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"World Health Minute" 8 June, 2017

News Highlights
Death toll in Yemen cholera outbreak hits nearly 700: WHO A cholera epidemic in Yemen has killed at least 681 people and the outbreak has yet to peak, according to the World Health Organization figures which showed an increase in the death toll of nearly 50% since its last update on May 27. Figures from this last week show 86,422 suspected cases of cholera being recorded across 19 of Yemen’s 23 governorates, although WHO did say the increase was due to better completeness of the reporting
Seattle to become latest U.S. city to tax sugary drinks Seattle`s City Council voted to levy a special tax on sodas and other sugary beverages sold to consumers, becoming the latest of several local government bodies across the country to take such action for the sake of public health. The measure, to be signed by Mayor Ed Murray, was approved on a 7-1 vote despite staunch opposition from the American Beverage Association, which said the tax would hit poor and working-class families and small businesses hardest. Enactment will add Washington state`s largest city to a growing national movement seeking to curb consumption of soft drinks and other high-caloric beverages that medical experts say are largely to blame for an epidemic of childhood obesity
Africa: Nothing Short of a `Sea Change` Will End Years of Gross Neglect in Mental Health Care - UN Expert Citing decades of neglect in mental health care, a United Nations human rights expert denounced "biomedical gatekeepers" who perpetuate stigma and urged States and psychiatrists to act with courage to reform a "crisis-hit system built on outdated attitudes." "We need little short of a revolution in mental health care to end decades of neglect, abuse and violence," Dainius Pūras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health said after presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Turning to the underlying causes of these imbalances delaying the transition to rights-based care, he said that the dominance of the biomedical model, with its overdependence on medication, and the "biased" use of evidence, contaminates knowledge about mental health
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Death toll in Yemen cholera outbreak hits nearly 700: WHO
A cholera epidemic in Yemen has killed at least 681 people and the outbreak has yet to peak, according to the World Health Organization figures which showed an increase in the death toll of nearly 50% since its last update on May 27. Figures from this last week show 86,422 suspected cases of cholera being recorded across 19 of Yemen’s 23 governorates, although WHO did say the increase was due to better completeness of the reporting
Hepatitis A back to haunt Kalamassery again
Hepatitis A has returned to Kalamassery, even as the district is in the grip of a dengue outbreak which has seen 93 suspected cases reported in a month. There were a further four new cases of Hepatitis A in Kalamassery, making the total number of cases this month rise to 11, on top of the 77 Hepatitis cases reported in the district last month. Besides this, there is one case of leptospirosis and two fresh cases of H1N1
Three Saudi hospitals report MERS outbreaks since April, WHO says
Three Saudi hospitals have reported outbreaks of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome since April 21, with 12 people catching the potentially deadly disease from infected patients who later died, the World Health Organization said. The hospitals were in Riyadh, in Bisha city and in Wadi al-Dawasir in Riyad province
China reports H7N9 avian influenza case in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
The Health and Family Planning Commission of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has reported its first human case of H7N9 in a male patient from Wuyuan County of Bayannur City. Officials said the patients is in a stable condition and the source of the infection is probably poultry reared at his home
Kwara confirms cholera outbreak
The Commissioner for Health in Kwara, Dr Atolagbe Alege, confirmed six cases of cholera in parts of Llorin metropolis, the state capital. Alege, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said that the outbreak has not claimed any lives to date and that the patients were four adults and two children
WHO ranks antibiotics in a bid to counter drug resistance
The WHO published a new classification of antibiotics that aim to fight drug resistance, with penicillin-type drugs recommended as the first line of defence and others for use only when absolutely necessary. The new essential medicines list includes 39 antibiotics for 21 common syndromes categorized into three groups: ‘Access’, ‘Watch’ and ‘Reserve’. Access drugs have lower resistance potential, the watch list should be dramatically reduced and the reserve list is absolutely last resort
