You are here: Home » Health

Category Archives: Health

Feed Subscription

Ebola’s spread shows how science needs societies to succeed

LONDON – The persistence of Congo’s Ebola outbreak and its deadly spread to Uganda in recent days show how societal issues are as crucial as scientific advances in controlling disease outbreaks, specialists in global public health say. Medical scientists, prompted by a devastating West African Ebola epidemic between 2013 and 2016, have worked fast to develop cutting edge vaccines, treatments ... Read More »

India is the most depressed country in the world

We don’t talk about it as much as we talk about other diseases, but you’ll be shocked to know that 300 million people worldwide are suffering from depression. Depression and bad mental health have been ignored as a serious issue since ages. But, do you know, depression can also lead to death if it gets worst? When it comes to ... Read More »

Pakistani doctor wins Rolex Award for her Tele-Medicine delivery project

CEO and Co-Founder of a Tele-Medicine delivery system, Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram has been awarded Rolex Awards for Enterprise as Associate LAUREATE for her project called “Sehat Kahani”. The Rolex Award for Enterprise was announced in an official ceremony on Friday in Washington DC, which was attended by Dr. Sara Saeed. With this achievement, Dr. Saeed has now become the ... Read More »

World Health Organization: Malaria treatment stalls as funding flatlines

The war on malaria has been a victory for human health, driving deaths down and life expectancy up. But experts fear that the positive trajectory is starting to shift. The global fight against malaria is grinding to a halt, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday, amid flat-lining funding and political complacency. Malaria infected an estimated 216 million people last year — about 5 million more than in 2015 — potentially reversing a six-year trend of decreasing infection cases. The majority of the 440,000 lives claimed by the mosquito-borne disease were young children in sub-Saharan Africa. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "progress appears to have stalled" in the fight against the tropical disease. "Although there are some bright spots in the data, the overall decline in the global malaria burden has unquestionably levelled off," Ghebreyesus said. "And, in some countries and regions, we are beginning to see reversals in the gains achieved." Fall in funding Experts fear financial shortfalls and government complacency have thrown progress off track. "At the current level of funding and coverage of current tools, we have reached the limits of what can be achieved in the fight against the disease," said Abdisalan Noor, lead author of the WHO's annual malaria report. Investment into malaria prevention — a third of which came from the US last year — has leveled off since 2010. Analysis by the WHO found that funding in countries with a high risk of malaria had dropped to an average of less than two dollars per person per year. The WHO says a minimum annual investment of $6.5 billion (€5.5 billion) is required to meet its ambitious 2030 targets. Funding in 2016 stood at just $2.7 billion. Change in fortunes The long-term global decline in malaria-related deaths has helped cut child mortality, driving a sharp increase in global life expectancy. The WHO has repeatedly made announcement on "the massive roll-out of effective disease-cutting tools" and "impressive reductions in cases and deaths." Mosquito nets soaked in insecticide — mostly delivered through mass distribution campaigns — are the primary method of protection. But in sub-Saharan Africa fewer than half of households have sufficient access to them. "If we continue with a business-as-usual approach — employing the same level of resources and the same interventions — we will face near-certain increases in malaria cases and deaths," Ghebreyesus said. Uneven coverage Some 80 percent of malaria deaths take place in just 15 countries — 14 sub-Saharan African nations and India. Emergency work is underway in Nigeria, South Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen, where ongoing humanitarian crises pose further public health risks. Several countries in the Middle East and central Asia have been certified as malaria-free in the last decade, including Morocco, Armenia and Turkmenistan. Last year, Kyrgyzstan and Sri Lanka joined their ranks, having gone three years without recording an indigenous case of malaria. "We are up against a tough adversary," Ghebreyesus said. "But I am also convinced that this is a winnable battle."

