Tanzania’s Next Epidemic? Obesity

By Kaleigh Rogers, Reporter, VICE

In May, VICE reporter Kaleigh Rogers visited Tanzania to report on malaria, and stopped by the Ithna Asheri clinic in Arusha, where a PSI intervention helped train clinicians and lab techs in using malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests (mRDTs) to properly diagnosis and treat fever cases. She also spoke with a PSI-trained provider about the other health challenges facing Tanzanians. Below is an excerpt from her article on Motherboard or read the entire article on VICE.

Malaria’s Last Stand is an expository look at the ongoing burden of one of humanity’s oldest diseases. Staff writer Kaleigh Rogers travelled to Tanzania to capture the scope of malaria’s impact on the road to elimination. Read more here.

Arusha, Tanzania

Historically, malaria has been an equal opportunity killer. If you lived somewhere with enough malaria transmission, it didn’t matter if you were the president, everyone was at risk. But as malaria-plagued countries have started to develop, the wealthier populations are able to avoid malaria more easily, by living in better housing, driving in cars, and working indoors. Now, these groups are facing a new threat: non-communicable diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.

“From what I’ve seen over the last five years or so, it’s going to be the next epidemic,” said Dr. Mohamed Alweani, the medical director at the Ithna-Asheri Charitable Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania.

Dr Mohammad Alweani

Dr. Mohamed Alweani, the medical director at the Ithna-Asheri Charitable Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania. Image: Kaleigh Rogers/Motherboard

I met Alweani at his office in the clinic, which is one of a handful in the city that offer free treatment to those who cannot afford it. Though I was there to learn about the impact of malaria, Alweani said the number of malaria cases the clinic sees has plummeted in recent years. A staff member had to go hunting for a box of malaria medication for me to see; the doctor’s desk was littered with packages of children’s cough medicine. Instead of malaria warnings, the walls were tacked with posters about the risks of hypertension and diabetes.

Read the rest of this article on VICE.

Follow Kaleigh Rogers on Twitter: @KaleighRogers