Feature Stories

Midwifery, a life passion

Lomé – Three years ago, Massalou Tchonda, a midwife at the Tsévié Polyclinic near the Togolese capital of Lomé, was attending to a patient expecting twins.

“After the first one came out, the second seemed to be blocked by the placenta. I was convinced the patient wouldn’t be able to give birth on her own,” she recalls. Just as she was hurriedly preparing to perform an emergency evacuation procedure, the other baby’s head appeared. Seconds later, he was out in the world.

In Guinea, a fight to end mother-to-child HIV transmission

Conakry – When Rama learned that she was pregnant, her joy soon gave way to a wrenching anxiety that remained until the moment of delivery: she discovered at the same time that she was HIV-positive and wanted only for her child to be born free of the virus.

“My daughter was born with HIV. I couldn’t protect her because I wasn’t aware of my status prior to my pregnancy,” said the 38-year-old mother of two. “In the case of my second child the doctor explained that it was entirely possible to have a healthy, HIV-negative child if one takes medicine faithfully.”

Ghana finds success in COVID-19 mass vaccination campaigns

Accra – Ghana, the first country in the world to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility, kicked off its vaccination drive on 1 March 2021, making its rollout among the longest-running in Africa. Despite the longevity of its vaccination programme, by the beginning of 2022, less than half of the target population of 20 million people had received at least one vaccine dose and only about 13% were fully vaccinated. 

Speedy vaccination campaign helps stop cholera outbreak in Niger

Niamey – "What I experienced with this disease is terrible. I saw death at close range."

Amadou Elh Mamoudou counts himself fortunate. The 35-year-old survived a cholera outbreak in his village of Maradi, in south-central Niger, one of the areas most affected by the outbreak between March and December 2021.

Once recovered, Amadou joined health workers in his district to convince people there to get vaccinated, ultimately helping his district to achieve a 98% vaccination coverage.

Angola bolsters fight against COVID-19 misinformation

Luanda – Joana Domingos had long ceased to believe the official COVID-19 information coming from national authorities in her native Angola.

The mother of two had become convinced that the COVID-19 vaccine was part of a global plan to annihilate the most vulnerable – disinformation she had gleaned from messages circulated through mobile phone texts.

How home-based care eased Rwanda’s COVID-19 response

Kigali – When COVID-19 cases and deaths in Rwanda began to spike in early 2022, the health authorities were determined to avoid reliving the experience of prior pandemic waves. Despite the country’s well-coordinated response, hospitals had been overwhelmed with demand and struggling to keep up.

The solution? Operation Save the Neighbour, an initiative to save lives at the community level and reduce the burden on hospitals by integrating doctors into home-based care teams.

Managing COVID-19 waste in Africa

Masks. Gloves. Personal protective equipment. Vaccines. These items have become ubiquitous during the COVID-19 pandemic: as protection against the virus itself, but also as medical waste, burdening Africa’s already clogged landfills.

What is impeding Africa’s TB fight?

Cape Town – Africa has made progress in the fight against tuberculosis (TB) in recent years, however several hurdles are curbing the efforts to end this preventable and curable disease and at the current pace, the global targets to eliminate the disease by 2030 look increasingly elusive. Dr Norbert Ndjeka, Chief Director of TB Control and Management in South Africa’s National Department of health, assesses the challenges and how to accelerate progress.