The war on malaria has been a victory for human health, driving deaths down and life expectancy up. But experts fear that the positive trajectory is starting to shift. The global fight against malaria is grinding to a halt, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday, amid flat-lining funding and political complacency. Malaria infected an estimated 216 million people last ... Read More »

Highly contagious plague in Madagascar kills dozens

Madagascar is struggling to contain an outbreak of plague in several cities. Over 20 people have died. Plague can be treated when diagnosed early, says WHO Madagascar country representative Charlotte Ndiaye. DW: Madagascar has suffered plaque outbreaks almost every year since 1980. How serious is this year's outbreak that has left over 20 dead and over 100 infected? Charlotte Ndiaye: The [bubonic] plague is an endemic disease in Madagascar, but this year we've had a pneumonic plague [a form of plague that can spread human-to-human via droplets]. It has been detected in several cities in Madagascar since August 17. It is an urban outbreak - we have the pneumonic plague in the capital Antananarivo and different big cities in Madagascar. It's highly transmissible - person-to-person - and quickly causes death without treatment. Many people don't actually know about the plague, they just know it comes from rats. What are the key things people need to know to prevent it and stop its spread? The first thing is to take urgent measure. The second thing is to be well-informed, so it means when people have symptoms of fever, buboes [inflammatory swelling of a lymph gland] or other symptoms, they have to quickly go to a health center. And at the health center we are able to do rapid diagnostic tests and also to give them antibiotic drugs. What is important to know is that the plague can be treated. We have to diagnose the disease early. We are doing everything we can to support the government's efforts. At the moment, we have deployed WHO staff in all different cities. And we have mobilized funds and we are working to provide surveillance, equipment and drugs to the country. We are coordinating all partners in order to deploy our efforts in all different cities. Why are there recurrent outbreaks in Madagascar? As you may know, every year between September and April, unfortunately we've had cases of plague in Madagascar. The common form we usually had is bubonic plague, but this year due to the lack of action we have pneumonic plague among people who are living in cities. Why in the cities? Is there a reason behind it? The first case was because someone left the village and traveled to the city. And during the travel, he was sick and he contaminated people on the bus, people in different hospitals. Is there any link between poor living areas and plague? Absolutely, as you may know, people in Madagascar are really poor and people have a problem of hygiene. That's why most of the time, cases of plague are coming from villages. But the problem we have today is the movement from people in villages to cities so that is why we have this urban plague this year. How can Madagascar prevent such recurrences in the future, because it happens every year and many people are losing their lives? The first thing for WHO and for all partners is to bring awareness to the government, to put the problem of the plague as a priority. And also to put emphasis on surveillance which is key when it comes to plague and other epidemics. WHO has worked very closely with the ministry of health, in order to put in place electronic surveillance, in all the 22 regions of the country so that we are informed early and know how to take care of people who have been diagnosed with plague. Charlotte Ndiaye is the WHO country representative in Madagascar.

Madagascar is struggling to contain an outbreak of plague in several cities. Over 20 people have died. Plague can be treated when diagnosed early, says WHO Madagascar country representative Charlotte Ndiaye. DW: Madagascar has suffered plaque outbreaks almost every year since 1980. How serious is this year’s outbreak that has left over 20 dead and over 100 infected? Charlotte Ndiaye: ... Read More »

WHO: Tobacco lobby blocking anti-smoking measures

Measures aimed at curbing tobacco-related deaths now reach more than 60 percent of the world's population, the WHO says. But attempts by the tobacco lobby to sway government policy remain a "deadly barrier." Tobacco controls and warnings about the dangers of smoking have quadrupled worldwide over the past decade, saving millions of lives, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In a report on the global tobacco epidemic the UN agency said tobacco was the world's leading cause of preventable death, killing 7 million people each year. "That's equivalent to wiping out the entire population of Bulgaria or Paraguay every year. That's not acceptable," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the report's launch in New York. Victims include 890,000 people who die annually from second-hand smoke exposure. In an effort to bring down those numbers, countries accounting for 4.7 billion people, or around 63 percent of the world's population, have implemented at least one measure recommended by the WHO, including bans on advertising, tax hikes, graphic health warnings and anti-smoking legislation. That's a "dramatic increase in life-saving tobacco control policies in the last decade," the report said, recalling that in 2007 only 15 percent of the world's population was covered. Powerful interests But despite certain control measures being rolled out in more places, the WHO pointed out that tobacco companies seeking to influence health policy continued to pose a serious problem. The report accuses tobacco giants of using deceitful tactics such as "exaggerating the economic importance of the tobacco industry, discrediting proven science and using litigation to intimidate governments." It said such interference had stalled health policy developments, such as the creation of smoke-free public places or plain packaging, in many countries. It also warned that countries with partly state-owned tobacco companies should take steps to protect important health policy decisions from their commercial interests. One example is Japan, where the government has a stake in Japan Tobacco Inc. "I think in this special situation there might be a conflict of interest in economic revenues from a partly state-owned industry and health of the population," Kerstin Schotte, a WHO medical officer, told reporters in New York. Significant progress While almost 50 percent of the global population in 78 countries are exposed to strong graphic warnings on cigarette packs, only 15 percent live in countries that have implemented bans on advertising and promotion, the report said. It added that the most effective form of tobacco control - price increases - is one of the least used worldwide. At the report's launch, WHO director of prevention of noncommunicable diseases Dr Douglas Bettcher said developing countries had made significant progress in introducing warnings on packets and banning smoking in workplaces in recent years. He also praised efforts in Britain, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand, but pointed out that Germany is one of just two EU countries not to have complete advertising bans in force.

