Blog Posts

  • Brazil in 10 Points

    I’m in Brazil for two weeks, on a reporting fellowship sponsored by the International Reporting Project of the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. Over the next two weeks we – there are ten of us; journalists and bloggers from the US, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – will be visiting Sao Paolo, Recife and Rio de Janeiro. Before I left Lagos, every time I mentioned to people I was coming to Brazil, they assumed it was to do with the World Cup. Understandably, considering that kick-off is only two months away. But no, this is not a World Cup trip; instead it’s to explore and better understand Brazil’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress. Brazil’s MDGs performance has been  a remarkable one. The MDG Progress...

  • Brazil’s Health Care System – A Right to All

    Raimunda is a 46-year-old mother to two beautiful daughters aged 19 years old and 7 years old. She sadly has lungs cancer, stage-4, has undergone chemotherapy, and now is in palliative care. Her family physician, Dr. Rodrigo D’Aurea took us to her house  yesterday in a locality called Boa Vista in the suburbs of Sao Paulo which has a population of 20,000 people. She was diagnosed almost a year and half ago and she was already in stage-4. She has a very aggressive form of lung cancer. She used to smoke a long time ago, but has kicked the habit for more than a decade. Her husband used to contribute to the family’s upkeep until her elder daughter was 18 years old, but in the past year, he has stopped doing it. She has some pension from her retirement and she crochets for a...

  • Focusing on Cervical Cancer on World Cancer Day

    Today is World Cancer Day, a day to talk about and discuss cancer and the myths surrounding the global disease. On World Cancer Day we are focusing our efforts on cervical cancer and its effects on women in poor countries. Last year I met a cervical cancer nurse, Susan Banda, at the N’Gombe Health Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia who said she is treating more and more women every day with cervical cancer. Africa has the highest rates of cervical cancer deaths at 270,000 each year. By 2030 it is estimated that 500,000 women will die from cervical cancer and 98% of those deaths will be in low and middle-income countries. Humanitarian organizations and governments are working to end the amount of cervical cancer deaths and diagnoses. USAID is working toward and funding asingle-visit approach to cervical cancer (pdf). Jhpiego...

  • New Needle-Free Malaria Test Could Be a Game Changer

    One of the most effective advancements in malaria testing has been the rapid diagnostic test. Easy to use and inexpensive it cut the wait time for diagnostics drastically and has made testing and treatment easier for frontline health workers around the world particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of malaria is the highest. In countries like Zambia, for example, malaria treatments are up and the mortality rate for children under the age of five has decreased due in large part to rapid diagnostic tests. Now a new rapid diagnostic test may potentially be even more effective by not requiring a blood sample, but rather using a laser pulse to detect malaria infection. According to the New York Times the new rapid diagnostic test created by a team of researchers at Rice University led by physicist Dmitri O. Lapotko has the potential to...

  • Fortress Europe

    In the past two weeks over two hundred men, women, and children – the majority from the Africas – have died on the Mediterranean Sea crossing from Africa to Europe. The latest deaths add to the thousands who have died crossing from North African countries, such as Morocco, Mauritania and Libya, to Greece, Spain, and Italy over the past fifteen years. In 2006, for example, 250 immigrants died on the crossing to Spain. More than 250 immigrants traveling in six small boats have landed in the Grand Canaries and Andalucia over the past 24 hours. Out of a total of 1,000 refugees presently in the Grand Canaries, 198 were flown to the Spanish mainland. According to El Pais, the number of Africans reaching Spain in the past year has gone up by 200 percent. Spanish TV News reported that there are approximately 10,000 people waiting in...

  • The Face of Neglected Tropical Disease

    When we think about diseases in Africa we think about the biggest of them – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. We forget about the neglected tropical diseases that debilitate so many in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia from intestinal worms to elephantiasis. These diseases are real and they are easily prevented, but as their name suggests, these diseases are nearly neglected. In fact, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis G Sambo, called for increased funding last month to eradicate and control neglected tropical diseases by 2020 in Africa.   There has been notable progress is controlling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). For example, all sub-Saharan countries save for Chad, Mali, Sudan and Ethiopia, have eradicated guinea worm. However there is still much work to do in order to wipe out the seven most common neglected tropical diseases. The international...

  • The Real Issue With Africa and the ICC

    After all the reporting trips you've read about here, all the stories I've done about war and justice and voice and violence, I'm massively persuaded that Rebecca Hamilton is right in her analysis, at Foreign Policy, of the arguments against the ICC blistering around Africa right now: The court's all-African line-up is not an ICC problem; it is an African problem, for which there is an African solution. That solution -- doing the hard work of strengthening of domestic accountability mechanisms in nations across the continent -- is what African leaders should be discussing this weekend. Unfortunately, they will instead rail against, and possibly abandon, the only recourse for justice that African victims of major international crimes currently have. One reason I'm so persuaded?  Because Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the ICC and a Gambian national, calls...

  • Have you Checked Out @LeapAfrica’s Social Innovators Programme for Youths Age 18-29?

    Social Innovators Programme and Awards 2013 Advocacy, Training & Support for Replicable and Scalable Community Projects The Social Innovators Programme (SIP) will support talented youth between the ages of 18 and 29, whose ideas and initiatives offer effective solutions to challenges in local communities across Nigeria, with the necessary training, funding, advocacy and network support required to strengthen their existing initiatives and enhance their sustainability and impact. Through the programme’s partnership with the International Youth Foundation’s YouthActionNet® programme (www.youthactionnet.org), young innovators will become members of a global network of over 880 change-makers from 70+ countries. Over three months, LEAP will provide selected youth with training and support based on YouthActionNet’s curriculum focused on the “Six Dimensions of Leadership” (Personal, Visionary, Collaborative, Political, Organizational, and Societal). The Social Innovators Programme and Awards Launch will hold on Monday, November 11, 2013...

  • Why I Am Excited to Be In Tanzania

    I am writing this post sitting in my hotel room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Right outside my patio window in the near distance is a beautiful, blue bay with connecting waters to the Indian Ocean. Dar es Salaam is the first coastal city I’ve visited in Africa. Its brightly colored buildings, abundant bougainvillea and palm trees make Dar es Salaam a visual paradise with the vast Indian Ocean serving as the main backdrop to the city. Earlier today when I stepped off the plane in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and major international shipping hub, I was immediately struck by how very hot it is here. You see, I was just in Zambia two months ago where it was winter and the weather was cool and pristine. Here in Tanzania – although the two countries  ...

  • Tanzania’s Booty Dance

    I don’t like to call it that, “a booty” dance, but it got your attention. I’m presently in Tanzania as part of a reporting fellowship and I was talking to our fixer, a really interesting freelance journalist called Erick Kabendera, about some of the local cultural traditions among Tanzania’s more than 120 ethnic groups. He told me about the women of Tanzania’s Tanga region. It’s one of the coastal communities where you can see a strong Arab influence..here you’ll find the Wazigua, Wabondei, Wasambaa, Wadingo, Segeju ethnic groups and those who migrated are the Pare, Wataita, Wambugu and Wanago. These women have a customary tradition that appreciates sensuality; girls are taught the art of giving and receiving sensual/sexual pleasure…and to be good, submissive,...

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