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.
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.
For World Health Day April 7th 2014, CABI's "Handpicked" features blogs from regions where vector-borne diseases daily kill or debilitate. In “The 2014 World Health Day focuses on Vector-Borne diseases”, Joseph Ana, editor of BMJ West Africa and former Commissioner for Health, Cross River State, Nigeria, makes the case for information dissemination & regional cooperation on vector-borne diseases. Drawing on personal experience, he highlights the need to support low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) where good public health practice has significantly reduced vector borne diseases, & to actively extend their best practice to other regions lagging behind.
In a previous blog, Mystery disease outbreak in Ethiopia solved, I mentioned in passing Nodding Syndrome (NS), a neglected condition that is epidemiologically associated with onchocerciasis and affects children 5-15 years old. The syndrome causes epileptic seizures where the afflicted suffer from involuntary head nodding, usually triggered by food or cold. They end up severely…