#UN; #UNICEF; #NewBornBabies; #EveryChildAliveCampaign
Bangkok (Thailand), Dec 31 (Canadian-Media): The world will welcome more than 392,000 babies on New Year’s Day, according to estimates from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN reports said.
A man cries with laughter as he holds his newborn baby, born a few moments before at Lerdsin Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. Image credit: UNICEF/Zehbrauskas
The agency believes 2020’s first baby will be born in Fiji and that globally, over half of all births on 1 January will take place in eight countries: India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, the United States of America, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.
“The beginning of a new year and a new decade is an opportunity to reflect on our hopes and aspirations not only for our future, but the future of those who will come after us,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.
“As the calendar flips each January, we are reminded of all the possibility and potential of each child embarking on her or his life’s journey—if they are just given that chance.”
However, UNICEF reported that in 2018, 2.5 million newborns died before reaching one month old, around a third of them on the first day of life.
Most of these deaths were from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery and infections like sepsis.
Additionally, more than 2.5 million babies are born dead each year.
UNICEF pointed out that there has been tremendous progress in child survival over the past 30 years. In that time, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has been reduced by more than half.
Unfortunately, progress for newborns has been slower. Babies dying in their first month of life accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among under-fives in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990.
“Too many mothers and newborns are not being cared for by a trained and equipped midwife or nurse, and the results are devastating,” said Ms. Fore.
“We can ensure that millions of babies survive their first day and live into this decade and beyond if every one of them is born into a safe pair of hands.”
UNICEF believes that providing universal health care can help save more newborns.
Through its Every Child Alive campaign, the agency is calling for immediate investment in midwives and other health workers who are equipped with the write medicines and equipment to ensure all mothers and babies are cared for safely.
#UN; #UNHealth;#WHO; #CholeraCasesDropped; #Geneva
Geneva, Dec 20 (Canadian-Media): International action to drive down cholera led to a 60 per cent decrease in cases in 2018, compared with the previous year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday, UN reports said.
A cholera patient receives treatment in Aden's Al-Sadaqah Hospital. (August 2018). Image credits: OCHA/Matteo Minasi
This points to what the UN agency described as “an encouraging trend” in prevention and control in major cholera hotspots such as Haiti, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“The decrease we are seeing in several major cholera-endemic countries demonstrates the increased engagement of countries in global efforts to slow and prevent cholera outbreaks and shows the vital role of mass cholera vaccination campaigns,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection which is caused by ingesting contaminated food or water. It can kill within hours if left untreated.
Data from 34 countries shows there were nearly 500,000 cases in 2018, while nearly 3,000 people died from the disease.
Most cases—371,326—were in Yemen, where reporting has been “imprecise”, according to WHO.
Although outbreaks are still occurring in various countries, WHO said the figures represent “a significant downward trend” which has carried over to the current year.
WHO believes the decline is the result of massive vaccination programmes. Eleven countries received nearly 18 million doses of oral cholera vaccine in 2018, funded by the vaccine alliance, GAVI.
However, to defeat cholera long-term, WHO stressed the need to increase access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.
Dr. Dominique Legros, head of the UN agency’s cholera programme, also called for continued commitment to a 2017 strategy for effective control and elimination.
Known as the Global Roadmap, it aims to reduce cholera deaths by 90 per cent and to eliminate transmission in up to 20 countries by 2030.
The strategy calls for countries to take action in areas such as early detection and rapid response, strengthened surveillance and vaccination, and effective coordination and resource mobilization.
“The global decrease in case numbers we are observing appears to be linked to large-scale vaccination campaigns and countries beginning to adopt the Global Roadmap to 2030 strategy in their national cholera action plans,” said Dr. Legros.
“We must continue to strengthen our efforts to engage all cholera-endemic countries in this global strategy to eliminate cholera."
WHO support to countries
WHO estimates that cholera infects up to four million people annually, claiming some 143 000 lives.
The UN agency and its partners support affected countries with response and prevention.
