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"World Health Minute" 21 March, 2017

News Highlights
Yellow fever spreads in Brazil The number of cases of yellow fever surpassed 400 in Brazil, as the disease spread to the state of Rio de Janeiro, the third most populated and the most touristic area. To date, 137 people have died from the disease nationwide, while another 424 cases have been confirmed and 933 are undergoing further tests
After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight It After issuing a December apology for ‘bringing cholera to Haiti’ the UN launched a $400m strategy to combat the epidemic and provide material support and assistance for victims. This ‘new approach,’ however, has raised only $2m to date, with just six of the 193 UN member states contributing
Cancer rates are soaring in Africa, yet Tanzania`s radiotherapy hub stands idle The Guardian reports on Mwanza in Tanzania, where a state of the art oncology clinic lacks the funding and staff to get its equipment up and running, despite thousands of people requiring its life saving treatment
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Yellow fever spreads in Brazil
The number of cases of yellow fever surpassed 400 in Brazil, as the disease spread to the state of Rio de Janeiro, the third most populated and the most touristic area. To date, 137 people have died from the disease nationwide, while another 424 cases have been confirmed and 933 are undergoing further tests
Chine: quatre nouveaux cas humains de grippe aviaire H7N9 signalés au Guangxi
There have been four new cases of human H7N9 confirmed in the southern region of Guangxi, making a total of 17 cases here since the start of the year. Reuters reported China was assessing the virus’ prevalence and results were expected in the coming weeks. Since the first outbreak of this bird flu in 2013, 1,320 human cases have been recorded in China, including 492 deaths, according to FAO figures
Zim issues new malaria alert
Zimbabwe is finding it difficult to contain disease outbreaks in the country with health officials reporting 89,000 new cases of malaria and 151 malaria related deaths in the past two months
Two new swine flu cases detected in city
The number of H1N1 virus infected cases in Nagpur has risen to 16, with two more patients testing positive for swine flu. Karnataka also reported that H1N1 seems to spreading rapidly across the state, with cases increasing nearly sharply this year, compared to figures for the whole of last year. Six more people have also tested positive for swine flu from Rajasthan, with three cases in Jaipur, which makes eight cases since January in the city
Reportan 180 casos de dengue mientras se investiga muerte de una persona
The Lambayeque region of Peru saw a jump of 180 cases of dengue fever, with 160 in the district of Tuman, which has failed to get the outbreak under control in partly due to the intense rain Peru has been suffering from  
Chikungunya provoca doenças irreversíveis nos olhos e membros inferiores
A recent Brazilian study said Chikungunya disease causes eye injury with significant lesions in the retina and the optic nerve leading to a decrease in vision. There was also evidence indicating joint problems as well
Casos de chinkungunya aumentam em mais de 350% em Minas Gerais; morte é investigada
Cases of Chikungunya leapt by 350% in Minas Gerais. The first four months of the year there were 2,296 suspected cases, as opposed to 501 last year
Mosquitos infectados para atacar dengue alborotan polémica en Medellín
GM mosquitoes which have been bred to attack dengue and other diseases by the University of Antioquia in Colombia are being released in an experiment to see if they can control the mosquito borne viruses affecting the district. The project is facing some criticism as it appears to not be following WHO guidelines and using smaller scale studies, according to its critics
Zika é mais agressivo em transplantados, diz estudo brasileiro
A Brazilian study has found that Zika is more aggressive in patients who have had organ transplants
Piura: Los casos de dengue aumentan a 1,715
The Piura region of Peru saw a jump to 246 confirmed cases of dengue, from 209 a week earlier, with the region seeing around 1,715 cases overall as many are still under investigation. This all comes on the back of the heavy rains that hit this region
H7N9 Fatalities Hit 13 in East China`s Jiangxi
Thirteen of the 37 people infected with H7N9 avian flu in China’s eastern Jiangxi province have died since January, the local authorities announced on Saturday. A flower farm owner from Shenzhen died after contracting H7N9 bird flu, as did a resident of Qingyuan City in Guangdong
