Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 9–22 April 2009

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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 9–22 April 2009

TB vaccine ‘problematic’ for South Africa’s HIV babies
South African researchers have found that the risk of tuberculosis vaccines for HIV positive infants is "considerably higher than previously estimated”. They say that there is ”an urgent need for data” on the risks and benefits of immunising infants with Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in regions where both HIV and TB rates are high. More>> [144kB]

Male circumcision ‘cuts HIV’
Nandi Siegfried, co-director of the South African Cochrane Centre, says research ”conclusively” shows that circumcision cuts by about half the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men in Africa for at least two years. The clinical trials reviewed took place in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda between 2002 and 2006. More>>

Sixteen African nations map malaria drug resistance
Angola’s Walter Inojosa of Doctors with Africa in Luanda and Alexandre Matondo, director of Uige provincial hospital, are among the researchers who tracked how drug-resistant genes have evolved independently across the continent in two decades. Researchers found that molecular resistance differs between East and West Africa, which will help combat drug resistance. More>>

Senegal researches dengue fever
Senegalese animal biologist Mady Ndiaye from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar is among the few researchers to survey the West African population of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which transmits yellow fever, four types of dengue virus and the chikungunya virus. Ndiaye and colleagues have been analysing population genetics, subspecies of the mosquito and the ability of mosquito subspecies to carry the virus. They say that the study improves their understanding of the global evolution of A. aegypti. More>>

Home treatment of malaria discouraged*
Norah Mwebaza and Moses Kamya of Kampala’s Makerere University medical school are among researchers warning that although home management of malaria among children with fevers leads to prompt treatment, it is ineffective and causes overuse of the drug artemether-lumefantrine. The researchers particularly discourage home treatment in areas with either low malaria transmission or large urban areas. More>>

Coping with climate change in Cameroon, Congo
The Baka pygmies of South East Cameroon and the Bambenzele people of Congo have developed new fishing and hunting methods [166kB] in response to less rain and more forest fires, according to the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change. Meanwhile, in Kenya, protracted droughts are killing the Samburu nomads’ livestock. More>>

Sierra Leone tackles fistulas
Freetown surgeon Alyona Lewis, working with The West Africa Fistula Foundation at the Choithram Memorial Hospital at Hill Station, has found that prompt treatment saved the lives of many women with massive internal damage from prolonged childbirth. Internal organ tearing and scarring often caused urine and faecal material to leak into the sexual organs and is a cause of considerable mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. More>>

Building new health centres ‘not enough’ in Mali
Pregnant women are usually in too much pain to make the trek to Mali’s five-year-old Koulogo health centre, so the centre’s director Ousmane Fomba has initiated pregnancy outreach and vaccination efforts in nearby villages every other day. A total of 16 villages contribute to the expenses and infant and maternal deaths have dropped significantly. More>>

Post-rape care in Kenya
Nduku Kilonzo of the Kenya-based Liverpool VCT [Voluntary Counselling and Testing, Care and Treatment] says that University of Nairobi research showing improvements in treating the survivors of sexual violence at the Malindi, Rachuonyo and Thika district hospitals can be replicated in other African countries but calls for better medical-legal coordination. More>> [116kB]

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Compiled by Christina Scott.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Christina Scott ([email protected]).