| | |

"World Health Minute" 23 March, 2017

News Highlights
Facing significant yellow fever outbreak, Brazil appeals for more vaccine The body that maintains and manages the vaccine stockpile, the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision, have released 3.5m doses of yellow fever vaccine, according to PAHO. Now, though, with yellow fever creeping ever close to two of the country’s largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there are fears the disease may start to spread faster and more vaccine may well be needed 
Dengue is endemic in Fiji: Akbar Fiji’s minister of health said Fiji’s dengue outbreak is endemic and has affected many other countries in the region such as French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Another 13 dengue fever cases have been confirmed in Karachi, taking the number of cases to 132 since the start of the year. The Mizoram state health minister told parliament that 580 people have contracted dengue during the last year, while 14 have been infected in the last two months and to date, since dengue was first found in 2012 no one has died from it. Chhattisgarh health minister said there have been 78 deaths due to diarrhoea and 113 due to malaria in 2016-17, up to the end of January
Court grants living status to the ganges Uttarakhand’s high court granted the Ganga and Yamuna rivers status as living entities, bestowing on them the same legal rights as a person, a move that could help in efforts to clean the pollution-choked rivers
Preparedness, surveillance and response
Facing significant yellow fever outbreak, Brazil appeals for more vaccine
The body that maintains and manages the vaccine stockpile, the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision, have released 3.5m doses of yellow fever vaccine, according to PAHO. Now, though, with yellow fever creeping ever close to two of the country’s largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there are fears the disease may start to spread faster and more vaccine may well be needed 
Fight against Tuberculosis spread far from over in PNG
The media confirmed that the fight against the spread of tuberculosis in PNG is far from over. There is an outbreak of TB inside the Poli Santa Teresa prison in Venezuela. A case of TB has been confirmed in Copiapo in Chile. In Colombia, the city of Manizales has confirmed another 60 patients have TB with a further 21 already diagnosed
Ceuta, Melilla y Galicia registran las tasas más altas de tuberculosis
Ceuta, Melilla and Galicia record the highest number of cases of tuberculosis in Spain. Around 100,000 people in Spain are infected with TB each year, but more than 80% of them are never diagnosed. About seven out of every 100,000 people living on the Canary Islands have tuberculosis. Spain is among the list of those countries with most cases of TB in the European Union, registering, on average, 13 new cases every day
FG announces outbreak of a new disease in Nigeria
This strain, which is rare in Nigeria, is said to have entered the country from Niger. The outbreak of meningitis in Sokoto and Zamfra states requires a different type of vaccine, as it is a new strain and experts are working hard to contain it
Genetically modified mosquito use under consideration in Houston
Officials are considering releasing GM mosquitoes in Houston as part of the fight against insects known to carry diseases such as the zika virus. Harris County officials are negotiating with Oxitec to release mosquitoes that have been genetically engineered to produce offspring that die
Analizan tres posibles casos de dengue en La Paz y Concepción del Uruguay
Investigators are examining new possible cases of dengue in La Paz and Concepcion del Uruguay. So far, they’ve found 76 suspicious cases of dengue, 63 of which they rejected, but the 13 remaining are the focus of further analysis. In Rosario health teams confirmed 13 cases of dengue
Lambayeque: Salud confirmó primera víctima mortal del dengue
A 49 year old Peruvian woman died as a result of catching dengue shortly after the intense rains recently hit the region. The region has seen 182 cases so far, with dengue present in Patapo, Chiclayo, Motupe, Jayanca and Illimo districts. Peruvian health authorities also confirmed the sharp jump in dengue cases in Ica, a rise of 103 cases to 210 from a week ago
Dois jovens morrem com sintomas de dengue em Volta Redonda
Two young people have died from a dengue-like illness in Volta Redonda. A third case of Yellow Fever has been confirmed in the state of Rio in the city of Jao. Sao Paulo has confirmed its third case of dengue. The number of dead from Yellow Fever in Minas Gerais now stands at 120, out of a total of 1,124 cases recorded. Five people died of malaria in Cruzeiro du Sol in the state of Acre. Malaria is confirmed as the cause of death of a resident in Catanduva in Sao Paulo state. Health authorities confirmed a second case of chikungunya in the state of Sao Paulo
