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Cancer treatment: Ugandan joins African scientists improving cancer care in Africa.

  • Cancer care in Africa has received a shot in the arm after an indigenous invention sprang up in Uganda.
  • African scientists should be proud of their Ugandan colleagues who put together this health innovation.
  • Dr William Wasswa says the components of this machine are mostly sourced from the African continent.

 

In the western Ugandan city of Mbarara, the second largest city in Uganda after Kampala, Dr William Wasswa, an African scientist from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, commonly known as Mbarara University, has contributed to the newest treatments for cancer by manufacturing an automated digital microscope for the uncovering of cervical cancer to check the rising number of death cases.

 

Arial view of the western Ugandan city of Mbarara. Source: www.lakemburoparkuganda.com

 

Last month, in a chat with an online medium, Dr Wasswa mentioned that the affordable machine has several software and hardware inventions that make cancer diagnosis and patient record management quicker and more effective. According to a report published by a scientific journal, the innovative machine has an accuracy of around 97 per cent in detecting cervical cancer from body samples. According to Dr Wasswa, cancer samples in the country are currently analysed manually, and this, he said, is time-consuming, error-prone and has to be done by a trained cytopathologist – an expert in analysing body cells to diagnose disease. “This new technology can take five minutes for you to get the test results”, he said.

 

Explaining how the machine works, Dr Wasswa said, “You load the pap smear (tissue sample from the body) for cervical cancer test under the microscope and the computer does the analysis and gives you the results.” Dr Nixon Niyonzima who is the head of research at the Uganda Cancer Institute, UCI, said that he knows about the invention but is yet to use it to see how well it works. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2014 approximately 3,915 Ugandan women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and that 2,160, representing 55 per cent, died from the disease.

 

Sophisticated radiotherapy machine in a hospital in Uganda. Source: www.monitor.co.ug

 

The microscope is made up of main components including the camera for digitizing the sample’s image, the lead array for lighting, motors for driving the stage, which is where the sample is put, and electronics. “The software for analyzing the sample is the core part which takes most of the work,” Dr Wasswa said. He also mentioned that he put five years into developing the technology. “It was part of my PhD project, and I started a company out of it,” he said, adding, “The new tech also has software which keeps track of all patient’s details, sending them reminders. I have six of them [the microscopes] at the moment. But I am still improving the accuracy. The sensitivity is at 94 per cent and specificity is at 96 per cent.” Sensitivity here refers to the capacity to designate an individual with the disease as positive, while specificity is its ability to designate a person who does not have the disease as negative.

 

Also, artificial intelligence technology forms a part of the new device; the more tests it performs the more it trains itself to achieve more accuracy. “We are making the machine locally. All these things [parts] are 3d printed, and the electronics are assembled locally, so we just get a few motors and a camera. You do most of the work on the software,” Dr Wasswa said. He also pointed out that they are still in the primary phase of the clinical trial. “The trial is being sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. We got some funds from USAID that was the first batch for piloting the platform, the software part,” he said. He went on: “But then we are working with the Royal Academy to improve the microscope. We have Shs32m for the trial [so far]. I have tried to approach the government but I have received good feedback.”

 

Cancer care machine. Source: www.independent.co.ug

 

As soon as the new tech passes all three stages of clinical trial and is approved by the National Drug Authority, NDA, it could be more affordable for hospitals in different parts of the country to begin cancer screening and diagnosis in their facilities. “My machine costs around $300 (Shs1.1m) to $500 (Shs1.8m). The current (imported) microscope they use is about $21,000 (Shs78.1m). The new machine will be five to seven times cheaper than the current microscopes,” Dr Wasswa clarified.  With this innovation, not only Dr Wasswa put his name on the health map, but he also solved a significant African healthcare problem.

 

Healthcare in South Africa progresses as Diabetes management enjoys technological boost.

  • While Diabetes keeps raging in most parts of the world, the Department of Health in South Africa as well as private health establishments are working assiduously to better the lives of people living with the ailment in the country.
  • Technology has proven invaluable in Diabetes management in the country.
  • While the ailment may be chronic, with sustained technological efforts it can be handled effectively.

Diabetes has long been classified as a chronic disease; it is a known source of challenges for patients and, if poorly managed, a known cause of blindness, renal failure, heart attack, and even death. According to the International Diabetes Federation, IDF, cited in www.africa.com, 24 million adults in Africa are currently living and dealing with diabetes, and by 2045, the number is likely to swell up to 55 million. In South Africa, healthcare is administered by the Department of Health. However, South Africa does not have a system of universal healthcare; a private healthcare system runs together with a public healthcare system and the systems have faced Diabetes headlong.

