17 Jul, 2014
Expelled, ashamed, abused
Listen and learn
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17 Jul, 2014
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22 Apr, 2014
24 Apr, 2014
25 March, 2014
reference : http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/
25 March 2014 | Geneva – In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.
In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.
Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution.
“Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents non-communicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly…”
Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General Family, Women and Children’s Health
“Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents noncommunicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General Family, Women and Children’s Health. “Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves.”
Included in the assessment is a breakdown of deaths attributed to specific diseases, underlining that the vast majority of air pollution deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases as follows:
The new estimates are based on the latest WHO mortality data from 2012 as well as evidence of health risks from air pollution exposures. Estimates of people’s exposure to outdoor air pollution in different parts of the world were formulated through a new global data mapping. This incorporated satellite data, ground-level monitoring measurements and data on pollution emissions from key sources, as well as modelling of how pollution drifts in the air.
“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” says Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.”
After analysing the risk factors and taking into account revisions in methodology, WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves. The new estimate is explained by better information about pollution exposures among the estimated 2.9 billion people living in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel, as well as evidence about air pollution’s role in the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers.
In the case of outdoor air pollution, WHO estimates there were 3.7 million deaths in 2012 from urban and rural sources worldwide.
Many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply be added together, hence the total estimate of around 7 million deaths in 2012.
“Excessive air pollution is often a by-product of unsustainable policies in sectors such as transport, energy, waste management and industry. In most cases, healthier strategies will also be more economical in the long term due to health-care cost savings as well as climate gains,” says Dr Carlos Dora, WHO Coordinator for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “WHO and health sectors have a unique role in translating scientific evidence on air pollution into policies that can deliver impact and improvements that will save lives.”
The release of today’s data is a significant step in advancing a WHO roadmap for preventing diseases related to air pollution. This involves the development of a WHO-hosted global platform on air quality and health to generate better data on air pollution-related diseases and strengthened support to countries and cities through guidance, information and evidence about health gains from key interventions.
Later this year, WHO will release indoor air quality guidelines on household fuel combustion, as well as country data on outdoor and indoor air pollution exposures and related mortality, plus an update of air quality measurements in 1600 cities from all regions of the world.
31 March, 2014
reference : http://www.who.int/features/2014/nigeria-stops-guinea-worm/en/
From more than 650 000 cases in 1988 to zero today, Nigeria has successfully stopped transmission of guinea-worm disease, also known as dracunculiasis. Thousands of volunteer polio vaccinators helped to check every household nationwide to ensure that there were no remaining cases before the country could be certified free of guinea-worm disease in December 2013.
“When my elder brother Moses had guinea worm, I was not surprised because he used to pilfer fish from our mother’s pot and small yams from our father’s barn,” says Samuel Alo, today a community leader of Ejine Amagu, Ikwo Community in Ebonyi State, in south-east Nigeria. As a child in primary school, Samuel was told that guinea worm was a punishment for naughty children.
“Little did I know that the source of the worm was the pond from which we fetched water for drinking and cooking,” says Alo.
Guinea-worm disease (dracunculiasis) is almost exclusively found in poor, rural communities in low-income countries. It is a crippling, parasitic disease caused by a thread-like worm that grows up to 100cm long and migrates inside the body. Transmission occurs when people drink water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas. Around one year after infection, one or more worms emerge from the skin through a painful blister, often on the leg. To soothe the excruciating pain, people often immerse the infected area in water. The worms then re-infect the water with thousands of larvae that are ingested by water fleas and the life cycle starts again.
There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease. The primary way to prevent guinea-worm infection is to provide a safe water supply, treat contaminated water and educate people to change their behaviour.
In 1988, when Nigeria reported more than 650 000 cases of guinea-worm disease, the Government launched an eradication programme following a World Health Assembly Resolution that called for the disease’s global eradication. The country could only be certified guinea-worm free when no cases were detected for 3 years.
One of the cardinal strategies for guinea-worm eradication in Nigeria has been active case search – a surveillance programme that used thousands of village volunteers to conduct house-to-house search for disease. Polio vaccinators helped to support surveillance during this final stage of eradication. In every house they entered during each polio vaccination round, the volunteers were trained to ask about guinea-worm disease, using a pictorial to demonstrate signs of the disease.
