Tag Archives: aids in africa

Professor: Research, training can improve South African health journalism

In discussing a large grant his university has received and the center for health journalism that it will fund, South African professor Guy Berger (bio) has unleashed a scathing critique of African health journalism, and of the profession as a whole.

Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Photo by Pierre Nel via Flickr

Berger says South African health journalists don’t look hard enough for real news, don’t know enough about health care, and aren’t even that good at telling the stories that they do uncover.

It’s a dire picture, of course, but Berger’s overall message is one of hope. He implies that there’s a lot of great work to be done on health and the health care industry in in South Africa and the new center, he says, could help make health journalism the “healthiest trend-setter for the whole family of journalism.”

The “Discovery Centre for Health Journalism” will be funded by a $2 million grant from South African insurer Discovery Health. It will offer an honors program, six annual scholarships and an “annual symposium for working health journalists and stakeholders.” Berger also writes that it will “enjoy full academic freedom.”

For more on the center and African health journalism, see Issa Sikiti da Silva’s related post on bizcommunity.com.

U.S. global health policy focus of guide

In recognition of the major role global health issues now play in even the most local stories, the Kaiser Family Foundation has released a 41-page “Reporter’s Guide to U.S. Global Health Policy” (PDF).kff

The guide devotes sections to diseases/issues (HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Maternal and Child Health, Water-Related Diseases, Food Insecurity), U.S. funding of global health efforts (Obama’s Global Health Initiative), relevant policy issues and policymaking. It also catalogues and explains related multinational and NGO efforts and lists news-making events.

UN: Africa plagued by counterfeit malaria/HIV pills

A recent assessment by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that weak and or/useless drugs have proliferated across Africa and Asia, with malaria-ridden West Africa being the hardest hit (102-page PDF). Smugglers, organized criminals and shady manufacturers in more developed countries are getting rich at the expense of individuals and countries with little capacity to distinguish between fraudulent pharmaceuticals and the real thing.

From the accompanying press release:

As much as 50-60 per cent of anti-infective medicines tested in Asia and Africa have been found to have insufficient amounts of the active ingredients. Medicines with low levels of active ingredients pose a greater hazard than those with none, because substandard antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs can promote the development of drug resistant strains, or “super bugs” that can spread beyond the region.

The UN report calls for immediate action, including the naming, shaming and banning of companies producing the faux pills and stronger government regulatory efforts.

(Hat tip to VOA News)

AHCJ member reports from Zambia, Malawi

WUNC reporter and AHCJ member Rose Hoban tackled abortions in Zambia, AIDs orphans in Malawi, medical education in Africa and other issues with North Carolina ties on a recent grant-funded reporting trip to Africa.

Rose Hoban

Rose Hoban

She visited a North Carolina couple running an organization coordinating care for thousands of AIDs orphans in Malawi, a North Carolina nonprofit’s involvement in access to reproductive health in Zambia, and UNC’s massive health care and research operation in Malawi.Malawi street scene showing coffin sales, courtesy of Rose Hoban, WUNC

In addition to nine radio stories, Hoban blogged extensively about her experiences and produced several videos and multimedia slideshows (photos and multimedia can be accessed through her blog).

Hoban shared some of her experiences and recommendations with AHCJ; read the full article.