 

Source http://stock.adobe.com                  Source https://www.samagame.org

Source https://www.samagame.org                                               Source www.unsplash.com

The International Diabetes Federation also recently revealed in a report that roughly 4.5 million people live with diabetes in South Africa. The good news is that the 2020 Global Healthcare Index, puts South Africa’s healthcare system at number 49 out of 89 countries; also, the treatment range for managing the ailment has advanced speedily in recent times, with new and expanded technological inventions adding up to the development of new methods of dealing with diabetes, including the development of pills and other medications that lower glucose, as well as a broad list of insulin provisions that manage both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes more efficiently.

 

With this expansive list of effective glucose-lowering agents, remarkable progress has been made in diabetes technology. Diabetes technologies help people with diabetes manage blood glucose levels, avoid complications, improve patients’ quality of life, as well as lighten the load of living with diabetes. People living with diabetes used injectable animal-based insulin for years, but advancement in treatment have been made recently. Diabetes technology has come a long way. Devices are easier, from blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitoring, CGM, to state-of-the-art insulin pumps.

 

Wearable technology has been introduced to ease the tracking of blood glucose levels over time and they are considered the most effective options for diabetes management. The CGM system is made up of a sensor, which is a small wire catheter inserted under the skin on the patient’s arm or abdomen, and a handheld receiver or smartphone that displays your glucose data in real-time.  Real-time CGM has become reliable and has demonstrated effectiveness in diabetes management, and daily monitoring of glucose levels.

                  Source www.hopkinsmedicine.org  Source www.hopkinsmedicine.org

 

The improvement in CGM system technology is evident in the Dexcom G7, recently launched in South Africa for diabetic two-year olds. This product’s launch signifies another milestone in the revolutionary diabetes management technology in South Africa. The Dexcom G7 is Dexcom’s most accurate CGM system ever developed. It has the fastest CGM in the market, a 30-minute sensor warm-up, and an improved alert settings for enhanced discretion, among several other features. The availability of Healthtech innovations like the Dexcom G7 will allow people with diabetes to live better lives despite their health conditions.

Source www.weforum.org Source www.weforum.org

Law student and a diabetes activist Thapi Semenya, has lived with the disease for more than 17 years, she is one of the benefitiaries of this technology in diabetes management. Her journey battling diabetes has been quite bumpy, like it has been for many. She has endured severe pains from needles. She sporadically experiences very high and low glucose levels without knowing. But now, with the availability of CGM, Thapi is living her life normally because she can monitor her glucose levels better. Indeed, an improvement in CGM, is still an integral part of diabetes management, in a world where the number of people with diabetes is rising.

There is little worry that South Africa may not surmount the possible health crises posed by diabetes. The country has seen substantive health sector reforms, and, yes South Africa boasts of the highest standard of healthcare in Africa with more than 200 private hospitals across the country. It is also a hugely famous destination for tourists and expats too, hence, South Africa’s healthcare system is regularly tested.

 

 

 

 

Tanzanian undergraduates to receive Sh10,000 daily.

  • An assurance of what to eat will make a student at ease.
  • The government of Tanzania has given that assurance to the undergraduates in the country.
  • A specified sum of money will be given to the students daily to cater for their feeding and aid learning.

From the following fiscal year, undergraduates drawn from different tertiary Schools in Tanzania will begin to collect 10, 000 Tanzanian Shillings daily to cater for their meals. The allowance, an increase from the previous 8, 500 shillings, was announced in Parliament Dodoma, on the 5th of April 2023, by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa while delivering budgetary estimations for his office for the 2023/24 financial year.

 

The Samia Scholarship has also helped the government provide money to female students, numbering 244, who excelled in the form six examinations and are admitted to study courses in the disciplines of engineering, medicine, technology, and mathematics. “The government has also continued to provide loans, increase the scope of access to higher education loans, and at the same time improve the higher education institution infrastructure in the year 2022/23, Sh654 billion was allocated for student loans, an increase from Sh570 billion which was allocated in 2021/22, with a number of beneficiaries increasing from 177,605 in 2021/22 to 202,877 in 2022/23,” Prime Minister Majaliwa said.

