Also In Global Health: Text Messages For Health; Chagas Disease; Infant, Maternal Mortality In Botswana; Community Health Programs In Africa; Swaziland’s Health System

UN Launches Pilot Study In Uganda That Uses Text Messages To Promote Public Health

The U.N. has launched a ten-day pilot project in Jinja, Uganda, that uses mobile phones to educate the public about health, the Monitor reports. As part of the Texting4Health initiative, an estimated 10,000 people will receive “a short health quiz using text messages,” according to the Monitor (Luggya, Monitor, 6/11).

CNN Examines Chagas Disease In Latin America

CNN examines Chagas disease, a “parasitic illness carried by a particular Latin American bug,” which affects about 16 to 18 million people each year and kills 50,000 people annually. The vinchuca bug carries the infection, which is transmitted when they bite or are “unknowingly eaten in uncooked food, or rubbed in the eye,” according to CNN. Although it is treatable in its early stages, people often do not know when they have been infected and the disease can cause fatal heart problems years later. The article examines other challenges related to the disease, including effective testing and a lack of high-quality drugs (CNN, 6/10).

Progress On Infant Mortality Rates, Maternal Mortality Still High In Botswana

Although Botswana has made progress in infant health care, maternal mortality rates remain high and could prevent the country from achieving U.N. Millennium Development Goal targets, Sheenaz El- Halabi, the country’s director of public health, said on Tuesday, Mmegi reports. She said the health ministry has a strategy “to deliver high impact interventions at large scale in order to reduce the deaths of children and mothers” (Baputaki, Mmegi, 6/10).

Nigerian Minister Calls For Expanded Community Health Program

Nigerian Minister of State for Health Aliyu Idi Hong called for expansion of the Community-Directed Interventions (CDI) program in health worker training programs at a “three-day meeting of health experts and senior academics from 12 African countries,” in Abuja, Nigeria, Afrique en ligne reports. The CDI approach is currently used in more than 120,000 communities throughout Africa for the treatment for river blindness (Afrique en ligne, 6/10).

Economic Downturn Compromises Health Programs In Swaziland

Inter Press Service News Agency
examines the impact that the global economic downturn is having on Swaziland’s health system. One-third of Swaziland’s “national health budget which comes directly from donor agencies is abruptly drying up,” even as inflation in the region has increased, according to IPS. The impacts are forcing changes to tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS programs (Phakathi, IPS, 6/9).

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