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Chronic Disease Brief For Africa (January 2019) By Dara Oloyede

  • Nigerian Female Bikers Promote Women’s Health and Empowerment

  • Tanzania: Cervical Cancer Screening Event

  • Uganda: Addressing Mental Illness 

  • Ethiopia: New Regulations for Tobacco and Alcohol 

  • Africans over 60 at risk of Disabilities caused by NCDs 


Nigerian Female Bikers Promote Women’s Health and Empowerment

In 2010 two Nigerian women, Nnenna Samuila and Jeminat Olumegbon, created the D’Angels Motorcycle Club (Unah, 2018). The D’Angels Motorcycle club is Nigeria’s first all-female group of motorcyclists. The goal of the two creators was to bring together women who would work together to make an impact. In Nigeria, 23% of teens have their first child before the age of 19. In order to address teenage pregnancy, D’Angels started a project called “Beyond Limits” in order to empower girls to pursue STEM and also learn about issues like sexual abuse. The creators of this organization have also worked together with other female bikers in Nigeria and in other West African countries to create the Female Bikers Initiative (FBI). The goal of this initiative is to address issues that affect women. FBI has also worked with the Optimal Cancer Care Foundation and Sebeccly Cancer Care to give out free cervical and breast cancer screenings, reaching 500 women in Lagos (Unah, 2018). 

For more information check out this article at This is Africa: Meet the female bikers promoting health awareness among Nigerian women

For more information about the D’ Angels Motorcycle Club: Check out their facebook here:


Tanzania: Cervical Cancer Screening Event

In Tanzania, the first phase of the free cervical screening camp resulted in over 3,000 women between the ages of 25-65 years old being tested (Msuya, 2019).  Out of the 3,013 women who were screened, 11 tested positive and 48 women had symptoms that needed only quick treatment. The cervical screening camp was done at the Mnazi-Mmoja Referral Hospital. The government plans to expand this screening event to other hospitals and also have it become regular for hospitals to host cancer screenings (Msuya, 2019). 

For more information check out this article The National Newspaper Daily News: First Phase of Cancer Screening Ends With Success


Uganda: Addressing Mental Illness 

In Uganda, mental illness does not often get national attention (Rasmussen, 2018). In rural areas and slums, many people view mental illness symptoms as being caused by evil spirits and rely on witchdoctors or herbal medicine for treatment. A 2015 study showed that out of the 40 million people who live in Uganda, about a third of them live with a mental illness. Over 50% of Uganda’s urban population live in slums, where most of the health issues are concentrated. According to the ministry of health, mental illnesses can be triggered by stress, as well as the environment in and outside of the home.  Many organizations that work in slums focus on education and employment, not on identifying and treating mental illnesses. One group in Uganda that focuses on mental health is StrongMinds Uganda. This organization works with women through group-therapy, also referred to as Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-G), to address and lower rates of depression. These group sessions last for 12 weeks and they are based in the community (Rasmussen, 2018).

For more information check out this article at The Observer: How mental illness ravages city slums 

For more information about StrongMinds Uganda, check out their website: 


Ethiopia: New Regulations for Tobacco and Alcohol 

In Ethiopia, a bill for the implementation of restrictions for the “use, sale, advertisement and retail of tobacco and alcohol” is in the final stages of being processed (Kirstos, 2018). The bill was created to help protect the public from unsafe food, medicine and substance use. It was created to implement restrictions on the packaging and distribution of alcohol and tobacco products. One piece of the legislation calls for specifications of the warning signs on tobacco products. It also prohibits people from selling tobacco products to those that are underage. According to a 2016 survey by the Global Adults Tobacco Survey, they found that 3.4 million adults in Ethiopia use tobacco. Another piece of the legislation places standards on labelling for alcoholic drinks. According to the WHO’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018, the average yearly consumption ranges between 2.5-4.9 liters of alcohol per person. This bill includes other limitations in terms of advertisements for alcohol and tobacco (Kirstos, 2018).

For more information check out this article at Addis Fortune: Rigorous Law Approaches to Dispirit Tobacco, Alcohol Use


Africans over 60 at risk of Disabilities caused by NCDs 

A report by HelpAge International and AARP revealed that Africans are more likely to have disabilities causes by Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) later in life than any other health issue (Wangusi, 2018). Another report from Global AgeWatch Insights found that NCDs, like cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, “are the predominant drivers of disabilities across the life course, accounting for three-quarters of all years lived with disability” (Wangusi, 2018). In Zimbabwe, researchers found that in 2015 NCDs accounted for one-third of all deaths but for men between 50-69 years old, NCDs accounted for over half of the deaths, and about one-third of deaths for men 70 years old and over. In Tanzania, they also found that NCDs accounted for 60% of deaths among men and women between 50-69 years old and 67% of people 70 years old and older. As the number of ageing people increases, the health system needs to adapt to changing patterns of diseases as well as emerging burdens on the health system (Wangusi, 2018). 

For more information check out this article at Africa Science News: NCDs Debilitating Africans over 60, Global AgeWatch Insights reveals


Dara Oloyede is the African News Correspondent for Engage Africa Foundation. She holds her Masters of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and Program Management. During her free time, she likes to read books, spend time with friends, go to the movies, concerts, as well as events that celebrate different cultures. 

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