| | |

"World Health Minute" 17 July, 2017

News Highlights
Yemen cholera cases pass 300,000 mark, ICRC says A 10-week cholera epidemic has now infected more than 300,000 people in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, a health disaster on top of war, economic collapse and near-famine in the impoverished country. The World Health Organization has said there were 297,438 suspected cases and 1,706 deaths by July 7, but it did not publish a daily update on Sunday, when the 300,000 mark looked set to be reached. A WHO spokesman said the figures were still being analyzed by Yemen`s health ministry
Tamil Nadu reports first case of Zika virus The first case of Zika in Tamil Nadu was reported from a hamlet in Krishnagiri district by the state public health authorities on Monday, nearly two months after the WHO confirmed such cases in India. Blood samples of a 28-year-old tailor, a resident of Natranpalayam Panchayat who reported to the Anchetty primary health center with complaints of fever, redness in the eye, photophobia, skin rashes and joint pain, was confirmed to be positive for Zika virus by labs, including National Institute of Virology in Pune
World Bank program will speed response to pandemics The bank has announced the issuance of $500 million in specialized bonds and derivatives that will help poor countries cope with a pandemic such as Ebola. The effort will create a trust fund, the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, that can be quickly deployed for pandemic response. Investors who buy the bonds and provide the trust-fund financing upfront will reap premiums but will also be taking a risk. If there is a major outbreak, the investors will lose some or all of their cash. One big advantage is that instead of waiting around for slow-moving national governments to fund a disease response, the resources necessary for saving lives will be available quickly
NGO says 18 people succumb to tuberculosis every day Estimating that Mumbai has witnessed at least 32,862 deaths due to tuberculosis since 2012, NGO Praja shared projections that 18 people succumb to the infectious disease every day. Cases of tuberculosis have risen from 36,417 in 2012-13 to 50,001 in 2016-17, information obtained through the Right to Information law from government hospitals, dispensaries and clinics in Mumbai showed
U.N. Suspending Plan for Cholera Vaccination in Yemen The United Nations said that it was suspending plans for a cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen — reversing a decision made a month ago — because the disease’s rampant spread and the ravages of war there would make such an effort ineffective. Plans for preventive vaccination were being “set aside” as obstacles in delivering vaccines in the middle of a conflict that has crippled the country’s health system are too great, and in addition, aid workers would be hampered accessing some areas threatened by the contagious disease
Extinguished Epidemics Reappear in Syria Epidemics are gradually reappearing in Syria as part of a reality that has started to impose itself in zones that are not controlled by the Syrian regime, especially in the northern and eastern regions which have witnessed a series of fights amid the total absence of local and civil authorities. Poliomyelitis is now rampant in Deir ez-Zor, with 58 cases up to the start of June. Displaced Raqqa civilians in nearby camps, especially Tuwayhina, are seeing a resurgence of cholera, leishmania and measles
Preparedness, surveillance and response
WHO warns of cholera risk at annual haj, praises Saudi preparedness
A cholera epidemic in Yemen, which has infected more than 332,000 people, could spread during the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in September, although Saudi authorities are well prepared, the World Health Organization said. The pilgrimage draws 2-4 million Muslims every year, including 1.5-2 million foreigners, raising the risk from diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, Zika virus and meningococcal disease as well as cholera
Yemen cholera cases pass 300,000 mark, ICRC says
A 10-week cholera epidemic has now infected more than 300,000 people in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, a health disaster on top of war, economic collapse and near-famine in the impoverished country. The World Health Organization has said there were 297,438 suspected cases and 1,706 deaths by July 7, but it did not publish a daily update on Sunday, when the 300,000 mark looked set to be reached. A WHO spokesman said the figures were still being analyzed by Yemen`s health ministry
Measles `tragedy` kills 35 across Europe
Thirty-five people have died in the past year from measles outbreaks across Europe, the World Health Organization has warned. A six-year-old boy in Italy was the latest to die from the infection. More than 3,300 measles cases have been recorded in the country. The most fatalities - 31 - have been in Romania. But there have also been deaths in Germany and Portugal since June 2016
U.N. slams warring parties in Yemen for fueling cholera outbreak
Top UN officials slammed the warring parties in Yemen and their international allies for fuelling an unprecedented deadly cholera outbreak, driving millions closer to famine and hindering humanitarian aid access. "Seven million people, including 2.3 million malnourished children - of whom 500,000 are severely malnourished under the age of five - are on the cusp of famine, vulnerable to disease and ultimately at risk of a slow and painful death," UN experts said
Cholera may accelerate famine in Yemen as resources shift: U.N.