In 2018, staff helped authorities respond to major outbreaks in the DRC, Nigeria, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe. WHO also assisted Haiti, Tanzania and Zambia to transition to longer-term cholera control and elimination.
#WHO; #Tobacco; #Men&BoysSmoking; #HealthPromotion;
Geneva, Dec 18 (Canadian-Media): Two decades of increasing tobacco use around the world are set to go into reverse, UN health experts have predicted, after revealing data indicating that fewer men and boys are smoking than before, WHO reports said.
The World Health Organization projects that the number of males using tobacco is on the decline, indicating a powerful shift in the global tobacco epidemic. Credit: Unsplash/Ali Yahya
“For the first time the number of tobacco users is declining worldwide”, Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of the Department of Health Promotion at the World Health Organization (WHO), told journalists on Wednesday in Geneva.
For the first time the number of tobacco users is declining worldwide - WHO's Dr Ruediger Krech
In 2018, there were slightly more than a billion males using tobacco around the world, “over 40 million more than in the year 2000,” he said. “But now for the first time, we are seeing declines in use, with WHO projecting that there will be at least two million fewer men using tobacco in 2020, and five million less by 2025.”
Describing the development as a “powerful shift in the global tobacco epidemic” in view of the fact that more than four in five smokers are male, Dr Krech explained that it mirrors “consistent reductions” by 100 million women since the turn of the century.
World still off-track to meet reduction targets
This progress proves that national tobacco control measures work, Dr Krech insisted, citing taxation and controlled smoking areas in public places, and other legislation that prevents children from being exposed to tobacco.
Showing that tobacco use can be reversed should also give Governments confidence that they can meet the global target of a 30 per cent reduction in tobacco use by 2025, the WHO official maintained.
Despite the positive trend, however, the world is not on track to meet this target, he insisted, noting also that more than eight million people die from tobacco use every year - approximately half of its users.
More than seven million of those deaths are from direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million fatalities are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke, WHO said.
In addition, most tobacco-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, areas that are targets of intensive tobacco industry interference and marketing, the UN agency insisted.
“We cannot be satisfied with a slow decline when over a billion people are still using tobacco,” Dr Krech said. “We must dramatically accelerate tobacco control measures to prevent current and future generations from tobacco use.’
By 2020, WHO projects there will be 10 million fewer tobacco users worldwide, male and female, compared to 2018, and another 27 million less by 2025 - a total of 1.299 billion.
According to WHO’s global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000-2025, 60 per cent of countries have seen declining tobacco use since 2010.
‘Turning point’: Tedros
Welcoming the development, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the reverse among men as a “turning point” in the fight against tobacco.
Crediting Governments for “being tougher” on the tobacco industry, the WHO chief committed WHO to continue working closely with countries “to maintain this downward trend”.
Reductions in global tobacco use demonstrate that when governments introduce and strengthen their comprehensive evidence-based actions, they can protect the well-being of their citizens and communities,” Dr Krech added.
Geneva, Dec 18 (Canadian-Media): More women could soon have access to an affordable version of an expensive life-saving breast cancer treatment, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, WHO reports said.
Women receiving treatment for breast cancer, in Mexico.
Image credits: OPS-OMS/Sebastián Oliel
The UN health agency has prequalified the biosimilar version of the medicine trastuzumab, which has shown high efficacy in curing early stage breast cancer and, in some cases, more advanced forms of the disease.
Nearly a third of the cost
Trastuzumab normally costs around $20,000 per course, putting it out of reach for many women and healthcare systems. The biosimilar version, derived from biological sources, is around 65 per cent cheaper.
Prequalification means that WHO has assessed the medicine and it meets international standards, thus making it eligible for procurement by national health authorities.
“WHO prequalification of biosimilar trastuzumab is good news for women everywhere,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General.
“Women in many cultures suffer from gender disparity when it comes to accessing health services. In poor countries, there is the added burden of a lack of access to treatment for many, and the high cost of medicines. Effective, affordable breast cancer treatment should be a right for all women, not the privilege of a few.”
