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"World Health Minute" 18 April, 2017

News Highlights
Fast CRISPR test easily detects Zika and antibiotic resistance The system that sparked a revolution in gene editing can also be used in fast and cheap tests for pathogens. A tool based on CRISPR has been shown to detect the Zika virus in blood, urine and saliva, but could also be used for understanding cancer. It was developed by researchers at the Broad Institute in Massachusetts, who call it SHERLOCK – for Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter Unlocking. The team say the system can detect single molecules of genetic material among mixed samples and can distinguish between genetic sequences that differ by only one letter
Exclusive: With Nigeria`s northeast facing famine, WFP funds could dry up in weeks – sources Reuters reported that the UN World Food Programme could run out of funding to feed millions living on the brink of famine in Nigeria, thereby intensifying one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. With the money they have now WFP can only last until May 18th, a source told Reuters, although the WFP said it was reasonably certain it had funds to stretch to the end of June
Cholera spreading in Somalia, 50,000 cases foreseen: WHO More than 25,000 people in famine-threatened Somalia have been struck by cholera or acute watery diarrhoea and this deadly epidemic should double by the summer, the  World Health Organization said. The case fatality rate for the disease in Somalia is already twice the emergency threshold and at least 524 deaths have been recorded. The UN told a news briefing that Somali death rates for cholera now reach 14.1% in Middle Jub and 5.1% in Bakool. The centre of the cholera outbreak is said to be Baidoa and thirteen of Somalia’s eighteen regions are affected
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Reduzem casos de malária em Nampula Diarreias matam trinta e uma pessoas em 3 meses na Zambézia
Diarrhoea has killed 31 people in the last three months in Zambezia Province in Mozambique, though the number of malaria cases is down on last year’s figures
Brote de dengue en Rosario: 66 casos confirmados
There has been an outbreak of 66 confirmed cases of dengue in a district to the south of Rosario in Argentina’s Santa Fe region. In the neighbouring province of Formosa there are some confirmed cases and around 460 suspected cases
Espírito Santo registra 465 casos suspeitos de Chikungunya em quatro meses
The Brazilian state of Espirito Santo reported 465 suspected cases of chikungunya in the period from January 1st to the end of last week. This is almost at a par with last year’s figures which stood at 497 cases. Chikungunya has been recorded in 11 municipalities and there are some suspected cases as yet unconfirmed
Search for Zika and Ebola in Kenya finds deadly germs
A four year countrywide search for the deadly Ebola, Zika and Marburg virus in bats has identified germs that are potentially dangerous to Kenyans. A collaboration between Kenya and China found local bats host viruses closely related to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)  
120 Alerted On Tuberculosis Case At UH-Hilo
Hawaiian health authorities notified approximately 120 students and staff members of the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus of possible exposure to a tuberculosis case. The department of health is investigating the case and evaluating potential contacts and possible exposure and people will receive notification as to whether TB testing is recommended
Minas tem mais de 19 mil casos de dengue; 29 cidades estão em situação de risco para surto
The state of Minas Gerais has registered 19,784 probable cases of dengue this year alone. Of these cases, one has died and another seventeen are under investigation. Health authorities said 29 municipalities are at high level of risk for a possible outbreak and a further 78 municipalities are on alert
Maharashtra reels under the onslaught of H1N1
With both day and night time temperatures across Maharashtra remaining volatile, the number of swine flu deaths in Pune has reached an alarming high of 33. Meanwhile, a further 18 patients are said to be critical. The death toll across the state has passed the 100 line and a further 190 cases have tested positive for the lethal virus. This is a fourfold increase in H1N1 deaths on the same period last year
Eerste poliobesmetting in Nederland in jaren door ongelukje in laboratorium
The Dutch health secretary said that a Dutchman has become infected with poliovirus. It happened in a laboratory at Bilthoven Biologicals. The man has been placed in quarantine to prevent him from infecting others. The health secretary said he is unlikely to fall ill as he has been vaccinated against the virus but he is being well monitored and tested to ensure he can become poliovirus free
Cholera spreading in Somalia, 50,000 cases foreseen: WHO
