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"World Health Minute" 11 April, 2017

News Highlights
Cholera continues to kill victims in Sudan`s El Gederef One person died of cholera, and four new cases were reported in the area of Shueib in Gireisha locality on Thursday and Friday, a medical source told Radio Dabanga. He strongly criticised the state Health Ministry for its lack of interest in combating cholera and curbing its spread. He also ridiculed the federal Ministry of Health that continues to define the disease as watery diarrhoea
Ethiopia declares another acute watery diarrhoea outbreak - 16,000 cases Ethiopia has declared an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea, also known as AWD, in the country’s Somali region, where people are already struggling to cope with a persistent drought. Dr. Akpaka Kalu, the World Health Organization representative to Ethiopia, told VOA on Friday that 16,000 cases of AWD had been recorded in the region since January
Meningitis outbreak exposes the Federal Government`s unpreparedness for epidemics The Guardian Nigeria highlights the ongoing Cerebrospinal meningitis epidemic which has spread like wildfire in terms of cases and deaths across 17 states. It asks the pertinent question as to whether the government should have been better prepared to manage such an epidemic and not allowed it to cause this level of devastation
Preparedness, surveillance and response
There are more than 1,000 cases of dengue in Formosa hidden by the provincial government
An Argentine parliamentarian, Martin Hernandez, said ‘there are more than 1000 cases of confirmed dengue fever in Formosa,’ which he feels the provincial government is hiding, and he says ‘it is criminal as it stops medical help from getting to them’
Hundreds dead in Zimbabwe malaria outbreak
A malaria outbreak linked to devastating floods has killed about 200 people in beleaguered Zimbabwe. The 194 casualties have been recorded from a cumulative figure of 134 223 reported cases since the flooding began in January. The areas suffering the aftermath of flooding meanwhile are at risk of outbreaks of the typhoid situation currently tormenting the capital Harare and nearby districts where five deaths have been recorded from over 1 900 cases.
Battling meningitis - killer disease on the prowl, 438 dead
When the first outbreak of the deadly Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in February, many thought nothing to it as such reports had been usual and that the disease would run its circle. The number of deaths in the past week, however, is so scary and more deaths are still being reported
Cholera continues to kill victims in Sudan`s El Gederef
One person died of cholera, and four new cases were reported in the area of Shueib in Gireisha locality on Thursday and Friday, a medical source told Radio Dabanga. He strongly criticised the state Health Ministry for its lack of interest in combating cholera and curbing its spread. He also ridiculed the federal Ministry of Health that continues to define the disease as watery diarrhoea
Tibet reports first H7N9 case in migrant workers
A human infection of H7N9 bird flu has been reported in southwest China`s Tibet Autonomous Region, the local health authority said. The patient, a 41-year-old migrant worker from neighbouring Sichuan Province, was diagnosed on April 3 and is in quarantine at Tibet`s Third People`s Hospital in Lhasa, the regional health and family planning commission said on its website
Woman dies from H3N2 after not responding to Tamiflu in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
A 62 year old woman, with breast cancer, who had influenza type A H3N2, did not respond to treatment with Tamiflu and died on Thursday after intensive therapy in a private clinic in Santa Cruz. She followed on from an earlier victim in the week, a 14 year old girl
Guinea: Battling a large-scale measles epidemic
Less than a year after the official end of the Ebola outbreak, the Guinean health system continues to struggle. Since the beginning of the year there have been 3,468 confirmed cases and 14 deaths dues to measles in Guinea, with most cases in the Conakry and Nzérékoré districts
Update on the Ogaden humanitarian crisis
The Ogaden region continues to be affected by the humanitarian crisis currently impacting the rest of The Horn. However, the strict restrictions on trade and movement imposed by the Ethiopian government on the Ogaden region continues to exacerbate this ongoing humanitarian current crisis. Although a limited number of areas such as Jarar have experienced scarce rainfall recently, the crisis in the Ogaden persists. Areas in the Ogaden region which have been hit hardest include the city of Birqod, it has been confirmed that 50 people have died from Cholera. It was also reported that on the night of April 2nd alone, 44 people were found dead in the town of Qorile in Doolo province. Today that number is at 91
Samoa issues typhoid alert
Samoan health officials have issued a health alert, warning anyone who has been to Auckland in the past three weeks to get tested for typhoid. The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) on Thursday said there were now 18 confirmed cases of typhoid in the city. The day before, that figure was 16
Ethiopia declares another acute watery diarrhoea outbreak - 16,000 cases