France reports mild H7 bird flu virus at farm
France last month detected a case of low-pathogenic H7 bird flu virus at a farm in the centre of the country, a report from the French agriculture ministry showed. It was found in the rural district of Saulnay on a farm with 4,980 ducks and pheasants and all the animals were slaughtered, said OIE
Letter from Africa: Sudan`s rulers `shirking action on cholera`
Yousra Elbagir criticises the Sudanese government`s failure to get to grips with a cholera outbreak, which after 10 months, Sudan`s Ministry of Health has finally confirmed that there have been 265 deaths and more than 16,000 infected cases of "acute watery diarrhoea" in 11 of the country`s 18 states. The Federal Minister of Health, Bahar Abu Garda, told parliament that cases of "watery diarrhoea" were not his business - shifting blame to the Ministry of Water Resources and State Ministers
South Korea to cull nearly 190,000 farm bids to contain bird flu
South Korea`s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it has ordered a cull of 186,100 farm birds to prevent the spread of bird flu after more cases of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu were confirmed, this order comes after the government raised the country`s bird flu alert level to the highest level on Monday when the first bird flu case found since early April was confirmed as the H5N8 strain. As of Wednesday, a total of five cases of highly pathogenic avian flu had been confirmed in the country`s four regions, the agriculture ministry said in a statement
Cholera case count nears 100,000 in Yemen
Just a few days ago, UNICEF Regional Director, Geert Cappelaere, upon return from a visit to Yemen said the number of suspected cases is expected to reach 130,000 within the next two weeks, then, today, the WHO office in Yemen announced over 96,200 suspected cholera cases and 746 deaths have been reported, last week alone, more than 25,000 cases were reported. More than 80 percent of the governorates have reported cholera, with most cases being reported in the west
Sudan: Cholera Cases Swell Khartoum Bahri Hospitals
Cholera cases are further proliferating in Khartoum and White Nile states with the Health Ministry recording 30 new cases, while local sources, reported about 100 infected patients in areas of Khartoum Bahri. Cholera in Khartoum has further expanded to Teibat El Ahamda, known as El Ezba, in Khartoum Bahri. On Monday, the number of dead from cholera rose to 18 people, while there were approximately 100 infected cases in the district`s hospitals on Sunday and Monday. The Ministry of Health in Khartoum state announced t on Monday that 30 new cases have been recorded. There will be "maximum mobilisation" at Teibat El Ahamda area, with cleaning and waste removal campaigns
Husband, wife confirmed with H7N9 virus infection in China`s Shaanxi
A man has been confirmed infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus, following the infection of his wife in northwest China`s Shaanxi Province, local health authorities said Wednesday, he tested positive for the virus Tuesday in Yulin city, after days of high fever and coughing at his hometown nearby, the city`s disease control center said in a statement. It is the second H7N9 human infection case in the city, the first being his 62-year-old wife, surnamed Yang, who was confirmed with the virus on May 31
Plague: New Mexico reports 1st human case of 2017
New Mexico health officials have confirmed the first human plague case of 2017 in a 63-year-old man from Santa Fe County, the patient is currently hospitalized and being treated, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is conducting an environmental investigation at the man’s home to look for ongoing risk and to ensure the health of the immediate family and neighbours. Additionally, staff are going door-to-door to neighbours near the patient’s home to inform them about plague found in the area and educate them on reducing their risk
Nigeria ‘records 4,000 untreated cases of leprosy annually’
No fewer than 4,000 new untreated leprosy cases are being recorded annually in Nigeria, mainly from the poverty-ravaged communities, the Leprosy Mission, Nigeria (TLMN) has said, Kabir Umar, the Deputy Coordinator, Sokoto State Tuberculosis and Malaria Control Programme, said no fewer than 160 new leprosy cases were recorded in the state from 2016 to date. Mr. Umar said that 92 of the cases were identified in Kebbe, Gudu and Rabah Local Government Areas during separate case finding missions conducted in 2016. ”The remaining 68 cases were reported from January 2017 to date,” the official said
LG Baijal wants weekly report on dengue fight
Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal met chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and health minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday to assess preparedness to prevent an outbreak of dengue and chikungunya in the city. Despite high temperature, Delhi has reported nearly 100 chikungunya and 40 dengue cases over the past five months and officials fear that the numbers may increase significantly following the monsoon season
Diarrhoea, dengue starting to spiral out of control in Lanka: UN
UN agencies have warned that diarrhoea and dengue are starting to "spiral out of control" in Sri Lanka after the worst flood in over a decade hit the country, killing 224 people, with heavy flooding, landslides and flash floods caused by Tropical Cyclone Mora in Myanmar and Bangladesh, the torrential monsoon rains have affected some 684,000 people in south and central Sri Lanka
Delhi corporation brainstorms to fight dengue and chikungunya
South Delhi Municipal Corporation held a special house meeting on Tuesday to discuss the action plan for prevention of vector-borne diseases, but with around 40 cases of dengue and 97 cases of chikungunya reported across the capital this year, the Corporation claimed everything was under control and there was nothing to worry about
Researchers find possible explanation for unparalleled spread of Ebola virus
The world may be closer to knowing why Ebola spreads so easily thanks to a team of researchers from Tulane University and other leading institutions who discovered a new biological activity in a small protein from the deadly virus, the team`s findings were recently published in the Journal of Virology. A compound known as the "delta peptide" is produced in large amounts in Ebola virus-infected patients, but its function isn`t yet known. The investigators tested the effects of purified delta peptide on cells from humans and other mammals and found that it could be a viroporin, a type of viral protein that damages host cells by making the membranes become permeable
Health systems
New WHO chief vows to leave no one behind in healthcare
The new head of the World Health Organization said it was unacceptable that 1 in 17 people still lack access to essential health services and said he aimed to change this under his leadership, Tedros Adhanom said achieving universal health coverage would be a top priority during his five year term as head of the agency
India’s great healthcare challenge, also an opportunity
Findings of a recent study published in medical journal Lancet on the healthcare access and quality index across different countries, reveal that there is a reason to worry, this study, which created an index involving 32 causes of death and rated 195 countries for each of these for a period of 25 years, gave India a poor 154 rank. There are calls to back the government’s public commitments to launch an action plan to tackle and eliminate major diseases which are menacing the healthcare system and the economy in equal measure
Kenyan government nurses go on strike over pay dispute, six patients die
Kenyan government nurses have gone on strike over delays in an agreement that will give them pay rises, a union official said, bringing services to a halt in many parts of the country, the deal was meant to have been signed by the union, the national government and county governments, but the state commission that advises on public sector pay rejected the deal, according to an official letter seen by Reuters
Drug Prices Become Target for FDA as Chief Expands Purview
The head of the FDA is considering using the agency’s powers to bring more price competition to the market for generic drugs, targeting high-priced products by prioritizing the approval of additional competing products, FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, said the agency is looking at how to push applications to the front of the line where there are fewer than three competing generic manufacturers
Health Care Faces Funding Strain if Britain Chooses Hard Brexit
The UK’s health budget could be severely squeezed by Brexit and higher recruitment costs if it can no longer attract workers from the continent, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Britain’s annual health spending would be lower by about £7.5bn by 2021 under a ‘hard Brexit’, that’s a scenario in which negotiations break down and the UK must depend on World Trade Organization rules starting in 2019, likely to lead to a dent in consumer confidence and the value of the pound
Health Is A Global Public Good