Yemen`s growing cholera epidemic may accelerate looming famine, as limited resources are shifted away from malnutrition and other programs to try to contain the disease, the top U.N. aid official in the country said. The United Nations has received only a third of the $2.1 billion it sought to provide food to 12 million people facing famine in Yemen. Its $250 million funding appeal to combat cholera has yielded just $47 million. "As a result of that, organizations who are in areas where cholera has broken out have had to use resources that they would have otherwise programmed for something like food insecurity or malnutrition,” the UN added
3,000 diagnosed with dengue fever in Rangoon, 18 died
Some three thousand people in Rangoon have contracted dengue fever this year, and at least 18 have died from its effects. “From early 2017 to 9 July 2017, 2,855 people have been diagnosed with dengue fever and 18 have died from the virus,” said Dr. Khin Nan Lone of the regional public health department in Rangoon
U.N. Suspending Plan for Cholera Vaccination in Yemen
The United Nations said that it was suspending plans for a cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen — reversing a decision made a month ago — because the disease’s rampant spread and the ravages of war there would make such an effort ineffective. Plans for preventive vaccination were being “set aside” as obstacles in delivering vaccines in the middle of a conflict that has crippled the country’s health system are too great, and in addition, aid workers would be hampered accessing some areas threatened by the contagious disease
CSs Rotich, Adan Mohamed admitted after reports of cholera outbreak
Two Kenyan Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury) and Adan Mohammed (Industrialisation) are among at least 70 patients admitted at Nairobi hospitals with what may be cholera. The two are at Nairobi Hospital where doctors are observing them
16 dead as dengue fever sweeps Arakan State
Dengue fever has struck every township in Arakan State this monsoon season as storms and floods provide the conditions for mosquitoes to transmit the disease. Sixteen people have died from the dengue virus so far, an officer from the Department of Health told DVB. “Most cases of dengue were detected in Minbya, Kyauktaw, Taungup and Sittwe,” said Dr. San Kyawt Khine, assistant director of the regional public health department. “By Friday, more than 1,400 people had contracted dengue fever in the state and 16 had died,” he said
Venezuela convertida en foco de enfermedades prevenibles y erradicadas
Venezuela has become the focus of outbreaks of new diseases once believed to be eradicated in the country, and others, which were very treatable, such as TB, malaria, Chagas disease, dengue and diphtheria. Now, due to the decay of its public health system which has all but broken down because of political turmoil, the breakdown of all disease prevention vaccination programmes is just a symptom of this full-scale collapse
Extinguished Epidemics Reappear in Syria
Epidemics are gradually reappearing in Syria as part of a reality that has started to impose itself in zones that are not controlled by the Syrian regime, especially in the northern and eastern regions which have witnessed a series of fights amid the total absence of local and civil authorities. Poliomyelitis is now rampant in Deir ez-Zor, with 58 cases up to the start of June. Displaced Raqqa civilians in nearby camps, especially Tuwayhina, are seeing a resurgence of cholera, leishmania and measles
Dengue cases rise 84.5% in Bacolod
The Philippines Bacolod City Health Office urged residents once more to “search (for) and destroy” mosquito breeding places after recording an 84.5 percent spike in dengue cases from January to July. CHO records showed that as of July 8, 535 cases, including five children who died, were recorded compared to only 290 and two children dead during the same period last year
Swine flu surge: 1 in every 5 tested for H1N1 virus positive
Every fifth person who underwent a test for H1N1 since April in Mumbai has tested positive for the virus. The wide footprint of swine flu becomes clearer given that only a fraction of H1N1 patients -those hospitalized or belonging to the high-risk groups -are being tested according to the government protocol. Data compiled by the BMC showed that of the 2,603 people tested for the infection since April, 484 were positive
Tamil Nadu reports first case of Zika virus
The first case of Zika in Tamil Nadu was reported from a hamlet in Krishnagiri district by the state public health authorities on Monday, nearly two months after the WHO confirmed such cases in India. Blood samples of a 28-year-old tailor, a resident of Natranpalayam Panchayat who reported to the Anchetty primary health center with complaints of fever, redness in the eye, photophobia, skin rashes and joint pain, was confirmed to be positive for Zika virus by labs, including National Institute of Virology in Pune
Vietnam reports outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in north: OIE
