Posts tagged south africa

Photo by Sydelle WIllow Smith
With one brave last gulp Phumeza, 23, swallowed the last of the 20,000 pills she had taken to cure her extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Read the story/watch the video

Photo by Sydelle WIllow Smith

With one brave last gulp Phumeza, 23, swallowed the last of the 20,000 pills she had taken to cure her extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Read the story/watch the video

MSF & the Treatment Action Campaign rallied in front of the Africa IP Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are calling for the South African government to fix its patent law to better protect access to affordable medicines.

MSF & the Treatment Action Campaign rallied in front of the Africa IP Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are calling for the South African government to fix its patent law to better protect access to affordable medicines.

Photo: A child at MSF’s intensive feeding center in Guidam Roumdji, Maradi region. Niger 2011 © Alessandra Vilas Boas
Rotavirus Research Results Show Need to Tailor Vaccines to Improve Their Impact
Cape Town/Geneva/New York, November 8, 2012- Research presented today by Epicentre, the epidemiological research arm of MSF and other African researchers, contributes to the growing body of evidence that the two existing rotavirus vaccines may not be best adapted for use in Africa.
“Vaccine developers have not taken into account the full rotavirus picture in places that are hardest hit by diarrheal illness and deaths caused by rotavirus,” said Dr. Anne-Laure Page, an epidemiologist at Epicentre. “This study adds to the growing body of research that underscores the need to ensure that vaccines are developed that effectively address the needs of developing countries.”
The two available rotavirus vaccines were developed and tested in industrialized countries, and have an efficacy rate of 90 percent against severe diarrhea in these countries, compared to an estimated 50-60 percent in countries in Africa and Asia. The current vaccines are also bulky and have a limited shelf life at room temperature, further making them unsuitable for developing countries that lack adequate refrigeration capacity.
“The fact that currently available vaccines are not easy to use in the places that are hardest to reach contributes to the fact that 22 million children born each year do not receive even the basic vaccination package,” said Elder.

Photo: A child at MSF’s intensive feeding center in Guidam Roumdji, Maradi region. Niger 2011 © Alessandra Vilas Boas

Rotavirus Research Results Show Need to Tailor Vaccines to Improve Their Impact

Cape Town/Geneva/New York, November 8, 2012- Research presented today by Epicentre, the epidemiological research arm of MSF and other African researchers, contributes to the growing body of evidence that the two existing rotavirus vaccines may not be best adapted for use in Africa.

“Vaccine developers have not taken into account the full rotavirus picture in places that are hardest hit by diarrheal illness and deaths caused by rotavirus,” said Dr. Anne-Laure Page, an epidemiologist at Epicentre. “This study adds to the growing body of research that underscores the need to ensure that vaccines are developed that effectively address the needs of developing countries.”

The two available rotavirus vaccines were developed and tested in industrialized countries, and have an efficacy rate of 90 percent against severe diarrhea in these countries, compared to an estimated 50-60 percent in countries in Africa and Asia. The current vaccines are also bulky and have a limited shelf life at room temperature, further making them unsuitable for developing countries that lack adequate refrigeration capacity.

“The fact that currently available vaccines are not easy to use in the places that are hardest to reach contributes to the fact that 22 million children born each year do not receive even the basic vaccination package,” said Elder.

I’ve lost count with the negative sputum results I’ve been receiving lately. Things are looking rather promising; surely I’m close to the finishing line.

Phumeza is an XDR-TB patient and a blogger for the TB&ME project. This is her first video blog from her home at a TB patient facility in South Africa. Read Phumeza’s TB&ME blog here.

Johannesburg is the economic engine of the most prosperous country on the African continent, but it is also home to inner city slums inhabited by vulnerable migrants. These people came to the city looking for new opportunities, but what many found instead was a life defined and circumscribed by crime, exploitation, marginalisation, violence, and xenophobia. Many fear that they will be deported from the country. As a result, they remain hidden from view in abandoned high-rise office buildings. One of these buildings is now referred to as Dark City, which remained without electricity during the city’s original economic boom.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over.

