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For Migrants, Death due to Dehydration, Starvation,Sexual Attacks has become rampant in North Africa

The Geneva-based organization reports at least 120,000 migrants have passed through Niger this year on their way to Europe

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USAIM provides funding and support for IOM projects worldwide. Image source: www.usaim.org
  • IOM said, this year in 2016, actual number of deaths is way higher than 471
  • Starvation, dehydration and extreme heat waves in the Sahara desert are the primary causes for death
  • Smugglers lie to the migrants about the way to safety, then often abandon them after receiving money

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that discovering of 34 dead migrants in the Sahara this week brings the number of known migrant deaths on the African continent this year to 471.

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Migrants in Africa blindly follow smugglers. Image courtesy: dw.com

IOM believes these deaths may be only a small percentage of the true number of migrant fatalities across North Africa.

The Geneva-based organization reports at least 120,000 migrants have passed through Niger this year on their way to Europe. Yet, the only deaths recorded by IOM in Niger are the 34 victims who died after being abandoned by their smuggler this week.

The agency said many more people have died from exposure, starvation or dehydration in the vast Sahara Desert.

It said there also is an alarming trend of violent deaths for migrants in North Africa. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told VOA that sexual attacks have been responsible for dozens of deaths.

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“This indicates terrible abuse of people en route, whether this is just armed men taking advantage of these people or it is part of sex trafficking,” he said. “I do not really have the details of that. We do know of literally hundreds of women from Nigeria have been forced into prostitution in Libya after being told they did not have enough money to make the trip up from Nigeria to the coast.”

Millman said smugglers often mislead people by telling them the border is only five kilometers away. After taking their money, they leave the migrants to wander, often with fatal consequences.

“We also hear about vehicles that run out of gas or become disabled in the high temperatures,” he said. “While waiting for relief, people die of dehydration. That is very common on that route.”

IOM began its Missing Migrants Project almost 18 months ago. In that time, it has recorded deaths for 678 migrants traveling in Africa, with 70 of those deaths occurring just in the past two weeks.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Deaths in Africa has been increasing. Awareness should be created in the African people so that they know what are the after effects of trusting a smuggler.

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Africa: Initiative Aims to Expand Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes, a disease that once mainly affected rich countries, is now most prevalent in low-and-middle-income countries

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Africa, Initiative, Diabetes
A blood sugare analyser and an insulin syringe are seen on a table, Nov. 13, 2019. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet) VOA

On the eve of World Diabetes Day, November 14, the World Health Organization is launching a new initiative it believes will allow greater access to life-saving insulin at lower prices for a greater number of people suffering from diabetes.Africa

More than 420 million people globally suffer from diabetes and are in need of insulin to stay alive.  Diabetes, a disease that once mainly affected rich countries, is now most prevalent in low-and-middle-income countries.

There is an ample supply of insulin on the world market.   But the medication is costly and unaffordable for most people in developing countries.  The World Health Organization says it believes its first-ever insulin prequalification program will make the life-saving treatment widely available to poor people at dramatically lower prices.

The prequalification program is a tool for assessing the quality, safety and efficacy of a medicine.  Emer Cooke, director of regulation of medicines and other health technologies at the WHO, says anyone who buys a WHO prequalified medication can be sure that the product is safe and effective.

Africa, Initiative, Diabetes
More than 420 million people globally suffer from diabetes and are in need of insulin to stay alive. Pixabay

“We hope that by increasing the number of quality suppliers of insulin there will be a broader price range to cater for less-resourced health systems,” said Cooke.  “We are also confident that competition will bring prices down.  That way countries will have a greater choice of products that are more affordable.”

Three manufacturers control most of the global market for insulin.  They set prices that are prohibitive for many people and countries.  In the United States, the average price for a month’s supply of insulin is around $450.

In the lead-up to this launch, the World Health Organization collected data from 24 countries in four regions of the world.  In some countries, the data show a month’s supply of insulin could cost between 15 and 22 percent of a worker’s take home pay.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death.  It can lead to costly and debilitating complications, such as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.

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Overweight and obesity, as well as physical inactivity are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes.  The disease is treatable with insulin and often preventable with a change of lifestyle that involves better diet and more exercise. (VOA)