             

To cushion the burden of some students who may skip meals due to financial constraints, consequently losing concentration in school or left with the option of running indecent enterprises so as to survive, a leader of the Tanzania Higher Learning Institutions Students’ Organization (Tahliso), Mr Frank Mkinda, on the 11th of February, called on the government to increase the amount: “Due to the rising cost of living, we kindly ask for your consideration by raising the daily allowances to at least Sh10, 000 or more.”  Mkinda had made this request in a meeting, at the State House Dodoma, between the students’ organization and the first female President of Tanzania, President Samia Suluhu Hassan. She declared that the stipend would improve; she directed the minister of education to commence work on the subject.

           

The President said, “I understand that one has to survive on a single meal when he or she finishes his or her daily food allowance. I will start with at least Sh10,000. So, the minister for education will work on the matter, come next academic year.”

 

Africa’s biggest food exhibition attracts stakeholders from over 30 countries.

  • From African delicacies to intercontinental dishes, the Continent of Africa hardly runs out of food options.
  • A leading food exhibition company has gone ahead to expand the brand.
  • This year, an unprecedented number of delegates is expected at the Food & Beverage West Africa exhibition.

 

The Food & Beverage West Africa, a leading exhibition event devoted to the food and beverage industry and considered the largest food and drink trade exhibition in the continent, has concluded plans to expand into a new location at the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, in June with exhibitors from more than 30 countries already confirmed.

 

The event which gives attendees the golden opportunity to showcase their new drink and food products as they develop or increase business connections across the catering, grocery, and general food and beverage industry not just in Nigeria but across the world, has been in high demand, prompting the event organizers to work on adding a fourth exhibition hall to the event.

 

The display is scheduled to run from June 13th to 15th and will attract exhibitors from over 30 countries. Ten country stands will feature for the first time; the stands will have foods, drinks, equipment and services from Russia, India, Dubai, and others, also, the United Nation’s International Trade Centre organization will be sending a delegation of West African producers from countries like Liberia and Gambia. A delegation is also expected from Indonesia.

The Food & Beverage West Africa exhibition is put together by BtoB Events, and the expansion the Food & Beverage event has made the company Africa’s largest trade event organizer. In a statement, the Food & Beverage West Africa stated that the show has the potential to practically double its floor area size since they held the event last year during which they sold out the two present exhibition halls. The stretching of the venue last year suggests that a significant expansion is imminent this year, “…a third hall has opened, and now a fourth semi-permanent marquee-type hall is being constructed,’’ the statement read.

 

Jamie Hill the Managing Director of BtoB Events, said “I am delighted to see demand growing for more exhibition space. The show’s expansion reflects the confidence in Nigeria’s economic landscape – people are ready for Nigeria to do business and the Food & Beverage exhibition is now at a truly international scale. We anticipate there will be more than 5,000 visitors representing food retailing, production and distribution, as well as the hospitality sector, who will be keen to see the latest developments and business opportunities from more than 300 exhibitors.”

                

The Restaurant & Food Service Proprietors Association of Nigeria, REFSPAN, is one of the partners for this event. One of the spokespersons for the association said: “Food & Beverage West Africa gives REFSPAN members a bouquet of opportunities to meet with key players in major parts of the world that are beneficial to the dynamism and the growth REFSPAN desire, in order to promote more and expand the QSR [quick-service restaurant] business in Nigeria.”

 

Companies and food brands interested in owning stands at the exhibition event are expected to contact the exhibition Manager since an additional exhibition space allows the planners to take more bookings.

 

 

 

Kenya leads world tea production, exportation.

  • Because tea is in high demand globally, efforts are being made by primary growers of the product to double up on production.
  • Africa is at the fore front of tea production and export globally.
  • Kenya, though not necessarily a major consumer, has sustained its position as a leading grower of different types of tea in the world.
  • Other than water, tea follows as a highly consumed beverage; next to China and India, Kenya is big on the global tea production stage.

 

Next to water, tea is the world’s most consumed drink; this accounts for its high demand across the world, and Kenya has stood tall as the only African country to be listed in the top ten tea manufacturing countries worldwide, and the biggest global exporter of black tea particularly.

                

Tea has remained a major cash crop grown in Kenya and has been a leading source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. Regarding cultivation of the leaves, Kenya produced over 400 thousand tons of tea in 2022 thanks to the estimated 500,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers that grow tea across the country on approximately 236,000 hectares of land. The country’s regions that are famous for tea distribution include the Nyambene Hills, Kericho region, and Nandi. Many teas are produced in Asia and being the birthplace of the product, it is understandable that China sits on the very top of the ladder as the leader of the industry, in terms of production and even consumption. However, the input, innovation, and significant contribution of this younger participant in the industry, Kenya, has quickly earned it a spot as the largest exporter of black tea in the world.