Vietnam detects deadly bird flu outbreak in central province
The H5N6 strain of the bird flu virus has been identified in northern and central Vietnam. The H5N1 strain has also been circulating in a number of Vietnamese provinces. Vietnam is already battling H5N1 and H5N6 outbreaks in seven provinces with thousands of birds destroyed so far this year 
Dengue outbreak feared in Jeddah
Saudi health authorities reported that the number of confirmed dengue fever cases in the city recorded a steep rise in the past ten weeks with 500 new dengue cases confirmed during this period
Mozambique records 1,462 cases of cholera infection
Mozambique recorded 1,462 cases of cholera infection. The Somali Drought Response Committee puts cholera victim death totals at 1,600 since the start of the drought. Mbandaka, in the DRC, has registered 79 cases of cholera since the beginning of the year. There has been 229 suspected cases of cholera in Muanda in the DRC, with 5 dead and 64 cases recoded in Kongo Central. Elsewhere, more than 700 families moved to higher ground due to a cholera outbreak in Yirol East County, South Sudan
After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight It
After issuing a December apology for ‘bringing cholera to Haiti’ the UN launched a $400m strategy to combat the epidemic and provide material support and assistance for victims. This ‘new approach,’ however, has raised only $2m to date, with just six of the 193 UN member states contributing
Tuberculosis deaths fall in Europe
The number of people developing and dying from TB in Europe is falling, but among the vulnerable, including migrants, prisoners and people who are HIV positive, there are still worrying increases, the new data shows. The Times of India announced the number of TB cases in Aurangebed is on the rise, with the Herald Goa reporting that TB is now a bigger cause of mortality worldwide than malaria and AIDS combined. Ghana reported that it saw more cases of TB in 2016 (14,632) than in 2015 when it had 9,714 cases
Sixty chikungunya cases in Delhi
At least sixty cases of chikungunya have been reported in Delhi this year, with almost half of them registered in March, even as the season for this vector borne disease ended in December
Deadly, drug-resistant Candida yeast infection spreads in the US
On 16th March the U.S. CDC reported that 53 people have been taken ill with Candida Auris, which causes multi-drug resistant infections that can result in organ failure, most of them in New York state. A further 27 healthy carriers of the ‘emerging fungus’ have been identified in three states where clinical cases were detected
Health systems
LAPO blames government, institutions, others, for poor access to health service by rural dwellers
NGO Lift Above Poverty said it believes ‘low government spending, poor or weak institutions, inadequate supervision and inadequate health professionals’ are the main reasons why Nigerians outside of the cities in rural areas are receiving such poor access to healthcare 
GOP Health Bill Threatens to Throw Free-Care Burden Back on Hospitals
Unlike insurers, drug makers and other healthcare companies, acute care hospitals in the USA cannot refuse to serve patients because of a lack of ability to pay. As the number of people without insurance fell under Obamacare, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs dropped as well, according to the American Hospital Association. Under the new Trump healthcare proposals the Congressional Budget Office projects an increase of 24m uninsured by 2026, so who pays becomes an even more central issue  
`I thought cancer was a disease for the elderly`: tackling Nigeria`s 80% mortality rate
NGO’s are working hard to change cancer treatment in Nigeria, despite poor facilities and a lack of awareness. The Guardian reports on the work of the Nigeria-based Health and Psychological Trust Centre, known as Project Pink Blue, which is trying to bring best practice cancer care to Abuja
Britain to launch fund for small charities helping world`s poorest
Britain is to launch a fund to help small charities scale up their work with some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. The fund is to be launched in the summer and the minister said ‘these organizations are a crucial part of the UK’s offer on international aid and development’ 
Cancer rates are soaring in Africa, yet Tanzania`s radiotherapy hub stands idle
The Guardian reports on Mwanza in Tanzania, where a state of the art oncology clinic lacks the funding and staff to get its equipment up and running, despite thousands of people requiring its life saving treatment
Indian drugmakers face squeeze in U.S. healthcare market
