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"World Health Minute" 28 March, 2017

News Highlights
Rise of superbug tuberculosis hampers global control efforts Rising rates of drug-resistant TB are threatening to derail decades of progress against the disease and new antibiotics to treat them are in their infancy. Around 1 in 5 cases of TB are now resistant to at least one major anti-TB drug, researchers for a new study found. Around 1 in 20 are multi-drug resistant or extensively drug resistant. Approximately half of global cases of MDR-TB are in India, China and Russia, but migration and international travel have allowed drug-resistant strains to appear in almost every part of the world
Peru reels from floods as it waits for end to brutal rainy season The spectre of diseases thriving amid pools of stagnant water in flooded neighbourhoods is one of a raft of problems Peru faces as it waits for the end of an unusually brutal rainy season. More than 80 people have been killed and 110,000 people displaced in rain-related incidents since December, most of them this month after a sudden warming of Pacific waters off the coast unleashed torrential downpours in a damaging local El Nino phenomenon
Beijing ends hospital markups on drug prices Beijing announced public hospitals will end mark-ups on drug prices to separate medical treatment and drug sales and to lower costs to patients. Previously, drug prices were marked up by 15%, but this is now disallowed in over 3,600 hospitals and medical institutions across the city from April 8 
Preparedness, surveillance and response
BH tem quase 300 casos de dengue em 2017, segundo PBH
In Brazil, the Belo Horizonte region has recorded 300 cases of dengue this year, with a further 2,174 reported cases still awaiting test results, according to local health officials The eastern and north eastern regions saw higher suspected dengue cases, 460 and 461 respectively, according to health officials 
Taiwan reports new outbreak of bird flu
Taiwan has confirmed a new outbreak of bird flu at two poultry farms and culled more than 14,000 birds to prevent further infection, according to local health experts. Ducks at Pingdong county were confirmed with the H5N2 virus. A chicken farm in Tainan city had an outbreak of the H5 type virus
H5N1 outbreak reported in Hà Tĩnh
There is an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu in Ha Tinh City, in the central Ha Tinh Province, the agriculture and rural development ministry’s animal health department has announced
Mosul refugees up to 433.000, 12 kids die of cholera
A doctor in the Nineveh health department said 12 children in the region have died of cholera infections and drought at areas under ISIS control in western Mosul. He added that 78 were in serious condition due to the infection, citing water contamination, poor environmental conditions and medicine shortages as the reason behind the spread of the disease
Number of patients infected with H1N1 in Maldives rises to 176
The number of people testing positive for the H1N1 virus in the Maldives has risen to 176 statistics released by the health protection agency revealed 
China confirms outbreak of H7N9 bird flu on Hunan egg farms
China confirmed an outbreak of H7N9 bird flu at a poultry farm in Hunan province in the southern part of the country, according to a Ministry of Agriculture statement. The case comes on the back of a surge in the rate of human infections with H7N9, leading to 161 deaths in China since last October 
Ascienden a 39.636 los casos de Zika en P.Rico, tras datos del último informe
Since the first ever Zika case in December 2015 there have been 39,636 cases of Zika in Puerto Rico, according to the local department of health. In the most recent measured period at the start of March, Puerto Rico saw an additional 1,157 cases of which 89 Zika cases have been confirmed. Since 2015, Zika has affected 3,223 pregnant women and five people have died. Doctors are still monitoring 60 babies to see if they can detect signs of possible brain damage caused by Zika
Somalie : Le choléra fait 343 victimes depuis le début de l`année
Drought in Somalia has hit women and children under five years old hard and the country has seen a sharp rise in water-borne diseases with 343 cholera deaths and more than 14,000 Somalians with the virus since the start of the year, according to WHO
PCMC runs out of H1N1 vaccines
The Sakaal Times reports that municipal hospitals in Pimpri are running out of anti H1N1 vaccine, which is administered to pregnant women and patients with hypertension and diabetes. This has taken place against the backdrop of new swine flu deaths over the last two months
Six new locations in Kelantan with avian flu
Avian flu H5N1 has been detected in six new locations in Kelantan, as the authorities foiled multiple attempts to smuggle chickens out of the affected areas. The total number of locations affected by H5N1 increased from 28 to 34 in just a single day
Zimbabwe floods `cause spike in malaria cases`
Health authorities in Zimbabwe are stepping up the distribution of anti-malarial drugs after 151 malaria deaths were recorded during the last two months. Overall, the health ministry said, there have been 89,261 cases of malaria recorded. The regional outbreak is due to the incessant rains in recent months
21 People Die of Meningitis in Sokoto, Says Health Commissioner
The death toll as a result of the meningitis epidemic in Sokoto State Nigeria has now risen to 21 people, the local health commissioner confirmed
