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"World Health Minute" 2 May, 2017

News Highlights
WHO says Liberia taking precautions after mystery deaths Nine infected people are undergoing treatment and there are fears the numbers may rise. The disease in Sinoe County has already killed 11 people and numbers are predicted to rise. Initial tests ruled out Ebola but the health ministry is considering sending blood samples abroad for testing. Those infected with the unknown disease show symptoms of severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches. A link between these deaths appears to be that they all attended the funeral of a religious leader, so bodily contact, or infection by ingestion, might be the method by which the virus spreads
Dengue hits Australia`s camp in Nauru A dengue fever outbreak in Nauru has now hit around 10% of all asylum seekers at the Australian-run asylum processing centre in Nauru
Humanitarian crisis in Somalia, fuelled by cholera outbreak International aid agencies are trying to stem a burgeoning humanitarian crisis in Somalia, as a cholera and measles epidemic compounds near famine conditions there. The Australian Red Cross says there have already been 50,000 cases of cholera since last year in Somalia, but it is continuing to spread quickly, including across the border into Ethiopia. The Red Cross expects another 20,000 to 30,000 cases over the next few weeks
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Districts on high alert
Health authorities in all the districts are at a state of alert to the threats posed by dengue and H1N1 and they have stepped up action to deal with a rise in cases
Mais de 20 casos de chikungunya são confirmados em BH, diz Secretaria Municipal de Saúde
More than 20 cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in Belo Horizonte, the state of Minas Gerais has gone on alert with regards to the possible future spread of the disease
20 personas han muerto en República Dominicana este año por leptospirosis
This is 13 more than during the same period last year. In the first three months 200 cases were reported, compared with 100 cases a year earlier, according to the health ministry
Fiji`s dengue fever outbreak confirmed
A dengue fever outbreak has been confirmed by Fiji’s ministry of health and medical services. 913 people across Fiji have been diagnosed with dengue between January and April this year. More than 85% of the cases occurred in the western and central regions, one person died and there have been 4,646 tests carried out to ascertain possible cases of dengue fever
Olivera advirtió que en Formosa “estamos perdiendo la batalla contra el dengue”
Formosa councilman, Fabian Olivera, complained to the provincial government that Formosa is losing its battle against dengue. In every block there are at least three cases and someone needs to stand up and recognise there is a growing epidemic to deal with
Dengue cases at an all-time high across Thiruvananthapuram
Dengue cases in Thiruvananthapuram stand at an all-time high as dengue has struck the city early, before the Monsoon period, and up to 923 dengue cases have been reported from various hospitals
Dengue: confirman cerca de 6 mil casos en el país
Northern coastal regions have recorded almost 60% of the 6,000 confirmed cases of dengue across the country this year. Piura tops the list with 1,503 cases, La Libertad has 961, Lambayeque 688, Ica 617 and Ayacucho 388. In addition, there are around 13,897 probable cases as well, with Piura being the epicentre for most of these with 7,249 cases followed by Ica with 1,444 cases
Let`s make malaria no more
Malaysia is on high alert due to an increase in the number of malaria cases and the detection of a new malaria parasite in three villages in Kuching, Sarawak. The newly discovered malaria parasite is called Plasmodium knowleslii, which is transmitted from infected monkeys to mosquitoes and then passed on to humans
Humanitarian crisis in Somalia, fuelled by cholera outbreak
International aid agencies are trying to stem a burgeoning humanitarian crisis in Somalia, as a cholera and measles epidemic compounds near famine conditions there. The Australian Red Cross says there have already been 50,000 cases of cholera since last year in Somalia, but it is continuing to spread quickly, including across the border into Ethiopia. The Red Cross expects another 20,000 to 30,000 cases over the next few weeks
700 Casos de Dengue Obligan a Autoridad a Actuar Con Firmeza
More than 700 cases of dengue out of the total of 900 in La Libertad state in Peru, are in the provincial town of Chepen. The Mayor of Chepen called on health and civil authorities to support efforts to eradicate the disease and to prevent it from spreading further
Chikungunya bate recorde em Minas
