Cancer Crisis in Rural South Africa and Other Reports

Every week, Rural Reporters collate reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

Here’s a rundown of the top stories making headlines in rural Africa this week.

Feeling the pain of South Africa’s rural cancer crisis

The dreaded diagnosis. As I pick up the file, my first instinct is to drop it again. It’s the instinct you get when you’re trying to protect yourself from hard situations. It’s your morality that keeps the file glued to your hand, and you tell yourself to “manup” and do this as best you can.

I call for an interpreter because this requires knowledge of IsiZulu beyond my capabilities, and this needs a proper explanation. “Sir, I have some bad news…” I start as a fleeting memory of the “breaking bad news” simulation in medical school flies momentarily through my thoughts.

“The result of your biopsy is back. It unfortunately says that you have cancer.”

Further explanation is tricky. People with limited to no education have little use for information on the type of cancer and how rare it is. As doctors, we sometimes limit the information we give patients to the information they can use such as which organs are affected and what happens next.

What happens next is where the problem starts.

Kenyan program recruits faith healers to help identify mentally ill

Across Africa, many people believe mental illness is caused by curses, witchcraft or demons. In such places, traditional medicine has long remained the first line of treatment.

But a novel program in Eastern Kenya is working to change those perceptions and help the mentally ill receive better care.

The Africa Mental Health Foundation, a Nairobi-based nongovernmental organization, is partnering with a U.S. hospital and a Canadian government program to collect data on the mentally ill via an online platform that will allow traditional healers, clergy and community health workers to work together to direct mentally ill people to primary care centers.

Water access remains critical for rural Nam

Namibia is still a long way from achieving a higher percentage of access to clean water for its rural areas even though it has manage to supply 80 percent of its urban and peri-urban population with potable water by end of 2015, thereby reducing the proportion of the population without access to safe water.

Despite being a semi-arid country with limited and unevenly distributed water resources, Namibia has made commendable achievements in the water sector. According to the 2013 Namibia Demographic and Health Survey Report, over 87 percent of the households in Namibia have now access to safe drinking supply. Water coverage in urban is 97.5 percent while in rural areas stands at 75.5 percent.

But the challenges remains, as Namibia’s rural areas still experience chronic shortage of water, both for human, and animal consumption as well as agricultural activities, according to Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa who has attributed the 80 percent access to safer water achievement to “sustained commitment and effective implementation approaches.”

Rural banditry: From the crisis of nomadism to state crisis

There has been a massive expansion of the phenomenon of rural banditry in northern Nigeria over the past decade. As the phenomenon grows, popular narratives creating meaning, context and (mis)understandings have been emerging. The narratives emerging on rural banditry in the media and in popular discourse are becoming part of the drivers for expanding the conflicts. The growth of rural banditry has been grafted upon a background of intense competition over increasingly scarce land and water resources in rural communities. The problem is that the protagonists in these growing conflicts are being reduced in an over simplified manner to nomadic Fulani cattle herders, who are mostly Muslims, and sedentary farmer communities of several other ethnic extractions, who are often non-Muslim. These two distinct groups are usually depicted as perpetrators and victims, respectively. The reality is more complex and more serious.
The danger of the unfolding dynamics is the expansions of hate speech, stigmatization of communities, growing distrust due to the escalation of the current Nigerian growth industry of negative stereotyping between “the one” and “the other”.

Swaziland: Rural women farmers get $320 000 from FAO

Sweet potato farmers got a $324 675 boost from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which was announced in Ivory Coast Wednesday.Agriculture Minister Moses Vilakati, who is currently attending an FAO meeting in Ivory Coast, reported that he will also sign the grant finance which will support rural women on agriculture development knowledge.

The women will also learn on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) in order to be able to manage food and introduce procedures to make sure food is safe to eat, he says.

Fund strengthens livelihoods of rural inhabitants

Developing projects supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been effective in improving the livelihoods of rural poor people and strengthening their food production systems in a number of impoverished and remote communities.

This is according to findings presented in Abuja by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD.

The main objectives of the evaluation were to assess the results and performance of the IFAD-Government partnership in reducing rural poverty and to generate findings and recommendations for the future partnership
between IFAD and Nigeria.

The evaluation found that the programme targeted poverty reasonably well.



Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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