Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AFRICA: Diabetes cases to double by 2030

DAKAR, 28 June 2010 (IRIN) - Without a major breakthrough in preventing and treating diabetes, the number of cases in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double, reaching 24 million by 2030, according to the Brussels-based International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

A recent study, Diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa, led by the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon and published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, said inadequate donor attention and national prevention programmes were creating a global "public health and socioeconomic time bomb".

Diabetes is caused by inherited genetic factors and lifestyle choices, and manifests when the body does not produce enough insulin, or cannot break down sugar in the blood, according to the World Health Organization. The disease usually requires long-term treatment and can lead to costly and serious health complications, including heart failure.

In the 34 poorest African countries, the cost of diabetes per person is more than double their average income. In 2010 an estimated 6 percent of total mortality in sub-Saharan Africa will probably be caused by diabetes - a three-fold increase in the past 10 years, the IDF noted.

Jean Claude Mbanya, IDF president and the study's lead researcher, told IRIN that diabetes had been misunderstood as a rich country problem, despite medical data compiled by IDF showing that 70 percent of cases were reported in low- and middle-income countries.

"There is also the perception that when diabetes does affect people in low-income countries, it only affects those who are the wealthy elite. This is absolutely not the case - diabetes is devastating for the poor, affecting breadwinners," he told IRIN.

Researchers acknowledged that data was scarce in Africa and estimates were based on a limited number of studies. "More studies would increase our confidence in the numbers, but this does not mean they are wrong ... Most people in Africa who have diabetes are undiagnosed and, therefore, even when statistics are available from health systems, they will always underestimate the size of the problem."

Sophie Sar, 29, was diagnosed with diabetes in Dakar, capital of Senegal, when she was nine years old. Doctors prescribed insulin, the main anti-diabetic drug, three times a day, costing her almost US$3 per dose. "Every penny I earn as a hairdresser goes to insulin," she told IRIN.

She earns around $6 a day if she has three clients; when she falls short, an uncle lends her money. Her medically approved diet is unaffordable: "We eat mostly rice here in Senegal, but I can only have a few cups of it a day. I am supposed to eat more vegetables but they are so much more expensive."

The authors call for diabetes treatment to be funded in the same way as HIV/AIDS drugs are, along with "support for delivery mechanisms and chronic disease education and care models".

Also needed are "socio-culturally appropriate health promotion campaigns" to address health beliefs in African, mostly rural, settings, that raise the risk of diabetes – such as obesity being a sign of "good living", and a preference for foods with a high saturated fat content, as well as improved access to care and affordable treatment.

"Late diagnosis of diabetes, coupled with inequalities in access to major anti-diabetes drugs ... leads to early presentation of diabetic complications and premature deaths," the study noted.

"HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are important conditions, but they are not the only conditions," IDF's Mbanya told IRIN, questioning donor spending priorities that appeared to overlook "chronic non-communicable diseases", or non-infectious diseases requiring long-term treatment.

According to UNAIDS, 6 percent of patients infected with HIV died in 2008 - roughly the same percentage of global patient deaths IDF estimates will be caused by diabetes in 2010.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Compliment from one of the stakeholders on Financial Education in Tanzania

From: Emilian Busara

Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 12:11 AM
To: ''
Subject: Financial Skills Project in Tanzania

Dear colleagues,

I read an interesting article from Business Times newspaper, about financial skills project in Tanzania , in collaboration with Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society. (TCAS). I also read it from you website. I missed email address of TCAS but please forward this message to them in case you have their email address. They are doing a good job by setting such an initiative in this lovely country of Tanzania .

In that regard, I would like to congratulate you -Consumers International, (Anne Fransen Fund and TCAS) for initiating such a wonder financial capacity building project. As an accountant, administrator and stock investor, I feel that such a project may help by setting the right financial skills at the secondary level.

I would like to bring to your attention that I authored a Kiswahili book about cultivating a culture of saving and investing for financial and economic prosperity (Wekeza Akiba – Jifunze Kuweka Akiba na Kuwekeza Ufanikiwe Kiuchumi na Kifedha). Details and book cover are attached.

Given that we are sharing same vision and mission in promoting financial education in our country, I wonder if you would have time to read and comment and see if such book could be an instrumental to educating Tanzanians and East African about key financial aspect.

Best regards

Emilian Busara, CPA.,MBA.

Director of Finance and Administration


Plot No. 277 Chato Street , Regent Estates

P O Box 105410
Dar es Salaam


The Business Times Reporter

Friday; June 25th-July.1st.2010

A ONE-year project to raise the financial knowledge and capability for ten secondary schools in Ilala municipality in Dar-es-salaam was flagged off last month. The Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), working in collaboration with Consumers International and Banked by the Anne Fransen Fund is undertaking that initiative to support teachers to be able to integrate consumer financial education in their teaching and outdoor activities to boost students’ ability to handle financial issues.
The picture above shows teachers following the session

The project is geared to impart teachers with the necessary consumer financial education topics and use this acquired skill by imparting it to students. That would make those leaving secondary school to be capable of handling matters, thus literate enough to participate in initiatives involving financial opportunities. They need to know where to go for help and to make informed choices, project officials said.

Bernard Kihiyo, executive director for TCAS, said in an interview last week that the project aims to improve students’ and teachers’ financial well being, by a better understanding and ability to manage risks, dealing with market complexity and increased credit sector competition. “That would help them to take part in building a sustainable finance sector in the country”, he said.

The project, ‘Teaching for financial education’, will encourage financial education in the selected school as entry point across the country, where it will also enable the recognition of well performing teachers, students and schools, he said.

The initiative challenges youth to take control of their financial future by learning more about personal finance, as well as teachers and schools to incorporate vital information and topics into day to day education activities. “The teaching kit describes key knowledge, understanding, skills and values in consumer and financial literacy that students can acquire through studies in commerce, bookkeeping, economics, and accounts”. The director noted that.

Those benefiting from the project are Al-Haramain secondary school, Azania secondary school, Benjamin Mkapa secondary school, Dar es salaam secondary school, Jangwani secondary school, Kisutu girls’ secondary school, Mchanganyiko secondary school, Mnazi Mmoja secondary school, Tambaza secondary school and Zanaki girls secondary school.

Kihiyo said that the initiatives is basically aimed at developing skills in financial education and build on consumer financial literacy which is still low in the country compared with other countries in the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community(SADC).

The director, who heads Parasol Real Estate & Developer Agent Ltd, said that there is growing concern on violations of consumer rights, rising consumer debt, reduced household savings, lower Pension and retirement coverage.

There is also a problem of low levels of financial literacy and basic skills, negative charges in the marketing and delivery of financial services with increased reliance on alternative financial services under informal systems, he said.

Growing concern was also being registered on changes in the delivery of government services and benefits, he said, arguing that all these features show the rising importance of the provision of financial education. “This would help to increase the financial capability of consumers, in this case secondary school students”, he further noted.

On the left is a group picture of teachers participated on the two days training