Photo: © Pep Bonet/NOOR

Johannesburg is the economic engine of the most prosperous country on the African continent, but it is also home to inner city slums inhabited by vulnerable migrants. These people came to the city looking for new opportunities, but what many found instead was a life defined and circumscribed by crime, exploitation, marginalisation, violence, and xenophobia. Many fear that they will be deported from the country. As a result, they remain hidden from view in abandoned high-rise office buildings. One of these buildings is now referred to as Dark City, which remained without electricity during the city’s original economic boom.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over.

Photo: © Pep Bonet/NOOR

Most of slum residents (85 percent) in Johannesburg, South Africa have a living space that is smaller than 3.5 square metres. Rooms in the informal slum buildings in central Johannesburg are tiny, cramped spaces with walls made of thin wood panels and cardboard. Twenty-two percent of residents surveyed by MSF live in spaces with less than one square metre per person and 17 percent sleep on bare floors without a mattress. Residents have little privacy and few ways to protect themselves from thieves or other threats.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over.

Photo: © Pep Bonet/NOOR

Most of slum residents (85 percent) in Johannesburg, South Africa have a living space that is smaller than 3.5 square metres. Rooms in the informal slum buildings in central Johannesburg are tiny, cramped spaces with walls made of thin wood panels and cardboard. Twenty-two percent of residents surveyed by MSF live in spaces with less than one square metre per person and 17 percent sleep on bare floors without a mattress. Residents have little privacy and few ways to protect themselves from thieves or other threats.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over.

Photo: © Pep Bonet/NOOR

At 21 years old Phumeza should have her whole life to look forward to. Right now she’s confined to a bed in a tuberculosis (TB) care centre in Khayelitsha near Cape Town, South Africa on treatment for the most virulent form of TB currently known – extensively drug-resistant TB, or XDR-TB.

Phumeza doesn’t know how she contracted TB. She thinks it could have been on a crowded bus or at school. She knows she felt ill and that no-one could tell her what was
wrong. So began a long and painful journey of misdiagnosis and waiting while she just got sicker and sicker.

“At first, they gave me aspirins and paracetamol,” Phumeza said. “They didn’t see any TB on the smear they took. I had so many different tests but they still couldn’t see what was
wrong! I just got more sick.”

Finally, nearly two months later Phumeza was diagnosed in hospital with MDR-TB (multidrug-resistant TB) by which time she was so ill she was forced to drop out of school.

“Sometimes I didn’t know whether I was coming or going,” she said.

Last year for the first time in ten years, the number of people dying from TB worldwide dropped, but still every year we miss diagnosing and treating around three million cases of TB. And half of those people die as a result of not being treated. So many people with this curable disease fall through the net because, until recently, the tests to confirm that someone has active TB or not have been so completely inadequate.

Now, a new test using molecular technology is clearing the path for getting many more people on the treatment they need earlier. It’s still only a start – too many patients will still be kept waiting for a diagnosis so they can get the treatment they need but some first steps have at least been taken to improve TB diagnostics.

"5 Lives" tells the stories of people who MSF works with every day, people whose lives often hinge on whether or not they can gain access to a simple medical intervention. These are situations that could be avoided with proper and sustainable funding and investment in public health. That’s why MSF supports calls to permanently allocate a small portion of a new financial transaction tax (FTT), which has been proposed by some governments, to support global health needs. A regular stream of funding would help provide some of the resources needed to address unchecked health crises around the world.

Photo: © Samantha Reinder

At 21 years old Phumeza should have her whole life to look forward to. Right now she’s confined to a bed in a tuberculosis (TB) care centre in Khayelitsha near Cape Town, South Africa on treatment for the most virulent form of TB currently known – extensively drug-resistant TB, or XDR-TB.