2,484 dengue patients in Trinco
A total of 2,484 dengue patients have been recorded in the Trincomalee District during this year, with the death count increasing to 15 people, according to local health officials
‘Balochistan coastal towns again hit by chikungunya’
Chikungunya resurfaced in the Balochistan coastal towns of Gwadar and Pasni and as many as 472 patients were suspected to have contracted the disease in Gwadar district alone over the past two months, a report jointly compiled by the World Health Organization and the local health department confirmed
Health systems
Venezuela`s Maduro asks U.N. to help ease medicine shortages
Triple digit inflation and a decaying economy have left medication ranging from simple anti-inflammatory drugs to chemotherapy medication out of reach for most Venezuelans
EU recommends suspending hundreds of drugs tested by Indian firm
Europe’s medicines regulator has recommended the suspension of more than 300 generic drugs and drug applications due to unreliable tests conducted by Indian contract research firm Micro Therapeutic Research labs. The decision is the latest blow for India’s drug testing industry, which has run into a series of problems with international regulators in recent years
Lawyer with a heart
Birendra Sangwan was interviewed by The Asian Age and he told readers how he ‘took on the medical fraternity and brought a capping on the price of coronary stents in India
City has 54 doctors per lakh population against Beijing’s 355
The Times of India reports that there are only 54 doctors per 100,000 population in Mumbai, which is poor when compared to 296 in Shanghai, 282 in Tokyo, 393 in New York, 355 in Beijing and 85 in Sao Paulo. The upsurge in demand for medical services in India is not being matched by the training of health professionals
Counties to share health experts to address shortage
Governors from 13 counties that make up the Kenyan Lake Region Economic Bloc have initiated a plan that will see the devolved units share medical specialists to address shortage. Hospitals will specialise in treating different ailments and reduce patients in key referral hospitals. The plan also involves tackling the high growing disease burden and prevalence of malaria, HIV and infant mortality
Lone surgeon at NICVD in Karachi, as 15,000 children lose life battles every year
More than 15,000 children die in Pakistan from cardiac disease. Despite that. Professor Sohail Bangash is the only paediatric cardiac surgeon at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, which is the largest public-sector hospital in the Sindh-Balochistan region catering to cardiac care
Beijing ends hospital markups on drug prices
Beijing announced public hospitals will end mark-ups on drug prices to separate medical treatment and drug sales and to lower costs to patients. Previously, drug prices were marked up by 15%, but this is now disallowed in over 3,600 hospitals and medical institutions across the city from April 8 
Poor patients turned away as doctors strike against assaults in India
Reuters reported that poor patients in western India were unable to access care for a fourth day at state hospital as doctors maintained a strike in protest at assaults by patients families. The High Court in Mumbai ordered doctors back to work in Maharashtra but asked the government to ensure their security, adding more pressure to an overburdened public healthcare system
Tamil Nadu: Nothing positive in HIV bill, say patients
HIV positive people came together to protest against a recent government proposal to ‘take measures, as far as possible, to provide anti-retroviral treatment, diagnostics and treatment for opportunistic infections to those living with HIV’. They argue the bill fails to ensure free and complete treatment of HIV positive people and want the phrase ‘as far as possible’ removed from the proposed law 
Communicable diseases
One of the most troubling ideas about climate change just found new evidence in its favor
A  new study says at least in the spring and summer, there is a large scale flow of the atmosphere changing in such a way as to cause the weather systems to get stuck more often. Consequently, the Northern Hemisphere jet stream flow can be affected when the Arctic warms up faster than the equator does and the stream becomes elongated and weakened. That’s when you get weather extremes
SA holds the key in curing multi-drug resistant TB
South Africa is one of the hardest hit countries by tuberculosis (TB), with more than 450 000 new cases reported each year - new radio interview
Rise of superbug tuberculosis hampers global control efforts
Rising rates of drug-resistant TB are threatening to derail decades of progress against the disease and new antibiotics to treat them are in their infancy. Around 1 in 5 cases of TB are now resistant to at least one major anti-TB drug, researchers for a new study found. Around 1 in 20 are multi-drug resistant or extensively drug resistant. Approximately half of global cases of MDR-TB are in India, China and Russia, but migration and international travel have allowed drug-resistant strains to appear in almost every part of the world
Revelan la estructura de una proteína clave en la replicación del virus Zika