Vietnam has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu among backyard birds in the northern province of Ha Nam, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said, citing a report from the Vietnamese farm ministry. The virus was detected at a backyard location with 1,135 birds. It directly killed 300 birds, with the rest of the flock slaughtered, the report said
South Africa confirms two more cases of H5N8 bird flu on poultry farms
South Africa`s agricultural department confirmed two more outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu have been detected on commercial layer farms in the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Two previous outbreaks of avian flu in recent weeks have also been detected in South Africa, including on a farm belonging to poultry producer Astral
China program to vaccinate poultry against bird flu will be nationwide
China`s program to vaccinate poultry against the H7N9 strain of bird flu will be carried out nationwide from this autumn, the country`s agriculture ministry said. The government had previously said the program would initially only be applied in some provinces, with other areas allowed to receive vaccinations if approved by veterinary authorities. The step is part of a drive against bird flu after human cases of the virus spiked in the country last winter, claiming at least 268 lives since October
Hyderabad: Alarm as swine flu comes to town
A 55-year-old man from Mahboobnagar has contracted swine flu and was rushed to Gandhi Hospital for treatment. Doctors at Gandhi Hospital said that the patient does not have any other co-morbid conditions and is undergoing treatment. Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, Dr Shravan Kumar explained, “As the temperatures have come down the virus is active again and is affecting those whose immune systems are low”
Hepatitis E cases on the rise in Borno — Officials
Health officers are reporting increasing cases of Hepatitis E in Borno State, North-east Nigeria. The Nigerian Ministry of Health on June 18 had notified the World Health Organisation of an outbreak of the disease in the state. However, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on its official Twitter handle on Thursday raised fears that there is an increase in the number of cases in the state over the last few weeks
Dengue fever outbreak in three dzongkhags
With more than 100 cases reported since last month, the Bhutan health ministry issued a public notification of an outbreak of dengue fever in Phuentsholing, Samtse and Samdrupjongkhar dzongkhags. Between June and July 13, Phuentsholing hospital reported 33 dengue fever cases while Samtse hospital saw 46 and Samdrupjongkhar hospital, 42 cases. More than 50 percent of the reported cases in Samtse are in the Royal Bhutan Army colony
WHO: Lassa fever outbreak response remains ongoing, mitigation measures to continue
An outbreak of Lassa fever has recently been reported by officials from the World Health Organization in multiple West African nations including Nigeria. As of last month, a total of 501 suspected cases have been reported, 104 of which resulted in the deaths of the patient involved. In the remaining reported cases, 189 have been further classified by public health officials and 175 have been laboratory confirmed as Lassa infected. Seventeen Nigerian states have reported at least one confirmed case
Health systems
World Bank program will speed response to pandemics
The bank has announced the issuance of $500 million in specialized bonds and derivatives that will help poor countries cope with a pandemic such as Ebola. The effort will create a trust fund, the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, that can be quickly deployed for pandemic response. Investors who buy the bonds and provide the trust-fund financing upfront will reap premiums but will also be taking a risk. If there is a major outbreak, the investors will lose some or all of their cash. One big advantage is that instead of waiting around for slow-moving national governments to fund a disease response, the resources necessary for saving lives will be available quickly
Swedish aid agency to halt funds for supporters of U.S. anti-abortion `gag rule`
Sweden`s international aid agency is set to halt funding for sexual and reproductive health programs of organizations which acquiesce in President Donald Trump`s ban on federal funding for foreign groups providing abortions or abortion support. Sweden`s international aid agency Sida said that funding agreements for sexual and reproductive issues with organizations which go along with the U.S. presidential order could be cancelled and support phased out
World Health Organization begin work with the Ministry of Health
The Minister of Health of the UN proposed government, Omar Al-Tahir, conducted a meeting with a delegation from the World Health Organization (WHO) in Libya. Among those present was the official responsible for medical supplies in the organization Najwa Imam and the supply officer Khairiya Hashashi. The two sides discussed coordination between the ministry and WHO on how to develop new mechanisms aimed at identifying medical needs, providing medicines, medical supplies, developing methods of managing medical stores, and spreading the pharmaceutical culture according to the international standards adopted by the organization