Phumeza doesn’t know how she contracted TB. She thinks it could have been on a crowded bus or at school. She knows she felt ill and that no-one could tell her what was
wrong. So began a long and painful journey of misdiagnosis and waiting while she just got sicker and sicker.

“At first, they gave me aspirins and paracetamol,” Phumeza said. “They didn’t see any TB on the smear they took. I had so many different tests but they still couldn’t see what was
wrong! I just got more sick.”

Finally, nearly two months later Phumeza was diagnosed in hospital with MDR-TB (multidrug-resistant TB) by which time she was so ill she was forced to drop out of school.

“Sometimes I didn’t know whether I was coming or going,” she said.

Last year for the first time in ten years, the number of people dying from TB worldwide dropped, but still every year we miss diagnosing and treating around three million cases of TB. And half of those people die as a result of not being treated. So many people with this curable disease fall through the net because, until recently, the tests to confirm that someone has active TB or not have been so completely inadequate.

Now, a new test using molecular technology is clearing the path for getting many more people on the treatment they need earlier. It’s still only a start – too many patients will still be kept waiting for a diagnosis so they can get the treatment they need but some first steps have at least been taken to improve TB diagnostics.

"5 Lives" tells the stories of people who MSF works with every day, people whose lives often hinge on whether or not they can gain access to a simple medical intervention. These are situations that could be avoided with proper and sustainable funding and investment in public health. That’s why MSF supports calls to permanently allocate a small portion of a new financial transaction tax (FTT), which has been proposed by some governments, to support global health needs. A regular stream of funding would help provide some of the resources needed to address unchecked health crises around the world.

Photo: © Samantha Reinder

People don’t want to come near you or even chat to you when you are wearing that respirator mask.

Phumeza Tisile

Read more from Phumeza, a 20-year-old from Khayelitsha outside Cape Town, South Africa diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB)

We know for a fact that there will be additional epidemics in the near future. It would simply not be right to wait for them to occur. We need an effective system to anticipate and prepare for the coming outbreaks.

Florence Fermon, MSF’s vaccination coordinator on the increasing number of measles epidemics.

On September 13-14, 2011, the Measles Initiative met in Washington, D.C., bringing together organizations seeking to eliminate measles worldwide. Given the troubling resurgence of measles epidemics over the last three years, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling for an effective outbreak response mechanism to be established immediately, with secure financial and technical resources.

Since 2008, MSF has responded to epidemics that have expanded over time. In 2010, for example, more than 4.5 million children were vaccinated in emergencies in many countries, including Chad, Malawi, South Africa, Yemen and Zimbabwe. This year, medical teams in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) vaccinated three million children, but could not halt the epidemic. Despite data showing the urgent need for action, actors in the field were slow to organize. The DRC is no exception. Most countries that experience these epidemics do not adequately mobilize the resources available to them and organize vaccination campaigns.

Read more here about what MSF is calling for to ease the outbreaks.

(Photo: Alon Skuy, The Times, South Africa)Doornfontein, Johannesburg – July 2011
There are approximately 250,000 people living in slum buildings of inner-city Johannesburg. These migrants from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa are without documentation, rights, or money.

Inside these informal settlements unhygienic and overcrowded living conditions prevail. There is no sanitation or waste management, poor access to clean water, electricity and to basic health care. MSF is helping residents by providing primary health care, referrals to the public sector clinics, and providing materials for cleaning in some of these buildings. View more photos at the MSF photo blog

(Photo: Alon Skuy, The Times, South Africa)

Doornfontein, Johannesburg – July 2011
There are approximately 250,000 people living in slum buildings of inner-city Johannesburg. These migrants from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa are without documentation, rights, or money.