Measures aimed at curbing tobacco-related deaths now reach more than 60 percent of the world’s population, the WHO says. But attempts by the tobacco lobby to sway government policy remain a “deadly barrier.” Tobacco controls and warnings about the dangers of smoking have quadrupled worldwide over the past decade, saving millions of lives, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). ... Read More »

After South Korea, Japan, China discovers two more cases of human bird flu

China has discovered two more cases of human bird flu infection. South Korea and Japan are working to contain outbreaks of different strains of the virus. In Xiamen, a city in China's eastern Fujian province, local authorities halted poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu on Sunday, state news agency Xinhua reported. A man diagnosed with the H7N9 strain of bird flu is being treated in Shanghai, after travelling from the neighboring province of Jiangsu, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning said on its website. The patient is being treated in hospital and is stable condition, the South China Morning Post reported. The latest incidents come after Hong Kong confirmed an elderly man was diagnosed with the disease earlier this week. Health officials in South Korea and Japan are also working to contain outbreaks of different strains of the virus - which is most likely to strike in winter and spring. Both countries have ordered the killing of tens of millions of birds in the past month, stoking fears of regional spread. China's authorities said they would ban imports of poultry from countries where there are outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu. It already prohibits imports from more than 60 nations, including Japan and South Korea. Heavy losses expected The poultry industry is expecting heavy financial losses, in particular as farmers in China are preparing for the year's peak demand during Lunar New Year celebrations at the end of January. Farmers have in recent years taken measures to prevent the disease. The last major bird flu outbreak in mainland China in 2013 killed 36 people and caused about $6.5 billion (6.2 billion euros) in losses to agriculture.

China has discovered two more cases of human bird flu infection. South Korea and Japan are working to contain outbreaks of different strains of the virus. In Xiamen, a city in China’s eastern Fujian province, local authorities halted poultry sales from Thursday in the Siming district, after a 44-year-old man was diagnosed with H7N9 flu on Sunday, state news agency ... Read More »

Bird flu spreads in Germany, sparking fears for holiday meals

Tens of thousands of new cases of bird flu have been reported in Germany, as the disease spreads across Europe. Authorities are concerned about the economic consequences, with poultry in high demand during the holidays. Germany revealed more cases of a dangerous strain of avian influenza on Saturday, alongside reports that the disease had spread to Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia. The H5N8 virus has affected some 30,000 chickens in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Authorities said an area of 3 square kilometers (1.2 square miles) around the affected farm had been sealed off. Berlin has set up a crisis management task force to tackle the issue, after reports also came in from Austria that another large outbreak was suspected in an area along the border with Bavaria. Authorities urge extreme caution At the same time, Switzerland has confirmed that a number of dead birds found along Lake Geneva were confirmed to be carrying the H5N8 virus. Bern and Vienna both immediately took steps to contain the disease from spreading further, authorities said. This particular strain of avian influenza arrived in Europe from South Korea in 2014, brought by migratory waterfowl. Massive culling followed after wild ducks, geese and swans passed the disease to farmed birds like chickens and turkeys. Authorities have urged extreme caution and care on the part of farmers and food inspectors. The upcoming holiday season will increase the demand for duck, goose and chicken, and the flu outbreak could have serious economic consequences. Avian influenza spreads easily among domestic poultry, but only certain subtypes - H5N1 and H7N9 - are known to infect humans.