Ethiopia has declared an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea, also known as AWD, in the country’s Somali region, where people are already struggling to cope with a persistent drought. Dr. Akpaka Kalu, the World Health Organization representative to Ethiopia, told VOA on Friday that 16,000 cases of AWD had been recorded in the region since January
Cholera continues to kill victims in Sudan
Authorities in the state of Jonglei, South Sudan, said that they can confirm 200 new cases of cholera and 28 deaths since this outbreak was declared in February. Most of those cases were of people from fishing vilages along the Nile and from rural communities
Delhi: 79 chikungunya, 24 dengue cases reported in 2017, according to SMDC data
At least 79 cases of chikungunya have been reported in the national capital this year, revealed a report on vector borne diseases by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). The data also revealed that 24 cases of dengue have been reported in the capital in the last three months. Of these, 11 patients had acquired the infection from one of the neighbouring states, the report states
Swine Flu deaths cross 100 in Maharashtra
The number of Swine Flu deaths in Maharashtra has crossed 100 this year and there is a rise in number of cases in March and April due to the scorching heat and prevailing conditions
Piura - the number of confirmed cases of dengue has risen to 707 which is 20% of all Peru
There are now 707 confirmed cases of dengue in Piura province which represents 20% of all the cases that exist to date in the country. The areas of Piura, Sullana and Tambogrande are the most affected places. Minsa also reported there are a possible 3,161 case of dengue in the region as yet unconfirmed
Two new H7N9 cases reported in China`s Hunan province
Two new cases of H7N9 infection were reported between March 31 and April 6 in central China Hunan Province, according to the health authorities. Live poultry trading has been suspended in the provincial capital Changsha since March 17, which will last until the end of April. Nationwide, 79 people died in January from the virus, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission
Health systems
Blame game over high drug prices escalates with new advert
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, its lobbying association, launched an advertising campaign urging insurers to share with customers more of the benefit of rebates they have negotiated. In response, the main health insurance lobby pushed back and pinned the high cost blame on drug makers
Meningitis outbreak exposes the Federal Government`s unpreparedness for epidemics
The Guardian Nigeria highlights the ongoing Cerebrospinal meningitis epidemic which has spread like wildfire in terms of cases and deaths across 17 states. It asks the pertinent question as to whether the government should have been better prepared to manage such an epidemic and not allowed it to cause this level of devastation
MSF opens free treatment centre in Matadi to help cholera victims
MSF has opened up a free medical treatment centre in Matadi in the Congo to help treat the growing number of cholera victims
Focus on ailing healthcare, lack of doctors on World Health Day
The Times of India reported that World Health Day in Assam was observed against a backdrop of deteriorating healthcare in the public sector, a lack of infrastructure, a shortage of doctors and rising incidences of medical negligence. On top of that, women in Assam are not aware of the importance of hygiene during menstruation nor do they have a comprehensive knowledge of HIV Aids
Borno runs out of anti-retroviral drugs
The Borno Agency for the Control of HIV Aids said its state run specialist hospital had run out of anti-retroviral drugs at its main centre
Silent killer `kidney disease` is striking 9 out of every 100 Malaysian, yet we lack doctors, medical specialist for organ transplants
The writer highlights the growing burden in Malaysia with approximately 40,000 kidney dialysis patients at critical fourth or fifth stage of the disease and the numbers predicted to rise to 106,249 by 2040, based on recent research
23 dead in South Darfur camps lacking medicines
More than twenty people died of an unknown disease in Otash and Lama camps near Nyala in the past two weeks, most of the victims were women or children. Dabanga Sudan reported that many patients have been transferred to Nyala Teaching Hospital because of a lack of medicines and treatment at the camps’ health centres. They cited community leaders as appealing to the international community and aid agencies to provide medicines for the camps
Communicable diseases
Bush steps back into the spotlight to help Africa fight epidemics
As the U.S. Congress headed for a bruising showdown over international aid budget funding later this month, former President George W. Bush flew to Africa to publicize a $6.8bn HIV Aids assistance programme that has done much to rehabilitate the continent’s future. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, which he established in 2004, has saved millions of lives he argued and the investment is in the U.S.’s own national interest
Fast food health risks are rapidly rising in Asia - according to new Philippine study
