Cancer May Kill One Nillion Africans Yearly By 2030 – WHO
The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has said that cancer mortality may increase to nearly one million deaths per year by 2030 if there are no urgent and bold interventions.
According to her, an estimated 1.1 million new cancer cases occur each year in Africa, with about 700,000 deaths.
She said this in a message to commemorate the 2023 World Cancer Day.
The PUNCH reports that World Cancer Day is an international day marked yearly on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The 2023 theme is “Close the care Gap: Uniting our voices and taking action.”
Dr Moeti said, “The numbers are stark. Approximately 1.1 million new cancer cases occur each year in Africa, with about 700,000 deaths. Data estimates show a considerable increase in cancer mortality to nearly one million deaths per year by 2030, without urgent and bold interventions.
“We should recall that the most common cancers in adults include breast (16.5 per cent), cervical (13.1 per cent), prostate (9.4 per cent), Colorectal (6 per cent), and liver (4.6 per cent) cancers, contributing to nearly half of the new cancer cases. With significant data challenges, childhood cancer incidence in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at 56.3 per million population.
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“Current projections show that Africa will account for nearly 50 per cent of the global childhood cancer burden by 2050, compelling expeditious efforts to confront this concern, as was done for the young girl from Rwanda.”
She, however, said 12 countries in the region had valid National Cancer Control Plans and WHO was supporting eleven additional countries in developing or updating their National Cancer Control Plans aligned to the global cancer initiatives coupled with the presence of governance structures at the government level to implement Cancer Plans.
She also said the organisation with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in cancer registration had launched three collaborating centres in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and South Africa to facilitate capacity building for local staff and improve data quality for effective decision-making.
Twenty-five countries have developed and are using Cancer Guidelines. Political will remains significant in improving the cancer landscape. Including childhood cancer medicines in the National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana and Zambia is a good example. Such a strategic action will significantly contribute to the increase in survival rates for children with cancer in these countries.
“We are collaborating with Childhood Cancer International to develop and pilot the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support guidelines for children in Burkina Faso. It is gratifying to note the steady increase of HPV vaccination national introduction by 51 per cent of countries in the region, although coverage remains concerning at 21 per cent.
“Currently, 16 countries have introduced high-performance-based screening tests in line with WHO recommendations and plan to scale up cervical cancer screening. The introduction of gynecologic oncology Fellowships for improved
access to cervical cancer treatment services in Malawi and Zambia is commendable and innovative.”
She noted that despite the achievements, there are challenges such as the low availability of Population-Based Cancer Registries; limited health promotion; inadequate access to primary prevention and early detection services; the scarcity of diagnostic facilities that increase delays in diagnosis and treatment.
“Provision of palliative care is rare in Africa, notwithstanding the significant need for it. Africa has only three per cent of the world’s cancer treatment facilities, with radiotherapy available in just 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, contributing to very low survival rates.
“By uniting voices and action, we can address cancer at individual and community levels: Choosing healthy lifestyles, getting vaccinated, and getting routinely screened against preventable cancers. Parents have the responsibility to ensure their eligible daughters receive HPV vaccines.
READ ALSO: WHO To Establish TB Vaccine Accelerator Council
“I call on Governments to develop and update national cancer control plans, provide sustainable financing and invest in cancer registration. I encourage Governments to incorporate cancer care into essential benefits packages and national health insurance systems.
It is also critical to ensure adequate infrastructure for human resources, screening, diagnostics, and treatment. There is equally a need to expand the use of digital health and establish relevant training for the cancer workforce.
“Finally, cancer survivors can lend their voices as advocates for better cancer services. As persons with lived experience, they should be involved in designing cancer services at all levels of health care.
“Let us unite against cancer and take action to make universal health for cancer prevention, treatment, and care a reality in Africa,” she said.
Six Health Benefits Of Tiger Nuts
Despite its name, the tiger nut is not a nut, but a tuber. The sweet, almond-like flavor tuber crop has gained popularity as a health food.
Known as Ofio in Yoruba, Aki Hausa and Imumu in Igbo, and Aya in Hausa), tiger nuts may be eaten either raw or cooked. It can be extracted as milk and used as an alternative for those who do not like dairy milk; it can also be used for baking.
Here are the benefits of Tiger nuts:
1. It protects against aging: Tiger nuts are a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures, according to an online health portal, Healthline.
2. It improves digestion: Tiger nuts are a good source of fibre. Dietary fibre aids digestion by increasing the frequency of stools and relieving constipation.
3. It may reduce blood sugar levels: Tiger nuts may help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Healthline notes that animal studies show that tiger nut extract may help reduce blood sugar levels due to the high fiber content of the tubers, which may slow down the absorption of sugar in the gut.
4. It suppresses appetite: A journal published in the international journal for innovative research in the multidisciplinary field showed that tiger nuts are also said to act as a mild appetite suppressant. This helps keep us feeling fuller for longer and also reduces the number of calories we absorb from the food.