The Huffington Post article calls on the world to act as one to deal with potential global health threats, focusing in particular on the growing epidemic of premature deaths caused by non-communicable diseases in low and middle income countries. HuffPost highlights the growing cost of treating NCDs in developing countries, predicted to be U.S.$7 trillion over the next 20 years, while the annual cost of implementing a set of high-impact interventions is $11bn, yet NCDs still receive less than 2% of development assistance for health
India’s HIV/Aids bill and its aftermath
Not even two months after India passed the HIV/Aids (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017, at least five states say they have run out of life-saving HIV drugs: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra and Meghalaya are bearing the brunt of this lack of medicines. There is also a shortage of diagnostic machines and kits in AP, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland and Uttarakhand
India regulator wants medical devices added to price control list, document shows
India`s drug-pricing regulator has asked the health ministry to add four more medical devices to a list of products eligible for price controls to reduce costs to patients, which if agreed could be another blow to the country`s $5 billion-a-year medical-technology industry. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had said it did not plan further measures after prices of some heart stents were cut in February by 75 percent, part of a government push to make life-saving drugs and devices more affordable. But a letter to the health ministry sent in March, which has not previously been made public, shows the regulator pushed to get four more devices on the "essential medicines" list that would allow the government to impose price caps if and when it was ready to do so
Indian origin charity gives healthcare to 3 million Nigerians
An Indian origin charitable organization, Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF), has provided public healthcare to over three million disadvantaged children and adults in Nigeria, TCF achieved the feat in the past two decades through its three key programmes: Mission for Vision, Mission for Primary Health and Mission for Water
Africa: Nothing Short of a `Sea Change` Will End Years of Gross Neglect in Mental Health Care - UN Expert
Citing decades of neglect in mental health care, a United Nations human rights expert denounced "biomedical gatekeepers" who perpetuate stigma and urged States and psychiatrists to act with courage to reform a "crisis-hit system built on outdated attitudes." "We need little short of a revolution in mental health care to end decades of neglect, abuse and violence," Dainius Pūras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health said after presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Turning to the underlying causes of these imbalances delaying the transition to rights-based care, he said that the dominance of the biomedical model, with its overdependence on medication, and the "biased" use of evidence, contaminates knowledge about mental health
AI in healthcare is being built by and for the wealthiest: we need a wider perspective, warns WHO
What good does it do to get early diagnoses of skin or breast cancer if a country does not provide the opportunity for treatment or if the price of medicines are not affordable? WHO’s Margaret Chan asked the audience at the UN’s AI Summit for Good. Many developing countries don’t have health data to mine. And they don’t have functioning systems for registering vital causes of death stats. The World Health Organisation director-general spoke of the need to ensure medical AI applications work for the poorest and the richest
76% Indians without health insurance, forcing them to dip into savings
India added 450 million people over the 25 years to 2016, a period during which the proportion of people living in poverty fell by half, but, this period of rising prosperity has been marked by a “dual-disease burden”, a continuing rise in communicable diseases and a spurt in non-communicable or “lifestyle” diseases, which accounted for half of all deaths in 2015, from 42% in 2001-03. While the private sector dominates healthcare delivery across the country, a majority of the population living below the poverty line (BPL)–the ability to spend Rs 47 per day in urban areas, Rs 32 per day in rural areas–continues to rely on the under-financed and short-staffed public sector for its healthcare needs, as a result of which their healthcare needs remain unmet
Communicable diseases
India Cannot Eliminate TB By 2025 Without Also Tackling Poverty And Undernutrition
The economics of tuberculosis remain neglected and often ignored by policymakers; poverty sustains TB and TB reinforces poverty, to date, TB costs India close to $24bn each year and mostly affects those in the 15-55 age group, impacting on productivity and creating unemployment. In India, a study established that the average period of loss of wages for an individual diagnosed with TB was three months. This is catastrophic for those employed in the ‘informal sector,’ and TB-induced poverty affects nutrition which impacts on recovery time and treatment completion