More than 25,000 people in famine-threatened Somalia have been struck by cholera or acute watery diarrhoea and this deadly epidemic should double by the summer, the  World Health Organization said. The case fatality rate for the disease in Somalia is already twice the emergency threshold and at least 524 deaths have been recorded. The UN told a news briefing that Somali death rates for cholera now reach 14.1% in Middle Jub and 5.1% in Bakool. The centre of the cholera outbreak is said to be Baidoa and thirteen of Somalia’s eighteen regions are affected
Zika attack - Almost 8,000 suspected cases of the virus in JA 15 months
Jamaican health officials have recorded almost 8,000 notifications of suspected cases of zika virus in the country in the period January 2016 to march 2017. The Sunday Gleaner saw figures which said 7,767 (77%) were suspected cases of zika but only 203 confirmed cases of the virus have been officially recorded
Four new cases of H7N9 reported in north China
Two new cases of H7N9 infection have been reported in Henan Province in China, local authorities said, taking the number of new cases in northern China in recent days to four. Earlier, authorities in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, said a man had contracted the H7N9 virus. Tianjin also reported a 58 year-old woman had been infected with H7N9 last Friday
Piura tiene déficit de médicos ante gran cantidad de casos de dengue [VIDEO]
The health system in the Piura region (Peru) is on the point of collapse. Patients have to be seen in hallways and waiting areas and in many cases are having to wait hours. Drugs to treat the sheer scale of dengue cases are running out in some place as the volume of cases overwhelms the healthcare system
Más de 40 policías habrían contraído dengue en Piura
The local Piura and Tumbes region police chief reported that there were 43 policemen sick from dengue, who likely contracted it during their work helping the many communities along the Rio Piura that were hit by recent storms and severe flooding
César Morón, director regional de Salud: “Diariamente se reportan 300 casos probables de dengue”
Piura’s regional health director, Cesar Moron, said hospitals in the region are facing around 300 cases of probable dengue per day. That is to say people are arriving at hospitals with symptoms of dengue and require hospitalization and support so he considers this to be an epidemic
Health systems
Opinion: Making it possible for refugee health workers to answer their calling
WHO data says the global health workforce is experiencing a shortage of 7.2m doctors, nurses and midwives – a shortage that will increase to 18m by 2030 unless urgent action is taken. Ironically, a report from the Massachusetts Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants in 2014 found there were 3,000 doctors unable to work, unemployed or working in low-wage, low-skilled jobs in Massachusetts alone. This need could be met if we reach out and discover how many there are and then take the necessary steps to restore their professional identities and verify their credentials lost in flight and conflict
Every year, Nigerians ‘spend $1bn’ on medical treatment abroad
Health experts in Nigeria said manpower, lack of facilities, literacy level, poverty, a lack of access to infrastructure and quality and safety issues all combine to undermine confidence in the country’s health system leading to those ‘with the financial resources’ and many policy makers to choose to seek medical treatment abroad. These experts said it was high-time Nigeria upgraded its healthcare skills base as a nation and it needed to sort out government policies which were confusing and often counterproductive
Lack of resources hampers disease control in Papua
A shortage of healthcare facilities and medical practitioners in Indonesia’s Papua province is hampering efforts to combat whooping cough and HIV AIDS. The Jakarta Post said such treatable diseases have developed into epidemics in the province because of a lack of essential medicines. A health advocacy group, SKPKC Fransiskan, confirmed this adding these illnesses had taken many lives because people were not getting proper treatment
Scarcity of meningitis vaccine persists as epidemic worsens
Nigeria may not be able to get enough vaccines to prevent the spread and fatality of the ongoing Cerebro Spinal Meningitis type C. Nigeria urgently needs 1.3m doses of the vaccine for this strain but has taken delivery of only 500,000 doses. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), most vaccines currently being used for meningitis C outbreaks in Africa are polysaccharide vaccines, which are in short supply, as they are being phased out in other parts of the world, and the more effective and long-lasting conjugate vaccines, however, are not readily accessible for outbreak response in the region
Hospitals in South Sudan running out of drugs as crisis worsens
South Sudan is experiencing a severe shortage of drugs as a consequence of the civil war raging in the country since 2013 and the government’s shortage of funds. A doctor at the Juba Teaching Hospital said there was a shortage of essential items like cotton swabs, normal saline solution, syringes and antiseptics and this endangered many lives  