Malaria cases rise in Okavango
The North West District has been hard hit by a malaria epidemic, with 670 recorded cases and five deaths since the beginning of the rainy season 
Plus de 250 cas de choléra enregistrés au Kongo-Central, selon l’OMS
The Kongo-Central province of the DRC has seen more than 250 cases of cholera, with 20 dead, since the start of the year. Three health zones are at the centre of this epidemic: Moanda, Matadi and Nzanza
Man dies of suspected H1N1, was treated at private hospital for 4 days
Man died of suspected swine flu in Chennai on Tuesday. As of mid-February Tamil Nadu had 1,020 recorded cases of H1N1 with Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur accounting for 25% of them. Around 25% of these confirmed cases were recorded and described as due to overcrowding and a floating population, officials said. In Kota, a 23-year old pregnant woman died while undergoing treatment at a government run hospital, she tested positive for swine flu
Cholera breaks out in northern Zambia, 70 hospitalized
Cholera has broken out in two districts of northern Zambia, Chiengi and Mpulungu, although no deaths have been recorded so far. In the Chiengi district the number of cholera cases stands at 54, with 16 in Mpulungu
Malária já matou quase 300 pessoas este ano
Statistics released by the Ministry of Health indicate that since the beginning of 2017 there has been 1.4m malaria cases with 288 deaths, compared with 1.3m cases and 234 deaths during the same period last year
Illegal gold mining in Venezuela causing deaths, malaria, gang fights and deforestation
A three-year recession in Venezuela, paired with rampant inflation and food shortages, has prompted many to turn to illegal gold mining to get basic supplies in an overpriced black market. It is estimated that around 100,000 people are involved in illegal mining, with many sites primarily in mafia hands. However, malaria has abandoned the remote jungle areas and is now spreading at rates not seen in Venezuela for 75 years. Illegal miners are catching malaria by the tens of thousands it is reported
Dengue is endemic in Fiji: Akbar
Fiji’s minister of health said Fiji’s dengue outbreak is endemic and has affected many other countries in the region such as French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Another 13 dengue fever cases have been confirmed in Karachi, taking the number of cases to 132 since the start of the year. The Mizoram state health minister told parliament that 580 people have contracted dengue during the last year, while 14 have been infected in the last two months and to date, since dengue was first found in 2012 no one has died from it. Chhattisgarh health minister said there have been 78 deaths due to diarrhoea and 113 due to malaria in 2016-17, up to the end of January
Vietnam reports new bird flu outbreak
H5N1 virus has hit Vietnam’s southern Can Tho city, raising the number of bird flu-hit localities in the country to six
Health systems
When the U.S. funds global health, other countries do too
Research by a Tennessee professor shows that whenever the U.S. steps up and plays a lead role in funding global health programme this has a knock-on effect and other countries follow suit. It also helps promote increased governmental legitimacy in the developing world and moves their focus more onto diseases which are rising and whose growth would impact upon a developing country’s own budget
Trump says he wants provision to lower drug costs in Republican bill
President Donald Trump said he wants to add a provision to the Republican healthcare plan that would lower prescription drug costs through a ‘competitive bidding process’
Drug shortage in 2011 tied to increased deaths
In a study into a drug used to treat a deadly infection known as septic shock in 2011, the researchers found that the shortage of norepinephrine was tied to an increase in deaths among patients with this condition. During the shortage the risk of death among septic shock patients was about 40% compared to 36% when hospitals weren’t experiencing a shortage. The 4% difference is likely to represent hundreds of excess deaths among this group
53 doctors attacked in two years, not a single conviction
The Bombay High Court criticized resident doctors at hospitals in Maharashtra for their strike because of the impact it was having on patients. The young doctors remained firm in their demand for adequate security to protect them from recent attacks by enraged relatives of patients in Dhule and Sion in Mumbai