America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic
The New York Times asks why America’s black gay and bisexual men have a higher HIV rate than any other country in the world, according to the CDC, who last year published a survey which predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will become infected with the virus. That compares to a lifetime risk of one in 99 for all Americans and one in 11 for white gay and bisexual men. For perspective, Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate at 28.8%, if gay and bisexual African-American men made up a country its rate would surpass that of this impoverished nation and all other nations
Hepatitis detection remains high among voluntary blood donors, HIV dips
While the National Aids Control Organization (NACO) programme conducts active screening and treatment for HIV infections, making a considerable dent in new cases, hepatitis has no active screening campaign under central or state government, however, SBTC data showed that while blood donation escalated in 2015 to 2016, the government had to do away with at least 50,799 blood units in two years due to HIV, hepatitis, malaria or syphilis detection. The WHO says that the size of the Indian hepatitis population remains hidden as most do not know about the infection until they suffer from liver cirrhosis
Sexual Transmission of HIV/AIDS Alarming
The rate of HIV/Aids through sexual transmission has doubled over the past couple of years in Iran, according to officials, this means that it has increased to 30% from the earlier 15%, after the transmission patterns shifted away from needles/syringes to sexual transmission, additionally, women are contracting the virus at a faster pace than men. Despite efforts to control the spread of the virus, the desirable level of success has not been achieved due to social and cultural barriers which means a greater need to spread public awareness
Ukrainian NGO Works to Stop Spread of HIV Among Sex Workers
During a recent visit to Kyiv, Michel Kazatchkine — the U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia — toured the Ukrainian capital`s various harm-reduction programs, aimed at stopping the spread of HIV, among those was the nongovernmental organization Eney (Aeneas), which specializes in providing medical and legal assistance to female sex workers in Kyiv. Eney`s Viktoria Belekanich uses the organization`s mobile laboratory to check up on sex workers around the city. From the outside, the mobile lab looks like an ordinary van. Inside, however, it features a doctor`s office complete with an examination chair. The lab distributes condoms and other needed supplies, as well as offering a private space for sex workers to get quickly tested for HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections
Ukraine`s fight against TB is at risk from USAID cuts
A United States Agency for International Development-funded digital health program to help Ukraine manage its growing drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic is a textbook example of effective foreign aid, according to health experts who worked on the project — but the country’s fight against the disease is now at risk from looming cuts to U.S. development aid. Ukraine has the second-highest TB burden in Europe, and one of the highest estimated numbers of multidrug resistant TB, or MRD-TB, cases in the world
Non communicable diseases
Drug deaths on the rise in Europe for third year: report
Drug overdose deaths in Europe rose six percent to 8,441 in 2015, rising for the third consecutive year, driven by increasing use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, Europe’s Lisbon-based drug monitoring agency said. Deaths from overdoses had been on a downward trend from 2008 to 2012. The agency warned that drug-related deaths in Europe could be much higher due to systematic under-reporting in some countries and delays in reporting
Chronic pain tied to faster memory decline in old age
Older people who suffer from persistent pain may experience a faster deterioration of memory and a greater risk of dementia as they age compared to peers who are not in chronic pain, a recent study suggests. For the study, researchers examined data from more than a decade of regular surveys of cognitive abilities and pain levels among 10,065 elderly adults. Participants who reported often suffering from moderate to severe pain in both of the first two surveys experienced a 9.2 percent faster decline in memory over the next 10 years than people who didn’t.
