health

FEDERATION OF AFRICAN MEDICAL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATIONS (FAMSA) 31st GENERAL ASSEMBLY

⁠⁠⁠🌍 Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations (FAMSA)🌍

presents

31st General Assembly

Date 🗓 : 13th-17th September, 2017.

Venue 🏫 : Niger Delta University, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

This historic event is an annual platform where medical students from over 30 African countries come together to discuss health issues pertaining to Africa.

Featuring:
🛑 Scientific Seminars/Lectures
⚫ Inter medical school Quiz
🔵 Sight seeing
✳ Native Dinner
🌐 General Election

DELEGATE FEES
➡ Nigerian: $16
➡ Foreign : $32

It promises to be enlightening, fun and adventurous. We look forward to your arrival at Yenagoa!
FAMSA….Towards the improvement of health in 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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MIGRATION CRISIS: THE REFUGEE HEALTH

For the purpose of getting our terminologies right, lets understand that “all refugees are migrants but not all migrants are refugees”. They’ve been persecuted in their homeland, fleeing the crisis, and now, seeking asylum. A refugee isn’t your typical immigrant. Over the years, the world has had to deal with issues of migration which led to the formation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a programme mandated by the United Nations (UN) to protect and support refugees while assisting in their integration, resettlement or voluntary return to country of origin. However in 2015, crisis began all over the European continent as immigration numbers skyrocketed from unauthorized foreign migrants. These foreign migrants encompassed not only the vulnerable mass seeking refuge, but also some hostile agents.

The world has experienced the highest number of forcibly displaced people since World War 2-about 59.5million-and by 2015,over a million entered the European region and about 3700 died/went missing during the journey. The point is; this is a global crisis and concerted efforts should be made globally, not just by the European Union. Addressing the migration crisis, the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo stressed the need for care and respect for the migrants as most of them were forced to leave their ancestral homes. He also advised the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to ensure the proper documentation of all migrants.

Analyses from the World Health Organization (WHO) reviews the health status and access of a refugee from their country of origin, to their transit country and finally in their destination country.

In Syria alone, over 7 million people are internally displaced with the unrest causing shortages of qualified medical personnel and other medical aid and support. Interventions made by the WHO and partners include provision of supplies for treatment of critical conditions like diabetes and heart disease; vaccination against diseases like measles, rubella and polio; prevention of vector borne diseases like malaria; delivery of integrated primary health care, including mental health services; deployment of surgical teams and supplies; support for mobile clinics and outreach services for reproductive, maternal and newborn child health; and strengthened disease surveillance and outbreak response. All these are considered very important for integration in their destination countries as well as it helps to prevent the spread of communicable diseases amongst the refugees during transit.

Refugees in transit are usually vulnerable because their finances are usually limited. Therefore, special care and assistance should be rendered at this level. In countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Greece hosting the refugees, the

 

WHO works with the governments to improve access to basic healthcare needs by setting up clinics especially for the refugees; providing medical supplies, equipment and fuel; training for frontline health workers; collecting and analysing health data to shape decision-making and providing Ministries of Health and other partners with technical guidance on key public health issues.

Finally, even with the unprecedented influx of refugees in the European region, the WHO supports the receiving countries by performing joint assessments with Ministries of Health to assess health-system capacity to manage large influxes of refugees and migrants; giving policy advice on contingency planning for the health sector; providing emergency medicines and supplies; providing maternal and child health care services; providing mental health and psychosocial care; training for health workers; technical and financial assistance for outbreak response and immunization campaigns; dissemination of health information and educational materials to refugees and health workers; and cross-border collaboration for improved data collection and analysis.

It is in fact now widely understood that being and staying healthy is not only part of migrants’ human rights, but also a fundamental precondition for them to work, be productive and contribute to the social and economic development of their communities, both of origin and destination. Therefore, coordinated efforts are needed to ensure that migrant health is addressed throughout the migration cycle, as are efforts to adapt and strengthen the resilience of local health systems in light of more diverse population health profiles. Addressing the health of migrants and affected local populations reduces long-term health and social costs, is good public health practice, facilitates integration and contributes to social and economic development. The healthier migrants are and remain the more efficient and balanced the future of our highly mobile and globalized society will be.