Inside these informal settlements unhygienic and overcrowded living conditions prevail. There is no sanitation or waste management, poor access to clean water, electricity and to basic health care. MSF is helping residents by providing primary health care, referrals to the public sector clinics, and providing materials for cleaning in some of these buildings. View more photos at the MSF photo blog

I remember starting as a doctor ten years ago. Patients were extremely sick. They were brought to us in wheelbarrows or on stretchers. We saw some of them dying even in the waiting room. The treatment was too expensive. We couldn’t treat all of them. We had to choose which ones. Only a minority could be treated and the other ones would be left to die.
Eric Goemere, an MSF doctor in Khayelitsha, South Africa
Getting Ahead of the Wave of New Infections

Khayelitsha is a large township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa with a population of over 500,000 and one of the highest burdens of both HIV and TB in the world. An estimated 16% of the adult population is HIV-positive. MSF began providing ART in Khayelitsha in May 2001, and today supports ART provision to more than 17,000 people.

There are indications that as treatment has been scaled up in Khayelitsha, new HIV infections have decreased. An analysis of HIV prevalence data among pregnant women shows that the proportion of HIV positive pregnant women attending antenatal care had risen from 15.4% in 1999 to 31.4% in 2008. By 2010, that percentage had fallen to 26.3%. While other factors including deaths, out-migration, and behavior change may have played a role in this reduction, ART scale up is considered to be the strongest contributing factor in reducing new infections.

Learn more in our special report, "Getting Ahead of the Wave: Lessons for the Next Decade of the AIDS Response"

Getting Ahead of the Wave of New Infections

Khayelitsha is a large township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa with a population of over 500,000 and one of the highest burdens of both HIV and TB in the world. An estimated 16% of the adult population is HIV-positive. MSF began providing ART in Khayelitsha in May 2001, and today supports ART provision to more than 17,000 people.

There are indications that as treatment has been scaled up in Khayelitsha, new HIV infections have decreased. An analysis of HIV prevalence data among pregnant women shows that the proportion of HIV positive pregnant women attending antenatal care had risen from 15.4% in 1999 to 31.4% in 2008. By 2010, that percentage had fallen to 26.3%. While other factors including deaths, out-migration, and behavior change may have played a role in this reduction, ART scale up is considered to be the strongest contributing factor in reducing new infections.

Learn more in our special report, "Getting Ahead of the Wave: Lessons for the Next Decade of the AIDS Response"

2008Xenophobic Violence Uproots Tens of Thousands in South Africa

MSF provides medical assistance to thousands of Zimbabweans and other foreign African nationals when angry gangs attack them, killing 62 people and sending 100,000 more in search of safety. MSF speaks out against the inadequate response of both the South African government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Learn more about MSF’s history at our website.

Photo: South Africa 2008 © Erin Trieb

2008
Xenophobic Violence Uproots Tens of Thousands in South Africa

MSF provides medical assistance to thousands of Zimbabweans and other foreign African nationals when angry gangs attack them, killing 62 people and sending 100,000 more in search of safety. MSF speaks out against the inadequate response of both the South African government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Learn more about MSF’s history at our website.

Photo: South Africa 2008 © Erin Trieb

A new diagnostic test for tuberculosis that was endorsed by the World Health Organization in late 2010 could well be a game-changer in the international response to a disease that kills nearly two million people each year. In a recent interview, Dr. Francis Varaine, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) expert on TB, discusses the potential impact of this new test, which greatly improves the detection of drug-resistant TB, and how it will affect the need for more reliable and better treatment.

Today is World Tuberculosis Day, learn more here.

Photo: South Africa © Jose Cendon

A new diagnostic test for tuberculosis that was endorsed by the World Health Organization in late 2010 could well be a game-changer in the international response to a disease that kills nearly two million people each year. In a recent interview, Dr. Francis Varaine, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) expert on TB, discusses the potential impact of this new test, which greatly improves the detection of drug-resistant TB, and how it will affect the need for more reliable and better treatment.

Today is World Tuberculosis Day, learn more here.

Photo: South Africa © Jose Cendon