British drugs body to challenge new cost rules in court
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said that it wanted to reverse changes that "have the potential to cause significant delays for patients waiting for treatment for a range of conditions, including for cancer, heart disease and diabetes". The changes, which came into force in April, mean that new drugs costing the National Health Service more than 20 million pounds a year will no longer be funded automatically, even if they are cost-effective. Instead, companies will have to enter negotiations to justify their use and work out funding
Britain to hold inquiry into contaminated blood scandal which killed 2,400
Britain will hold a public inquiry into contaminated blood supplied to patients in the National Health Service which killed at least 2,400 people. During the 1970s and 1980s, blood products supplied to the NHS were contaminated with viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C and infected thousands of people with haemophilia or other disorders. A report by lawmakers in 2015 said the Department of Health estimated that more than 30,000 people might have been infected with hepatitis C between 1970 and 1991 when Britain imported some blood products from the United States but just 6,000 had been identified. A further 1,500 were infected with HIV between 1978 and 1985
Cuts to Medicaid could worsen U.S. opioid crisis, governors warn
Proposals by U.S. Senate Republicans to phase out the expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income Americans could hurt state efforts to fight the country`s opioid drug addiction crisis, governors warned. Democratic and Republican governors warned that many residents of their states were relying on Medicaid to get treatment for opioid addiction, which grips an estimated 3 million Americans and killed 33,000 people in the United States in 2015
`Super-prescribers` on notice: Aetna, CDC team up to tackle antibiotic overuse
While Aetna and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention play two very different roles in the healthcare world, they have recently begun working toward one common goal: reducing the frequency of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. The CDC and Aetna decided to focus on one specific quality measure from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set - antibiotic avoidance in adults with acute bronchitis - because of the “sheer number” of antibiotics prescribed for respiratory conditions. Indeed, 44% of antibiotics prescribed in an outpatient setting are for acute respiratory conditions that include bronchitis, and 50% of them are unnecessary, according to a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts
Doctors, nurses among hundreds charged with defrauding U.S. health programs
More than 400 people, including doctors and nurses, have been charged with defrauding Medicare and other federal healthcare programs of $1.3 billion, with many accused of illegally distributing opioids and other narcotics, the Justice Department said. A total of 412 people, including almost 115 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, have been charged in the sweeping enforcement action, the biggest ever by the multi-agency Medicare Strike Force. More than 120 people were accused of illegally prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics, charges that come as about 91 Americans die daily from opioid-related overdoses
Pill-Popping Is a Business Worth Watching for Japan`s Drugmakers
Medication adherence is seen as an impediment to health as well as sales in Japan, and companies including Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Eisai are working with technology firms on compliance-boosting solutions. The strategy aligns with a worldwide drive for efficiency as drug makers try to defend their profits from the cost-cuts sought by budget-strained health systems. In Japan, where an aging population has caused medical expenses to balloon, helping patients take medications as prescribed by their doctor may spur sales in a drug market predicted to expand at half the global pace over the next five years
Novartis sued by bird flu guinea pig
In 2007, Novartis engaged a company based in Germany and Poland to test a vaccine. This company did so in a clinic in the Polish city of Grudziadz. The subjects – homeless and poor people – were reportedly paid around CHF2 ($2) to be tested on what they thought was a vaccine for normal flu. Although no deaths have been directly proved as a result of the trial, the director of a homeless centre in Grudziadz told a Polish paper that in 2007 there were 21 deaths in the centre, compared with the average of about eight. Now, one of the subjects, Grzegorz S., has launched a civil suit against Novartis
Disorderly Brexit could put patients at risk, drug industry warns
