Ebola, now largely confined to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea claimed more than 9300 lives in West Africa in a year. I have selected key facts & insights from February’s national symposium “Ebola: The 21st century plague?" [Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK], held by international experts handling the epidemic. Covering the history of the disease, lessons learnt from 2014, and what strategies are in place for preventing future outbreaks, there was also an explanation finally as to why a rural outbreak became a regional urban epidemic, and an understanding of the complexity of medical volunteering and running ebola treatment centres.
Papers at the 4 day AHILA Congress, 2014, covered the theme “ICTs and access to information and knowledge”. Information seeking behaviours, access to and resources for health information were extensively reported and covered disparate groups ranging from academic researchers and students to mothers and students, teenage pregnant girls and older people (60 onwards). The problems of providing health information in rural areas, where some religious and cultural values can be a barrier to western medicine were the subject of a several studies and lengthy discussion. Highlights were presentations from community health workers and the organisation which trained them CUAMM.
The Vice President of Tanzania presents the CABI award to Dr Alison Kinengyere Not all the news coming out of Africa is unsettling or scary. There are positive stories around African health featuring their health professionals working tirelessly to improve the delivery of health services & build the health system capacity in their countries. AS…
Day1, 14th AHILA congress. CABI prize [publishers: Global Health database] was awarded for a short report on health information activities in an AHILA member country. Keynote presentation highlighted the 30 year role of AHILA in ICTs and access to health information. The principal guest speakers - the representative for the Minister, for Health and Social Welfare and His Excellency the Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania - emphasised the importance of e-health resources in the education and practice of health care and the effects of health on poverty and the national economy.
Global coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa began with courageous foreign health care workers being flown home by their governments to save their lives, and rapidly moved onto the sheer panic amongst the local populations experiencing the outbreak: riots, health care workers and government officials abandoning their posts. Somewhere imbetween mention was made, usually by the foreign health care workers, of their local colleagues left behind who struggled on without resources and personal protection. We examine the need for timely accurate communication of health information to frightened communities to stop transmission and the death toll.
In the week of World NO Tobacco Day (31st May 2014) this blog addresses tobacco packaging: the use of standardized packaging & pictorial health warnings for cigarettes to further reduce consumption and address the world's leading agent of death...tobacco.
Dengue situation in a Southern Indian state (Andhra Pradesh) – Gaps and opportunities in Community Awareness
Dengue is the fastest growing vector-borne disease worldwide, and reported cases in the Southern Indian state Andra Pradesh have steadily risen from 313 in 2008 to 2299 in 2012. The many missed cases due to partial reporting by private hospitals and clinics in this state, increased urbanisation and lack of people participation in health issues, makes one sceptical of the true burden of this potentially deadly disease. A community physician in Hyderabad summarises knowledge and practice on community awareness of dengue in Andra Pradesh, and looks at strategies to make information & communication a priority for addressing know-do gaps.