The number of chikungunya cases in the state of Minas Gerais has broken all previous records and the numbers are multiplying each week. So far there are almost 10,000 cases recorded of people who have fallen victim to the disease. In 2016 Minas Gerais saw 503 probable cases of Zika, a year earlier, there were 31 and in 2014 there were only 18. So far, there have been 9,986 cases this year
Cholera and famine strike Somalia and South Sudan
Caritas said there has been a massive influx of people into the region of Gedo in south central Somalia, most of whom are fleeing drought. This has led to high levels of hunger in the area and the assistance available is not enough to keep up with need. So doctors are facing high levels of malnutrition, which is then compounded by reduced access to water, adding indirectly to malnutrition by increasing the risk of infection, especially acute watery diarrhoea and cholera
Sudan: Haemorrhagic Fever Outbreak Feared in Sudan`s Red Sea State
Tokar hospital in Sudan’s Red Sea state has received dozens of people complaining of symptoms, which some suspect might be haemorrhagic fever, a diagnosis refuted by local authorities. The health commissioner said that 82 people have been infected with these fevers but these are normal levels during the summer months
WHO says Liberia taking precautions after mystery deaths
Nine infected people are undergoing treatment and there are fears the numbers may rise. The disease in Sinoe County has already killed 11 people and numbers are predicted to rise. Initial tests ruled out Ebola but the health ministry is considering sending blood samples abroad for testing. Those infected with the unknown disease show symptoms of severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches. A link between these deaths appears to be that they all attended the funeral of a religious leader, so bodily contact, or infection by ingestion, might be the method by which the virus spreads
Iran, Vietnam report more H5N1 outbreaks
The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus has struck birds in Iran and Vietnam, as H5N8 outbreaks continue in Europe, including at a large poultry farm in Sweden, according to the latest notification from
Tocantins, a sixth Brazilian state, has reported that it has a human case of yellow fever
Tocantins, a sixth Brazilian state, has reported that it has a human case of yellow fever. It joins Para, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais as states with confirmed human cases of yellow
Dengue hits Australia`s camp in Nauru
A dengue fever outbreak in Nauru has now hit around 10% of all asylum seekers at the Australian-run asylum processing centre in Nauru
15,000 cases of dengue in south this year
There have been more than 15,000 cases of dengue fever in the south so far this year, according to the Pasteur Institute of HCM City. HCM City, Binh Duong and An Giang provinces have reported the highest number of cases.
Chincha: a 54 se incrementaron los casos confirmados de zika
Chincha, Peru, has seen a steady rise in the number of confirmed Zika cases with numbers rising from 36 to 54 in the Ica region. At the same time, there are 18 dengue cases and 19 leptospirosis
Reportan 15 casos de paludismo en el Huila
The secretary of health for Huila celebrated World Health Day by announcing the local healthcare teams have treated a further 15 fresh cases of malaria in people who have come in from the surrounding areas for help 
Who will be held liable for dengue, chikungunya outbreak, asks HC
The Delhi High Court asked the government and civic agencies to name the officers who would bear responsibility for combating the outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya that have occurred in the national capital. As of today, 86 cases of chikungunya and 32 cases of dengue have already been reported this year and the figures look likely to rise
Kerala: Swine flu claims 23 lives in 2017, 300-400 cases recorded
H1N1 virus has seen a rise in the entire southern Indian region, a health officer for the region said. H1N1 has claimed 23 lives in Kerala so far in 2017, with the state recording higher incidence of the flu than in previous years. A total of 300-400 swine flu cases had been confirmed so far across the state. People suffering from diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular issues, cancer, HIV among others and pregnant women are considered to be the high risk or vulnerable groups, the health officer added
Scientist warns of drug resistant typhoid strain
Poor laboratory capabilities, poor surveillance and a lack of sanitation are enabling the spread of a typhoid strain that is resistant to drugs, a leading researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute has warned. Professor Sam Kariuki said the H58 strain can be traced back to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu but it is now in east Africa
STAT: Personal conflict may be at the root of Puerto Rico`s Zika reporting problem
