent and beyond.

He thanked The Gambia government for hosting the meeting which he considered important, further expressing optimism that at the end of the form, delegates would be capacitated to be able to work towards combating the spread of the virus in the region.

For his part, Desta Tiruneh, World Health Organization representative, described the forum as one of several events organized across the African region, recalling that a similar one was convened about two weeks ago in Kigali, Rwanda for anglophone Africa, where delegates from The Gambia attended.

WHO rep reminded that the world is on the verge of eradicating polio completely, but that they are facing some challenges as there still exist two countries in Asia, where the virus is still endemic in poliovirus.

“But in addition to that we have what we call vaccine-derived polio viruses which are circulating on the continent. So, these trainings we are organizing across the continent, are meant to strengthen our surveillance system to detect any introduction of these polio virus in any country.”

These efforts, he added, are geared towards completely eradicating the virus on the continent and beyond, further expressing their resolve to wipe out the virus on the face of the earth.

He thus challenged participants to be ready to learn new skills and methods of surveillance in the region and make these surveillance systems up to standards so that no virus poses a threat.

“If we do that then we are ready to eradicate the polio virus completely. That is why we are bringing in so many countries here and this cost a lot of money and energy, but we believe it is necessary and without this, we cannot achieve polio eradication.”

Seychelles Hosts Inaugural IFBB Event.

Seychelles will host the 2023 IFBB International Grand Prix for the first time with the participation of over 20 athletes vying for the top prize. 

The competition, which is being done in collaboration between the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB) and local body Seychelles Elite Pro Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, will take place on Saturday, at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Beach Resort.

The chairperson of the Seychelles Elite Pro Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, Chantal Pinchon, told SNA that “it was during the IFBB congress last year, that we met with the president, and there the idea of Seychelles hosting an IFBB event came around and was agreed upon.”  

The event will start at 6 p.m. and eight participants from Seychelles, six men, and two women have already confirmed their participation. Savio Larue, Elicks Rapide, Jean-Luc Belle, Andy Anthony, and Derrick Mensah will compete among the ladies, while Shereen Azemia and Lindsay Payet will compete.

Pinchon explained that while this tournament is reserved for amateur bodybuilders, Ziad Meckdachi, who retired as a professional, will not be able to compete.

“There will be seven IFBB pro cards up for grabs, to the winners of each category. Getting an IFBB Pro Card means the bodybuilder becomes part of the elite. At this point you’ve made it, and have the opportunity to follow a genuine career as a professional bodybuilder, earning a decent income by competing and winning,” she said.

There will be six categories for men – bodybuilding, physique, classic physique, classic bodybuilding, junior classic bodybuilding, and junior men’s physique.

The ladies will compete in the bikini fitness, and bikini physique, as well as in the fit model categories.

Pinchon said that one of the advantages of Seychelles hosting the competition is that the participants will not have to deal with the expenses of going abroad.

She said she was hoping to get more local participants.

“I want the athletes to be more serious with the sport, where they have to ensure that they are ready in time for such competitions,” said Pinchon, who revealed that Seychelles will in fact hold a second international competition on June 22, 2024.

Tickets for the competition cost SCR300 ($22) while those wishing to attend the competition and the buffet dinner must pay SCR1200 ($90).


Anuga 2023 Brings Tunisian Agri-Food Industry to Spotlight.

Forty Tunisian exhibitors operating in the agri-food sector are participating in the world’s leading trade fair for food and beverages, “Anuga 2023,” organized October 7th-11th, in Cologne, Germany.

Spearheaded by the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX), the Tunisian 25th consecutive participation in this event includes exhibitors specialized in olive oil, canned food (tuna, sardines, and harissa), dates and by-products, pastry, charcuterie, pre-prepared dishes, and dried tomatoes.

Anuga which brings together all the key players, producers, buyers, and decision-makers in the sector, is considered to be the world’s leading agri-food event, with a record number of exhibitors exceeding 7,800 and over 200,000 professional visitors, CEPEX said on Monday.

The Tunisian exhibitors succeeded in making contact with trade visitors from over 55 foreign countries, according to CEPEX.

Tunisia’s participation in this trade fair also served to showcase a fairly comprehensive range of Tunisian products and to promote Tunisia’s strengths in a market that offers real export opportunities.

A cooking show space was set up to offer visitors the opportunity to sample flavors concocted from products on display in the 435m² national pavilion.

As part of its strategy of supporting SMEs, CEPEX offered five small Tunisian companies operating in the agri-food sector the opportunity to exhibit in a “NewComer” space.

A working meeting was held with all the exhibitors. Discussions focused on export opportunities and potential business development alternatives in the German market.

The meeting also offered an opportunity to discuss the promotional program of the Tunisian Embassy in Berlin for 2024.

Germany ranks second on the list of countries with which Tunisia can considerably develop its exports, with an untapped potential estimated at $1.1 billion.