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"World Health Minute" 24 May, 2017

News Highlights
Vietnam: Hanoi dengue tally passes 700, 1st fatality reported The Hanoi Department of Health has reported more than 700 dengue fever cases since the beginning of the year, double the number of cases during the same period in 2016
WHO elects first ever African director-general after tense vote The World Health Organization elected its first ever director-general from Africa, after Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was chosen yesterday. He beat Dr David Nabarro after three tense rounds of voting with Dr Sania Nishtar in third place
Need more focus on health; country’s spending to be 2 per cent of GDP: Owaisi
MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi pitched for increasing India’s health budget to two percent of GDP, he based his comments on points raised in The National Family Health Survey 2015-16 which reported that the country has to focus more on health. The Lok Sabha member said ‘if the country doesn’t spend two percent of GDP on health, then the health indicators in India would be below those of sub-Saharan countries’. He called on the government to focus more on improving health standards
Preparedness, surveillance and response
In the U.S. GAO has published a report calling for actions needed to address the challenges of Zika
The story lists the fact there were 5,197 cases of zika virus disease reported in the USA at start of April this year and only two states had disease cases based on local mosquito-borne transmission – 216 in Florida and 6 cases in Texas, all the other instances were associated with travel from outside the continental United States. The article calls for a transparent process for providing test manufacturers access to diagnostic tests and FDA and CDC providing information to ensure users of these tests can compare performance
3 new cases of diphtheria confirmed
Three new cases of diphtheria were confirmed in the district on Monday, while at the same time health authorities reported on three dengue cases and two H1N1 cases
Minas Gerais tem mais de 15 mil casos prováveis de chikungunya em 2017
Minas Gerais state has registered 15,693 probable cases of chikungunya in 2017, according to a department of health bulletin. Eleven suspicious deaths are being investigated and so far this year, the number of probable cases has increased more than 3,000% over the same period last year. In terms of dengue, Minas Gerais has recorded 24,557 cases, the lowest number for the first five months since 2013. Two deaths confirmed and a further 18 investigated. Minas Gerais has 753 probable cases of zika, with the number slightly higher for the first five months last year than this
Sobe número de mortes por febre amarela no Rio
The state of Rio de Janeiro registered another fatal case of yellow fever, bringing to six the number of deaths from the disease since the beginning of the current outbreak, the state department of health reported. In total the state of Rio has recorded 15 cases of yellow fever in humans. In four municipalities yellow fever has only been detected in monkeys. Rio health authorities believe they have the yellow fever vaccine they need and are responding accordingly
Al menos 26 muertos y 8.481 casos de dengue confirmados en el país
Peruvian Ministry of Health’s latest bulletin indicates 26 have died and 8,841 people have been sick from dengue since the start of the year, additionally, the ministry said they are aware of 28,352 possible cases of dengue of which 8,841 cases are now confirmed. The region registering the highest number of cases is Piura with 2,757 confirmed and 11,243 probable. Elsewhere, confirmed cases stand at La Libertad (1,559), Ica (810), Lambayeuque (781), Ancash (475), Loreto (178) and Tumbes (122
Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China
China notified WHO of an additional 23 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with H7N9 virus in China earlier this month. At the time of notification (13 May) there had been seven deaths, 15 patients were diagnosed with pneumonia or severe pneumonia and a further case was mild
HC slams Delhi for lack of campaign on dengue, chikungunya
The Delhi High Court slammed local government in Delhi for its failure to launch a public awareness campaign about mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya, their symptoms and treatment. Last week the court pulled up the government for celebrating National Dengue Day on May 16 without taking a single step to prevent it
Primeiro caso de H7N9 é registrado no norte da China
Shanxi province saw its first case of human H7N9 with a 66 year-old woman testing positive at the Datong city’s disease prevention and control unit. Across the country a total of 96 people were reportedly infected with H7N9, according to March figures, of which 47 people had died
Chikungunya cases up to 92, dengue cases reach 38 in city
With three more cases of chikungunya during the last week, a total of 92 cases have been reported this year so far. Meanwhile, an additional six new cases of dengue have been registered, taking the tally to 38 in the capital this year, according to a municipal report
Hà Nội reports first death from dengue fever
The Hanoi Department of Health has reported more than 700 dengue fever cases since the beginning of the year, double the number of cases during the same period in 2016
Slight dip in dengue cases in district
Thiruvananthapuram – The number of fever cases in the district registered a slight increase on Monday, though the number of dengue cases fell. Of the 26,420 outpatients cases in the district, 1,750 were found to have fever. There were 116 suspected dengue cases and 71 confirmed. In the city limits of the 107 people suffering from fever, 27 were found to have dengue
Yemen cholera caseload leaps, death toll rises: WHO