As Asia Pacific opens up more to international trade it also gets a flood of ultra-processed food and drinks which means young people in the region are at a greater risk of acquiring non-communicable diseases from consuming fast food. Researchers said in China expenditure of fast food has increased 18-fold since 1999 and now the Coca-Cola Company has around 18% of its total global sales from the Asia Pacific region
Latin America needs to climate proof infrastructure
The World Bank reported that Latin America has to climate change proof its infrastructure so it can manage melting glaciers, intense storms and other climate-related shocks. Better infrastructure can help reduce inequality and lift people out of poverty and promote development, the World Bank said in a new report
Madagascar still needs help from the effects of cyclone Enawo one month on
One month ago cyclone Enawo struck Madagascar leaving behind a trail of devastation. Now the government is appealing for international help as it has 81 dead and more than 200,000 badly affected by the extreme weather event. It needs expertise, medical support and help from donors and international aid groups to get itself back on its feet
How climate change could make air travel more unpleasant
A new study says that climate change is likely to significantly increase flight turbulence, upping the risk of injury for future airline passengers. Furthermore, fuel and maintenance costs could rise for carriers. An increase in atmospheric CO2  concentrations would cause changes in the jet stream over the North Atlantic flight corridor, leading to a spike in air turbulence. With no effort to reduce atmospheric CO2, the volume of airspace experiencing light turbulence would increase by about 59%. The airspace experiencing severe turbulence could rise by anywhere between 36-188% the study found
Senegal - anti-smoking league is partnering with a trade union to highlight the consequences of tobacco
The Ligue Senegalaise Contre le Tabac (Listab) and the Confederation Nationale des Travailluers du Senegal are building a strong alliance to collaborate in a campaign to spread an anti-smoking, pro-health message throughout the population in northern Senegal
As cities surge, careful planning is needed for the `invisible poor`
With 70% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, getting urban planning right is crucial to ensuring cities are safe, resilient and fair, particularly for the poorest residents. What is happening now on many occasions is the demolition of vast swathes of slums, home to many of those most in need. A genuine rethink of planning efforts is needed to spread the use of clean energy and address the use of scarce resources to address climate change. Existing fault lines in cities exacerbate the inequality that causes the poor become invisible and this needs to be reversed
Here`s a reason behind depleting groundwater
A new study by researchers has found that the use of non-renewable groundwater in food production has increased exponentially. In 2000, non-groundwater use account for 20% of the world’s irrigation. In 10 years it jumped to 22%, driven by cases such as China, which registered a 102% increase in groundwater depletion, and the USA (31% increase) and India (23%)
Doctors must check weather forecasts to stop epidemics in their tracks
Experts at the international non-profit, the Malaria Consortium, called for health agencies in Africa to start consulting seasonal weather forecasts to help prepare for malaria epidemics and ensure outbreaks are spotted early and curbed before they become severe. Rising temperatures, floods and droughts can cause major epidemics in areas not usually affected by malaria and people there may lack immunity and are more likely to fall ill and die 
Crookery of clinical trials
A long-drawn out battle over collusion between the Indian Health Ministry and international non-governmental organizations to test experimental drugs on Indian landed on a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. It is alleged that among all the clinical trials conducted between 2005 and 2012 nearly 2,800 patients may well have died in India.  P parliamentary panel pointed to gross ethical violations be all parties behind the trials. However, because of a legal hurdle this report could not be considered. Now these allegations are in the Supreme Court’s hands the evidence can soon begin to be considered
UN: Latin America`s Poor Need More Help to Tackle Zika
The ripple effects of the Zika virus are hitting the poor hard in Latin America and the Caribbean and could k nock back development unless states involve communities in a stronger push to tackle the disease, a UN-led study said. The virus will cost the region between $7bn and $18bn from 2015-17, said the report, large economies like Brazil will shoulder the biggest share of the cost, put poorer countries like Belize and Haiti will suffer the severest impacts 
Non communicable diseases
73% of Malaysian die of hypertension, diabetes, heart disese: MOH
The Malaysian Ministry of Health estimates that 73% of deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases. MOH Disease Control Deputy Director, Dr Omah Mihat, said hypertension, diabetes and heart problems are the main killers
When gluten is the villain, could a common virus be the trigger?