Tens of thousands of new cases of bird flu have been reported in Germany, as the disease spreads across Europe. Authorities are concerned about the economic consequences, with poultry in high demand during the holidays. Germany revealed more cases of a dangerous strain of avian influenza on Saturday, alongside reports that the disease had spread to Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, ... Read More »

Singapore confirms local Zika outbreak

Singapore has reported a spike in cases of locally transmitted Zika virus. The infection only causes mild symptoms in humans but is dangerous for pregnant women as it's been linked to serious birth defects. Singapore has confirmed 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus, the city-state's health ministry said Sunday. All of the cases related to residents or workers within the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive area, a suburban residential and industrial district, authorities said. Some 36 of the cases were from foreign laborers who worked in the area. "They are not known to have traveled to Zika-affected areas recently, and are thus likely to have been infected in Singapore," the statement added. "This confirms that local transmission of Zika virus infection has taken place." Dozens of National Environment Agency (NEA) technicians cleaned drains and sprayed insecticide in the mainly residential area early on Sunday, and volunteers and contractors handed out leaflets and insect repellent. Residents said they were reassured by the visible anti-mosquito effort. "I'm very scared of mosquitoes because they always seem to bite me, they never bite my husband," Janice, 31, who gave only her first name, told the Reuters news agency. "This concerns me because maybe in a couple of years I want to have another (child)." Singapore reported the first imported case of the Zika virus infection in May after a 48-year-old man contracted the virus after a visit to Brazil earlier in the year. On Saturday, health officials say they confirmed the first case of local transmission and expect the mosquito-borne virus to spread. "(The Ministry of Health) cannot rule out further community transmission in Singapore since some of those tested positive also live or work in other parts of Singapore," the statement said. "We expect to identify more positive cases." Authorities say they have tested 124 people, primarily construction workers, with 78 testing negative and five cases pending, the report read. In all, 34 patients have fully recovered. The current strain of the Zika virus that is sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean originated in Asia, where epidemiologists speculate people could have built up greater immunity.

Singapore has reported a spike in cases of locally transmitted Zika virus. The infection only causes mild symptoms in humans but is dangerous for pregnant women as it’s been linked to serious birth defects. Singapore has confirmed 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus, the city-state’s health ministry said Sunday. All of the cases related to residents or workers within ... Read More »

Zika exacerbated by ‘massive policy failure,’ says WHO chief

The head of the UN's public health body has blamed inadequate mosquito control policy for the proliferation of the virus. Europe is at risk of a Zika outbreak, according to the WHO's latest assessment. WHO Secretary-General Margaret Chan on Monday blamed "massive policy failure" for the spread of the mosquito-borne virus Zika across many parts of North and South America. "The spread of Zika, the resurgence of dengue and the emerging threat from chikungunya are the price being paid for a massive policy failure that dropped the ball on mosquito control in the 1970s," Chan said during her speech to the 69th World Health Assembly. The WHO chief noted that the "failure to provide universal access to sexual and family planning services" revealed an "extreme consequence" of the Zika virus outbreak. "The rapidly evolving outbreak of Zika warns us that an old disease that slumbered for six decades in Africa and Asia can suddenly wake up on a new continent to cause a global health emergency," Chan added. In April, US officials announced that that there was a likely link between Zika and a rise in newborns with microcephaly, a rare condition resulting in a smaller head than normal. The WHO has investigated the link between the virus and the medical condition. More than 1.5 million people have been infected with Zika in Brazil, with over 1,000 cases of microcephaly registered since last year, according to AFP news agency. The mosquito-borne virus has also been reported in several countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, including Colombia, Haiti and Mexico. Europe alert Earlier this month, the WHO officials warned "there is a risk of spread of Zika virus disease in the European region." The UN's public health body said an outbreak was more likely in countries where Aedes mosquitoes are present. "With this risk assessment, we at WHO want to inform and target preparedness work in each European country based on its level of risk," said Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO's regional director for Europe. "We call particularly on countries at higher risk to strengthen their national capacities and prioritize the activities that will prevent a large Zika outbreak," added Jakab.

The head of the UN’s public health body has blamed inadequate mosquito control policy for the proliferation of the virus. Europe is at risk of a Zika outbreak, according to the WHO’s latest assessment. WHO Secretary-General Margaret Chan on Monday blamed “massive policy failure” for the spread of the mosquito-borne virus Zika across many parts of North and South America. ... Read More »

Scroll To Top