Scientists have finally ‘assembled’ the genome of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus, a mosquito that transmits West Nile virus. The new ‘genetic map’ still requires more work but the new study places 94% of the genomes of the two mosquitoes onto three large chromosomes. The genomic replication of the virus is made possible by its NS5 protein. This function of ZIKV NS5 is unique to the virus, making it an ideal target for anti-viral drug development
Russia Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know About Its HIV Epidemic
In 2015, the number of HIV cases detected in Russia bypassed 1m. According to the latest government data, 103,000 new cases were detected in 2016 alone. But given that only 20% of the population is tested, epidemiologists estimate that the real number of people infected is closer to 1.5m. In a country with a population of 143m, this is enough to declare an epidemic, according to WHO criteria. Even though several regional governments have spoken about an ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis, the federal government continues to deny complete reality
Smog-hit Beijing plans `green necklace` to block pollution
Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei will plant trees, establish green belts and make use of rivers and wetlands to create a green necklace to protect China’s smog-hot capital from pollution, the Hebei government said
Peru reels from floods as it waits for end to brutal rainy season
The spectre of diseases thriving amid pools of stagnant water in flooded neighbourhoods is one of a raft of problems Peru faces as it waits for the end of an unusually brutal rainy season. More than 80 people have been killed and 110,000 people displaced in rain-related incidents since December, most of them this month after a sudden warming of Pacific waters off the coast unleashed torrential downpours in a damaging local El Nino phenomenon
Children `worst sufferers` of environmental degradation: Prez
In inaugurating the ‘World Conference on Environment 2017,’ Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said children ‘were the worst sufferers of adverse impact of pollution and there was an urgent need for an ‘out-of-box’ solution to curb the perils of environmental degradation.’ He added ‘environmental factors are responsible for an estimated 24% of the global burden of disease in terms of healthy life years lost and 23 % of all deaths and 24% of all under 15’s die of diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory disease all of which are environment related’
Opinion: My vision for the WHO
One of the three candidates to become Director General of the World Health Organization talks to devex.com about his vision for the future of the World Health Organization should his campaign turn out successful
India must fight TB harder as disease claims 1,400 every day
India continues to struggle to combat the disease with nearly 41% of TB patients in India failing to get adequate treatment causing nearly 5,000 deaths in the country every
The Real Threat to National Security: Deadly Disease
Epidemiologist, Michael T. Osterholm and film maker, Mark Olshaker call U.S. budget proposals to raise military spending but cut funding for health and research bodies tasked with vaccine development, combatting antibiotic resistance and new infectious diseases misguided. They say these agencies fell short in their response to Zika. They wonder if something like H7N9 could be a new pandemic. They say that if left unchecked drug resistant infections will kill more people worldwide than cancer and diabetes combined
Drought and War Heighten Threat of Not Just 1 Famine, but 4
The New York Times speaks about ‘another famine tightening its grip on Somalia, but, there also being a real danger that four famines could occur at almost the same time in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen which will endanger more than 20m lives. Finding enough food is only a part of the solution, so water, sanitation, water treatment tablets and hygiene are becoming critical to prevent the large-scale outbreaks of disease from turning from serious to catastrophic in just a small space of time
Non communicable diseases
Physicians rank high in suicide cases, experts lament
Physicians in Nigeria have been known to rank high in suicide cases. Most doctors are stressed and depressed because of workload and poor remuneration, family expectation and friends. Many are going through a lot but they hardly have time to attend to their own health and often simply continue to just about manage until they reach breaking point
Steady Fall in Suicides Offers Glimmer of Hope in Japan
Fewer Japanese people are taking their own lives, a positive sign in a country with one of the world’s highest suicide rates. The number of cases in 2016, 21,897, is the lowest number since 1994
Diabetics more prone to TB: SVIMS study
Diabetes is increasingly becoming a major contributor to TB, worldwide data shows. Epidemiological modelling data suggests 14.8% of all pulmonary TB cases in India and 20% of sputum smear positive cases have diabetes, suggesting it’s a substantial contributor to the burden of TB, in addition to HIV/AIDS, corticosteroid, immune-suppressant drug use and alcoholism
What a relief: cutting salt avoids toilet trips
Reducing salt significantly decreases the need to make night trips to the lavatory, research indicates. Nocturia affects more than half of the over-50s and leaves them feeling fatigued and irritable in the morning. Japanese researchers now believe it can be resolved with a minor dietary adjustment
What is Mental Healthcare Bill?