The supply of life-saving medicines in Europe could be severely disrupted unless Britain successfully negotiates a smooth and orderly exit from the EU, pharmaceutical industry leaders warned. Europe`s pharmaceutical and bioscience industry is concerned about Brexit because it is currently well integrated across the bloc, with many EU-wide regulatory agreements and cross-border collaborations. In a letter to Brexit negotiators stressing the importance of securing ongoing co-operation on medicines after Britain leaves the EU, drug company representatives said a bad transition could put patients at risk
Communicable diseases
NGO says 18 people succumb to tuberculosis every day
Estimating that Mumbai has witnessed at least 32,862 deaths due to tuberculosis since 2012, NGO Praja shared projections that 18 people succumb to the infectious disease every day. Cases of tuberculosis have risen from 36,417 in 2012-13 to 50,001 in 2016-17, information obtained through the Right to Information law from government hospitals, dispensaries and clinics in Mumbai showed
How Did Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever Pop Up In Spain?
In 2016, two cases cropped up in Spain. Up to a third of patients die, usually within two weeks of contracting the disease. There`s no vaccine. This was the first time the disease had shown up in Western Europe in two people who had not travelled to an area where the fever is endemic. In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers speculate that the ticks carrying the virus sneaked into Europe by latching on to migrating birds from Morocco or imported livestock
Increase in pertussis outbreaks linked with vaccine exemptions, waning immunity
A significant jump in the number of pertussis cases in the U.S. may be due to increasing numbers of nonmedical vaccine exemptions as well as waning immunity among those who have been vaccinated, according to a new study from Harvard researchers. The number of cases started creeping back up in the 1980s and 1990s, then increased dramatically in the mid-2000s. In 2012, there were 48,000 reported cases of pertussis in the U.S.—the highest number since 1955
Increase in pertussis outbreaks linked with vaccine exemptions, waning immunity
A significant jump in the number of pertussis cases in the U.S. may be due to increasing numbers of nonmedical vaccine exemptions as well as waning immunity among those who have been vaccinated, according to a new study from Harvard researchers. The number of cases started creeping back up in the 1980s and 1990s, then increased dramatically in the mid-2000s. In 2012, there were 48,000 reported cases of pertussis in the U.S.—the highest number since 1955
An outbreak of Ebola in the DRC has been contained. What went right this time?
The World Health Organisation recently declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Conversation explains how a multi-disciplinary team of health workers and administrative officers was dispatched and they put lessons learnt and best practice into action to contain the disease
Malaria genome study reveals savvy, finely tuned parasite
In a detailed study analysing more than half the genes in the genome of the parasite that cause malaria - Plasmodium - researchers found that two thirds of those genes are essential for survival. This is the largest proportion of essential genes found in any organism studied to date, they said. Importantly for researchers trying to develop vaccines and drugs against the disease, the scientists discovered that the parasite often disposes of genes that produce proteins that give its presence away to its host`s immune system. This allows malaria to swiftly change its appearance to the human immune system and hence build up resistance to a vaccine, posing problems for the development of effective shots
Tech companies wage war on disease-carrying mosquitoes
American technology companies are bringing automation and robotics to the age-old task of battling mosquitoes in a bid to halt the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne maladies worldwide. Firms including Microsoft and California life sciences company Verily are forming partnerships with public health officials in several U.S. states to test new high-tech tools
Tamil Nadu not granting licence to private hospitals to screen the Zika virus
A health department official told The New Indian Express that some private hospitals had contacted them for a licence to screen Zika virus but the official said that if the license is granted, some private hospitals might misuse it to fleece patients. As per protocol, patients with complaints of fever and fatigue are to be tested for diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria, jaundice, typhoid and leptospirosis. If doctors observe symptoms similar to dengue or chikungunya but tests are negative, blood samples are sent for the Zika test
Meningitis shot also offers some defence against gonorrhoea, study finds
Researchers studying a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis have found a surprising side effect - the shots also offered moderate protection against gonorrhoea. The findings, published in The Lancet medical journal, mark the first time an immunization has shown any protection against gonorrhoea and point to new avenues in the search for a gonorrhoea vaccine, scientists said
Malaria drug protects foetal mice from Zika virus, NIH-funded study finds
