Posts Tagged Health

How a Flowery Plant is Fighting Malaria in Tanzania

Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 11:12 am

By Crystal Wells, Communications Officer, Concern Worldwide U.S.

Hapines is Lovenes’ first daughter and at just three months old, she is already fighting malaria.

Lovenes Joas, 22, sits on the edge of a metal-frame hospital bed, cradling her three-month-old daughter, Hapines Joas, in her arms. As she he tries to comfort her squirming daughter, Lovenes crushes up a soft yellow pill and mixes it with water. She tilts her daughter’s head back to force the syrupy liquid down her throat. Hapines wails, tears streaming down her cheeks, and slowly settles back down to a whimper against her mother’s chest.

Hapines is Lovenes’ first daughter and at just three months old, she is already fighting malaria. Lovenes and Hapines share a bed with another mother and child, Stella Peter, 30, and Nizelesos Peter, 10 months, who is also being treated for malaria. “Malaria is a big problem in my family,” says Stella, raising her voice so that we can hear her above the cries of a dozen or so children. “I am a farmer. Right now I could be farming, but I am here losing time because of malaria. It hurts the health of my kids…Even now [while I am here], my three-year-old at home has malaria, but no one is available to take him to the hospital.”

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Let’s Talk about HIV and AIDS

Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 11:53 am

By Ivy Ndiewo, Communication and Documentation Officer, Concern Worldwide

An estimated 1.6 million people are living with HIV in Kenya. While we know that the majority of them are from Nyanza Province, the region in the country’s southwest around Lake Victoria, there is much that we still do not know about HIV and AIDS in Kenya. For example, there are no clear records of the prevalence rate in urban slums, especially when many people likely do not know they are HIV-positive.

A community conversation groups meets in Migori District, Kenya. Photo: Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide uses what we call “community conversations” in Nyanza Province as well as Mukuru, a slum east of Nairobi, to break down many of the barriers that keep people from getting tested, and if they are diagnosed, taking antiretroviral (ARV) medications. We first piloted the approach in 2010 as a way for people to talk about their challenges and find solutions. There are now 24 community conversation groups across Nyanza Province and in Nairobi’s urban slums—all of which tackle HIV and AIDS head-on.

I spoke with my colleagues Belinda, Jane, and Julia, who are all community conversation facilitators in different areas of Mukuru. They said that community members see HIV and AIDS as one of their biggest challenges, with orphans and single parenting on the rise due to HIV and AIDS. Many are living in denial of their status, refusing to take ARVs. This is exactly where community conversations come in.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Protecting Life Where Death is Everyday Conversation

Posted on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 9:11 am

By Megan Christensen, Health Officer, Concern Worldwide US

 

I have been lucky to visit many of the countries where Concern Worldwide works. In my travels, I met many people and witnessed many things, some inspiring and some heartbreaking.

My most recent trip to Sierra Leone was no different.

Concern Health Officer, Megan Christensen holding a newborn child, whose mother took the initiative to seek immediate-care at the health facility after being encouraged to do so by her husband, the community and Concern.

Sierra Leone is a country emerging from ten years of civil war and armed conflict. I saw commitment to work from the ground-up to rebuild. The people are positive and hopeful. The government is active and forward-thinking. I was there last February, and in a year and a half, I have seen progress.

This is partly because of an initiative that the government took in 2010 to provide free health care to women and children. Today, more women and children are accessing health care, and more of them are aware of when and how to access it.

However, there are still major challenges. Some clinics still struggle with having a steady stream of supplies, like antibiotics. We still don’t have all the information we need to understand why people are dying and what they are getting sick from. For example, we know that 60 percent of births are happening in birth facilities, in the presence of a trained birth attendant, but that’s only half the picture. Where is the other 40 percent giving birth?  Who is with them?  Why did they not go to a health facility?

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HIV/AIDS: The tide is turning, but not fast enough

Posted on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at 9:49 am

By Breda Gahan, Global HIV & AIDS Program Advisor

 

46 percent of people living with and AIDS in the world’s poorest countries are still without access to life-saving anti-retroviral treatment

Recently the U.S. government, through the Health and Human Services Department, announced $68 million in new grants to support comprehensive HIV and AIDS care for women, infants, and youth. The investment came on the heels of the 19th International AIDS Conference which drew thousands of people from across the globe into Washington, DC under the theme, “Turning the Tide Together.”

With 46 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS in the world’s poorest countries without access to life-saving anti-retroviral treatment, it begs the question: have we really begun to turn the tide?

While the new investment from the U.S. government in HIV and AIDS will undoubtedly make treatment available to more people who need it, we will never reverse the crippling effects of this 100 percent preventable—and increasingly treatable—disease if the international community does not come together and make it a priority.

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Addressing preventable deaths in Malawi

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 9:56 am

Some 12 percent of all children in Malawi do not survive to celebrate their fifth birthday. Photo: Concern Worldwide

I have arrived in the Concern office in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi. The goal in the next week is to gather as much information on the current health situation of mothers and children in Malawi, and develop a program strategy about how to address the problems.

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How our youth health volunteers have transformed lives in Haiti

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Typical scene in informal slums of Haiti. Some 42 percent of Haitians had no access to clean drinking water even before the earthquake. Photo: Megan Christensen, Concern Worldwide

I arrived in Haiti the end of 2009, when the earthquake had not yet devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince. Initially, I was intimidated by the robust presence of the United Nations police and peacekeeping forces. But, according to Concern’s Haiti staff, the UN presence had played a major role in stabilizing this island nation and improving the security situation for the people living here.

At that time, Haiti’s streets were vibrant and full of life and despite the many challenges people seemed happy and hopeful about a more prosperous future.

According to reports from my colleagues in the field, that resilience has not been hampered by the recent disaster. Read the rest of this entry »

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Initiating Concern’s “Pro-Sante Child Survival Project”

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

I am en route to Niamey, Niger’s capital city, and from there I will continue on to the Tahoua region, where Concern works. I am travelling to help set up a new five-year Child Survival program that we are undertaking in collaboration with the government of Niger. The program will deliver child health and nutrition services in a rural area. Read the rest of this entry »

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Video: “Karibuni” from Tanzania

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

“Karibuni”  from Tanzania, (which means “Welcome to all of you!”  in Swahili).  In this video clip, Concern’s child-to-child hygiene and sanitation club of Kigarama Primary School in Tanzania’s Ngara District does – to my ears anyway – a pitch perfect rendition of “Karibuni” in song.

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Discovering the True Meaning of “How de Body?” in Sierra Leone

Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Women in Tonkolili Sierra Leone test out a new pump supported by Concern Worldwide

Women in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone test out a new pump supported by Concern Worldwide

“How ‘de body?” – is the standard greeting in Krio, the lingua franca of Sierra Leone. Anyone who has been to Sierra Leone has almost certainly been initiated into the vibrant language of Krio upon hearing this phrase.  And the standard answer is “‘De body fine!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Winding down in Mozambique

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 at 9:07 am

MAPUTO MOZAMBIQUE – Before I leave Mozambique I just wanted to write a bit about the people of Mozambique. This country was devastated by a 17-year civil war that ended in 1992.

A snapshot of village life in Bento, Chinde District, Mozambique

A snapshot of village life in Bento, Chinde District, Mozambique

That might seem time enough for a good deal of healing to take place, and it has — Mozambique is a stable, peaceful, forward looking nation. But the scars are still here.

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