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"World Health Minute" 2 March, 2017

News Highlights
Study discovers new TB strain in SA A new study has found that two thirds of patients with extensive drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) have incurable TB. XDR-TB is resistant to four key TB antibiotics and TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa among both men and women 
Women and child migrants raped, beaten and detained in Libyan `hellholes`: UNICEF Armed groups have taken effective control of the detention centres for migrants and political chaos now reigns in Libya. These groups run their own centres, competing and cooperating with criminal gangs and smugglers, according to the United Nations
Twenty U.S. states join generic drug price-fixing lawsuit California, Illinois and 18 more states have joined a lawsuit, filed last year, alleging that six companies, including Mylan NV and Teva Pharmaceutical, conspired to push up prices of two generic drugs
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Khammam in the grip of dengue fever
After two months of lull, dengue has resurfaced in the district and ‘is spreading its wings across other areas of Telangana’
France detects possible bird flu outbreak on northern farm
French authorities reported a possible outbreak of bird flu on a poultry farm near the port town of Dunkirk. A case of H5N8 bird flu was detected in the far north of France late last year among wild birds. The type of flu in this new case was not indicated 
Cholera confirmed in Carnaza Island
At least 129 people have fallen sick in a cholera outbreak on Carnaza Island in the Philippines. The country’s Department of Health has sent experts to the island to respond
27 fresh cases of swine flu reported in Telangana
Twenty seven fresh cases of swine flu were reported in Telangana, where 21 people have died due to the H1N1 virus and other complications since last year  
Swine flu infects 44, claims 10 lives in Maharashtra
Swine flu has claimed 10 lives while it has infected 44 people in Maharashtra, so far this year, officials form the state health authority told The Times of India 
Lithuania reports H5N8 bird flu outbreak in swans: OIE
Lithuania reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu virus in the central part of the country, OIE said, citing a report from the country’s veterinary services
Dr Benoit Kebela parle d’une maladie apparentée au cholera qui sévit à Badengaido en Ituri
In Badengaido there has already been 16 deaths from around 79 cases recorded to date, according to the Ministry of Public Health spokesperson, Dr Benoit Kebela Ilunga
Lassa fever: 3 persons on admission in Bauchi
Four out of the five reported Lassa Fever cases in 2017 resulted in death. Now Bauchi’s main teaching hospital has identified a shortage of drugs and other needed equipment as being some of the remaining impediments hindering any successful treatment of the disease in the state
Study discovers new TB strain in SA
A new study has found that two thirds of patients with extensive drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) have incurable TB. XDR-TB is resistant to four key TB antibiotics and TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa among both men and women 
Swine flu does not seem to be under control in Coimbatore
The number of swine flu cases in Coimbatore is fluctuating each day but it does not seem to be under control as yet. Officially there has only been three deaths from swine flu, but, sources in the health department say there has been more than 15 deaths that have been under reported in the city
Health systems
Poll shows 60% of European doctors are considering leaving UK
The General Medical Council told MPs that a survey they ran found Brexit was a factor for the majority of doctors thinking of leaving the NHS
Shortage of paramedics imminent
Krugersdorp Paramedics recently expressed their concern about the Department of Health and the Health Professional Council of South Africa’s decision to terminate all Critical Care Assistant and Basic Life Support paramedic short courses at the end of 2017 
Twenty U.S. states join generic drug price-fixing lawsuit
California, Illinois and 18 more states have joined a lawsuit, filed last year, alleging that six companies, including Mylan NV and Teva Pharmaceutical, conspired to push up prices of two generic drugs
No need to panic, enough medicine available: Health Minister
With Tamil Nadu reporting an increasing number of people contracting H1N1 virus, health minister, C Vijayabhaskar said ‘the situation in the state is under control and there is an adequate supply of Tamiflu tablets and vaccine’ 
Zimbabwe`s struggling health system leans on unsung heroines
As Zimbabwe’s health service has buckled amid low levels of public funding and a government freeze on hiring medical staff, volunteers have stepped up to take the strain. Home-based carers can be found across Bulawayo, where they work with local clinics to monitor TB and HIV patients making sure they take their medicine as prescribed
Communicable diseases
WHO says bird flu outbreaks raise alarm, but human risks still low
WHO says the risk of sustained human transmission of H7N9 bird flu in China is low, but because the surge in human cases there is worrying the situation requires constant monitoring
Malaria goes sub-microscopic, proves its existence in Chennai
