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"World Health Minute" 25 April, 2017

News Highlights
Cholera kills 172 in South Sudan: UN At least 172 people have died from cholera across 14 counties of South Sudan since the initial outbreak was reported in June last year, according to the UN. OCHA said that as of April 14th 6,222 cholera cases had been reported since the start on June 18th 2016. There are now real concerns the outbreak will intensify and spread during the upcoming rainy season due to continued conflict, displacement and inadequate access to clean water and sanitation
Manitoba scientists develop 1st new antibiotic in decades Canadian scientists say they have discovered the first new antibiotic in decades. They suggest it may be effective in killing two of the most worrisome superbugs: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The drug, called PEG-2S, works by inhibiting a sodium pump called NQR that at least 20 different types of bacteria need for respiration
Increasing caesarean sections in Africa could save more mothers’ lives Research says low-income countries with the lowest caesarean section rates also have the highest maternal mortality rates. In sub-Saharan Africa close to 550 women die for every 100,000 children that are born, which is 200,000 maternal deaths a year. Two thirds of all maternal deaths globally. Some of these deaths could be prevented if skilled health personnel were able to perform C-sections safely. It would also need proper equipment and supplies including drugs and blood transfusions. Africa (7.3% of babies born by C-section) has the lowest rate in the world. In Europe it is about 25% and in Latin America and the Caribbean, 40.5%
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Más de 240 casos de dengue se han reportado en Machala
More than 240 cases of dengue have been reported in the Ecuadorian city of Machala along with 5 cases of Zika and 1 Chikungunya, during the first three months of the year, health authorities said
New H7N9 case reported in NE China
A H7N9 patient is in a critical condition in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, local health authorities said. The patient, a 61-year old woman, is receiving treatment in a private hospital. The province has reported four cases of H7N9 this year so far
Cholera kills 172 in South Sudan: UN
At least 172 people have died from cholera across 14 counties of South Sudan since the initial outbreak was reported in June last year, according to the UN. OCHA said that as of April 14th 6,222 cholera cases had been reported since the start on June 18th 2016. There are now real concerns the outbreak will intensify and spread during the upcoming rainy season due to continued conflict, displacement and inadequate access to clean water and sanitation
450 Killed By Cholera In 3 Months 25000 Hospitalised, Health Minister Says
At least 450 people have died from cholera in the last 3 months in Somalia, according to the World Health Organization’s latest report shared by the Somali Health Minister. 25,000 people have been sickened by the disease in the same period, including 3,000 children. The most hit regions were Bay, Bakool and Gedo
As WHO Elects New Leader
Both Nigeria Today and Leadership outline the challenges facing a future leader of the World Health Organization but do not express a preferred candidate 
Região metropolitana do Rio registra primeira morte por febre amarela
The Rio De Janeiro health authorities confirmed that a patient from Marica, a municipality in the metropolitan region of the capital, has died due to Yellow Fever. With this diagnosis the number of confirmed cases of the disease in the state has risen to 11 with 3 deaths so far
Febre Amarela: 2422 casos suspeitos e 623 confirmados
Brazil is experiencing the largest outbreak of yellow fever for decades with most of the focus on the states of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo which have the highest number of confirmed cases. Up to April 12th there were 2,422 suspected cases. Of these 623 were confirmed, 671 remained under investigation and 1,126 were dismissed. Of the total cases reported 326 died. The case fatality rate among confirmed cases is running at about 1-in-3
65 People Test Positive For Tuberculosis At Adult Day Care In EP
In Dallas health authorities tested 200 people for possible tuberculosis exposure at an adult day care centre and 65 results came back positive. Authorities are now conducting additional tests on those 65 people to check the status of their TB
Lunda-Sul: Autoridades sanitárias registam mais de 11 mil casos de malaria
Authorities in the Angolan province of Lunda-Sul said they have recorded more than 11,000 cases of malaria in the year to date. The municipality of Dala saw 1,704 cases, Muconda 1,309, Cacolo 352 cases and Saurimo the most with 7,700 cases
Plus de 100 cas de Zika au Québec
There have been more than 100 cases of Zika in Quebec since January 2016, according to its health body INSPQ. Thirteen pregnant women infected with the virus gave birth to a Zika-affected baby, a further twenty pregnant women underwent preventative abortions
Doce fallecidos y 4,058 afectados por dengue