Seattle to become latest U.S. city to tax sugary drinks
Seattle`s City Council voted to levy a special tax on sodas and other sugary beverages sold to consumers, becoming the latest of several local government bodies across the country to take such action for the sake of public health. The measure, to be signed by Mayor Ed Murray, was approved on a 7-1 vote despite staunch opposition from the American Beverage Association, which said the tax would hit poor and working-class families and small businesses hardest. Enactment will add Washington state`s largest city to a growing national movement seeking to curb consumption of soft drinks and other high-caloric beverages that medical experts say are largely to blame for an epidemic of childhood obesity
Big returns on small cancer research investment, study suggests
A government-backed research collaboration program started in the 1950s has added over 3 million years of life for cancer patients in the US at an estimated cost of just $125 for each year of life gained based on successful new treatment options developed through the program, a new study estimates. Researchers examined data from 193 late-stage trials from the National Cancer Institute-funded SWOG research program, originally called the Southwest Oncology Group. All of these studies were done between 1962 and 2014 and were designed to prove that new treatments were better than existing therapies; 23 of them succeeded in this goal
Pregnancy Complications Linked To Heart Disease Risk In Offspring
Children whose mothers experienced pregnancy complications were almost three times more likely to develop heart disease, complications of pregnancy, such as high blood pressure and infections, are linked to a heightened risk of early coronary heart disease in the young adult offspring, according to research published in Heart Asia. More than 600 million people live in Southeast Asia, most of whom are under the age of 65. But rates of premature deaths attributable to non-communicable diseases are high, with one in three occurring before the age of 60
SA must place much greater focus on beating cancer - Institute
South Africa needs a more concerted policy focus on cancer and other non-communicable diseases, says the Institute of Race Relations, in a report, “Non-communicable diseases barely at heart of policy”, issued to coincide with National Cancer Survivors Day, the institute’s health-care analyst and author of the report Tawanda Makombo notes: “Cancer has a devastating effect on communities and households in South Africa.” This is particularly true for poorer households, who struggle to afford treatment and care options.
Less dietary salt is coming from packaged foods these days
Packaged foods and store-bought drinks are blamed for adding a lot of salt to US diets, but a new study suggests those foods and beverages don`t contain as much sodium as they once did, it says that the amount of salt brought into American households through packaged food and store-bought beverages fell by about 18 percent from 2000 through 2014, researchers found. Still, they say, the vast majority of U.S. children and adults consume well over the recommended amount of sodium every day. "Households are getting less sodium from the grocery store, but I think it’s important to know sodium in packaged foods is still way too high," said lead author Jennifer Poti, of the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "So we have a long way to go"
U.S. nutrition policies may cut heart disease and save lives
Public health policies have the potential to reduce heart disease in the U.S. and save nearly 250,000 lives over 15 years, researchers say, which means, the kinds of policies they`re talking about would lower the price of fruit and vegetables, help lower-income families make better choices, impose taxes on sugary drinks and launch media campaigns, according to a report in the journal PLoS Medicine. "I think what our study does is highlight the potential power of food policies to reduce cardiovascular mortality and disparities in the U.S.," said lead author Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, of Imperial College London
Even moderate drinking linked to changes in brain structure, study finds
Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol is linked to changes in brain structure and an increased risk of worsening brain function, scientists said on Tuesday, adding, in a 30-year study that looked at the brains of 550 middle-aged heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers and teetotallers, the researchers found people drank more alcohol had a greater risk of hippocampal atrophy - a form of brain damage that affects memory and spatial navigation. People who drank more than 30 units a week on average had the highest risk, but even those who drank moderately - between 14 and 21 units a week - were far more likely than abstainers to have hippocampal atrophy, the scientists said
Sri Lanka`s cabinet on Wednesday approved to increase physical activities among school children and to provide opportunities to consume more healthy meals to prevent obesity.