A study carried out by the National Institute of Malaria Research Chennai, along with other institution, has shown the existence of asymptomatic malaria in Chennai, which remains undetected. ‘This sub-microscopic malaria acts as a transmission reservoir in endemic areas and poses a major challenge to those working on elimination,’ the study lead said
A Look At Latest Figures On R&D For Neglected Diseases
In a new report from Policy Cures, it concluded that financing for R&D into so-called neglected diseases rose, mainly due to the Ebola outbreak and private sector contributions representing a bigger share
Why Europe should lead on fight against disease
Renate Baehr, executive director of the Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevolkerung, wrote an Op Ed for Politico Europe, in which she argued that ‘the rise of Donald Trump and Brexit have made European action on disease control more important than ever and that the Bloc needs to fill the U.S. power vacuum as it steadily withdraws’
Tuberculosis Critical Group of Bacteria, needs new Antibiotics ─ TB Alliance tells WHO
WHO was urged to add Mycobacterium tuberculosis to its crisis in new antibiotics critical group list, as groups say the world needs urgent research and development to combat drug-resistant TB bacteria. Campaigners told WHO TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease, killing 1.8m people each year, and R&D investment into solutions are critically underfunded
ALERT: Zika Virus Could Be Transmitted by More Mosquito Species Than Previously Thought
A new study revealed the number of mosquito species capable of transmitting the Zika virus is larger than first thought. The study names another potential 26 candidate species which can serve as vectors for the virus
New Trial Looks at HIV’s Risks to Hearts of Aging Patients
Scientists are embarking on a massive clinic-based trial to test a drug which will reduce the chances of people living with HIV developing heart diseases and suffering from heart-related illnesses like strokes. The trial will span four continents and involve 6,500 participants
EU nations thrash out deal on carbon market reform
EU nations reached a compromise on long-awaited reforms to the carbon emissions market, moving the European Union closer to adopting key rules to deliver on its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate accord
Business groups, once tobacco-friendly, switch sides in fight
Reuters reports that many local chamber of commerce groups in the United States are ‘switching sides’ when it comes to smoking rules, driven by a growing awareness that smoking drives up healthcare costs for employers and that broader wellness initiatives, such as promoting exercise and nutrition, can improve productivity within the business
Somalia`s new president declares drought emergency
Somali’s new president has declared a drought emergency as emaciated people start to stream in to Mogadishu. The UN is estimating that half of the 10m Somali population may need assistance
The UN can save itself by working effectively with outside partners
The UN is moving away from top-down multilateralism among states towards new ways of coordinating with business, civil society and other non-state actors. As laid out in the SDGs, multi-stakeholder partnerships are meant to be pragmatic, solutions-orientated, ways of working together to achieve shared aims at a time of squeezed budgets and scarce public resources. These partnerships have a chequered history, but they still offer the UN a lifeline
The Mistakes We Made Responding to Ebola
Fortune Magazine reviewed how WHO mishandled the Ebola outbreak, interviewing Dr David Nabarro, who went on to be the UN secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, and who candidly explained where things had gone astray with WHO’s response and what needed to change going forward
India issues fresh antibiotic guidelines to tackle superbug menace
India’s ICMR has issued fresh antibiotic guidelines in order to tackle the growing superbug menace. The purpose of issuing these guidelines ‘is to bring about a change in the way these antibiotics are prescribed,’ the ICMR deputy director said  
Non communicable diseases
5 diseases that kill 16M people, cost the world economy $2.35T annually
Five NCDs that kill 16 million people around the world each year are projected to take a $47 trillion toll on worldwide economic activity over the next 20 years, according to a report from the World Economic Forum and Willis Towers Wilson. The five NCDs are: Cardiovascular disease, Mental illness, Cancer, Chronic respiratory disease and Diabetes
Young people `fear stigma` if they ask for mental-health help
Over three quarters of young people say there is ‘a stigma’ to mental illness and a quarter would not ask for help if they were suffering, a survey suggest
Early warning signs of heart attacks `being missed`
A study into all heart attack admissions and deaths between 2006 and 2010 was analysed by Imperial College Researchers. 16% of those who died had been admitted to hospital in the previous 28 days and some had warning signs like chest pains
Drug and mental health admissions highest for a decade
More patients are being admitted to hospital in England for drug-related mental health issues or poisoning than at any time in the past ten years. Official figures reveal 15,074 cases of people in hospital with illicit drug poisoning in 2015-16, up 51% on 10 years earlier. Mental health issues had drugs as a cause in 81,904 cases, according to the same report