The media obtained a document indicating that Puerto Rico may be intentionally under reporting Zika cases. The issue stems from a personal dispute between Miguel Valencia MD, the Puerto Rican official in charge of the territory’s tracking programme, and the CDC Director of the Vector-Borne Diseases Lyle Petersen MD, according to the report. Dr Valencia has instructed staff to use his criteria, which is narrower than that of the CDC, in identifying and recording Zika-related birth defects
Honduras reporta 200 niños con microcefalia en nueve meses
Honduras health authorities have reported that 200 babies were born with microcephaly in the last nine months due to Zika. Authorities are concerned by the fact that number was an average of 45 in the last year
Health systems
Zimbabwe: HIV, Aids Chokes Informal Sector
A National Aids Council report has revealed that HIV Aids is wreaking havoc with Zimbabwe’s informal economy, a key development given that this is the sector most likely to lead any potential recovery. The report said this sector has not been targeted within the range of national efforts to fight HIV Aids, TB and cancer and this is a critical omission (
Pakistan warned of facing Africa-like situation in three to five years
The Joint United Nations programme on HIV Aids has warned Pakistan that it could face an ‘Africa-like’ situation in the next three to five years with respect to HIV Aids. UNAIDS officials in Pakistan based their inference on their observation of the rising prevalence of the disease among injectable drug users, the transgender community and sex workers
HIV/AIDS infections up 150% in Borno
The number of people living with HIV/Aids in Borno State has increased by about 150% over the last three years, the state branch of the Network of People Living with HIV/Aids (NEPWHAN) announced
Anger as Government Scraps Off H/C IIs
There is anger in Uganda over the government’s decision to scrap Health Centre II’s which rural leaders say will gravely worsen health services in rural areas. The Kabarole District chair, Richard Rwabhunga, said “scrapping Health center II’s takes away services from the most vulnerable people in rural areas.” He said this “was a death sentence, considering the less-than-satisfactory state of Uganda’s infrastructure and health referral system
Nigeria records short supply of Tuberculosis vaccine as Kaduna hosts 7th Africa vaccination week
Nigeria is in need of more tuberculosis vaccine: Kaduna state health authorities said they have all vaccines in stock except the Bacilus Calmette-Guerin vaccine which is primarily used against tuberculosis
On the prohibitive cost of drugs to the average Nigerian
Nigeria’s Sun News calls on the executive to take action on the prohibitive cost of drugs for the average Nigerian. The paper cites the current recession, a shortage of foreign exchange to import medicines and the inability of the government to make the services of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency available to the masses
US will run out of yellow fever vaccine by `mid 2017` warns report
The country’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned that it expected a complete depletion of yellow fever vaccine available for the immunization of U.S. travellers by mid-2017.’ According to the CDC report, the only U.S. approved vaccination had experienced manufacturing problems which has led to the shortage
Barbados Takes Legal Stride on Gender Equality
Barbados has taken a major step towards ensuring gender equality in its judicial system with the development of a draft equality protocol for magistrates and judges. The document, the first of its kind in the CARICOM region, will support the judiciary in using gender analysis to ensure both men and women have equal access to justice. There are still inequalities in terms of numbers in the mainstream professions but this is hailed as a step forward
Global med-tech firms, India locked in tussle after stent price sting
A group of global medical technology companies plan to tell Indian officials next month that any further price control measures would risk future investments and make them less likely to introduce new products in the country. This lobbying effort follows on from PM Modi’s decision to set a price cap for stents, slashing prices that patients pay for some devices by about 75%
Communicable diseases
TB eradication by 2025 unrealistic, says ICMR`s Dr Soumya Swaminathan
DNA India interviews Dr Soumya Swaminathan about prospects for healthcare in India over the next few years. She says “TB eradication in India by 2025 is unrealistic,” but she does feel “it is possible to eliminate leprosy by 2018”
To end poverty, Latin America must invest in equal, green growth - UN