Essential treatment now accessible
Although other biosimilar versions of trastuzumab are available, this marked the first time one has been prequalified by WHO.
The process involves assessing the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines and other health products.
If successful, they are listed on the WHO website as available for procurement, including directly by low-income countries, which use this information to guide the selection of medicines for their national healthcare systems.
Trastuzumab was included in the WHO Essential Medicines List in 2015 as an essential treatment for about 20% of breast cancers, the most common form of cancer in women.
Some 2.1 million women contracted the disease in 2018, with 630,000 dying because of late diagnosis and lack of access to affordable treatment.
WHO projects that rates will reach 3.1 million by 2040, with low- and middle-income countries recording the greatest increase.
#UN; #WHO; #Nutrion&Health; #PoorCountries; #Undernutrion; #Obesity
Geneva, Dec 16 (Canadian-Media): With one in three low and middle-income countries facing the two extremes of malnutrition – undernutrition and obesity – the UN’s health agency WHO is calling for a new approach to deal with rapidly changing food systems, UN reports said.
Fries with cheese: an example of unhealthy food. Image credit: Public Domain
A new report, published in the British medical science publication The Lancet on Monday, suggests that, globally, almost 2.3 billion children and adults are overweight, and more than 150 million children are stunted, and warns that undernutrition and obesity can lead to effects across generations.
We are facing a new nutrition reality. All relevant policies and investments must be radically re-examined. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, WHO
“We are facing a new nutrition reality,” said lead author of the report Dr Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the WHO. “We can no longer characterize countries as low-income and undernourished, or high-income and only concerned with obesity”.
“All forms of malnutrition have a common denominator – food systems that fail to provide all people with healthy, safe, affordable, and sustainable diets. Changing this will require action across food systems – from production and processing, through trade and distribution, pricing, marketing, and labelling, to consumption and waste. All relevant policies and investments must be radically re-examined.”
Fruit, veg, and less meat
The report recommends high-quality diets to restrict both undernutrition and obesity. Elements include optimal breastfeeding practices in the first two years; fruits and vegetables, grains and seeds; cutting back on meat; and avoiding food with high levels of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat, and salt.
However, food systems in many countries are seeing increased availability of ultra-processed foods that are linked to increased weight gain; fewer fresh food markets; and the control of the food chain by supermarkets: eating unhealthy food is increasing the risk of non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (now a global epidemic), high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Health programmes not fit for purpose
The report declares that action to address malnutrition has historically not taken account key factors, including early-life nutrition, diet quality, socioeconomic factors, and food environments.
In fact, some programmes addressing undernutrition may have unintentionally increased the risk for obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases, in low-income and middle-income countries where food environments are changing rapidly.
Examples of actions that can deal with undernutrition and obesity range from improved antenatal care and breastfeeding practices, to social welfare, and to new agricultural and food system policies which have healthy diets as their primary goal.
The authors of the report called on governments, international organizations and the private sector to invite new areas of society, such as grass-roots organizations, farmers and innovators, to join them in a fresh bid to address the double burden of malnutrition.
“Without a profound food system transformation”, said Dr. Branca, “the economic, social, and environmental costs of inaction will hinder the growth and development of individuals and societies for decades to come.”
United Nations, Dec 13 (Canadian-Media): The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has seen an increase in the number of reported cases of the deadly haemorrhagic virus Ebola linked to ongoing violence by armed groups targeting remote communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Staff at the Katwa Ebola treatment Unit in Butembo in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo disinfect boots and wash clothes. (Aug 2019)
Credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret
According to the UN agency’s latest outbreak update, 27 new cases were identified last week in the east of the country – three times the average number of infections in the past 21 days.
“The last three weeks were below 10 cases and this is only in four (DRC health) zones, and this is where we need to ensure access to finish the job,” Dr Michel Yao, Incident Manager, with the WHO Ebola Response team in the DRC, told journalists in Geneva. “Unfortunately it is in this area where we are facing the insecurity. This area is a mainly rural area, so for the big cities the outbreak is more or less controlled.”