Stigma and discrimination are neglected silent killers in Africa
The Kenyan media focuses on the recent case of Salome Karwah, Time Magazine Person of the Year 2014 for her part in the fight against Ebola in west Africa. In February this year Karwah died from childbirth complications in Liberia, staff initially refused to help her due to the stigma that still surrounds the disease 
Financial problems affect region’s fight against malaria
Although all East African countries plan to eradicate malaria by 2017, or at least reduce it to single digits, being malaria free now seems like a pipe-dream for the region, because all the countries are recording an upsurge in infections since last year meaning planned funding will be insufficient 
Communicable diseases
Court grants living status to the ganges
Uttarakhand’s high court granted the Ganga and Yamuna rivers status as living entities, bestowing on them the same legal rights as a person, a move that could help in efforts to clean the pollution-choked rivers
Nearly 600 million children to live in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040: UNICEF
In a new UNICEF report, the writers outlined the scenario where one of four children worldwide will be living in areas where water demand far outstrips supply by 2040
Burundi : 7602 abandons scolaires pour des raisons socio-économiques à Mwaro depuis 2016
Governor of Mwaro province in Burundi said ‘7,602 students have left their studies for socio-economic reasons since the start of this year. The reasons given are searching for work to be able to support themselves or other disease-driven constraints such as malaria or other illnesses’
Global Goals: European Pension Funds Tilt Capital Toward ‘SDG Investing’
Fund manager and other major asset owners gathered at the Impact Summit Europe in The Hague to outline proposals as to how pension funds could tilt capital finance towards SDG investing
Identity politics and intolerance a barrier to development, says UN report
The UN’s annual human development index cites Brexit as an example of a nationalist agenda that could hold back progress towards global development goals
Why global warming could lead to a rise of 100,000 diabetes cases a year in the U.S.
If the average temperature rises by one degree sea levels will rise, crop yields will fall and vulnerable species will see their habitat shrink or disappear. Now, a new study suggests the number of American adults suffering from diabetes would rise by more than 100,000 a year. People develop type 2 diabetes when their extra pounds and sedentary lifestyle make their bodies less sensitive to insulin. That in turn causes blood sugar to rise and can eventually lead to all sorts of diseases. Why the numbers of diabetics will rise is down to brown adipose tissue which kicks in when temperatures are low and the body needs heat to stay warm. So changes in the weather will trigger changes in sensitivity to insulin 
Tobacco treaty has helped cut smoking rates, but more work needed
A global tobacco treaty put in place in 2005 has helped reduce smoking rates by 2.5% worldwide in 10 years, researchers said, but use of deadly tobacco products could be cut even further with more work on anti-smoking policies. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control analysis over the last ten years saw those countries which have fully implemented more FCTC measures obtain significantly greater reductions in smoking rates
Number of rural Indians without clean water equivalent to UK population - charity
Reuters reports India is home to the highest number of rural people without access to clean water, and it faces increased strain on scarce resources due to a rising population and climate change among other facts, Water Aid said (
3 out of 5 Ghanaians drink water contaminated by human waste
Three out of every five Ghanaians are said to be drinking water contaminated by human waste, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio, according to David Duncan, CEO of WASH an NGO present in Accra to mark World Water Day
Non communicable diseases
Preocupación en Perú por posible propagación de enfermedades luego de las inundaciones
Worry spreads in Peru as many fear the likely spread of a range of waterborne diseases on the back of the recent torrential rains
Safe water: 97,000 kids die yearly from diarrhoea
For every 2,000 children under five who die from diarrhoea, more than 1800 of those deaths are actually linked to water sanitation and hygiene, evidence suggests
Abortion is a women’s issue. So why do men dominate media coverage of it?