The Peruvian National Emergency Operations Center (COEN) reports that 12 people have died from dengue and 4,058 people have contracted the disease as a result of heavy rains and floods. Five died in Piura, two in Loreto, two in Lambayeque, one in Ayacucho, one in Cusco and another in Tumbes. Of the 4,058 confirmed cases of dengue, 868 were in Piura, 667 in La Libertad and 397 in Lambayeque – the three regions most affected. There have been 175 cases of zika, of these 139 were recorded in the Loreto region, 33 in Ica, two in Ucayali and one in San Martin
Minsa Talara reporta 101 casos de dengue de los cuales 37 han sido confirmados
El Regional Piura reports that the district of Parinas alone has seen 101 cases of suspected dengue, of which 37 cases have been confirmed. Authorities are now planning to take strong action against some families who are refusing to allow teams in to spray for mosquitoes and clean up possible sites for breeding
Iran has reported an outbreak of contagious H5N1 bird flu virus in backyard ducks in the northern part of the country OIE reported, citing a report from the Iranian agriculture ministry
Iran has reported an outbreak of contagious H5N1 bird flu virus in backyard ducks in the northern part of the country OIE reported, citing a report from the Iranian agriculture ministry
Over 1,500 Seek Treatment At IDH
The Sri Lankan press report that more than 1500 patients have sought treatment for fever-like symptoms at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Angoda over the past few days. 300 people have been admitted to hospital of which 200 are receiving treatment for dengue and 25 are being treated for H1N1
Virus mayaro u oropuche podría afectar a los piuranos
Piura health authorities are suggesting that an unknown virus may have become virulent since the recent floods and could be circulating. The Regional Health Directorate said it could be the Mayaro virus or Oropuche, both of which offer symptoms that are very similar to dengue
‘Watery diarrhoea’ hits hundreds in Sudan’s White Nile
A watery diarrhoea outbreak has hit hundreds in the Um Jar area of Sudan’s White Nile state. Health coordinators in Um Jar confirmed about 900 people have been affected. They added that the centre is in dire need of Flagyl drips and Sandostin injections. The medicines would be too expensive for many patients as one drip or an injection costs $7. The most affected villages are Arafa, Andalus, Mabrouka and El Hasnab
Health systems
WHO urges action over growing hepatitis epidemic
The number of people dying from hepatitis is rising, and most of the 325m infected are unaware they have the virus and lack access to potentially life-saving medicines, the World Health Organization said. In its first global report on the infection WHO said millions were at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer and a premature death and swift action on testing and treatment is needed
Medication, money and maps: How to fight a debilitating eye disease
Paul Emerson, Director of the International Trachoma Initiative, told Reuters ‘we know where the disease is, we know what to do about it and where to do it.’ He went on: ‘antibiotic donation programme, increased government spending, a global mapping project identifying hotspots and the use of smartphones to collect data are game changers in fighting trachoma.’ He concluded: ‘the challenge now is reaching the most neglected populations, communities in conflict and in closing the funding gaps’
Rs 600 cap on dengue, malaria tests
Indian hospitals and medical laboratories charging exorbitant amounts in the name of tests for vector-borne diseases were issued a fresh notice by the health department that places a cap of 600 Rupees on all tests to diagnose dengue, chikungunya and malaria in the district
Tanzania: NGOs to Pump Over 1.7 Million Euros in PWD Support
The European Committee for Training and Agriculture (CEFA) is partnering with an Italian NGO and its partners to launch a multi-sectoral initiative that aims to foster the inclusion of people with disabilities within the Dar es Salaam community
Fake malaria test kits flood market
Members of civil society organizations and a section of officials at the Ugandan Ministry of Health have expressed alarm over the volume of fake malaria testing kits that are flooding the Ugandan market. The Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits are used to confirm malaria cases before treatment. A new study by the Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS-Uganda) has found that RDT kits imported by the private sector outside the National Drug Authority procedures are of very poor quality
Deadlier than Ebola: 745 meningitis deaths expose Nigeria’s faulty healthcare system
The Nigerian media investigated the cerebro meningitis outbreak, visiting the hotspot in Zamfara state, and argued that the more than 700 deaths from meningitis expose Nigeria’s faulty healthcare system
6 lakh litres of blood wasted in 5 years
In the last five years, 28 lakh units of blood and its components have been discarded by blood banks across India, exposing serious loopholes in the nation’s blood banking system. India faces, on average, an annual shortfall of 30 lakh units of blood. Lack of blood, plasma or platelets often leads to maternal mortality as well as deaths in case of accidents involving severe blood loss