READ ALSO: 10 Things To Know About Hypertension
5. It may boost your immune system, fight infections: Studies have shown that tiger nut extracts are effective against E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Salmonella bacteria. The extracts might also be effective at fighting antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. However, more studies are needed to draw a strong conclusion.
6. It boosts sex drive: Tiger nuts have been proven to improve sperm count and motility. Medical director and consultant urologist at the Ogah Hospital and Urology Centre, Fugar, Edo State, Dr Gabriel Ogah, said tiger nuts can boost sex drive and libido in individuals.
Nigeria’s TB Case Finding Rises By 50%, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation said Nigeria had significantly increased its national Tuberculosis case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, made this known in her message in commemoration of World TB Day.
World TB Day is marked yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.
READ ALSO: 135 Million Africans Have Hearing Problems, Says WHO
This year’s theme, ‘Yes, we can end TB’, highlights the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with the drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Moeti said it was important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication.
“Nigeria is an example of a country that managed to significantly increase national TB case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as the expansion of the daily observed treatment protocols, use of digital technologies, Community Active Case Finding, and enlisting Public Private Mix initiatives.
“TB requires concerted action by all sectors: from communities and businesses to governments, civil society and others,” she said in a press statement.
READ ALSO: Cancer May Kill One Nillion Africans Yearly By 2030 – WHO
She said the African Region was on the threshold of reaching a 35 per cent TB death reduction as there had been a 26 per cent reduction in TB deaths between 2015 and 2021.
“Seven countries — Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia—have reached a 35 per cent reduction in deaths since 2015,” she noted.
She, however, decried the challenges in TB prevention and control.
“First, the delayed diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB: 40 per cent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021. One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.
“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 per cent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.
READ ALSO: Africa Records 26,000 Cholera Cases, 660 Deaths In January – WHO
“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 per cent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment.”
Meanwhile, she hailed the member states for the increasing uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care, and better outcomes.
“In the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.
“We must work together to develop innovative approaches to reach vulnerable populations and ensure that they have access to quality TB care and management.
“The second UN High-level Meeting on TB in September 2023 will provide a rare opportunity to give global visibility to the disease and mobilize high-level political commitment to end TB.
“Ending TB is feasible with the decline in TB deaths and cases, and the elimination of economic and social burdens associated with it.
“Specially today, I urge leaders, governments, partners, communities, and all stakeholders to urgently foster the resilient health systems required to accelerate the TB response so that we can reach the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030. Yes, we can end TB in our lifetime,” she added.
10 Things To Know About Hypertension
Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide, including in Nigeria. Unfortunately, not many people know they have the condition because they are not diagnosed and remain untreated.
People with high blood pressure may not feel symptoms and the only way to know is to get their blood pressure checked.
Below are the 10 things to know about hypertension:
1. Hypertension also known as high blood pressure is when the pressure in your blood vessels is too high -140/90 mmHg or higher. Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range.
2. Studies say about 40 per cent of Nigeria’s population live with hypertension. Over 80 million Nigerians are living with hypertension in the country. The prevalence is higher in the urban areas.
READ ALSO: Overheating Cooking Oil Can Cause Hypertension, Stroke – Nutritionist
3. The things that can increase the risk of having high blood pressure are old age (age over 65 years), a family history of hypertension, and being overweight or obese (If your Body Mass Index is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obesity range), not being physically active, high salt diet, drinking too much alcohol, tobacco, and diet high in saturated fat and trans fats.
4. Poverty, anxiety, preeclampsia, and eclampsia also fuel hypertension.
5. People with very high blood pressure (usually 180/120 or higher) can experience symptoms like severe headaches, chest pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or other vision changes, anxiety, confusion, buzzing in the ears, nosebleeds, and abnormal heart rhythm. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek care immediately.
6. The only way to detect hypertension is to have a health professional measure blood pressure. Having blood pressure measured is quick and painless. You can also measure your blood pressure using automated devices, but an evaluation by a health professional is important for the assessment of risk and associated conditions.
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7. Hypertension can cause other health challenges like heart, brain, and kidney diseases, and is one of the top causes of death and diseases throughout the world. It can be easily detected by measuring blood pressure, at home or in a health centre, and can often be treated effectively with low-cost medications.
8. If you have heart disease or stroke, diabetes (high blood sugar), chronic kidney disease, or high risk for cardiovascular disease, your blood pressure goal is less than 130/80.
9. To prevent and lower high blood pressure, eat more vegetables and fruits, sit less, be more physically active (Walk, run, swim, dance, lift weights), and get involved in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, lose weight if you’re overweight or obese, take medicines as prescribed by your health care professional, and keep appointments with your health care professional.
10. You can reduce the risks of hypertension by reducing and managing stress, regularly checking blood pressure, treating high blood pressure, and managing other medical conditions.
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