TB, Diabetes leading causes of natural deaths in 2015 - Stats SA
The leading underlying natural causes of death among South Africans in 2015 were tuberculosis and diabetes, Statistics South Africa said in a report
Facebook turns to artificial intelligence to tackle suicides
Facebook plans to use artificial intelligence and update its tools and services to help prevent suicides among its users. It plans to integrate its existing suicide prevention tools for Facebook posts into its live-streaming feature, Facebook Live and its Messenger service
Obese couples may take longer to conceive
A recent study indicates that when both partners are obese the couple took up to 59% longer to conceive than non-obese counterparts
Less than a stone of extra weight can boost cancer risk by half
A major new review led by Imperial College London concluded that being obese is linked to eleven different cancers and is associated with many others
Colon cancer rates rise among Gen X, millennials: study
Rates of colon and rectal cancer are rising sharply among young and middle-aged adults in the United States but doctors have yet to pinpoint the reasons why, researchers said in a report. The published findings added that generation X and millennials face anywhere from twice to four times the risk of colon and rectal cancer as their baby boomer counterparts
Promoting health through the life course
Saudi Arabia delaying aid to Yemen is `killing children`, warns Save the Children
Save the Children said ‘shipments of aid are being delayed for months, denying hundreds of thousands of people access to urgently needed medical aid.’ This year, the Saudi-led coalition has prevented three of the charity’s shipments of medical supplies from landing, forcing them to be re-routed and delaying their arrival by up to three months
Government failing to educate, integrate Roma children
Slovakia’s school system is riddled with institutional racism and it fails to prepare for life after school, according to Amnesty International in a new report
Listeria May Pose Serious Threat Early in Pregnancy
A new study into how listeria affects the foetus has shown that listeria infection in pregnancy may go unnoticed with few recognizable symptoms other than the discomfort most pregnant women feel.  The study was based on Listeria’s spread in rhesus macaques. On the basis of the findings, the research team are theorizing that’ the maternal immune system’s attempt to clear the bacteria actually results in collateral damage to the placenta which then allows the bacteria to invade the foetus’
Liberia investigates death of celebrated Ebola fighter amid stigma fears
The death from childbirth of a woman named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2014, for her work in fighting Ebola in Liberia, is being investigated, after reports that ‘health workers were afraid to treat her,’ the country’s health ministry said
Breast cancer costs low-income women more jobs
Poor women undergoing breast cancer treatment are four times more likely to lose their jobs than their high-income peers, a new study says
Bangladesh law allowing child brides may legitimize rape: charities
Child rights groups said a new Bangladeshi law that lets under-age girls marry their rapists for ‘the greater good of the adolescent’ may put more children at risk of sexual abuse. Legitimizing marriage for young rape victims in the name of ‘honour’ does nothing to protect their bodies or their rights, advocates said
As H.I.V. Soars in Philippines, Conservatives Kill School Condom Plan
‘The Philippines has the fastest growing HIV infection rate in Asia and it is risking letting the infection get out of control,’ according to Steven Kraus, director of UN Aids Asia and the Pacific. The decision to scrap a plan to hand out condoms to school seniors and train teachers to counsel students on how to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, was knocked down by the Roman Catholic Church and conservative politicians
Growing child labor in India`s cities is just the tip of the iceberg, say activists
Urban India is employing an increasing number of children, many under nine years of age, who are producing everything from pickles to fireworks, working in tourism and labouring on building sites – a UN children’s agency report and campaigners say
Australian women at work: underpaid, discriminated against and told to be `more confident`
Research released in advance for International Women’s Day shows that female managers in Australia earn, on average, $93,000 less than their male equivalents. Women are twice as likely to be told they need more ‘confidence’ to be a leader, yet are frequently criticized for being assertive, and finally, women who are culturally diverse are worse off than the rest of their female peers
Women`s charities welcome UK`s first ambassador for gender equality
Britain has appointed the country’s first ambassador for gender equality, joining a growing band of countries globally to create such a role, in a move welcomed by women’s charities
Women and child migrants raped, beaten and detained in Libyan `hellholes`: UNICEF
Armed groups have taken effective control of the detention centres for migrants and political chaos now reigns in Libya. These groups run their own centres, competing and cooperating with criminal gangs and smugglers, according to the United Nations