Archive | March 2014

Diabetes Patients In Cameroon Poorly Controlled

Leocadia Bongben

Prof. Jean Claude Mbanya, Endocrinologists at the Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences University of Yaoundé 1, has declared that diabetic patients in Cameroon are poorly controlled.

The outgoing President of the International Diabetes Federation made the declaration during the second African Diabetes conference that opened in Yaoundé from February 25-28.

Participants at  Diabetes conference
Going by him, insulin-treatment for diabetic patients is limited and poorly used in most patients, leading to poor control of glycaemia (the level of sugar in the blood) and in the long run haemoglobin which is the measuring index.

For patients not to develop complications hemoglobin has to be less than 5 percent, thus, Mbanya observed from statistics that patients in Cameroon are not properly controlled.

He said only 39 percent of the patients have the equipment to control their glycaemia lamenting that is difficult to control patients without knowing their level of glycaemia.

Control for a chronic disease like diabetes entails many factors: education of the patients, telling patients that diabetes does not mean death, that it can be controlled to avoid complications.

He insisted that patients have to know their ailment and know how to control it. Mbanya concluded that it is abnormal for many patients stay on oral anti-diabetes drugs for about 20 years with only few not developing complications.

He said much needs to be done to control glycaemia and anterior hypertension observing that patients are developing complications because they are not properly controlled.

19.3 million people live with diabetes in the Africa, and the figure is estimated to double in 2035 to 41.5 percent. Among many African countries 60 percent of diabetes patients are not yet diagnosed in Cameroon.

For Said Norou Diop, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, Cheik Anta Diop University in Senegal, focus is on prevention.
Said Norou Diop

One of the strategies to him, is through voluntary action by the health professionals, for the doctors to be well trained and in this light, 1000 doctors have been trained on diabetes diagnosis and treatment.

The population, he said should change lifestyles: eat less sugar, salt and fatty foods and walk at least 30 minutes every day. This helps to prevent anterior hypertension and clotting of cholesterol, which is a cardiovascular disease risk factor.

He warned that there is no bread and life for diabetic patients. There may be light drinks but the population should read the notice to know the components to ascertain if actually it contains less sugar.

Proper feeding for patients entail knowing the components; proteins found in fish, meat and egg; cereals, vitamin A in vegetables and fruits and calcium from milk and milk derivatives.

He stressed “there is need to eat and also move”, and added that the challenge is to ensure early diagnosis and access to treatment which is expensive.

In partnership with the government, Sanofi a pharmaceutical firm based in Africa has been striving to get the drugs closer to the patients.

Thanks to the innovations and research by the company, Philomene Akonoze who has been living with diabetes for the past six years now takes her insulin in the required dose with the injection pen.
Diabetes patient-Philomenne Akonoze
Akonoze before who diagnosis was urinating after every 10minutes and was very thirsty, was very tired and had a difficult as she thought diabetes signified death, can now live with her disease.

“I know how to take control of my glycaemia and the dose of insulin to take, I was programmed on insulin and today my glycaemia has stabilized”.

But, the pharmaceutical company is not stopping in the search for innovations, as Amy Ndoa Fall, Sanofi West Africa Medical and Regulatory Director says the ‘Allstar’ injection key innovation would be released to the market early 2015.
'Allstar' insulin instrument to be released in 2015
“For the patients, this would remove the discomfort from having to go through injections with the risk of pushing the needle far; the patient can move with the pen and with just a click, the right quantity of insulin is released”.

The injection pen is going through the registration process to be released into the market but if issues of cost are not viewed in partnership with governments only a few patients would have access to the comfort of this treatment.

Land Use Crucial For Congo Basin Forest Management-Expert

Leocadia Bongben

Greenpeace Forest Strategists, Paulo Adario has signaled that land use is a crucial element in the management of the Congo Basin forest.

The 2012 winner of the United Nations “Hero of the Forest’ award for the protection of the tropical forest and communities depending on the Brazilian Amazon pointed out this challenge in Yaoundé when he shared his experience with stakeholders of the forest sector.
Paulo Adario with forest sector stakeholders

Digging from his experience, he said traditional people have the right to live on their land and make their choices for the future. Besides, another challenge for countries of the Congo Basin is to ensure forest protection together with job generation, food stability and food security, he added.

Comparing the Amazon to the tropical forest of the Congo Basin, Adario said there are physically similarities with the tropical forest responsible for most of the planet and millions of people, equally threatened by logging in Congo, Cameroon and Gabon.

“In Cameroon, palm oil expansion can be a big threat, while the soil and cattle ranching in the Amazon are the biggest threats, but it is the same economic model that causes forest destruction”, he underlined.

The strategists, who for the past years has been in the middle of the Amazon forest town of Manaus in Brazil says the Brazilian Amazon has been destroyed in a fast way causing deforestation, carbon emissions and loss of biodiversity, particularly putting poor people who depend on forest for livelihood in danger.

“Forest people who are not the cause are the first victim of forest destruction from large cattle ranching, palm oil plantations and big companies”, Adario said.

He has been mapping out on how to ensure development, job generation, conserve the environment and rights of the communities, their traditions, beliefs and needs.

Under Adario’s leadership millions of protected hectares were created in Brazil, not only for the environment but also for local communities which earned him the United Nations award and recognition from the government.

In 2002, he piloted an initiative that led to the conservation of 1.6million hectare of forest and introduced new concepts of ‘Green Wall’, to describe protected areas from deforestation by industries and “Zero Deforestation” to describe socio-political and environmental initiatives to stop deforestation and ameliorate the living standard of the forest population.

The advocate of an integrated forest approach initiated the campaign against illegal forest exploitation which in 2003 led to the prohibition of international commercialization of Mahogany.

He succeeded in signing bilateral accords with international industrial companies to stop the destruction of forest for soya bean plantations and ranching.

Commenting on the issue of land used Paulo raised, Napoleon Jaff Bamenjo, Coordinator of the Network for the fight against Hunger, RELUFA, said deforestation and development in the Congo Basin and Amazon are similar even if they are not exactly of the same nature.
Napoleon Jaff

“It is in the interest of all to manage the forest in a sustainable manner and halt the accelerated deforestation. Paulo has a rich experience working with indigenous people to demarcate and enable them own land, something which is always overlooked when taking decisions in according portions of the forest for commercial interests in Cameroon”.

Cameroon can gain from the experiences in the Amazon to frame appropriate strategies for its management of the forest to benefit all segments of stakeholders he stated.
Stakeholder-Paulo's presentation

Stakeholders-Hero of the Forest
Stakeholders meeting with Hero of the Forest