Feature Stories

Towards early cancer diagnosis in Senegal

Dakar – Asma* recalls the long journeys between her parents’ home in Mbour, a coastal city in western Senegal, and the Aristide Le Dantec Hospital in the capital Dakar, where she was being treated for leukaemia. It was a journey she came to know by heart. Diagnosed at age 16, she spent three long years in intensive treatment, followed by another five years of monitoring for any potentially life-threatening relapse.

Why do neglected tropical diseases suffer low priority?

Neglected tropical diseases affect millions of people across Africa, yet the efforts to eliminate them and alleviate the suffering they cause receive little national attention. Professor Nicholas Midzi, an expert in preventive chemotherapy of neglected tropical diseases and the Director of Zimbabwe’s National Institute of Health Research, analyses factors contributing to low priority to these diseases and how to reverse the trend.

Improving treatment of neglected diseases

Preventive treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTD) has saved many lives across Africa. However, obstacles persist as these diseases often affect impoverished communities in rural areas, conflict zones and hard-to-reach regions. These diseases are also almost absent from the global health agenda. Dr Paul Emerson, Director of the Atlanta-based International Trachoma Initiative, discusses ways to improve treatment and apply lessons for effective prevention and control.

Diabetes prevention, care challenges in Africa

Africa is expected to experience the highest increase in diabetes globally. The number of people suffering from the disease is predicted to rise to 55 million by 2045—a 134% spike compared with 2021. At 70%, the continent also has the world’s highest number of people who do not know they have diabetes. Dr Bernadette Adeyileka-Tracz, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Diabetes Africa, a non-profit organization working to improve the health of Africans living with diabetes, explains the challenges in diabetes prevention and care in the continent.

On the frontlines of diabetes fight in Senegal

Senegal, like many African countries, is bearing an increasing heavy diabetes burden. While efforts are being made to improve prevention, care and treatment, Professor Maïmouna Ndour Mbaye, head of the Internal Medicine unit, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar and director of the country’s national Diabetes Centre, notes that stepping up diabetes control in Senegal starts with a strong national programme. The response must involve all the sectors of the society up to individuals who have a crucial prevention role by adopting healthy practices.

Pursuing the endgame: novel polio vaccine rollout in Africa

In November 2020, the novel Oral Polio Vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) became the first vaccine to be authorized under the WHO Emergency Use Listing. The vaccine has since been rolled out for limited initial use in countries to tackle vaccine-derived poliovirus. Dr Richelot Ayangma, Medical Officer and nOPV2 Focal Point at the WHO Regional Office for Africa explains the vital role of the vaccine in ending all forms of polio and what countries must do to ensure effective vaccination campaigns.

Uganda’s community initiative helping HIV patients overcome depression

Margaret was engulfed by depression and overwhelmed by stigma. With little motivation for life as she struggled to adjust to living with HIV while pregnant, she contemplated death. "I could lock myself in the house every day. I wanted to kill my child and kill myself because I thought I was no longer useful in this life and I didn't want my child to suffer as I did," she says.