The last person known to have had guinea-worm disease in Nigeria was Grace Otubo, a 58-year-old migrant farmer from the remote rural village of Ezza Nwukbor in eastern Nigeria.
“Twenty five years ago, Mrs Otubo would have been just one of more than 650 000 victims of guinea-worm disease,” says Dr Rui Gama Vaz, WHO Representative in Nigeria. “The fact that she can be specifically identified as the final victim of the disease in her country is due to this successful system of surveillance.”
Eradication efforts from WHO and partners, including the Yakubo Gowon Centre, The Carter Center, the Government of Japan and UNICEF, have included improving safe water supply, education and disease awareness, supporting behaviour change and training health workers to recognize and report suspected cases of guinea-worm disease. A cash reward provided an incentive for members of the public to report cases too.
In December 2013, on the recommendation of the WHO certification commission, Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan declared Nigeria free of guinea-worm disease. Dr Chan highlights the successful integration of guinea-worm surveillance into the disease surveillance and polio immunization campaigns: “This is the kind of joined-up effort that makes the most effective use of our human and financial resources, and has a dramatic and measurable impact.”
Since neighbouring countries (Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and South Sudan) still have on-going transmission of guinea-worm disease, Nigeria continues to remain vigilant for cases that might cross the border. Eradicating the disease, which incapacitates infected people for 3 weeks on average, has made an enormous contribution to Nigeria’s social and economic advancement.
Jun, 6 2013 –
From 1 January to 12 May 2013 (epidemiologic week 19), 9 249 suspected cases of meningitis, including 857 deaths, with a case fatality ratio of 9.3 percent, have been reported from 18 of the 19 African countries under enhanced surveillance1 for meningitis. The number of cases reported so far are the lowest recorded during the epidemic season in the last ten years2.
Outbreaks of the meningococcal disease have been confirmed in Guinea and South Sudan, where 404 suspected cases3 (38 deaths) and 196 suspected cases (13 deaths) have respectively been notified.
In Guinea a small outbreak at the sub-district level was reported in Siguiri district, predominantly due to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135 (Nm W135). Upon request from the Ministry of Health of Guinea, the International Coordinating Group (ICG)4 on Vaccine Provision for Epidemic Meningitis Control released 63 075 doses of ACW polysaccharide vaccines. A reactive vaccination campaign targeting the affected population was conducted by the Ministry of Health from 2-7 May 2013.
In South Sudan an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A (Nm A) was confirmed in Malakal county, in the Upper Nile state. The ICG released 198 770 doses of Meningococcal A conjugate vaccine to implement a reactive vaccination campaign from 15-24 May 2013, which was led by the Ministry of Health of South Sudan with the support of WHO and partners.
Additionally, outbreaks of meningitis were reported in Benin (1 district), Burkina Faso (1 district), and Nigeria (3 districts). These outbreaks were of short duration and the predominance of the Nm bacteria was not confirmed. The ministries of health of affected areas implemented a series of preventive and control measures which include reinforcement of surveillance, case management and sensitization of the population.
The decrease in the number of cases of meningitis reported during the period under review is thought to be due to the progressive introduction of the newly developed Meningococcal A conjugate vaccine in countries of the African Meningitis Belt since 20105. The introduction of this first meningococcal vaccine available for preventive purposes in Africa has enabled the immunization of over 100 million people from 10 countries6 in the Meningitis Belt in the past three years (2010-2012). The reduced case load and epidemic activity observed this year, adds to the evidence on the impact of the introduction of this vaccine, which is expected to eliminate epidemics of Nm A, which is the predominant cause of the disease in Africa. Given that large-scale epidemics in the African Meningitis Belt appear to occur in waves of 4 to 10 years, close surveillance for meningitis remains essential.
Meningitis outbreaks are detected as part of the enhanced meningitis surveillance system introduced in 2002, whereby participating countries collect and send weekly, district level data to the WHO African Regional Office Inter-Country support team of Ouagadougou, which compiles and disseminates this data through a weekly regional bulletin. This allows for timely detection of outbreaks at district level, as well as monitoring of the situation at a regional level, enabling the identification of cross border, multi-country epidemics and a coordinated response.