India’s small and medium-sized generic drug makers say the threat of tougher rules and higher barriers for outsiders in the U.S. healthcare market will force many of them to find a niche, or focus their expansion efforts on other countries. India supplies just under a third of medicines sold in the U.S. and cut-price generics sold by Indian companies have been critical in bringing down prices
13 counties in western Kenya agree to joint delivery of health services
Thirteen counties in western Kenya have agreed to work together to improve delivery of healthcare services, particularly on malaria and HIV/Aids. The counties forming the Lake Region Bloc are in discussion to develop a joint blue print to address joint health service challenges
HIV/Aids drugs for developing world face threat of disruption
With just four companies supplying the bulk of antiretroviral medication to poor countries, the FT flags the fact that ARV drugs for the developing world could face disruption. Last year a key plant owned by Mylan in Nashak, India, was inspected by the U.S. FDA. Several deficiencies were found which could lead to the suspension of its ARVs. Mylan produces over half of all ARVs for the LMICs. If its production were to be suspended up to 7m patients would be at risk of not receiving drugs
SPECIAL REPORT: Leprosy patients, care givers tremble as key donor pulls out of Nigeria
Premium Times Nigeria reports on Dutch NGO, the Netherlands Leprosy Relief, and its decision to pull out of the country and close down its leprosy work, on which leprosy sufferers in the story depend. NLR admitted that its income has fallen sharply, as donors have given less in recent years. So, it has been forced to take the decision to scale-down its work to only five countries and close up in Nigeria and Vietnam
Hidden HIV Reservoirs Exposed by Telltale Protein
Researchers reported they have found the hidden HIV reservoirs, which they successfully exposed with a tell-tale protein. This new discovery may help doctors to identify elusive infected cells in the body and could prove to be a further step down the road to successful treatment
`Guns don`t kill soldiers... SAMOSAS do`: India`s `fat soldiers` a cause for concern
New statistics from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs reveal the leading cause of death among personnel from the military and the police is not combat but ill health. The seven forces have lost 1,067 men in combat or counter-insurgency operations over a period of three years but more than three times as many – 3,611 – died due to poor health and illnesses, in which heart disease and suicide are the leading causes of death
CNN To Debut Jeffrey Wright-Narrated Pandemic Documentary ‘Unseen Enemy’ On World Health Day
CNN will show a documentary, on April 7th, to coincide with World Health Day, which features some of the world’s top pathogen hunters and medical professionals who have been involved in tracking outbreaks of Zika, Ebola and influenza worldwide. The film called ‘Unseen Enemy’ makes the case that successful containment can be achieved with coordinated efforts of medical professionals, researchers, governments, communicators and the public 
Amid Dramatic Cuts, HIV/AIDS Funding Spared in New Trump Budget
One surprise winner in the proposed Trump administration budget will be HIV/AIDS funding, despite a nearly 18% cut to the Department of Health and Human Services. It has been made clear that the new budget ‘promises to provide sufficient resources to maintain current commitments and all current patient levels on HIV/AIDS treatment under the President’s Emergency Plans for AIDS Relief’
SOCSO: 6,500 employee deaths in 2016 owing to non-communicable diseases
In a report for Free Malaysia Today the social security organization (SOCSO) revealed that non-communicable diseases are a major cause of death of employees under the age of 60, with over 6,500 such cases reported last year and NCD linked deaths rising steadily since 2006
Communicable diseases
Quality sleep, balanced diet key to good health
Adequate sleep, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise, is essential for good health. In fact, with enough quality sleep, a person can hold a number of diseases at bay
Pollution Is Killing India’s Holy Ganges, Harming Hindu Devotees
The Sankat Mochan Foundation published a study into the water quality of India’s holy Ganges River which said waste pollution is killing the river. The study found that people bathing in the Ganges are running a risk of cholera, hepatitis A, typhus and gastrointestinal diseases from the waters
The Nile River Delta, once the bread basket of the world, may soon be uninhabitable
