public health

ANTIBIOTICS RESISTANCE

Antibiotics are substances that are able to destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria and other similar organisms. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change and they no longer respond effectively to antibiotics that were initially used to treat infections they cause and therefore they continue to multiply and cause more harm.

There are several factors that contribute to antibiotic resistance:

  • Over-prescription of antibiotics. This includes prescribing many potent drugs to a patient and this could be due to seeking medical attention in different hospitals or clinics without giving adequate history of previous treatment.
  • Overusing antibiotics in the meat supply chain. More than 50% of all antibiotics globally are used in the meat supply chain to prevent rather than treat infections, to promote rapid growth and weight gain.
  • Failure of patients to finish their treatment. Bacteria are able to mutate in such a way as to avoid being destroyed by the drug since they gotten to know how the antibiotic works.
  • Poor control of infections in hospitals and clinics. Patients admitted in hospital have a risk of developing hospital-acquired infections, some of are caused by strains of resistant bacteria such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
  • Failure to develop new antibiotics. Bacteria are constantly undergoing mutation and failure to develop new antibiotics leads to development of resistant strains.
  • Poor sanitation and hygiene. This results in infections that require treatment with antibiotics and eventually lead to emergence of resistant strains of bacteria that fail to respond to antibiotics used to treat them.

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem. The following are ways to eradicate this scourge:

  • Accounting for all the antibiotic used. This applies to both healthcare providers and farmers. With this, healthcare providers and farmers will avoid irrational use of antibiotics.
  • Adoption of a policy that fosters protection of human health by restriction of non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock.
  • Practicing proper hygiene by washing hands thoroughly and handling food hygienically decreases the risk of getting food-borne illnesses hence antibiotics for treatment may not be needed frequently.
  • Offering civic education to the people through mass media can come in handy in the eradication of antibiotic resistance. Lack of knowledge on the dangers of drug abuse such as use of non-prescription medication has contributed immensely to antibiotic resistance. Plato said ignorance is the root and stem of all evil. Therefore, educating the masses on antibiotic resistance and how to deal with it can greatly help eradicate this problem.
  • Adequate training of healthcare professionals on the use of antibiotics. Healthcare professionals are in charge of dispensing medication to patients and the general population. With adequate training, healthcare professionals should uphold their professionalism and exercise integrity at all times.

Next time you think of self-medication or not finishing your treatment remember you could be developing superbugs that will be harmful to you and others as well. Eradication of antibiotic resistance begins with YOU!

Nalianya Emma
Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
+254705087428
emmanalianya@gmail.com

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AMR Week. Call for Articles

FAMSA – CALL FOR ARTICLES, NOVEMBER 2017

FEDERATION OF AFRICAN MEDICAL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATIONS (FEDERATION DES ASSOCIATION DES ETUDIANTS EN MEDICINE) FAMSA is a Non-Governmental, Non Profit Oriented Organisation for all medical students in Africa to play a significant role in improvement of the health of the African people and the problems of African society.

This week is Antibiotics Awareness Week. This year’s theme for the A.A.W is Seek advice from a qualified Health Care Professional before taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are important in treatment of disease and so it is of paramount importance that we know when, why and how to use them.

We are therefore making a call to Medical Students interested in writing articles within the A.A.W theme for 2017.

If you are interested in the above theme and you would like to share your ideas with Africa and the World as a whole and publish on the FAMSA’s website – famsanet.org and FAMSA blog,

Please send us your full article on any topic of your choice under the above theme.

Deadline is 11:59pm GMT Friday, 18th November, 2017.

Incoming articles should adhere to the following specifications:

1⃣ Clearly defined brief topic

2⃣ Not more than 1,500 words

3⃣ Full details of writer including name, school, country and contacts.

4⃣ All articles should be sent to ngigi.jackie@gmail.com and famsaarchives@gmail.com

Change can only start from you and me. Let us not wait for others to act on our behalf.

FAMSA; Towards The Improvement Of Health In Africa.
Chairperson, SCOPUB, FAMSA 2017.

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CALL FOR CHAIRPERSON, STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATIONS (SCOPUB)

The Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations hereby opens a call for application for the position of Chairperson, Standing Committee on Publications (SCOPUB).

Details of the role of this position can be found here  

How do you apply?

– You must send your application to famsaarchives@gmail.com before 20th October 11:59pm GMT.