WHO continues to monitor the epidemiological situation closely, in collaboration with partners and ministries of health in the affected countries.
1 The countries with enhanced surveillance for meningococcal disease include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan and Togo. For 2013, no reports were available for Ethiopia. For Central African Republic reports were available up to epidemiologic weeks 10 and for Ghana and Guinea up to epidemiologic week 18.
2 WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record, 22 March 2013
3 Data up to epidemiologic week 18.
4 The ICG is a partnership between WHO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF ) which manages an emergency vaccine stockpile, established with the support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
5 The new vaccine MenAfriVac® is manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd. and was developed for the meningitis belt through the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between WHO and PATH, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
6 Burkina Faso (2010), Mali (2010–2011), Niger (2010–2011), Cameroon (2011–2012), Chad (2011–2012), Nigeria (2011- ), Ghana (2012), Benin (2012), Senegal (2012), Sudan (2012– ). Campaigns’ beginning and end years are indicated in parentheses; a single date indicates that the campaign was conducted during 1 year, an open date indicates the campaigns have not yet ended. Guinea and South Sudan preventive campaigns are planned for 2014.
Jun ,17 2013
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease caused by viruses. Infected person may present with high fever, headache, joint pain and rashes. In severe cases, the person may need hospitalization.
National Environment Agency (NEA) updates the number of dengue cases in Singapore frequently. As of 10May 2013, there are a total of 6396 dengue cases in this year alone.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses (DENV-1,-2, -3, -4). These four type of dengue viruses are circulating around the globe. A person infected with dengue fever can be infected as many as four times because infection with any type of DENV provides immunity to that particular type of virus for life, but confers only partial and transient protection against subsequent infection by the other three.
Transmission of Dengue Virus
Dengue viruses are transmitted between people by mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). Dengue does not spread from person to person. In order for transmission to occur the mosquito must feed on a person during the first 5-days (after being infected by dengue virus) when large of amount of viruses are in the blood.
Potential breeding sites of Aedes mosquitoes include flower pot plates/trays, toilet bowls, hardened soil in plants and domestic containers.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of dengue are usually self-limiting and will clear within two weeks with plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and also taking medication to reduce pain and fever. However, with more severe symptoms, patients may need hospitalization and also fluids and electrolyte replacement.
What you can do to stop dengue? Let’s fight dengue together!
For dengue, prevention is the most important step because there is no vaccine available against it. Prevention of dengue means avoiding mosquito bites and also preventing the breeding of its vector, the Aedes mosquito. Prevention of dengue can be divided into measures to prevent mosquito breeding/ feeding anduse of mosquito repellents.
Measures to prevent mosquito breeding/ feeding Before we can eliminate dengue, we must first learn to identify the potential breeding sites of Aedes Mosquito. Aedes mosquito likes to lay its eggs in stagnant water making areas around our home. Examples of some mosquito breeding sites in our homes are flower pots, flower vases, roof gutter, drain, collar of toilet bowl and air conditioner tray.
After learning about Aedes mosquitoes breeding sites, in order to curb dengue, there are many things we can do.
Use of mosquito repellents
Using the right insect repellent is important for ensuring protection against Aedes mosquitoes. There are many types of insect repellents that are available in Singapore and they also come in many forms like patches, sprays, wipes, lotions, bands and also candles. The usual ingredients in mosquito repellents are DEET (N.N Diethyl-meta-toluamide), Icaridin/Picaridin, Ethyl Butylacetylamino-propionate and Citronella.
Points to note when selecting a mosquito repellent are:
Centres for Disease Control (America) believe that DEET and Picaridin provide longer lasting protection than other repellents. The length of protection correlates with the concentration of the active ingredients meaning the more concentrated the active ingredient a product contains, the longer it provides protection from mosquitoes. However, actual protection varies widely and maybe affected by factors such as temperature, perspiration, water exposure and abrasive removal. DEET is the most common ingredient in repellent products but should not be used in infants less than 2 months old. DEET is the usual choice for adults and for small children; parents can also opt for a safer alternative like Citronella.
Precautions to take when using repellent:
References and for further updates on dengue, you may wish to access the following sites:
6 DECEMBER 2012 –