A new report commissioned by the Women’s Media Center analysed 1,385 pieces of news on abortion, including opinion columns and editorials that appeared in 12 publications and found that men wrote 52% of those pieces which had a by-line attached , while women wrote just 37% of them
`Guns don`t kill soldiers... SAMOSAS do`: India`s `fat soldiers` paramilitary forces lose more men to weak hearts and diabetes than combat
The South African Stroke and Heart Foundation said for many South Africans salt intake is too high with much of it hidden in processed food and bread. The nation may have more ‘supertasters,’ with the gene prevalent in Africa, which may mean that South Africans in particular are driven to eat more salt by greater taste sensitivity
`Greater focus on research in multi-drug resistant TB needed`
The Indian Society for Clinical Research said it believed there needs to be a greater focus on research into multi-drug resistant TB. This will lead to the development of innovative treatments for drug-resistant TB and reduce India’s healthcare cost burden and save lives
RS Passes Bill To Safeguard Rights, Provide Medical Help For HIV/AIDS Patients
A crucial bill to ensure equal rights to people afflicted by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admission in educational institutions and jobs was passed by the Rajya Sabbha
BSF losing more men to lifestyle diseases, mental illness than operations: Director General KK Sharma
More Border Security Force personnel are dying of mental illnesses and lifestyle diseases than in the line of duty, BSF Director General, KF Sharma said on Tuesday. As a consequence of the study the force is taking some remedial measures to control lifestyle disease by including yoga in the daily routine and changing the dietary
Stigma attached to mental disorders leading to high mental morbidity in India: Experts
More than 100m people in India (over 10% of the population) suffer from mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, but society’s views about these disorders are clouded by misconceptions and stigma, which in turn leads to high mental morbidity in India
UnitedHealth sued for denying coverage for eating disorders
UnitedHealth Group has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. health insurer of denying coverage for medically necessary treatment of eating disorders
Gonorrhoea, world’s second commonest STD, may become untreatable
Experts are saying that gonorrhoea may become untreatable due to its resistance to antibiotic drugs that were hitherto used to treat it. As the disease is rapidly developing this resistance to new antibiotics, this means there are fewer alternative treatments
New Antibiotic Resistant Gene Variant Found In Healthy Individual
A team of investigators in China has discovered a new variant on a well-known gene that causes resistance to last resort antibiotics. More troubling, the antibiotic resistant gene was found in a healthy individual during a routine medical examination, suggesting that other healthy carriers may be spreading this resistance unknowingly
Promoting health through the life course
Despite murderous attacks, Tanzania`s `witches` fight for land
Thousands of elderly Tanzanian women have been strangled, knifed to death and burnt alive over the last two decades after being denounced as witches. The human rights coordinator for the Magu Poverty Eradication Rehabilitation Centre explained it was ‘a hidden agenda’ and the attacks have always all been about stealing their land 
Growing runner beans to avert child marriage, trafficking in eastern India
A new state programme to keep young girls in school with cash incentives, coupled with efforts by land rights advocacy group Landesa to teach land literacy, help young girls dare to dream and plan for better futures
Nigeria loses 2,300 under five, 145 women of childbearing age daily
Because Nigeria loses about 2,300 under five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age daily, UNICEF has renewed its commitment to support the Nigerian health sector towards improving maternal and child health. To this end, it plans to strengthen immunization and revitalisation of the primary healthcare system in the country
Contraceptive Pill Protects Against Some Cancers ‘For At Least 30 Years’
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen said women who take the contraceptive pill are protected from some types of cancer for as long as 30 years, according to a new study
For Ugandan children, hunger and HIV make a deadly mix
Reuters reports that Ugandan children suffering from famine due to the drought that has hit the country’s farmers and devastated their crops, helps create a deadly mix. Children on anti-retroviral treatment to slow the development of HIV are suffering as the drugs won’t really take full effect without a nutritious diet to assist the body in processing them
Young Rohingya Mothers flee Persecution
The UN said the Myanmar army has committed mass killings, gang rapes and burned villages in a campaign that may amount to ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state and Rohingya, where families have been forced to flee for their lives
India priests, decorators in child marriage crackdown: No proof of age? No wedding
Priests, card printers, flower decorators and tent suppliers are among the many players in the lucrative wedding industry being enlisted to help authorities in southern India crack down on child marriages. Priests in Telangana state have been told to request proof of age for the bride and groom before marrying them, while officials there are checking in villages to see if any child marriages are being planned or performed