Tropical Disease and Africa
Africa not only lacks economic but the internal infrastructure to deal with the crisis of
tropical diseases. Africa also has a refugee problem that increases the population further impoverishing the
Africa continues to be a hot spot for tropical diseases. Weather conditions, poverty and global disinterest
all contribute to the manifestation of the widespread problems associated with tropical diseases in Africa.
Part of the problem appears to be an economic one. Poor countries such as Africa are just not big players in the
global economy and therefore are not given that much attention by industrialized countries. Other tropical areas
(Brunei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hawaiian Islands and the northern part of Australia) have more stable trade or other
economic opportunities like tourism making them capable of providing their citizens and visitors with better
opportunities for protection.
Africa not only lacks economic but the internal infrastructure to deal with the crisis of tropical diseases.
Africa also has a refugee problem that increases the population further impoverishing the country.
Africa also is sensitive climate-wise. Diseases like malaria, schitosomiasis, river blindness and yellow fever
are difficult to control because the lack of seasonal change encourages breeding of mosquitoes. Poor countries do
not have the R&D investments needed to combat tropical diseases. Opportunities usually exist for topics that
are more wide-spread like balding hair concerns rather than tropical diseases that only affect a smaller number of
countries, especially when those countries are poor without political or economic clout.
Two elements that Africa has are the dramatic birth rates and the substandard living conditions of the people of
Africa. Workers who do not wish to venture out of doors when mosquitos are active paralyse the economy; this
creates unstable work times, contributing to the economic woes of Africa.
| 19 countries have banned together to form The African Program for Onchocerciasis Control to help fight the disease and to activate community-directed treatment programs. Another program, The Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas has a goal to eliminate the morbidity and transmission of onchocerciasis in six endemic (restricted to a locality or region) countries in the Americas. Soil transmitted helminths (STH), are parasitic disease caused by roundworm, whipworm and hookworm. Contact is made with the worms by coming in contact with contaminated feces or unclean water. Lyme Disease
Disease in Africa is not just a health concern; it is a socioeconomic development issue. Tropical disease
creates instability within the continent of Africa; high rates of poverty, inadequate nutrition and the inability
to recover economically are all by-products of the tropical disease that riddles Africa.
Another contributing factor to Africa's inability to combat tropical disease is that the refugees who come to
Africa often comes from countries that do not comply with international laws and guidelines to protect those who
seek asylum in other countries. Some countries do not allow their refugees to work, this adds to the poverty
problem. Disease runs rampant in the temporary settlements that are set up for refugees (refugee camps) and these
places have inadequate water and food supplies. Shelter during the rainy season also poses health conditions that
are ideal for the spread of tropical disease due to the unsanitary living conditions.
Africa faces a lack of community cohesiveness, which adds stress and destroys the ability of healthcare workers
to initiate community programs.
Malaria is a huge problem in Africa that is aggravated by the fact that it is becoming resistant to antimalarial
drugs. Africa needs to control the efforts better by following strategic plans and fostering coordinate
partnerships with African scientists and Northern partners. The strategic plans should include future development
of new antimalarial drugs, the understanding of the pathogens that cause malaria, vector dynamics and the logistics
of the spread of the disease.