The Nile River Delta is suffering from decreased water flow, rising sea levels and salt water intrusion – all of which damage food production and fresh water supplies, a multi-year study published in the Geological Society of America found. With a population expected to double in the next 50 years, Egypt may see critical countrywide fresh water and food shortages by 2025, the research team predicted
Poor, minority neighborhoods have more tobacco-selling shops per capita
Neighbourhoods in the U.S. which have a high proportion of black residents, or the highest poverty levels, tend to have the greatest density of stores selling cigarettes and tobacco products, researchers say in a new study. Poverty explained some of the link, as did an urban planning concept, which sees a proportion of the homes which are rented versus owned homes accounting for most of the link
Dogs, grandkids can keep COPD sufferers active
Walking a dog and spending time with grandchildren keeps people with impaired lung function more active than their peers who don’t have these outlets, researchers say. Staying physically active is important for people with chronic pulmonary disease and finding things that motivate patients to do so is central to planning interventions
Nigeria’s Water Bill Could Criminalize Drinking Water For Millions
Around 1-in-10 people in Lagos have access to water which the state utility provides. The rest, some 19m residents, rely on informal water sources, either drilling their own bore holes to drink or fetching water from lakes or rivers. Those who can afford it pay exorbitant amounts to water vendors. So activists are sounding the alarm as the Lagos government has just passed a law to criminalize the extraction of water, including the drilling of boreholes and the purchasing of water from private sellers
West African urban polls find clean water top priority
Reuters reports on examples of several African cities which are polling people on the fringes of urban areas to learn what were their main desires/needs. The results from the Resilient Africa Network regional lab indicated that ‘access to clean water and/or sanitation’ where priorities for them
Non communicable diseases
Venezuela`s spiralling mental healthcare crisis
Al Jazeera reports on Venezuela’s economic strife and how the healthcare system is left struggling to cope with the nation’s growing mental health crisis
Migrant mental health crumbles in Greece: rights groups
Refugees and migrants stuck in Greek camps, including children as young as nine, are cutting themselves, attempting suicide and using drugs to cope with endless misery international charities report. MSF and Save the Children said ‘anxiety, depression and aggression were on the rise as a direct result of the deal the EU struck with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees’
Promoting health through the life course
Beyond Roe v. Wade: Here’s What Gorsuch Means for Abortion
Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court reboots a 25 year campaign to chip away at abortion rights for women in the USA. But, as Bloomberg points out, it isn’t Roe versus Wade that will be at issue. It will be Planned Parenthood versus Casey, which was the fruit of a number of onerous lawsuits
Burundi : 5 communes sur 119 ont interdit la défécation à l’air libre
In only 5 districts out of 119 in Burundi is it banned to defecate in the open air. In the remainder no ban is in place which becomes an important factor in encouraging the spread of diseases such as cholera
Experimental blood test could speed autism diagnosis: U.S. study
Developers of an experimental blood test for autism say ‘it can detect the condition in more than 96% of the cases and so across a broad spectrum of patients, potentially allowing for earlier diagnosis,’ according to a new study
How touch can shape babies’ brain development
A new study suggests that for new born babies, skin-to-skin contact with parents and caregivers may help shape how their brains respond to touch, a sense necessary for social and emotional connections 
Protests against abortion bill in Angola
Some 200 demonstrators protested in Luanda against a draft law criminalizing all abortions, which is set to be voted on by parliament in the next few days. The proposed law punishes anyone who has an abortion, or performs one, with up to 10 years in prison
Health and behavior problems can linger after child abuse
Children who have suffered from abuse or neglect have physical or behavioural problems even after the mistreatment stops, new guidelines for U.S. paediatricians emphasize. Child mistreatment is seriously under reported and health care professionals need to be on the lookout for signs