May is a month filled with numerous awareness days ranging from viral meningitis through stoke and mental health awareness days, underneath is the synopsis of why when these events will occur and why awareness is given to them.
. Viral Meningitis Awareness [1st May]: The aim is to “make viral visible”. Viral meningitis also known as “aseptic meningitis” is the inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord which may be caused by enteroviruses, herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus, west Nile virus, varicella roster virus, mumps and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.
. Skin Cancer Awareness [1st May]: Skin Cancer is due to the development of abnormal cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. There are three main types of skin cancers: basal-cell skin cancer [BCC], squamous-cell skin cancer [SCC] and melanoma. Approximately sixty five thousand [65,000] people die from skin cancer yearly which prompted the need for its awareness. People with skin cancer are encouraged to to tell their stories with the popular hashtag[#myskincancerjoirney].
. Action On Stroke. [1st May]: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving the brains tissue of oxygen and nutrients which results in the death of brain cells. it may be caused by a blocked artery [ischemic stroke] or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel [hemorrhagic stroke]. Some people may experience only a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain [transient ischemic attack, or TIA] that doesn’t cause permanent damage. An estimate of over two million people have had a stroke at least once yearly.
. Ankylosing Spondylitis [5th May]: Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. The spine’s bones (vertebrae) fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine. These changes may be mild or severe, and may lead to a stooped-over posture. Early diagnosis and treatment helps control pain and stiffness and may reduce or prevent significant deformity.
. World Lupus Day [10th May]: Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
. Fibromyalgia Awareness [12th May]: Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
. International Nurses Day [12th May]: Nurses in Africa are one of the most under-appreciated and underpaid staff. They devote a lot of their time to make sure lives are preserved they deserve to be appreciated.
. Mental Health Awareness [14th May]: Mental health is as important as physical health to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries. Yet only a small minority of the 450 million people suffering from a mental or behavioural disorder are receiving treatment. Advances in neuroscience and behavioural medicine have shown that, like many physical illnesses, mental and behavioural disorders are the result of a complex interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. While there is still much to be learned, we already have the knowledge and power to reduce the burden of mental and behavioural disorders worldwide.
. Celiac Disease Awareness [14 May]:Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.
. World Hypertension Day [17th May]: Hypertension is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. A lot of people suffer from this disease in Africa and about half the amount have died from high blood pressure.
. World AIDS Vaccine Day[18th May]: AIDS [Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome] is a syndrome caused by a virus called HIV [Human Immunodeficiency Virus]. The disease alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens if the syndrome progresses.
There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016. Of these, 2.1 million were children [under 15 years old]. An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2016 – about 5,000 new infections per day. This includes 160,000 children [under 15 years]. Most of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
Currently, only sixty per people with HIV know their status. The remaining forty percent [over 14 million people] still need to access HIV testing services. As of July 2017, thirty million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy globally, up from sixteen million in June 2015, eight million in 2010, and less than one million in 2000. one million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016, bringing the total number of people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic to thirty-five million.
. Dementia Action Week [21st-27th May]: Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that disproves a wide range of problems associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease [Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.] accounts for sixty to eighty percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
. World Hunger Day [28th May]: This subject-matter is pertinent to us as African. Due to the high poverty rate, some families are unable to eat three square meals daily while most barely get anything to eat. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry/undernourished in 2014-6 [its most recent estimate]. 795 million people were hungry worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa was the area with the second largest number of hungry people. In 2012, 501 million people, or 47 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, lived on $1.90 a day or less, a principal factor in causing widespread hunger.
. International Day Of United Nation Peacekeepers [29th May]: More than one hundred thousand uniformed peacekeepers were deployed in Africa in early 2015, twice as many as a decade before. Peacekeepers have deployed to Somalia, the western Sudanese region of Darfur, South Sudan, and Mali, to name a few countries where civil wars and rebellions have claimed civilian lives and threatened to destabilize surrounding regions. Peacekeepers in Africa are tasked with increasingly broad mandates, including civilian protection, counterterror, and counterinsurgency operations, and operations increasingly depend on partnerships between the United Nations and African Union. Peace operations can be important for maintaining stability and safeguarding democratic transitions, experts say. However, multilateral institutions that deploy troops face challenges related to country contributions, training, and relations with host governments.