Hydroxychloroquine, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria and certain autoimmune diseases in pregnant women, appears to reduce transmission of Zika virus from pregnant mice to their fetuses, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. The drug works by inhibiting autophagy, a process by which cells remove toxins and recycle damaged components to generate energy. The researchers show that Zika virus may manipulate this process in the placenta to infect the developing fetus
NIH launches prospective study of Zika and HIV co-infection during pregnancy
The National Institutes of Health has launched a study to determine the potential risks that infection with the Zika virus might pose for pregnancies in which the mother is also infected with HIV. At this point, little is known about whether Zika virus infection poses additional risks for maternal or infant health in pregnancies already complicated by HIV. Researchers hope the new study will provide information on whether infection with one of these viruses might increase the risk for infection with the other
Emerging infectious diseases, One Health and India
Researchers writing in the journal Nature analysed associations between 754 mammals and 586 viruses to understand what determines viral richness, diversity and zoonotic potential. Bats were found to harbour the highest numbers of zoonotic viruses and are also a major reservoir for coronaviruses. These include the SARS virus that emerged in China in 2002, spread to 27 countries and killed 774 people and the MERS coronavirus that caused 640 deaths. The transmission of infectious disease requires contact, the probability increasing with population density. With 1.34 billion people, 512 million livestock and 729 million poultry, the density and rates of human–animal, animal–animal and human–human contacts are high in India
Rwanda Begins Massive Vaccination Against Hepatitis
Rwanda has started offering free diagnosis and vaccination against the deadly Hepatitis B disease. Several points have been set up by Rwanda Biomedical centre to conduct this massive exercise at Centre de Jeunes in Kimisagara, Amahoro stadium, Bumbogo stadium in Gasabo district, IPRC-ETO Kicukiro and at Masaka hospital. Rwanda considers Hepatitis B a dangerous health hazard currently killing millions around the world
Cause of kidney disease in Narsinghpur still a mystery
Since 2010, hundreds of people in Badamba and Narsighpur blocks have lost their lives due to kidney diseases while a thousand others are suffering from acute renal problem in the region, but the reason behind the outbreak of the disease still remains a mystery. Since 2013, over 900 kidney patients have been traced out in Narsinghpur alone. However, the administration is yet to do any survey to find out the exact number of patients suffering from kidney disease in the region
Non communicable diseases
Inside Philip Morris’ campaign to subvert the global anti-smoking treaty
The world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company is deploying its vast resources against international efforts to reduce smoking. Internal documents uncovered by Reuters reveal details of the secret operation. Reuters has found that Philip Morris International is running a secretive campaign to block or weaken treaty provisions that save millions of lives by curbing tobacco use. In an internal document, the company says it supported the enactment of the treaty. But Philip Morris has come to view it as a “regulatory runaway train” driven by “anti-tobacco extremists” – a description contained in the document
T-cell cancer therapy holds promise, longer-term results await
A novel cell treatment that saved the life of 9-year-old Austin Schuetz was given the green light by U.S. regulatory advisers and doctors hope it can save the lives of more children with the most common type of childhood cancer. An advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend approval of Novartis AG’s tisagenlecleucel for treating B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children and young adults who relapsed or failed chemotherapy
Biogen MS drug hit by EU safety restriction
Biogen’s Zinbryta multiple sclerosis drug has suffered a serious setback after European regulators restricted its use because of liver safety concerns. The European Medicines Agency said its safety experts have provisionally restricted use of Zinbryta (daclizumab) to MS patients with highly active relapsing disease that have failed to respond to other treatments, and to patients with rapidly evolving disease who cannot be treated with other drugs. Experts from the EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee also said that patients with liver injury must not be given Zinbryta
America Has a $27 Billion Sepsis Crisis
Sepsis is the top killer in U.S. hospitals, and the country has only recently begun to understand the scope of the problem. A new government report suggests that sepsis cases tripled in the decade from 2005 to 2014, causing 1.5 million hospital stays by the end of that period. That’s alarming, but it may be misleading, too. Experts who study sepsis say the apparent increase is actually a reflection of how doctors are getting better at identifying cases they used to miss