 

ALUKO OLUWABUSAYO DANIEL
2ND YEAR, MEDICINE AND SURGERY
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS, NIGERIA.
oluwabusayoaluko@gmail.com
+2348179380972

 

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OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS IN OUR HEALTH SECTOR 2

  • Introduction

It is awry that the health sector, whose main objective is to the take care of the sick and stand against anything that proves detrimental to the wellbeing of the society, is itself a “hazard-filled” field for the workers it employs. The goals of the health sector should include “to foster a safe healthy work environment” and to protect it workers, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment.

 

  • Hazards and Challenges of the health sector.

Challenges arise in pursuing protections for the healthcare workers in the health sector, in view of this our highly complex and hazardous work environment. Predilection exists within the health sector and health community itself concurs to limit both the awareness of hazards that do exist and the approaches used to secure a safe job.

There are millions of workers under the banner headline of the health sector. These workers represent different occupations under the sector that expose them to a variety of hazards.

In addition to the medical staff, large healthcare facilities are embraced by a wide variety of trades that have health and safety hazards associated with them.  These include medical equipment, housekeeping, mechanical maintenance, food service, laundry and administrative staff.

For example, doctors confront such potential hazards as exposure to infectious diseases and toxic substances, radiation exposure and stress, the one we hardly take cognizance of.

 

Why is hazard awareness lacking?

The health sector is often imagined by the public to be clean and free of hazards.

  • Hazard classes

Physical hazard

This is caused by physical agents or physical forms of energy

Examples: Radiation, lasers, noise, extreme temperature, electrical energy

Effects: Burns, cancer, physical and psychological trauma

Precautions:

– Wearing proper personal protective equipment, including hearing protection where necessary.

– Not entering restricted radiation areas, unless trained and authorized.

 

Chemical hazard

This is caused by chemical substances that potentially toxic, including medications, solutions and gases.

Examples: Hazardous anticancer drugs, sterilants, disinfectants, hormones, antineoplastic, anesthetic gases, latex gloves, aerosolized medications and hazardous waste.

Effects: Irritation, asthma, allergy, dermatitis, cancer, reproductive effects e.g. spontaneous abortion

Precautions:

– Wear proper personal protective equipment.

– Dispose of hazardous agents in proper containers.

– Avoid recapping needles.

– Use tools to apply or handle hazardous agents.

 

Biological hazard

This is caused by infectious agents, such as bacteria, fungi, virus or parasites, which may be transmitted through air, needle-stick injuries or body contact

Examples: Influenza, hepatitis B and C, HIV

Health effects: HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, liver damage and other diseases

 

Mechanical hazard

This is caused by factors in the work environment that cause musculoskeletal injuries, strain, discomfort, bad postures

Examples: Lifting and moving patients, tripping or slipping and fall hazards

Health effects: Musculoskeletal disorders, strain injury, fracture, wound, upper and lower extremity injuries

Precautions:

– Provide assist devices for lifting.

– Encourage team lifts or start a no-lift program.

Psychological hazard

This can be caused by stressful work conditions, threats of physical violence, work organization, shift work

Examples: Unsafe staffing, workplace threats, bullying, physical violence

Health effects: Psychological stress, physical injury

Precautions:

– Regular staff meetings to share feelings and innovative ideas.

– Reasonable shift schedules.

– Organized and efficient work functions and environment.

– Exercises.

Conclusion

The health care workforce is embraced daily with harm from exposure to agents encountered in this unique and complex workplace. Understanding the real concept of occupational hazards in our Health sector and taking the precautions and safety measures into practice would be of huge gain both to the employers and the employees.

We implore the health sector to do anything within its reach to protect and retain the vital health workforce, which is a fundamental pillar of all health systems.

 

ARTICLE BY: AJEKIIGBE VICTOR OLUWATOMIWA

SCHOOL: LADOKE AKINTOLA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OGBOMOSHO, OYO STATE, NIGERIA.

CONTACT: Victorajekiigbe@gmail.com   +2347066514358

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