Communicable diseases
Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to pilot GSK malaria vaccine from 2018
Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will pilot the world’s first malaria vaccine from 2018, offering it for babies and children in high-risk areas as part of real-life trials, the World Health Organization said. In clinical trials it proved only partially effective, and it needs to be given in a four-dose schedule, but it is the first regulator approved vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease
U.N. chief, Trump meet at White House amid U.S. funding cut threat
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres met with President Trump at the White House in talks set against a backdrop of Trump’s plans to cut funding to the world body and its agencies. Trump has proposed a 28% budget cut for diplomacy and foreign aid, which includes an unspecified reduction in financial support for the UN and its agencies, as well as an enforcement of a 25% cap on U.S. funding for peacekeeping operations. The USA is the largest contributor paying 22% of the $5.4bn core budget and 28.5% of the $7.9bn peacekeeping budget. The talks were said to be constructive and they agreed to meet again in the future
Manitoba scientists develop 1st new antibiotic in decades
Canadian scientists say they have discovered the first new antibiotic in decades. They suggest it may be effective in killing two of the most worrisome superbugs: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The drug, called PEG-2S, works by inhibiting a sodium pump called NQR that at least 20 different types of bacteria need for respiration
March for Science draws big crowds, clever signs across U.S.
Hundreds of thousands of people in cities all over the world got involved in Earth Day events with a ‘March for Science’ designed, according to organizers, to counteract a growing disregard for evidence-based knowledge around the world administrations
Vaccination gaps lead to dangerous measles outbreaks in Europe: ECDC
Gaps in vaccination coverage against measles have led to several outbreaks of the contagious disease in Europe, during the past year, with more than 1,500 measles cases reported from 14 European countries due to an ‘accumulation of unvaccinated individuals’ according to officials from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In 10 countries, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden – the number of cases reported in Jan-Feb 2017 was more than double that of a year earlier 
Malaria sickening thousands in US and racking up millions in healthcare costs, new study finds
A new study shows that cases of malaria, with infections often caught overseas before returning to the U.S., has resulted in about half a billion dollars in healthcare costs for the country over a fifteen year period. It concludes that Americans who are travelling more often to countries with malaria are simply not taking the precautions that they should leading to this cost burden
Non communicable diseases
Will my medical expenses get paid if I become suicidal?
The African press looks at the state of medical insurance with regard to mental health services and reveals that expenses for treatment run out swiftly and many are put off by the mounting costs, leading to many in acute need of support being at extra risk of self-harm or suicide
Research busts myth of tribals’ mental health
A study by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) found a prevalence of somatic symptoms, psychological and physical ailments and a lower quality of life for the indigenous peoples in the Araku Valley of the Vizag district
Obesity, being overweight rising among Nigerian children — STUDY
A new report called ‘2016 Nigerian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth’ which focuses on physical activity as a major determinant of NCDs, has revealed a rising prevalence among Nigerian children of obesity and being overweight. Modelled after a similar Canadian report, the study highlighted that 12% of Nigerian children were obese and that schools were not complying with stipulated standards for physical activity for children
‘8 million Nigerians risk death from smoking’
About 8m Nigerians are estimated to be at risk of dying from smoking by 2030, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) warned. Citing WHO statistics and the Nigerian Global Adult Tobacco Survey, they lamented the poor enforcement of the existing Tobacco Control Act 2015 and expressed fear over the growing number of young people taking to smoking  
On your bike: Cycling to work linked with large health benefits
People who cycle to work have a substantially lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease or dying prematurely, and governments should do all they can to encourage more active commuting, scientists said. In a study in the British Medical Journal researchers said there was a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of heart disease compared to non-active commuters
Natural deaths in SA linked to unhealthy lifestyles