Government to improve treatment of non-communicable diseases
One in every four adults in Uganda suffers from a non-communicable disease, according to a survey. With the increasing rate of NCDs in the country, the government has signed a deal with Novartis Access to increase patients’ access to treatment. The permanent secretary ministry of health, Dr. Diana Atwine said the first set of drugs includes valsartan, amlodipine for treatment of hypertension and heart failure, vildagliptin for diabetes and amoxicillin dispersible tablets for treatment of respiratory infections
Dementia and Alzheimer’s main cause of death for women, says Public Health England
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the biggest cause of death among women, according to a government report on the state of the nation’s health. Women can expect to live nearly a quarter of their lives in ill-health and men a fifth. The causes of death have shifted since the turn of the century, with the rise in deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s the most significant features – alongside declines in other diseases
An emerging strategy to tackle chronic disease
In many countries around the globe, both developed and developing, tertiary hospitals in city centers are overwhelmed by an influx of patients who might be better served with preventative or primary medical care. The mismatch is symptomatic of a growing shift in global health, away from infectious diseases and toward non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease. NCDs are likely to be the key challenge of the future, and for now they are being treated in a system that wasn’t built to address them. Experts and practitioners are beginning to piece together a strategy involving stronger and more integrated health systems
Caribbean Calls for Reducing Economic Burden of NCDs
Chronic NCDs make a significant contribution to mortality and morbidity in the Caribbean and continue to represent an economic burden for most of the region`s countries. Addressing the latest meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris – who has responsibility for health in the organisation`s Quasi-Cabinet – called for urgent action to reverse the situation. Citing the findings of a 2016 study on the economic dimensions of NCDs in Trinidad and Tobago, Harris noted that an estimated 5 percent of that country’s GDP is being lost through the impact of preventable diabetes, hypertension and cancer
Study: Low iron levels may increase heart disease risk
A recent study at University College London found low iron levels may increase a person`s risk of developing heart disease. Previous research has shown that iron status, the amount of iron in the body, is linked to cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers have struggled in the past to show a direct link and have often had conflicting results. The current study, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, used genetic variations as a proxy for iron status showing that having a high iron status can reduce the risk of CVD and, conversely, low iron status can increase the risk
New Study Deepens Understanding of HIV–Kidney Disease Link
Although advances in HIV treatment mean many people with the condition can achieve viral suppression and display no outward signs of illness, HIV is not a benign condition. Kidney disease is common in individuals with HIV, with about 30% of those infected experiencing it. A new Dutch study sheds further light on the relationship between HIV and kidney impairment, highlighting the particular risks faced by the middle-aged and older HIV-positive population
Promoting health through the life course
Contraceptives are "one of the greatest anti-poverty innovations" - Melinda Gates
Contraceptives are "one of the greatest anti-poverty innovations the world has ever known", philanthropist Melinda Gates said, calling for family planning to be made a global priority. Access to birth control boosts economic productivity by freeing up women to work, and leads to smaller families with parents able to devote more resources to their children`s health and education, Gates told an international summit in London on family planning. Financial commitments announced at the conference were expected to total at least $2.5 billion - of which $1.5 billion has been pledged by countries in Africa and Asia
Dominican vote opens door to possible easing of total abortion ban
Congress in the Dominican Republic rejected upholding the nation`s total ban on abortion, approving a step that would allow the procedure for ending life-threatening pregnancies and those resulting from rape or incest. The lawmakers in the lower house voted against a decision in May by the Dominican Senate, which turned down recommendations made by President Danilo Medina to amend the criminal code and ease the nation`s abortion ban
New MTV dramas in Egypt and India tackle female genital mutilation, sex work