– Only Non-Nigerian African medical students are eligible.

– Send the following documents to famssarchives@gmail.com before 20th October 11:59pm GMT:

  1. Résumé
  2. Cover letter (Not longer than 1 page)
  3. Plan of Action
  4. Letter from your MSA president
  5. Evidence of studentship

 

Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you have any questions regarding the application process, please feel free to email us at famsaarchives@gmail.com

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CELEBRATION OF WORLD HEART DAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to disease of the heart and blood vessel. It accounts for the commonest cause of death worldwide and it’s been described as a global public health crisis.

The African region is not left out in this public health crisis, since over the past years the incidence of CVD has risen significantly. Studies in Africa have shown that CVD should be regarded as high-priority as the risk factors for CVD are increasing in the African population.

Recognizing this global health problem, the Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations (FAMSA), in line with her goal of improving the health of the African people has decided to stage a campaign in commemoration of this year’s world heart day, in collaboration with the World Heart Federation (WHF). FAMSA believes that Africans should made aware of risk factors that contribute to CVD and mitigation of these risk factors in order to reduce the drastic rise of CVD on the continent.

This year’s World Heart Day will be holding on September 29, 2017 and the theme is “Share the Power.” People all over Africa should share ways in which they are living a heart healthy life, either by eating healthy, increasing activity, etc.

FAMSA encourages medical students across Africa to participate in this campaign as a way of contributing toward the improvement of health in Africa.

Campaigns range from online campaigns as specified in the activity guide to community health outreaches. Anything at all that gets Africans thinking about their heart health and living a heart healthy life.

Our activity guide for the campaign can be found in this link http://bit.ly/FAMSAGuide

Campaign materials can be downloaded here http://bit.ly/WHDMaterials

Please endeavor to share your campaign pictures with FAMSA via our social media handles or via email so they can be featured.

FAMSA
Towards the Improvement of the health of Africa

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DEPRESSION – A CALL TO ACTION

The study, published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) Journal of Medicine, found that globally, the prevalence of depression was 4.4 per cent, while Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories were amongst the most depressed states.

According to the research, depressive orders are second only to lower respiratory infections when it comes to inflicting the most years of disability on people throughout the world.

Clinical depression is defined as involving at least one major episode in which the affected individual experiences a depressed mood almost all day, every day for at least two weeks.

The researchers used data on the prevalence, incidence, remission rates and duration of depression and dysthymia (a milder, chronic form of depression that lasts for at least two years), and on the excess deaths caused by these disorders from published articles.

They found that the prevalence of depression for women was almost twice as high than it was for men.

More than five per cent of people in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean have depression, the researchers found.

However, it is important to note the research was based on the rate at which people were diagnosed with clinical depression, rather than actual rates of depression.

Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri a consultant Neuro Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Medical Director at pinnacle medical service, in an interview with Kemi Ajumobi of Business day newspaper, Nigeria. Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments. The risk of becoming depressed is increased by poverty, unemployment, life events such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up, financial challenges, physical illness, abuse-physical, sexual, emotional and drug, conflicts, economic instability and recession.

There can’t be a better time to spring into action than now when there is an upsurge of depression around the world. At a time where conflicts are daily arising among nations and communities causing economic instability and recession making life more difficult for people especially in Africa and in the Middle East.

According to Prof. Lourens Schlebusch, there are at least 23 suicides a day in South Africa – which may be underestimated due to the stigma involved in suicide. However, data on suicides and other unintentional injury deaths are not systematically tracked by any agency in the country making accurate statistics hard to come by, says SA’s largest mental health NGO, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

Depression is the most prevalent mental illness in the developing world. In Africa, it’s devastating: 66 million women are suffering. The great majority have no medical services to turn to for help–strong minds.org. If this number of our women ( clinically diagnosed alone)are suffering from severe depressions in a continent Where most women are housewife’s, how will they be able to Take adequate care of our children emotionally. I hope we are not breeding a “depressed future generation”.

From being some of the happiest people on earth, Nigerians have slumped to the rank of the most depressed in Africa. This was the conclusion contained in the latest figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which show that Nigeria has 7,079,815 sufferers of depression, that is 3.9 per cent of the population.