A cholera outbreak in Yemen has killed 332 people and left more than 32,000 ill in the last four weeks, WHO reports. The disease has spread faster than any previous known outbreak in Yemen and WHO is warning it could affect as many as 300,000 people over the next 6 months. To compound the problem, doctors have not been paid since September and less than half of the hospitals and medical clinics are still operating. There is also a shortage of re-hydration fluids for treating cholera patients
Aumentan casos de malaria en Bilwi y declaran estado de emergencia sanitaria en la zona
The health emergency was declared due to the high numbers of malaria cases reported turning up at health centres across the region. There are now more than 1300 confirmed cases in the city of Bilwi, and health experts say the sickness is centred on the districts of Bilwi, Rosita and Waspam – with victims originating from the Caribe Norte regional area
Vietnam: Hanoi dengue tally passes 700, 1st fatality reported
The Hanoi Department of Health has reported more than 700 dengue fever cases since the beginning of the year, double the number of cases during the same period in 2016
Health systems
Need more focus on health; country’s spending to be 2 per cent of GDP: Owaisi
MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi pitched for increasing India’s health budget to two percent of GDP, he based his comments on points raised in The National Family Health Survey 2015-16 which reported that the country has to focus more on health. The Lok Sabha member said ‘if the country doesn’t spend two percent of GDP on health, then the health indicators in India would be below those of sub-Saharan countries’. He called on the government to focus more on improving health standards
UK competition watchdog accuses Merck of obstructing biosimilars
The UK’s competition watchdog has accused Merck of operating an unfair discount scheme for its medicine Remicade that it said was designed to restrict competition from so-called biosimilar copies. The Competitions and Markets Authority said it had found Merck has abused its position, this opens it up to potential financial penalties
World Medical Association highlights attacks on Indian doctors: Report
The World Medical Association has issued a warning over the increase in violence against doctors in countries such as India and China, as well as in Europe and America, where patients or relatives verbally or physically abuse the medical caregivers with alarming regularity. A WHO report said nearly 600 violent incidents against health facilities took place in 19 countries in 2014 and 2015. In the first three quarters of 2016 there were 198 such incidents. The WMA said health professionals need legal protection in countries as many countries already do for law enforcement officers
India’s dismal record in healthcare
New research by The Lancet shows India ranking at 154 out of 195 countries in terms of access to healthcare, which is worse than Nepal, Bangladesh, Ghana and Liberia. Live Mint takes three comparative charts and shows how relative prosperity in India in many places counts for little if the government significantly underinvests in its own healthcare system
Japan to bring forward target for increased generic drug use: sources
Japan will bring forward a target to boost the use of generic drugs by six months to September 2020, two government sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. The rapidly aging nation is aiming to lift the use of generics to more than 80% from around 56% currently – a move that would save the government hundreds of billions of Yen, the sources said
Communicable diseases
Detectan en Zacatecas mosquito que trasmite Fiebre del Mayaro
Mexican health authorities in Zacatecas are reporting they have detected the presence of a mosquito that transmits the Mayaro fever virus, which combines the effects and symptoms of dengue, chikungunya and zika. They are taking action; laying traps and fumigation to seek to control it but are concerned the coming rainy season may be troublesome
HIV drug PrEP praised for helping prevent other sexually transmitted diseases
Victoria AIDS Council chief executive, Simon Ruth, tried to quell fears about a man taking PrEp being reported as testing positive for HIV, he also pointed out that Truvada contains two medications and is not 100% effective but studies show it reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 99%. Prahan Market Clinic director said ‘considering 3,000 people are involved in the PrEPX trial in Victoria alone he expected there would be more than one seroconversion’
Periodistas evalúan impacto de vacuna contra el dengue
Latin American journalists were invited by Sanofi Pasteur Labs to come and hear all about the findings of a dengue vaccine test in Parana, where each person was to have a jab every 6 months starting from last July. They reached 200,000 people in 30 districts, those most affected by dengue, however, there was little interest among people to get vaccinated and authorities had to go house to house to get people to do so in some instances. The vaccine really only reached middle and upper class people making the dose that much more expensive per person. There needs to be more agreement on pricing and more public education campaign support, so its effectiveness is not yet proven
Smart insects put a fly in the gene-editing ointment
A new study, by Michael Wade and Gabriel Zentner, from Indiana University, studied the flour beetle and focused on three stretches of the beetle’s genome where CRISPR technology could potentially snip out or insert genes. Two targets were chosen for their links to male and female fertility. The third because it mirrors a pot in the mosquito genome previously scouted as a potential anti-malarial target. They discovered there was sufficient natural variation in the flour beetles to get rid of any CRISPR i tampering in just six generations. Not only that, subsequent generations favoured genes that circumvented the CRISPR intervention, even if they were rare ones
Smart Trap Increasingly Accurate in Catching Zika, West Nile Mosquitoes