Sri Lanka`s cabinet on Wednesday approved to increase physical activities among school children and to provide opportunities to consume more healthy meals to prevent obesity, co-Cabinet Spokesperson, Gayantha Karunathilleke told journalists here in a weekly media briefing that around 59 percent of deaths in Sri Lanka were caused by non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancers and majority of deceased were under the age of 60. As less physical activities are a main cause for these diseases, the proposal made by Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne to implement a program under the recommendations of the Ministry of Education for increasing physical activities among school children and to provide opportunities for school children to consume more healthy meals, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, Karunathilleke said
Child obesity linked to poor heart health
Being overweight or obese, from as young as 3, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease later in early midlife. New findings, from a study into the health of 1037 people born in Dunedin in 1972-1973, has found that childhood obesity can have lifelong implications. Lead author of the research paper, published in the International Journal of Obesity, professor Michael Williams said those who were overweight, obese or severely obese in early childhood were more at risk. He said while adult obesity was a known risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease - the number one cause of death worldwide - these findings showed the link could be traced back to early childhood
Antigua initiates steps to impose tax on sugary beverages
Antigua & Barbuda has taken the first step to what will likely result in an increase in taxes on soft drinks as well as food with a high sugar content in keeping with the global move to stem the increase of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).“We have PAHO doing the study which we will receive next month. But our thinking is, if we increase the tax on sugar, we will decrease the tax on the foods that are healthier,” the health minister told reporters
Georgia investigating spate of opioid painkiller overdoses
Dozens of drug overdoses, including four fatal ones, in a two-day period in Georgia appear to be linked to potentially lethal substances in opioid painkillers sold on the street, state public health and law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. Five of the overdoses - but none of the deaths - were among people living in the same household in Bibb County, which includes the city of Macon, Gaylord Lopez, director of the non-profit Georgia Poison Center, said by phone on Tuesday evening. The victims ranged in age from 20s to early 60s, he said. The Georgia Department of Public Health said Tuesday that emergency responders in the central and southern parts of the state treated dozens of people over a 48-hour period. Some patients were unconscious or had stopped breathing and many had to be placed on ventilators
Promoting health through the life course
Venezuela crisis forces women to sell sex in Colombia, fuels slavery risk
As a humanitarian and political crisis in neighbouring Venezuela deepens, growing numbers of Venezuelan women are working in bars and brothels across Colombia, at this moment, there are around 4,500 Venezuelan sex workers in Colombia, some working in the capital, others in Caribbean tourist resorts and even in far-flung Amazon villages near the Brazilian border, according to ASMUBULI, a Colombian sex workers association. Campaigners and the United Nations say Venezuelan migrant women and men selling sex in Colombia are at high risk of being trafficked into forced prostitution but little is known about the true scale of the largely invisible problem
Traffickers lure Indian girls into sex slavery with `Taj Mahal` promise
Human traffickers in India are luring village girls into sex slavery with promises of visiting the Taj Mahal, a charity said, as criminal gangs find new ways to enslave the poor, so much so that they form part of the almost 46 million people enslaved worldwide - trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labour, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude - according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index. Forty percent, or more than 18 million, are in India. Many are from poor rural regions and lured with the promise of good jobs or marriage but end up sold into prostitution, domestic work, or industries such as brick kilns or textile units
100,000 children in extreme danger in Mosul, trapped behind IS lines - UN
About 100,000 children are trapped in extremely dangerous conditions in the remaining Islamic State-held enclave in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the United Nations said, children were being used as human shields by the insurgents or were caught in the crossfire of the battle, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said. Some had been forced to take part in the fighting. Hospitals and clinics had come under attack, it said. "We are receiving alarming reports of civilians including several children being killed in west Mosul," UNICEF said. "Some were reportedly killed as they desperately tried to flee the fighting which is intensifying by the hour"
Asia can unlock $5 trillion, 230 million jobs via key development goals
In a region vulnerable to weather-related disasters, pushing ahead on good development could turn threats to opportunities, experts say, it is believed that businesses in Asia could unlock at least $5 trillion in market opportunities and create 230 million jobs by 2030 by implementing a few key development goals, global business and finance leaders said. The report identified four key areas with the most significant opportunities - cities, energy and materials, food and agriculture, and health and well-being - and specific projects such as affordable housing, renewable energy, reducing food waste and sustainable aquaculture
