Facts: Health

Kenya is set to be one of the first African countries with digitalized medical records.

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  • An e-health pilot program to digitally convert health records is underway at the Kenyatta National Hospital and a nationwide rollout should be expected within the next year.
  • The initiative to store health records digitally will make statistical information regarding the country’s health sector more accessible. This data enables medical researchers to consult with doctors in other countries and share best practices.
  • The pilot program will also include an electronic medical supplies procurement system aimed at making buying goods cheaper and more efficient. Digital medical records will also help cut costs by eliminating duplication of medical tests.

Source: Business Daily

A Kenyan scientist helped develop a groundbreaking new drug to treat Hepatitis C.

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  • Dr. George Njoroge, the Kenyan-born director of medicinal chemistry at the Merck Research Laboratories, was at the center of the development of Victrelis, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • The development of Victrelis is the biggest breakthrough in the treatment of the Hepatitis C virus in the last decade. The first-of-its-kind pill has been shown to cure more patients in less time than other drugs presently used.
  • “Victrelis is an important new advance for patients with hepatitis C,” said Dr. Edward Cox, director of the FDA’s office of antimicrobial products. “This new medication provides an effective treatment for a serious disease, and offers a greater chance of cure for some patients' Hepatitis C infection compared to currently available therapy.”

Sources: Daily Nation, Cox News

Kenya is using the latest testing technology to combat tuberculosis

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  • In June 2011, Kenya will debut a new computer-enabled tuberculosis (TB) test that confirms results 600 times faster than current technology. Instead of waiting six weeks for test results, patients can find out if they are TB-positive in less than two hours.
  • Endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the test can also detect Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), helping to ensure that patients receive proper treatment.
  • The first testing kits will be available at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinics in Kibera, Homa Bay and Mathare. The government plans to bring in more testing machines before the end of the year.

Source: Daily Nation

Kenya's draft Cancer Bill aims to increase Kenyans' access to cancer treatment

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  • If passed, the legislation will help decentralize cancer treatment facilities so that Kenyans throughout the country can access proper care. Early diagnosis could save thousands of lives each year.
  • The Cancer Bill will also provide funding for measures to improve Kenya’s cancer treatment technology and to train more oncologists.
  • Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong’o has been instrumental in bringing attention to Kenya’s need for improved healthcare. The Minister went public with his recent battle with prostate cancer and has helped raise awareness of the issues impacting diagnosis and care.

Source: Business Daily

HIV positive women in Kenya can receive medical advice via text message

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  • In July, the Kenya AIDS Control Project began sending a test group of nearly 100 HIV positive pregnant women messages to help guide them through a safe pregnancy.
  • The messages include reminders of weekly prenatal visits, medication reminders and diet recommendations.
  • The program, which is expected to continue through 2013, may begin using voice messages to further increase access to medical advice.

Source: HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women

A Kenyan scientist won this year’s Royal Society Pfizer Award for his research on childhood malaria

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  • Dr. Collins Ouma received nearly $1 million to study how the immune system responds to malarial anemia. The research has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Upon presenting the award to Dr. Ouma in December 2010, the Royal Society said, “The work that African scientists do is hugely important in helping to relieve suffering on the continent…It is also very exciting that the prize will enable him to pass his expertise on and encourage other young African scientists.”
  • A portion of this funding will be used to establish a teaching and research laboratory at Maseno University in Kenya.

Source: All Africa

AIDS related deaths in Kenya have fallen by 29% since 2002

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  • The decline in AIDS prevalence has been attributed to various factors including reduction in high-risk behaviors and education programs.
  • Kenya has integrated HIV/AIDS education into many subjects at school, and introduced a weekly lesson on AIDS into all primary and secondary curricula.
  • The Kenyan Government will increase direct budget support for the fight against HIV/AIDS by a minimum of 10 percent annually.

Source: ABC News, Avert

Kenya is leading the first business alliance working to end hunger in Africa

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  • The Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger is coordinated by a Kenyan-based secretariat and has over 30 companies and organizations working to develop business-led solutions to hunger.
  • Alliance members have created 150 small-scale businesses and initiatives in a Kenyan pilot program.

Source: World Food ProgramAll Africa