Increased cooperation among Latin American and Caribbean nations, alongside a shift to green policies and higher technology use are crucial for them to meet global development goals. The target, according to the UN’s Alicia Barcena, has to be to take 75m in the region out of extreme poverty. As public spending and economic activity reduce, there is likely to be a stagnation in poverty reduction. With a likely increase in extreme weather events, climate change needs to become a driver behind the region’s desire to develop secure infrastructure, more robust healthcare systems and kickstart new sustainable industries to create growth
Water security: the key ingredient for soda tax success
Mexico has the highest sugary drinks consumption per capita, followed by Chile and South Africa. The lack of widespread access to water in these countries has resulted in the greater permeation of sugary drinks into the market. In Mexico, which introduced a sugary drinks tax in 2014, the goal is to use the tax revenue to support the introduction of free drinking water fountains in all public schools, reducing the need to buy bottled water. Mexico has 206,155 public schools of which 42,617 get water either from a well or a tanker truck. The quality of water is not guaranteed and the programme saw resources cut in 2016
Global foundation launches value-based healthcare pilots
Key healthcare stakeholders, led by the World Economic Forum, plan pilot programmes this year to show the value of a new model for healthcare that would track and pay for treatment based on how well it works rather than the volume of care. The first pilot being set up in Atlanta Georgia will focus on treating heart failure. Medical device and pharmaceutical companies are starting to realize that if they don’t change the nature of healthcare their prices will be slashed. If they want healthy profits they will have to prove that their drug actually lowers the overall costs of care
INTERVIEW-Put a price on the costs of disasters, says U.N. risk chief
Calculating the costs of natural disasters is a valuable way for governments to recognize and limit the potential for damage, especially as extreme weather linked to climate change occurs more often, the UN’s disaster prevention chief said. As long as the costs of disasters are invisible it is very easy to ignore them and it becomes very hard to make the case to spend money on prevention 
Toilet volunteers help clean up Bhutan in public health push
The Bhutan Toilet Association aims to rid the country of the practice of open defecation. Bhutan families traditionally built toilets on the first floor of dwellings with a sty underneath so human waste could serve as fodder.  Modern toilets have become popular in cities and towns but with the majority of Bhutanese living in remote rural hamlets, poor sanitation remains an issue in large parts of the country. Reports of typhoid due to water contamination during the monsoon season are common. The BTA now has activists working to rid the country of this practice and plans to build toilet facilities along highways and upgrade existing facilities to make them more friendly to women and people with disabilities
Reinventing failing growth model via sustainable development goals
Reinventing failing economic growth models via sustainable development goals could become a catalyst to change the style of investment decisions. Harnessing private sector involvement in seeking to find more ways to reach the targets set by the sustainable development goals starts to bind societal progress and market success more, which if achieved, counteracts some criticism of the ‘wooliness’ of the SDGs for being too broad and ensures sustainable progress and benefit for all
‘28% patients have comorbidity’: Link with other diseases adds to chikungunya’s sting, says study
An AIIMS study revealed that chikungunya infection is associated with significant morbidity. The disease, due to comorbidity, can lead to neurological complications and multi-organ dysfunction. In cases of chikungunya, the presence of hypertension and diabetes makes a person more vulnerable to the vector-borne infection, the study found 
Waste not: how cities can improve sanitation
Brian Arbogast, director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programmes at the Gates Foundation, discusses the group’s ‘Reinvent the toilet’ challenge. He highlights how a lack of sanitation often results in cycles of contamination and infection that impose a heavy cost on human, economic and environmental health. He highlights a new ‘Talking Toilets’ 360 video, which puts viewers face to face with the consequences of poor sanitation and opens eyes to possible solutions
Clues to Zika Damage Might Lie in Cases of Twins
While identical twins often share a fate, fraternal twins typically don’t, a divergence that offers clues to researchers. With one sibling affected by microcephaly because his mother was bitten by a Zika infested mosquito during pregnancy and the other apparently spared, doctors are hoping that these nine sets of twins identified in Brazil’s Zika crisis may shed some light on how the virus works generally and why it inflicts ruthless damage on some babies and not others.