With around 10,000 new cases of diabetes diagnosed in South Africa each month clinics are being overwhelmed with cases that are often not easy to manage by the time it has been diagnosed, usually at a fairly late stage. With the financial market downgrading the rand to junk status, there is growing alarm that the cost of imported medicines will soar, as will insurance premiums, so basic healthcare will become sketchier for many and too pricey for the rest 
Queen’s ‘pride’ over princes’ mental health drive
The Queen has backed the decision by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to speak out about their mental health, expressing her pride at the campaign they have spearheaded with the Duchess of Cambridge. Their Heads Together scheme, tackling the stigma around mental health and encouraging others to speak more freely about their struggles, was the official charity of the London Marathon last weekend
Drug created from malaria parasite shows promise as bladder cancer treatment
A drug created from a malaria protein stopped tumour growth of chemotherapy-resistant bladder cancer, offering hope for cancer patients not responding to standard treatments 
Diabetes control tied to heart stent outcomes
For people with type 2 diabetes, maintaining good blood sugar control in the years after receiving a coronary stent is associated with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a recent study
Promoting health through the life course
Increasing caesarean sections in Africa could save more mothers’ lives
Research says low-income countries with the lowest caesarean section rates also have the highest maternal mortality rates. In sub-Saharan Africa close to 550 women die for every 100,000 children that are born, which is 200,000 maternal deaths a year. Two thirds of all maternal deaths globally. Some of these deaths could be prevented if skilled health personnel were able to perform C-sections safely. It would also need proper equipment and supplies including drugs and blood transfusions. Africa (7.3% of babies born by C-section) has the lowest rate in the world. In Europe it is about 25% and in Latin America and the Caribbean, 40.5%
Rape victims in U.S. made to pay part of the medical bill
Women who have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. often bear some costs for testing and other medical treatment when they report rape to authorities, a new study says. Victims with private insurance pay on average $950, or 14% of the cost of medical services, and the insurers pay the balance, researchers found. With other violent crimes, victims are not responsible for paying for the damage that results from the crime. The financial burden adds to the emotional burden of the assault
Dutch boat handing out abortion pills at sea hopes to makes waves in Mexico
A Dutch boat carrying abortion pills for women anchored off the coast of Mexico, in a move designed to draw attention to the country’s stringent abortion laws and barriers faced by women seeking to end their pregnancies. The boat, operated by Dutch non-profit group Women on Waves, provides free abortion services for women up to 9 weeks pregnant in international waters where abortion is banned or restricted
Regulator links Sanofi epilepsy drug to child deformities
Up to 4,100 children in France suffered major malformations in the womb after their mothers took a treatment against epilepsy and bipolar disorder known as valproate between 1967 and 2016, France’s drug regulator said
Widespread Criticism Follows Saudi Arabia Joining U.N. Women`s Rights Group
There is a growing backlash to the election of Saudi Arabia to the top United Nations women’s rights body, with critics pointing to the kingdom’s extremely restrictive gender laws. Saudi Arabia is set to join the UN Commission on the Status of Women for a four year term from 2018-2022. UN Watch’s group executive director, Hillel Neur, blasted the international body’s decision citing its regressive views on women’s rights
Indian court orders police to rescue boys trafficked to sweet shops
An Indian court on Monday ordered police to rescue 50 boys believed to have been trafficked from Tamil Nadu to sweet shops in western India. Responding to a petition filed by the father of a missing teenager, the high court told police to form a special team to rescue the boys and submit a report in three weeks
WHO says 69% of pregnant women lack access to preventive malaria treatment in Africa
In a statement ahead of World Malaria Day, WHO called on all malaria endemic countries in Africa to urgently improve access to preventative malaria treatment and other critical tools for pregnant women on the continent. Despite progress made in malaria prevention in pregnant women in Africa, 69% of them are still not receiving the recommended doses of intermittent treatment in pregnancy therapy required for protection against malaria infection
As WHO Elects New Leader
Both Nigeria Today and Leadership outline the challenges facing a future leader of the World Health Organization but do not express a preferred candidate 
World Immunization Week: Vaccines No.1 Public Health Tool
Dr David Nabarro is quoted in an article on vaccines as the No1 public health tool, as part of World Immunization Week 
Dr. Tedros Adhanom for WHO DG: The Right Person at the Right Time
The team at Strategic Thinking on East Africa plump for Tedros Adhanom as their preferred candidate to become DG at the World Health Organization in May