Narendra Modi hints at rules for doctors to prescribe generic drugs
Indian PM Narendra Modi indicated that his government may bring a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines, which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients. Modi said his government had brought in a healthy policy after 15 years and capped the prices of medicines and stents, which has angered some pharmaceutical companies, and this new direction would be a possible next step
Trouble as dominant HIV testing kits fail crucial WHO test
Most of the dominant HIV testing kits used in Kenya and other African countries have failed crucial threshold tests set by the World Health Organization. The evaluation took place as WHO and partners say they are seeing increasing numbers of cases of misdiagnosis, reaching up to 10.5% in some African countries. The final report had some interesting findings, indicating that the insistence that misdiagnosis is mostly to be human error looks likely to be misplaced. It suggests the testing kits themselves may be largely to blame
A civic mess: At MCD’s biggest hospital, staff shortage, broken windows, lack of equipment
Indian Express visited one of the largest hospitals run by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and found it a mess. There were staff shortages, broken windows, a lack of equipment – poorly organized to carry out the tasks it needs to do
Communicable diseases
WHO Calls for China`s National Ban on Smoking
WHO officials told the Chinese that economic dividends from China’s tobacco industry are a false economy and at odds with the government’s Healthy China 2030 vision. The cost of tobacco use in china in 2014 amounted to a staggering 350bn yuan ($57bn), a tenfold increase since 2000. This increase is due to more people being diagnosed with tobacco-related illnesses and increasing healthcare expenditure. When you factor in productivity losses from premature deaths the figure is even higher, said the UN report
Six megatrends that could alter the course of sustainable development
UNDP policy specialists outline the ‘six megatrends that could alter the course of global sustainable development’ in an opinion piece for The Guardian. These trends include: 1) poverty and inequality reduction 2) population growth, ageing, migration and urbanisation 3) the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change 4) economic, financial, conflicts, disease outbreaks - shocks and crisis, 5) extensive financing for global development 6) technological innovations to power the change
U.N. votes to close, replace Haiti peacekeeping mission
The UN Security Council voted unanimously to end its 3-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti and replace it with a smaller police force, which would be drawn down after two years as the country boosts its own force. The mission, known as MINUSTAH, has been dogged by controversies, including the introduction of cholera to the island and sexual abuse claims
Japan`s Bid to Stop `Death by Overwork` Seen Falling Short
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe promised to change the way Japan works, including cutting the notoriously long hours that can lead to illness and death (karoshi). A plan expected to become law does not go far enough, according to economists. Work issues were a contributing factor in more than 2,000 suicides in 2015, according to a labour ministry white paper. Currently, overtime limits can be waived by mutual consent between employer and worker
Two billion people drinking contaminated water: WHO
Maria Neira, head of WHO’s public health department, said “today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.” Hundreds of thousands of people die each year from drinking contaminated water. WHO is urging the international community to invest to provide universal access to safe drinking water
Scientists close in on vaccine for Chagas disease
A team of scientists has taken a step close to developing a vaccine for the potentially life-threatening Chagas disease, transmitted by so-called kissing bugs which has infected millions in Latin America. A molecule engineered to contain three antigens has been shown to reduce the number of Trypanosoma cruzi parasites that cause Chagas, as well as the amount of tissue damage they inflict
WHO Approves World`s First-Ever Dengue Vaccine
Known as the Dengvaxia, several countries have already licensed it: for example, Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador and the Philippines, but last weeks’ WHO approval is likely to spur a host of other developing nations to follow suit at a time when climate change and urbanization are putting increasing numbers of people at risk from mosquito-borne diseases
Exclusive: With Nigeria`s northeast facing famine, WFP funds could dry up in weeks – sources
Reuters reported that the UN World Food Programme could run out of funding to feed millions living on the brink of famine in Nigeria, thereby intensifying one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. With the money they have now WFP can only last until May 18th, a source told Reuters, although the WFP said it was reasonably certain it had funds to stretch to the end of June