The Indian parliament passed a Mental Healthcare Bill which decriminalizes suicide attempts by mentally ill people and provides services for people with mental illnesses
Two thirds of cancers caused by random genetic mistakes: U.S. study
About two thirds of cancers are caused by random typos in DNA that occur as normal cells make copies of themselves, a finding that helps explains why healthy individuals who do everything they can to avoid cancer are still stricken with the disease, U.S. researchers said. The new findings are based on genetic sequencing and cancer studies from 69 countries around the world
Nigeria: Kidney Patients Battling for Their Lives in Sokoto
About 10% of Nigeria’s population has some form of kidney disease, but only 2% were in hospital for diagnosis or treatment. Only a maximum of 100,000 out of two millions Nigerians with the problem are on dialysis while the rest are battling to survive because they cannot afford it
‘Deaths of Despair’ Are Surging Among the White Working Class
Researchers who sounded the alarm on increasing white working class mortality blamed the trend on economic upheaval that has created a web of social issues so tightly interwoven than even successful policies would take years to unsnarl them. Mortality and morbidity rates began climbing in the late 1990s for less educated whites between 45 and 54. That came as progress against heart disease and cancer slowed and drug overdoses, suicide and alcoholism – so-called deaths of despair – became pervasive
Palliative care linked to fewer repeat hospitalizations
Comfort care for advanced cancer patients is associated with fewer repeat hospitalizations and more hospice referrals, according to a study highlighting how this approach may offer chronically sick or terminally ill people a better quality of life
‘Healthy’ obese still face higher heart disease risk
Even without high blood pressure or other signs of illness, obese adults have a much higher risk of developing heart disease than normal weight peers, according to a new study from Denmark
People with type 2 diabetes need to get off their chairs
People with Type 2 diabetes who sit all day have a riskier blood fat mixture than those who move around or exercise periodically throughout the day, according to researchers in Australia. Breaking up sitting reduces the levels of lipids in the bloodstream that are associated with type 2 diabetes and its complications
1 in 5 Indians suffers from liver disease: Doctors
One in every five Indians suffers from liver disease for which alcohol consumption and Hepatitis C are found to be the top causes. As many as 30% of Indians suffer from fatty liver and a quarter of this number develop liver cirrhosis and liver failure
Promoting health through the life course
Durex Wants to Break India`s Condom-Buying Taboo
India has condom use of less than 6% in a country also battling the world’s third highest HIV burden. It also has more married women without family planning than any other country. Reckitt Benckiser Group is trying to counter that with its release in India of ‘Durex Jeans,’ two condom packs in packaging resembling the leather patches sewn on denim jeans and displayed in jar-like bowls on drugstore counters. The aim is to help consumers overcome the embarrassment of buying a product linked with sex, a taboo subject in conservative India
Child marriage soars in Yemen as famine looms: UN
Child marriage soars in Yemen as families struggle to feed their children amid a conflict that has left the country on the brink of famine, UNICEF said. Around 80% of all families in Yemen are in debt or are borrowing money to feed their children. Dowry payments are an additional incentive for poor parents to marry daughters off early and, as there is no minimum age for marriage, campaigners say girls sometimes as young as eight or nine are being married off
`Khoon ka Rishta` campaign enables pregnant women in Bihar avoid anaemia
BBC Media Action India’s charity is working with women across eight districts in Bihar and giving them 180 iron and folic acid tablets to prevent anaemia, a similar number of blood-drop red stickers and a booklet and an outline of a baby for pasting in the stickers for every tablet consumed
Rural women lead fight against infant mortality in DR Congo
UNICEF and the Congolese government are providing all pregnant women and mothers with children under five with free health kits containing mosquito nets and basic medication to treat children for diarrhoea, fever and malnutrition. UNICEF is also teaching mothers how and when to use the kits and offering them vouchers to get treatment at the nearest health clinic for a nominal fee. The relative stability in Mbaza-Ngungu region of the DRC is one reason for the project’s relative success in what is otherwise a troubled healthcare system
DID YOU KNOW: 8,6 million women die due to CVD each year
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, heart disease accounts for a third of all female deaths, around 8.6m worldwide. One in four South African women will have some form of heart condition before the age of 60
How to fix war-torn societies? Help women to work
Experts say women as survivors of war are agents of change, and through that change they can empower both themselves and the whole community. These are not people sitting back waiting for food as refugees, back in their country of origin they were almost always incredibly resourceful, reasonably well educated and only setback by the loss of all their identity when they became a refugee. Empowerment turns a refugee into a champion for change
Bid to reduce HIV infection in babies
Thai health authorities have set themselves the goal of cutting the transmission rate of HIV from mother to child to less than 1% within the next three years. The campaign includes preventative medical support measures in tandem with education and support on HIV prevention to pregnant women, via a series of campaigns