International Fund for Africa
Issue: XV
MAY 2011
International Fund for Africa Newsletter
In This Issue:
News From Zemero
South African Representative of IFA gives a talk in Johannesburg
Responding to the Global Chronic Disease Epidemic
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UpComing Events


June 4-12, 2011

International Fund for Africa will participate in the 13th Annual International Vegan Festival in Malaga, Spain.


July 21 -25, 2011 International Fund for Africa is sponsoring the Animal Rights Conference 2011 in Los Angeles, CA

IFA will have an exhibit at the conference, and it's Executive Director will also be speaking.

October 28 - November 8, 2011 International Fund for Africa Rural Medicine Project is sponsoring a medical mission to Zemero, Ethiopia.



New Lab equipment installed

 Zemeero Lab


On May 24th, installation of new laboratory equipment was completed at the Zemero Clinic in Ethiopia. Two lab technicians were trained by a representative of the Afro-German company in Addis Ababa, a PLC that imports laboratory and quality control equipment and supplies into Ethiopia. Prior to this, the clinic lacked virtually any modern lab equipment.   

Zemmero Lab3


The new equipment consists of a fully automated chemistry machine with a capacity of 200 tests per hour, a hematology machine, a three-part differential urine analyzer, a water bath for serology testing, a laboratory incubator, water purifier, shaker and a compound microscope with LED, centrifuge, rotator, refractometer, and chemistry reagents.


zemero lab 4

It goes without saying that this equipment will provide the necessary tests that will prevent thousands of people from dying needlessly.   Many thanks to our generous donor St Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California part of the St Joseph Health System.  

 Zemmero 44

South African Representative of IFA gives a talk in Johannesburg




Sarah Smith, a lecturer at the University of South Africa, and IFA's representative in South Africa, spoke at the vegan society meet up in Johannesburg, South Africa in March of 2011. Her topic: How Animal Rights Activists Represent Themselves in Society

Sara 2


Responding to the Globle Chronic Disease Epidemic


Next fall, the UN General Assembly is scheduled to discuss the financial costs of non-communicable diseases -- such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses -- which now account for some 60% of all deaths worldwide. Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are expected to result in dramatic losses in national income in the next 10 years. Projected losses over the next decade include more than $550 billion in China, $330 billion in India, $300 billion in the Russian Federation, $49 billion in Brazil, and $2.5 billion in Tanzania. These costs are enormous, especially in light of the current global economic climate.


It is encouraging that global leaders are taking the growing epidemic of chronic diseases seriously. However, any successful efforts must include prevention, with a strong emphasis on nutrition.


Despite the relatively recent Western transition to a diet high in animal protein, much of the rest of the world has traditionally followed a primarily plant-based diet. World meat production has increased more than 10 times the population growth rate in the last three decades, fueled partially by industry marketing efforts, the policies of wealthy nations, and international financial institutions.


The worldwide shift from plant-based to meat-based diets has contributed to rising chronic disease rates in wealthy and developing nations. Meanwhile, industrial meat production has contributed to global hunger, primarily because of the resources required for animal agriculture, compared with plant-based food production. The World Health Organization, United Nations, and World Bank have all highlighted the adverse effects of industrial animal agriculture on social, physical, and environmental determinants of health.


Population-based and migration studies within African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American populations, among others, have established that increases in animal fat consumption have led to increased rates of obesity, cancer, higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance. In contrast, epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that populations consuming low-fat, plant-based diets generally have a low prevalence of overweight and obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Numerous clinical studies have shown that plant-based diets reduce the risk for obesity, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and cancer.


Chronic diseases have taken a tremendous toll on people living in the developing world. More than 80 percent of global disability and two-thirds of the deaths attributable to diabetes occur in developing countries. India has the largest population of individuals with diabetes, with China closely approaching. Sub-Saharan African nations are becoming more affected, in contrast to historical problems with undernutrition. The diabetes predicament in developing countries is exacerbated by physician shortages and unstable health care systems. Although chronic degenerative diseases are typically associated with elderly persons, about 80 percent of productivity is lost by the working age population in developing countries, which has significant ramifications for the workforce and for children who depend on the support of disabled parents.


As the UN General Assembly considers how to best address the financial costs of noncommunicable diseases, let's hope global leaders take a close look at the root causes of these conditions. Solutions will follow. The World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health has already emphasized the importance of public policies that emphasize a shift from saturated animal-based fats to plant-based foods and unsaturated fats. Now, global leaders just need to follow their own advice.



Hope Ferdowsian, MD