A new study raises a novel idea as to what might trigger celiac disease, it suggests that a common virus may be to blame. Researchers believe a viral infection can serve to trigger celiac. They exposed mice to reovirus and at the same time fed gluten to the mice. Their hunch was right. The mice developed an immunological response against gluten that mimics the features of humans with celiac disease
Obesity and diabetes kill more than intially thought, according to new study
Forbes says that a recently published study in PLoS ONE revealed that diabetes may be killing around four times as many people as originally thought
Act before workers break down
Common factors behind workplace-related depression include stress and burnout, including poor work organization, excessive workloads, job insecurity, sexual harassment and lack of support from higher management 
FDA allows 23andMe to sell genetic tests for 10 diseases
The U.S. FDA agreed to allow genetic testing company 23andMe to market tests directly to consumers to assess their predisposition to develop 10 diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimers’s and Celiac Disease
Lack of sunlight could increase the risk of heart disease in obese children, study claims
A study of medical records of children aged six to 17 found many who were overweight and had high cholesterol and fatty acids and also suffered from low vitamin D. The researchers suggested that children with weight problems should spend more time out in the sun which stimulates the body to produce Vitamin D naturally
Low ammonium levels in urine may indicate serious risks for kidney disease patients
New research indicates that measuring ammonium excretion in the urine may be a help in identifying patients with chronic kidney disease who face serious health risks
Depression highest among those with chronic diseases
Kenyans who have chronic illnesses such as diabetes, HIV, cancer and arthritis are two times more likely to also suffer from depression than those without those diseases. If undetected this aggravates the sickness. It also generates increased economic costs to society in terms of lost productivity and increased cost of seeking treatment. Poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change and human rights abuse
Scandinavia`s Sami struggle with suicide, worsened by climate change
Scandinavia’s Sami, an arctic indigenous population, are struggling with high suicide rates but the impact of global warming is worsening the problem. The traditional way of life herding reindeer is under pressure as rising temperatures threaten the size of the herds and cause financial woes
Promoting health through the life course
How Tanzania is cracking down on LGBT and getting away with it
BuzzFeed reports that Tanzania has been terrorizing its LBGT community on the back of stigma and prejudice and imperilling the country’s response to HIV Aids programme management
Malaria drug could cut women`s risk of other infections
A drug used to combat malaria in pregnant women could also treat sexually transmitted infections a study shows. Results show that sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine can cut the risk of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis
Parental smoking linked to genetic changes in kids with cancer
Parents who smoke may constitute to the genetic changes in their kids that are associated with the most common type of childhood cancer, a recent study suggests. The study links smoking by both parents to specific genetic changes in tumour cells of children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Somalia - malnutrition, cholera and diarrhoea rising among children - cases increase
Thousands of children in Somalia suffer from acute malnutrition, cholera and diarrhoea and the figure in increasingly rapidly. According to UNICEF, therapeutic food was given in the months of January and February to 35,400 sick children, double the amount compared to the same period in 2016, while 18,400 were diagnosed with cholera and watery diarrhoea
Drought in Kenya brings a surprise: More girls in school
A recent safety net of cash transfer payments is helping persuade families that investing in girls makes good economic sense. Since 2013, the country’s Hunger Safety Net Programme, implemented by the government through the National Drought Management Authority is starting to show signs of progress
Around 90% of Indian toddlers do not receive a proper diet
Around 90% of children under two in India are struggling to get proper diet crucial for their development, according to NGO Child Rights and You, citing National Family Health Survey data from 2015/16. Deprived of a healthy start, millions of these children will bear the impact of this under-nutrition not just in early years of their childhood but throughout their lives
Most doctors` breast cancer advice may be out of date
A new study says that women may be getting contradictory advice on when they should start having a regular mammogram. The study found some doctors suggesting between the ages of 40 and 44 (81%) and others between the ages of 45 and 49 (89%), advice with contradicts U.S. Federal recommendations which say start at age 50
12,000 infants died in Odisha in 2016-17
According to data from the Odisha state health department a whopping 12,000 infants died in the state during 2016-17. The data revealed 6,500 infants died due to anaemic conditions inherited from the mother or malaria, Similarly a total of 1,600 babies died from pneumonia or sepsis, which increased during this period. The two biggest causes behind infant mortality were low birth weight and asphyxia, the data reveal, pointing to how poor nutrition is playing havoc with new born lives
"WHO to Africans" An Endorsement
The editor of the Jeune Afrique Magazine, Marwane Ben Yahmed, throws his support behind Tedros Adhanom for the next WHO DG  
WHO`s role in the world is ready for an upgrade
Appearing in Svenska Dagbladet, WHO DG candidate, Dr David Nabarro, explains his vision for the organization. He says he wants to see WHO more of a catalyst for healthcare solutions and to be seeking to be more dynamic in finding them 
A race to restore confidence in the World Health Organization
Health Affairs describes the election of a new Director General for the World Health Organization as a race to restore confidence in the organization