Uganda – Aids Fund Yet to Be Set Up Two Years On
More than two years after Uganda passed a law to establish an HIV/Aids fund it has yet to be implemented. Uganda is among 35 countries that account for 90% of the new infections globally. Data shows that with each new 100,000 infections, Uganda ranks third in the world after Nigeria with 230,000 and South Africa with 340,000. Young people, especially girls between 15 and 24 are affected by the high infection rates
Non communicable diseases
Fast CRISPR test easily detects Zika and antibiotic resistance
The system that sparked a revolution in gene editing can also be used in fast and cheap tests for pathogens. A tool based on CRISPR has been shown to detect the Zika virus in blood, urine and saliva, but could also be used for understanding cancer. It was developed by researchers at the Broad Institute in Massachusetts, who call it SHERLOCK – for Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter Unlocking. The team say the system can detect single molecules of genetic material among mixed samples and can distinguish between genetic sequences that differ by only one letter
The rise of non-communicable diseases in Hong Kong amid climate change
MIMS explains the influence of climate change on non-communicable diseases in Hong Kong. An average increase in daily mean temperature above 28.2 degrees C was associated with an estimated 1.8% increase in mortality. In Hong Kong, during the summer, temperatures break these levels and hospitalisations and deaths tend to be due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Higher temperatures still would increase atmospheric concentrations of particulate matter and production of ozone, which would acerbate the chronic pulmonary diseases and acute respiratory diseases, as well as those linked to lung function  
Mentally ill accessing less U.S. health care
More than 8 million American adults suffer from serious psychological distress and they are less likely to access healthcare services than other people, a new U.S. study says
Britain`s Prince Harry sought counseling more than a decade after mother`s death
Britain’s Prince Harry sought counselling in his late twenties to help deal with the grief of losing his mother more than a decade earlier, he told the Telegraph newspaper. Harry revealed he had come close to a complete breakdown on several occasions after shutting down his emotions, impacting both his work and his personal life
NCDs : An emerging health crisis
Ariz Rizvi, President of Apollo Life and a recipient of the Emerging Healthcare Leader of the Year 2016-17, writes an opinion column for the Economic Times in which he discusses why non-communicable diseases in India and around the world are a growing health crisis
People`s review calls for independent inquiry into `overwhelmed` mental health system
A review into mental healthcare in New Zealand has found that the system is at such a breaking point that a full-scale independent inquiry is needed
Apple hires secret team for treating diabetes: CNBC
Apple has hired a team of biomedical engineers as part of a secret initiative, initially envisaged by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, to develop sensors to treat diabetes, CNBC reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. The news comes as the line between pharmaceuticals and technology is blurring as companies join forces to tackle chronic diseases using high-tech devices, jump starting a novel form of medicine called bioelectronics
Millions of Americans risk hearing loss from jobs and guns
Many people are exposed to dangerously loud sounds at work and play, and most don’t take action by wearing ear plugs or take other steps to prevent hearing loss, a new U.S. study suggests. Untreated hearing loss is associated with increased stress, depression and social withdrawal, and may exacerbate problems for those with cognitive changes such as dementia, the study authors suggested, urging people at work to make use of protection against loud noise at work or from guns as a hobby
Diabetes still on the rise, but the rate of heart disease in adult diabetics is falling
Despite the worrying increase in the number of adults and children with diabetes around the world, the rate of cardiovascular disease among those with type 2 diabetes (90% of cases) has decreased by 20%, according to a Swedish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
Promoting health through the life course
Trump signs resolution allowing U.S. states to block family planning funds
President Donald Trump signed a resolution that will allow U.S. states to restrict how federal funds for contraception and reproductive health are spent, a move cheered by anti-abortion campaigners. “Allowing states to withhold Title X funding from family planning clinics won’t make anyone safer or healthier – it will instead place essential services out of reach, a spokesperson for Physicians for Reproductive Health said, adding that for many the clinics are the only place where they can receive affordable health services such as disease testing