Houston Public Media reported on a smart trap by Microsoft that Harris County Mosquito Control has been testing since 2016, results say the trap has a success rate of 80-90% accuracy and it is growing, the smart trap has an infrared light beam that distinguishes between mosquito species and the trap door closes on the ones carrying the viruses. With other traps one would find other creatures or organisms too. The tester also knows what the temperature was, what the humidity was and what mosquito is in the trap
Infecting mosquitoes with bacteria so they can`t infect us with viruses like Zika and dengue
As the US enters another mosquito season, mosquito control districts in Florida and California are preparing new strategies to combat mosquitoes and the viruses they transmit. Infecting fruit flies with wolbachia protects their hosts from fruit fly viruses. Researchers in Australia and the U.S. and elsewhere are investigating why Wolbachia limits viruses, this time using mosquitoes
Vaccines may be the way forward for malaria eradication in India
Dr Dharminder Nagar, MD of Paras Healthcare, writes an opinion article for Business Standard in which he outlines a 5-point agenda to take immunization programmes across India to the next level
Non communicable diseases
NCDs: Answer lies in early screening, prevention
The New Times Rwanda takes an in-depth look at how the Rwandan health authorities in the Gaghengeri Sector, Rwamagana District, are starting to use early screening and diagnosis to tackle the emerging burden of non-communicable diseases, which are threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system
Non-communicable diseases: Serious health concerns
In an opinion article for The Himalayan Times the publication calls on the government to target existing human resources and re-equip them in order to help promote health and prevent disease across Nepal. It argues that if the country is able to harness the potential that its primary healthcare offers, it can become a vital platform for a concerted response to the growing problem of non-communicable diseases
Trump Wants to Slash Funding for Birth Defect Research as States Brace for Zika Season
The Trump administration wants to slash the Centers for Disease Control budget by 17%, including cutting programmes such as the National Center on Birth Defects and Development Disabilities, an initiative which is essential for zika research. With the funds initially earmarked to deal with the zika crisis now nearly all spent, such cuts would stymie the ability of state and local authorities to prepare for inevitable new infections or provide services to those affected by them
Number of university dropouts due to mental health problems trebles
Data from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that a record 1,180 students experience mental health problems and left university early in 2014-2015, the most recent year data is available. It represents a 210% increase from the 380 students who did so in 2009-10. The figures have prompted charities, counsellors and health experts to urge higher education institutions to ensure the right support for students is in place
How do we choose who gets the flu vaccine in a pandemic – paramedics, prisoners or the public?
The Conversation blog discusses how policymakers need to have functioning plans in place for a pandemic so they able to take critical decision, such as which parts of society get vaccinated, as a priority and which parts do not, so that health authorities ensure structured planning to manage and overcome a pandemic
When western lifestyle diseases migrate south
An article which was originally published in Le Monde Diplomatique discusses how diseases traditionally associated with the lifestyle of the developed world, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have migrated south, and now, by 2030, experts believe they may kill more people in Africa than communicable diseases such as HIV/Aids, if no action is taken to urgently remedy the situation
Time to act against NCDs is now
Melvin D’Souza, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Novo Nordisk India, writes an opinion article for Health Economic Times in which he calls for urgent action to tackle the growing non-communicable disease problem that the world is facing. Referencing the WHO Global Status Report on NCDs 2014, he highlights the particular urgency of this issue for India, because it shares more than two-thirds of the total deaths due to NCDs across the whole of the South-East Region of WHO
German court favors vaccination of child in parents` dispute
Germany’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a father could have his child vaccinated, according to a schedule recommended by authorities, even though the mother of the girl is opposed. The decision comes as government and health organizations in Europe try to reverse a fall in vaccination rates that has led to outbreaks of highly contagious and potentially deadly diseases such as measles
Promoting health through the life course
Radio aimed at Nicaragua`s Miskito women takes on violence, trafficking
Airing from dusk to dawn, six days a week, broadcast along the country’s impoverished north Atlantic Coast, a new radio station is being hailed by UN Women and campaigners as a key way to reach indigenous communities plagued by violence against women and girls. Powered mainly on solar radio, it is the first and only radio station dedicated to women’s rights in their native language
Hawaii faces more flooding with possible record high tides
Hawaii will likely suffer more coastal flooding this week driven by record high tides and this is a symptom of global warming that will become routine in decades if no action is taken on emissions experts warn, they also say global sea levels will drive flooding many times a year by 2050 and this may pose serious risks for places like Hawaii during storm seasons
Capetonians warned that 100 liters water usage `non-negotiable`
The city of Cape Town has issued a warning to all water users informing them that all water usage must be brought down by 100m litres immediately. The warning comes after the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille officially declared the Western Cape a disaster area
Myanmar children in conflict-hit areas risk getting left behind: U.N.