Non communicable diseases
Risk factors for heart disease may also predict Alzheimer`s
New U.S. research has found that the main risk factors for heart disease – smoking and high cholesterol – may well predict your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease later in life. A study of 322 men and women observed that patients affected by at least one of these factors had a higher chance of developing brain plaques
Heart failure mortality is inversely related to wealth of country
Death in patients with heart failure is inversely related to the wealth of the country they live in, according to new research. Death rates in India and Africa were three to four times higher than those documented in Western countries
Beware of searing pain in your belly
The main cause of pancreatitis is gallstones. There is a growing need for relevant government agencies to create awareness about the disease. This story also points out that the ‘young drinking generation’ of adults between 25-35 are particularly susceptible to the risks this disease poses
The new crisis after HIV/AIDS knocks at the door
Mmegi Online reports that NCDs are the new crisis after HIV Aids now knocking at the door in Botswana. It discusses how the relentless rise of non-communicable diseases is putting growing pressure on the country’s health system with up to 37% of deaths from diseases annually in Botswana being linked to NCDs in some form
Disability can linger years after mild wartime brain injuries
Military service members who sustain concussions in combat may experience worsening symptoms for several years after their injuries, particularly if they have psychiatric problems, a small U.S. study suggests. The study found that after a concussion, symptoms got worse from one to five years following the injury. This suggests one common assumption guiding concussion treatment, that patients stabilize within a year of injury, may not be accurate, the study authors said
Food insecurity can affect your mental health
Food insecurity can affect people’s health beyond the basic levels of nutritional impact, according to a new study. Food insecurity is associated with poorer mental health and special psychosocial stressors across global regions, independent of an individuals’ socioeconomic status
We’re Getting Closer to Mass Production of Bones, Organs, and Implants
Medical researchers have been able to create certain kinds of living cells with 3D printers for more than a decade. Now a few companies are getting closer to mass production of higher-order tissues (bone, cartilage, organs) and other individually tailored items, including implants. This kind of precision medicine, treating patients based on their genes, environment and lifestyle could herald the end of long organ donor lists and solve other problems too
Tanzania: Challenges of Caring for Cancer Patients in Tanzania
There are three main causes: ageing population, rapid unplanned urbanization and the globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles. NCDs also have some common denominators: tobacco usage, alcohol intake, high blood pressure, diet and physical inactivity – these are acknowledged risk factors. There is a need for reliable statistics to understand the scale of the problem and the resources needed, as well as specialist training for cancer care and the equipment to support it
Promoting health through the life course
Nigeria: 1,480 Domestic Violence Cases Recorded in Two Years - LASG
Across Africa, domestic violence is the most prevalent form of violence against women and girls, but many authorities see it as a family matter. Women’s groups say education is key to helping survivors stand up and report abuse when it happens
NGO Trains 6000 Women
The Women Inspiration Development Centre (WIDC), an NGO, said it has trained 6,000 women and girls in 12 rural communities in self-protection against gender-based violence in 2016. Mrs Busayo Obisakin, WIDC Founder, said the training has been done in collaboration with a U.S.-based NGO called ‘Imagine.’ In her presentation in Lagos, Mrs Obisakin listed the organizations outcomes: with some women achieving peace in their homes as a result of economic empowerment, some women have left their unrepentant husbands and are in peace with their children, some with health issues understand their situation better and are seeing improvement, some are furthering studies and attending weekend schools and others have small businesses and are accessing microfinance from banks
Female clerics declare fatwa on child marriage in Indonesia
Female clerics in Indonesia issued an unprecedented fatwa against child marriage in the country in a bid to stop young girls becoming brides. The fatwa came at the end of a three-day conference of female clerics: a rare example of women assuming a lead role in religious affairs in this mostly Muslim country. ‘Maternal mortality is very high in Indonesia so we as female clerics must play a lead role on this issue and not just wait for the government to protect these children’