                 

Although Kenya is in Africa, its location close to the equator positions it for sufficient sunlight and ideal conditions to grow the plants. Other environmental factors, including high elevation in the mountains and an excessively rich volcanic soil, have made it favorable for the plants to thrive. This has subsequently enabled tea farmers in Kenya to grow an immense amount of the product and harvest some of the best teas the world has reckoned with. Kenya produces a lot of black tea and several other types of teas including green tea, yellow tea, and white tea grown on request by key tea producers, but one unique tea native to the country is the Kenyan Purple Tea. Purple leaf tea was developed in Kenya about 25 years ago. It is called the purple leaf tea because of its signature purple and healthy-looking leaves with high levels of antioxidants. It is believed to contain even more age-defying antioxidants than the green tea with potentials to curb cancer and other ailments.

                   

This unique-tasting tea carries quite a smooth tang; rather than having a grassy taste, it has more of melon and honey flavors. Many also love and prefer the purple tea because it is low on caffeine, so it works well for a quick afternoon shot of antioxidant.  Tea lovers have found that adding some lemon juice to purple tea changes its color to peach or even gold. China produces about 2,400,000 tons of tea yearly, this puts the country on the number one spot among biggest producers, exporters, and, to some extent, consumers of tea in the world. It exports 40% of the total tea in world. India is popular for being the second highest tea producing country in the world accounting for about 1,250,000 tons annually.

                     

Kenya got acquainted with tea in 1903, it became a profit-oriented venture in 1924 when Malcom Bell stepped in for the company Brooke Bond, and it has been a key stapple in the African country ever since. The annual tea production in Kenya exceeds 500,000 tons, this makes it the third biggest producers globally; and number one producer of black tea globally. In Mombasa, a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean, tea is sold through automated public auction for an international community. In October 2011, tea was averagely actioned at $3.22 per kilogram.

Africa’s oldest restaurant validates continent’s timeless cuisine.

  • The oldest restaurant in Africa, Café El M’Rabet, maintains the spirit of its founders.
  • Its staying power has also demonstrated the longevity of African staples.
  • Other than the classic meals, it has served as a nostalgic spot for relaxation.

In 1628, minister Ali Thabit, in Tunisia, put together what is now considered the oldest restaurant in Africa, and one of the oldest in the world – Café El M’Rabet, in Tunis. The classic restaurant is cited steps away from the Zaytuna Mosque, or popularly called the Zitouna Mosque by many who believe the restaurant itself was founded as a part of the Mosque.

 

Regular features of the restaurant include live music usually served in the evenings – a tradition that has continued up till today. The beautiful space also provides an outdoor beer barn.

                     

The historic Jemâa Ezzitouna marketplace enjoys a pleasant viewpoint from the famous and ever bustling El M’Rabet restaurant giving it a majestic and relaxing feel. Also, the time-tested restaurant serves pies and roasts, inspired by the old-style British tavern foods.  It has promptly responded to times and seasons, but it is yet to lose its ancient flavor and appeal. Young and old, natives and tourists, from time to time, visit this classic food spot in North Africa. Not only has it validated the time-tested cuisines of Africa, but it has also proven to be a favorite tourist destination, and a reliable spot for hospitality.

 

Not only is it one of the oldest, but it has also registered its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Africa particularly, and in the world generally, paying attention to different languages as many clients visit the spot from various parts of the world, hence commination should not pose a challenge.

                       

Recently, clients who visited the classic restaurant observed that the services are top-notch, pointing out that the only possible glitch is the wait – a lot of people from different parts of the world visit the restaurant, hence it welcomes tons of food and fun lovers daily. Iraqi Anni-Voo Duhok said after her recent visit to the restaurant that “I was very empty during the lunchtime so was lucky to have excellent attentive service. As I don’t know French, the manager kindly explained to me with English and Arabic the dishes, the vegetables with lamb that I ordered were delicious and the Arabic coffee at the end was amazing. Plus, they also had a nice selection of starters. Veryt central location and there is also livelier coffeeshop downstairs.” The foods, the consistency of service, as well as the retention of ancient values, styles and cuisines, have singled out Café El M’Rabet from the pack.