About 2.2m children living in remote and conflict ridden parts of Myanmar could be left behind, as the country rapidly develops following decades of military rule, the UN has warned. UNICEF is calling for greater humanitarian access to these regions so as to ensure that youngsters in the country have a brighter future. Although social and economic measures rolled out by the new government have improved health, education and protection for children, the country’s remotest parts are yet to benefit
Abused infants may slip through the cracks in hospital systems
Researchers behind a study say infants who are victims of severe physical abuse are mostly under one year old and arrive ‘by stealth’ at hospitals, often hours after injury. This means from the start, these abused infants are less likely to get the attention they need. A delay in diagnosis, a delay in key urgent treatments, which combined means they fare less well than those accidentally injured
Nigeria`s hungriest face starvation as aid funds dry up in northeast - UN
The United Nations and aid agencies are warning that northeast Nigeria is on the brink of famine after two years of missed harvests, with a third missed year very likely. Aid agencies also say they need aid funds to help. The WFP indicated that these hungry people could miss out on food aid next month, because it is running out of money to feed them. The regional director says it needs another $250m to prevent famine in the coming months and to feed 4.7m people, which the WFP worries could rise even as high as 5.2m by August
US drug laws aimed at pregnant women stop them seeking healthcare: Amnesty
Amnesty International said that US state laws used to prosecute pregnant women who take drugs are stopping them from seeking help from health services and this is a violation of their rights, so a human rights group sounded the alarm in a report about the increasing practice of charging pregnant women addicted to drugs with endangering their own foetus. It said this has undermined efforts in recent years to treat the addiction of thousands of women
India`s `anti-human trafficking caravan` tours villages and towns
India is using music, street plays and puppet shows, to educate and entertain villagers across the country about the dangers of human trafficking. The project is the brainchild of the U.S. Consulate in Kolkata and is a novel attempt to raise public awareness about trafficking and slavery in a country where such crimes are widespread and on the rise
Climate change court cases on the rise globally, majority in U.S.
A growing number of people are turning to the courts to try and overturn government decisions seen to exacerbate climate change, according to a global survey of climate change litigation published on Tuesday. Some 884 climate change cases have been filed by March, in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Pacific, Europe and the Americas. The USA has the highest number of cases – 654, according to the survey, which was carried out by UN Environment and the Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
WHO Elects Ethiopia’s Tedros as First Director General From Africa
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia was elected to lead the World Health Organization on Tuesday, the first ever African to head the agency. Dr Tedros beat Dr David Nabarro after three rounds of voting, Dr Sania Nishtar finished in third place in the first round and she was eliminated after receiving 38 votes. Dr Tedros Adhanom replaces Dr Margaret Chan who has led the agency for 10 years and takes up his post on July 1st
Ethiopia`s Tedros wins WHO race, first African to get top job
The former Ethiopian health minister and foreign minister received more than half the votes in the first round of elections to become director general of WHO, and then he also won a decisive second round election, beating David Nabarro to the job. The role has never been earned through a competitive vote before and health officials from all over the world met in Geneva at the World Health Assembly and voted behind closed doors
Former Ethiopian health minister becomes first African head of the World Health Organization
The former Ethiopian health minister has become the first African head of the World Health Organization. In a secret ballot, the World Health Assembly elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to be the agency’s new director general. Many felt it was Africa’s turn to lead the agency and the African Union strongly supported the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom throughout
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: Ethiopian wins top WHO job
Tedros Adhanom will be the first African to head up the UN agency after he won the most votes from the 186 member states and he replaces Margaret Chan, who will step down from her 10 year post at the end of June. Dr Tedros promised to respond to future emergencies rapidly and effectively, and to stand up for the rights of the poor
World Health Organization Elects a New Director General from Ethiopia
Tedros will be taking over the position of director general of the World Health Organization from Dr Margaret Chan, who has led the agency since 2006. He will serve a five year term in the new position which will begin July 1st. He will become the first health official from Africa to serve as director general
WHO elects first ever African director-general after tense vote
The World Health Organization elected its first ever director-general from Africa, after Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was chosen yesterday. He beat Dr David Nabarro after three tense rounds of voting with Dr Sania Nishtar in third place
Ethiopia`s Tedros to be next leader of UN health agency
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as the next director general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday, becoming the first non-medical doctor and the first African tapped to lead the influential agency which sets health priorities worldwide. Tedros will become the eight director general of the UN agency founded in 1948 and the first elected in a competitive race before the full assembly
Vote for WHO top job takes place after weeks of mud-slinging
The Guardian comments that the campaign to become the next director general of the World Health Organization was marred by spin, but, it has now come to an end in Geneva, where representatives from 194 countries met to elect a new director general of the World Health Organization. The writer explores the extent of the disagreement between the Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus campaign and that of his vanquished rival David Nabarro