Also, 4,894,557 Nigerians, that is 2.7 per cent of the population, suffer anxiety disorders. The country is closely followed by Ethiopia with 4,480,113 sufferers, that is 4.7 per cent of her population; Democratic Republic of Congo with 2,871,309 sufferers (3.8 per cent); South Africa with 2,402,230 sufferers (4.6 per cent); and Tanzania with 2,138,939 sufferers, that is 4.1 per cent. Seychelles has the lowest number of depressed persons with just 3,722 that is 4.0 percent

One thing about depression is that you can’t sufficiently know how it feels and what debilitating impact it Can have until one goes through depression. Unlike myriads of other clinical illness, it can’t be readily diagnosed and can even be easily missed. It’s like a smothering fire. It gradually and quietly eats away the sufferer’s life. Most of the time, their health parameters may even be normal yet there’s this huge sore in their lives which can’t be picked by any new generation medical diagnostic kit.

Depression is pilfering our lives and future; let’s curb it.

 

AKINDE TITUS GBOYEGA
5th year medical student,
University of Ibadan,
Oyo state, Nigeria.

 

 

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DEPRESSION: A CALL FOR ACTION

On Wednesday 8th October 2014; my re-sit results were out and I failed. I had to re-do my 5th year of medical training. Where do I start? How do I get over this? ‘‘One day at a time….″ I told myself.

As the days turned into weeks, I felt my strength literally leave me. I was going through a downward spiral of mental anguish, unable to carry out even the simplest of tasks; I slept a lot, thought a lot but ate little. Then I figured; I was depressed.

It was difficult, oh yes, it was! Some days, I woke up with the world on my shoulders, some other days, I didn’t just care. I saw myself as a failure, a disappointment to my parents, my relatives, my friends and above all, myself.

I knew I had to act fast, to stop the “haemorrhage”, so i got to my feet and picked myself up again. I began to talk to other medical students who had repeated, I listened to motivational talks and I prayed a lot. Thank God it helped, it wasn’t all rosy but I got better, I felt better…. “All is well that ends well…” I said to myself.

Then it hit me, what about the “other medical students” who had experienced or will experience what I just went through? What about people from other walks of life?  How did or do they cope? Do they know they are depressed? Do they get the help they actually need? Then I concluded; depression is real.

Depression is an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carryout daily activities for at least two weeks (WHO). It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life and in all countries, yes even Cameroon, my country.

It can be long lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing a person’s ability to function at work or school, or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide.

According to WHO, depression is the second leading cause of death among 15 -29 year olds.

When mild, depression can be treated without medications but when moderate or severe, people may need medications and professional involvement treatments.

Depression often starts at a young age. It affects women more than men, and unemployed people are also at high risk.

It can affect anyone, no matter your social status. It can be caused by poverty, life events such as the death of a loved one, a relationship break-up, physical illness, and the list goes on and on.

Many of life’s experiences can predispose to depression:

How do you carter for your wife and kids when you just lost your job?

What do you do when you spend several years, looking for a job, but end up sitting at home with your degree in your pocket?

How do you carry on when you suddenly lose a loved one to the cold hands of death or a long term relationship which you cherished so dearly goes to waste?

When faced with such situations, we often feel worthless, useless and helpless. We then use unorthodox methods to mask or alleviate our pain (alcohol, marijuana, etc).

Don’t drown yourself in alcohol, don’t smoke that cigarette. It won’t help.

Find someone you trust; a relative, a friend, a spouse, or a medical professional and talk about it. I did so and it helped. You don’t have to do it all alone. Life is already hard as it is.

Depression is everywhere in our communities; unfortunately, it often goes unrecognized and is frequently attributed to “witch craft″. There’s also very little information available on the subject matter.

Non – specialists can reliably diagnose and treat depression as part of primary health care. Specialist care is needed for a small proportion of people with complicated depression or those who do not respond to first-line treatment.

Depression is treatable; we all have a role to play;

  • The governments health sector should organize awareness campaigns to educate the public on the subject matter.
  • Health care givers should empower themselves through workshops to be able to properly diagnose depression at its embryonic stage.
  • We should all be there for our loved ones when they are feeling down, let’s listen to them keenly, let’s talk with them, let’s let them know that they are not alone. This form of therapy is cheap, effective, and has no side effects.

Depression is more common than we think. Let’s pay attention, let’s talk…

 

NJANG MBENG EMMANUEL,
7TH Year medical student
Faculty of Health Sciences University of Buea,
Cameroon.

 

 

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