Commentaries

Commentaries

Commentaries

More and more people are living longer than before in Africa In Africa, older people are valued for their wisdom and knowledge, and have also been traditionally hard to find. Fifty years ago, the average life expectancy at birth in the continent was under the age of 45. But the life expectancy at birth for most of Africa has now grown to exactly 60 years in 2015, with the number increasing in many countries by 20 percent or more over the past 15 years. More and more people are living longer…
By Dr. Matshidiso Moeti and Dr. Ala Alwan, 19 February Africa has an incredible opportunity to provide a better life for each and every child – and we know exactly how to seize it: provide universal access to immunization across the continent to protect them from vaccine preventable diseases. We have seen the transformative impact of efforts to reach more children with life-saving vaccines. Child deaths in Africa fell by half over the past generation, in large part due to the use of …
  It has been 44 years since a World Bank president traveled to drought-stricken Upper Volta in West Africa — today called Burkina Faso — and encountered a startling and disturbing scene. Blind people were everywhere, with children often leading adults around.   The cause otheir blindness was a tiny worm, called a “filarial nematode,” transmitted by bites from black flies that swarmed the rivers and streams of Burkina Faso. Strangely, the worms do their damage by dying, which…
In 1995, polio affected all countries across Africa and paralysed more than 75,000 children for life. The following year, Nelson Mandela launched a new campaign: ‘Kick Polio Out of Africa.’ His hope was that polio would follow the only human disease ever consigned to the history books: smallpox. Today we are one step closer to achieving that goal. For the first time in history, the whole of Africa has now reached one year without a single case of wild poliovirus being confirmed. Just three…
"Now a physician myself, I know that daily sickness and pain is also a reality for a billion people around the world who are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)." When I was a child living in apartheid South Africa, I saw first-hand the pain and suffering experienced by the patients my parents cared for at their medical clinic. Patients came in and out, looking for treatment to their ailments and afflictions. I learned how constant illness and discomfort was an everyday reality for…
When Sierra Leone’s first Ebola patient came through the door of the Kenema Government Hospital in Freetown, Issa French was there to admit her. Since that day, Issa has tended to more than 500 people, all victims of the epidemic that engulfed his country. Ebola killed many of his patients, as well as dozens of his colleagues. Like most of his fellow nurses, Issa is essentially a volunteer, one who is 20 to 30 times more likely to become infected than any of his patients. Although he has…