Celebrated African women hope to inspire girls to narrow gender gap
Twelve women from Mali, Morocco and Zimbabwe among other countries, were honoured at a ceremony hosted by the New African Woman magazine in the Senegalese capital Dakar. The awards seek to celebrate successful African women in fields ranging from politics and business to agriculture and the arts and they seek to inspire girls across the continent to strive towards closing the gender gap, winners of the New African Women Awards commented
Kenya’s high court has ruled that a third of parliamentarians must be women
Earlier this month, Kenya’s high court ordered parliament to ensure that at least a third of its seats are held by women or risk dissolution. Kenyan lawmakers have about 50 days to figure out a way to guarantee women’s representation in parliament. In 2010, Kenya adopted a constitutional law that said no more than two-thirds of the legislature may be held by one gender. The government has delayed enforcing that ruling and now the court is pressing it to act
Women may be less apt to get surgery in war-torn countries
A new study shows that Doctors Without Borders data on surgeries conducted in its humanitarian projects in 12 war-torn counties in Africa and the Middle East, between 2008 and 2014, saw surgery performed 69% of the time on men out of nearly 50,000 surgeries conducted. Dr Sherry Wren said it indicates that women are having less access to surgery in these countries. We may not have causality in the analysis but the hypothesis is we are looking at a societal judgement on how women are valued
Caesarean Deliveries or C-Section Cases in India Spike Up by 15 Per Cent
India has witnessed a sudden increase of 15% in caesarean sections or  caesarean deliveries – normally only performed during complicated pregnancies or difficulty in vaginal delivery. The rise in C-section cases, both in rural and urban areas, is due to delayed marriage and as a consequence late child birth, coupled with lifestyle and environmental factors. In some parts of India the numbers have escalated, reaching as high as 41% of deliveries in Kerala and 58% in Tamil Nadu. Surgery can also be ‘charged’ at a higher rate than vaginal delivery, so it may have been a further
"We want to learn": Iraqi girls back at school after years under Islamic State
Thomson Reuters Foundation News reports on schools reopening in the Mosul area of Iraq, highlighting the enthusiasm for learning that young people are showing, particularly among the young girls
HIV Positive Model Crowned Miss Congo UK 2017
Horcelie Sinda Wa Mbongo was crowned Miss Congo UK 2017 at a gala ceremony held in London. Horcelie (22) was born with the virus but had no idea she was positive until she was eleven years old. She has been an active campaigner in the battle against HIV Aids and is an advocate of living positively with the disease. She plans to work in collaboration with a youth group called Youth Stop AIDS which campaigns for a world without AIDS
Aussie Muslim Leaders Slam Hizb Ut-Tahrir Domestic Violence Video
Prominent Muslim community leaders slammed a video from radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir defending violence against women. In the video women from this fringe group argued that disobedient wives could be disciplined by being hit. The video sparked outrage across Australia and the rest of the world with a coalition of Muslim leaders and commentators saying “there is absolutely no justification for men to demean, threaten or abuse women, whether symbolically or otherwise” in a public statement
Somaliland endorses Dr tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for WHO top post
Somaliland announced it intended to endorse Tedros Adhanom for the post of WHO director general, believing him to be most qualified for the role 
Jury still out on sugar taxes, says British doctor vying to be next WHO boss
Dr David Nabarro, candidate to become Director General of the World Health Organization cautioned against blunt regulation and said the state should only intervene where it was proven to have an effect in changing behaviour
FT Health: Taking responsibility
The FT’s Andrew Jack puts three questions to Tedros Adhanom, candidate for director-general of the World Health Organization 
Ethiopia`s Candidate For Director-General Of WHO Wins Strong African Backing
The Malaysian Digest said that Tedros Adhanom had won strong African backing for his candidacy as Director General of the World Health Organization, citing Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Government Spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo as the source for the story
India likely to vote for Ethiopian candidate in WHO Director General elections
Sources have told The Hindu that India is likely to vote for Tedros Adhanom in the forthcoming election to choose a new Director General for the World Health Organization