American cable television channel MTV is launching drama series in Egypt and in India with storylines on female genital mutilation, child marriage and sex work with the aim of generating debate around issues often seen as taboo. Both series by the Viacom-owned youth entertainment broadcaster will feature soundtracks to appeal to young audiences and popular local actors who will be trained on the issues to help stimulate debates via social media. "We will be using gripping plots based on true stories from young people so that we can destigmatise issues, debunk unhelpful stereotypes and catalyse social change," said Georgia Arnold, head of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation
Billions around the world lack safe water, proper sanitation facilities, reveals UN report
Some three in ten people around the world lack access to safe and readily available water at home, and almost six in ten to safely managed sanitation, a new United Nations report has warned, calling on countries to do more to fulfil these basic human needs. According to the WHO and UNICEF joint report, Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines, many homes, healthcare facilities and schools also lack soap and water for handwashing, putting the health of all people – but especially young children – at risk for deadly diseases
Michigan governor signs laws banning female genital mutilation
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation making genital mutilation of girls a state felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, both for doctors who perform the procedure and parents who transport a child to undergo the surgery. The package of 13 bills signed by Snyder, a Republican, was spurred by the case of an emergency room physician, Jumana Nagarwala, who was charged in April under federal law with performing genital mutilation on two 7-year-old girls at a suburban Detroit medical clinic
UN helps Syria`s women farmers by treating their livestock
More than a million sheep, goats and cows have been treated for parasites in Syria to help resurrect the country`s war-battered food production and shore up its female farmers, a U.N. agency said. The FAO said it had wrapped up a three-month, anti-parasite campaign, reaching 234,000 farmers in government and rebel-held areas in ten regions, including Homs, Aleppo and Hasakeh. The recipients were mostly women, who are traditionally responsible for livestock in rural Syria and who now make up more than 60 percent of the country`s agricultural workforce
Floods, reef loss and migration: Asia`s future on a hotter planet
A new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) outlines the dramatic changes Asia-Pacific nations would face if measures to curb climate change and adapt to its effects are too slow and unambitious to keep global warming within agreed limits. Of the top 20 cities with the largest projected increase in annual flood losses between 2005 and 2050, 13 are in Asia
Climate Change May Bring Disasters and Deeper Poverty to Asia
Asia and the Pacific, home to two thirds of the world’s poor, are at the highest risk of suffering deeper poverty and disaster due to unabated climate change, reversing current development gains, according to the Asian Development Bank. The Asian landmass will see a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century under a business-as-usual scenario, ADB said, based on findings included in a report analysing climate risks in Asia and the Pacific. Some countries in the region could experience significantly hotter climates, with temperature increases in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest China projected to hit 8 degrees Celsius, ADB said
Bangladesh cuts red tape to bring home girls sex trafficked to India
Mosharaf Hossain, head of the consular section of the Bangladesh High Commission, has sent about 438 Bangladeshi girls trafficked to India for the sex industry home, nearly half of them in the last six months and most from Maharashtra, India`s second most populous state and a major destination for trafficked girls. "The process has only got smoother now as High Commission officials are taking interest," said Jyoti Nale, programme director for Save the Children India, which works with the Maharashtra government to repatriate girls
Rains fail again in East Africa, hunger on the rise - U.N.
Rains have failed for a third consecutive season in East Africa, wilting crops, killing livestock and entrenching a long drought that has pushed millions into hunger, the United Nations said. Some 16 million people are in need of humanitarian aid across areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - 30 percent more than in late 2016 and their number expected to increase in the coming months, the U.N. food agency said
How bitter herbs and botched abortions kill three women a day in the Philippines
In a country where most women don’t use contraceptives and terminating pregnancy is illegal, ‘torturous’ practices are often the only option. More than 65% of women don’t use modern contraceptives, and maternal mortality rates are still high in the Philippines, standing at 114 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. Although it’s against the law to end a pregnancy in the Philippines, an estimated 610,000 abortions take place every year