Adopting the sustainable development goals is a business opportunity for Australia
The Business and Sustainable Development Commission, through research conducted by AlphaBeta, shows that the implementation of the SDGs in four major global systems – food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and wellbeing – could generate tremendous business opportunities. Worldwide the SDGs could unlock US$12tn in business savings and revenues by 2030 through 60 high-potential opportunities for the private sector. In Australia, many of those opportunities are substantial. A big push on the provision of affordable housing could be worth an extra $8bn in revenue annually. A faster rollout of renewable energy could be especially valuable in Australia, creating more than $9bn worth of economic opportunities by 2030. Wider usage of remote monitoring technologies in healthcare could generate savings worth $11bn a year by 2030
Fund crunch delays rescue of India`s bonded labourers - activists
India`s plans to rescue more than 18 million bonded labourers by 2030 have been delayed by a lack of funds, activists said, calling for stricter law enforcement to end one of the most prevalent forms of human trafficking in the country. A year after the Indian government announced a scheme to assist bonded labourers - including a fivefold increase in compensation for these exploited workers - many rescues have been postponed because funding has not come through. The 1 million-rupee ($15,500) funds mandated for each district have not yet been created in southern India, according to Krishnan Kandasamy of the non-profit National Adivasi Solidarity Council, a network for indigenous peoples` welfare
Farm pollutants affect neighbours’ lungs
Air pollution from large-scale livestock farms impairs lung function in neighbours who live nearby, a new study from the Netherlands shows, in this study, the team measured several markers of lung function in 2,308 adults who lived in 12 villages near, but not on, farms in the Netherlands, which has one of the world’s highest population densities as well as one of the highest livestock farm densities. The study also showed that neighboring residents’ lung function was reduced during weeks with higher levels of farm-related ammonia air pollution. The effects on breathing patterns were small but significant
Less than a third of women hit weight gain target in pregnancy
The majority of women gain too much or too little weight during pregnancy, putting both mothers and babies at an increased risk for complications, a review of past studies suggests, researchers examined data from 23 studies covering a total of more than 1.3 million pregnancies and found 47 percent of the time women gained more weight than recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) - about 25 to 35 pounds for people who start out pregnancy at a normal weight. Another 23 percent of the time, women didn’t gain enough weight. Too little pregnancy weight gain was associated with a higher risk of undersized and premature infants, while too much weight gain was linked to greater odds of oversized babies and caesarean section, or surgical deliveries, researchers report in JAMA
Industry, NGOs On Staff At WHO? Beware Of Revolving Doors, Some Say
WHO said it was aware of the need to be clear on what is considered a sensitive position and it has not been explicitly explained in FENSA, the WHO took the position that sensitive positions are primarily positions which involve sensitive information, which might be proprietary, sensitive, and/or related to WHO norms and standards settings, he said. He added that greater clarity should be provided going forward. The WHO Human Resources Department director sought to reassure member states, explaining all the safeguards in place so that individuals cannot be hired after or during secondment through a back door. The director added that in 2019, when “mobility is mandatory,” most of the international fixed-term positions will be advertised through a compendium, for rotation purposes, and in that context seconded staff are not eligible for applying for positions issued in the compendium
In Poland, Being a Woman Can Be Bad for Your Health
After last year’s attempt to impose a near-total ban on abortion, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has introduced a bill to limit sales of emergency contraception, or the “morning-after pill,” which can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, including in cases of rape. Under the pretence of ensuring quality health care, Poland’s Minister of Health said the law is to allow women to get medical advice about “whether these substances negatively affect health.” In reality, it is a pretext to further limit reproductive choice
France urges U.N. backing of W.Africa force to tackle terrorism, trafficking
France on Tuesday proposed that the United Nations Security Council back a West African force to combat terrorism, drug and human trafficking by "eradicating the actions" of Islamist militants and organized crime groups in the Sahel region. The vast, arid zone has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups - some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State - that European nations, particularly France, fear could threaten Europe if left unchecked
Gay Chinese battle inertia, conservatism to push rights
When Chinese sexologist Li Yinhe was looking for top-level government support for same-sex marriage in the early 2000s, she asked the then mayor of Beijing, Wang Qishan, a friend, for help, after decades of Communist prudery about sex of all kinds, during recent years of economic reform and growth, gay Chinese have sprung forward to reclaim the country`s long history of relative tolerance towards homosexuality. With no clear, bureaucratic way forward to legalise same-sex marriage, unlike in Taiwan which approved the step last month, and deeply conservative attitudes among the older generation towards sex, gay Chinese are pushing against old social norms and legal uncertainty to assert their rights