‘Low immunisation behind high infant mortality rate’
Pakistan has the highest infant mortality rate in South Asia because of the low rate of immunization and vaccination coverage. With about 56% of the country covered, almost half the children in the country are simply not immunized, according to an expert from the Pakistan Paediatric Association
93,000 people die annually from firewood smoke – NGO
The Women’s Initiative for Sustainable Environment and the Women’s Earth Alliance have trained 30 women from different communities across Kaduna State on how to use clean and energy efficient cooking stoves. The NGO director said ‘if a woman cooked breakfast, lunch and supper with firewood, the consequence of her action was equivalent to smoking three packs of 20 cigarettes a day.’ Smoke is the biggest killer of people, particularly women, after malaria and HIV Aids; no less than 72% of Nigerians solely depend on firewood for cooking their meals
Young women, girls targeted in new HIV prevention method
Sexually active young women and girls between 15-24 are among the high risk groups targeted in the May 4th roll out of a new method to protect HIV-negative people from contracting the virus in Kenya. The approach, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves people at high risk of contracting HIV taking an antiretroviral pill, Truvada, daily to lower their chances of getting infected
India`s Muslim women fight tradition and family for right to property
The Thomson Reuters Foundation features the story of how Muslim Indian women are starting to reject outmoded tradition and family prejudice to start fighting for their legal rights to own property
Now, Get Condoms Delivered To Your Doorstep Absolutely Free
A bold new initiative in India is seeking to find a way around the social stigma of buying condoms and a lack of privacy in chemist shops by delivering them to your door free of cost. The global charity AIDS Healthcare Foundation launched this first free condom store and any NGO, government body or private institute which wishes to add condom distribution to their services can do so. The aim is to meet the shortfall in supply and for active measures in controlling the spread of HIV (
Nation should raise support ahead of WHA: ex-official
Taipei Times says the nation should garner the support of the international community and the next WHO director general ahead of the World Health Assembly later this month. Taiwan’s minister of Health said he will lead a delegation to the WHA even if he does not receive an invitation 
Tedros DG campaign forges ahead in final weeks before WHO vote
Africa Times features the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom as he campaigns to become Director General of the World Health Organization at the end of May 
Republic of Indonesia stopover in campaigns to lead WHO
The Jakarta Post reports that two of the three candidates to be DG at the World Health Organization (David Nabarro and Sania Nishtar) visited Indonesia to discuss the challenges a diverse developing nation faces as it is having to participate more in meeting global health challenges 
David Nabarro: “The role I have been training for my entire life.”
Global Health Now publishes an interview with Dr David Nabarro, explaining his suitability for the role of director general of WHO and his vision for the organization
Ethiopia: Dr. Tedros Receives Paul Harris Fellow Award
Rotary International Ethiopia bestowed the Paul Harris Fellow Award on Tedros Adhanom for his contribution to creating a polio-free Ethiopia 
Dr Tedros is the Leader the WHO Needs
Nicole Schiegg, a former USAID advisor, writes an opinion article for the Huffington Post advocating Tedros Adhanom as being the best candidate to lead the World Health Organization 
The WHO failed on Ebola. With a future pandemic inevitable it needs reform
Former UK international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, writes an opinion article in The Guardian in which he argues that Tedros Adhanom is the best candidate to lead reform inside the World Health Organization 
Opinion: Who should lead WHO (Pt. 3 of 3)? Dr. David Nabarro, “a frontline clinician and global health leader”
Plos Blogs feature an opinion article by leading expert Rashid A. Chotani in which he makes a strong case for Dr David Nabarro to become the next Director General of the World Health Organization 
Who will be the World Health Organisation`s next Director-General?
Abc.net.au previews its programme featuring a discussion of who will be the next Director General of the World Health Organization 
The WHO failed on Ebola. With a future pandemic inevitable it needs reform
Former UK international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, writes an opinion article in The Guardian in which he argues that Tedros Adhanom is the best candidate to lead reform inside the World Health Organization