Although the development is worrying, current infection rates are well down on the 120 cases a week reported during the peak of the outbreak, in late April.
In a further more promising development, WHO reported that in Beni and Mabalako Health Zones, the percentage of contacts under surveillance in the last seven days has returned to levels seen prior to “security events” that have hampered the Ebola response teams in past weeks – a reference to reported violent public demonstrations.
Outbreak in four health zones only And in a further sign of progress in the fight against the outbreak – DRC’s tenth in 40 years – is the fact that it is now restricted to four health zones, as opposed to the 29 originally identified in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri.
Nonetheless, attacks on healthworkers and Ebola clinics – including deadly violence against Ebola responders in Biakato (Ituri province) in late November – have meant that the vital work of tracing people who have come into contact with Ebola patients and vaccinating them has been severely restricted.
“In these (health) zones, there’s one (area) in particular called Lwemba that we haven’t been able to access for three weeks,” Dr Yao explained. “And when you don’t have access, you can’t vaccinate the contacts and others at risk. You can’t find confirm new cases of infection so you can’t do safe burials, you can’t get infected people out and get them medical care.”
One person near Beni ‘infected 17 others’ Most of the new cases identified in the last week were linked to one individual near Beni town who could have infected 17 people.
“The person who passed away is in a place that’s called Aloya. It’s close to Beni, but this person unfortunately died,” Dr Yao said.
According to WHO, this same person recovered from Ebola six months ago.
It is now investigating whether they were reinfected by someone else – which has never been documented - or suffered a relapse, which has happened before.
Since the outbreak began in North Kivu and Ituri last August, 2,210 people have died from the disease.
It is the second largest Ebola emergency to date, after the West Africa crisis from 2016-2016 that saw more than 28,600 cases of infection.
‘Air bridge’ team has started vaccinations
To ensure continued care, WHO has mounted a limited daily helicopter “air bridge” operation to the communities still at risk.
The health team on board conducted their first vaccinations on Thursday, Dr Yao said.
“The helicopter that we’re using has space for around 20 people so it means we can transport epidemiologists to do their investigations, but above all the vaccination team,” Dr Yao explained, noting that the communities had come to the Ebola responders seeking help. They “want the intervention”, he insisted, “but around we have armed groups that prevent us from reaching these communities”.
He added: “We’re mobilising communities all around to come and get vaccinated in a situation where there are (health) alerts but we can’t go to investigate because access is restricted.”
With up to 100 armed groups believed to operate in the vast forested region of eastern DRC bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, attacks on Ebola-hit communities have sparked a humanitarian crisis and threatened aid distribution, amid serious civil unrest.
“Since the start of this epidemic, there’s been one factor that we haven’t been able to control: the intervention context,” Dr Yao said, adding that “when these communities are attacked, there are demonstrations everywhere, which in fact stops Ebola intervention work”.
#AlcoholMetabolism; #Alzheimer'sdisease; #EastAsianpopulations
New York, Dec 13 (Canadian-Media): A common mutation in a key enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism increases damage in cells from patients with and in mice, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Medical xpress news reports said.
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain
This mutation in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, or ALDH2, is associated with facial redness following alcohol consumption. It causes the activity of the enzyme to be greatly reduced, resulting in the buildup of acetaldehyde, a toxic product of alcohol metabolism. The body responds to the presence of the toxin with skin flushing and inflammation. The mutation is prevalent in the East Asian population. The flushing response to alcohol among people who carry the mutation is sometimes called "Asian glow."
The mutation occurs in about 560 million people, or about 8% of the world's population, said Daria Mochly-Rosen, Ph.D., professor of chemical and systems biology. Understanding the relationship of alcohol and genes linked to Alzheimer's disease will have broad consequences, she said, since a large group of people may unknowingly be harming their future health by regularly consuming alcohol.
"Our data suggest that alcohol and Alzheimer's disease-prone genes may put humans at greater risk of Alzheimer's onset and progression," Mochly-Rosen said. "This is based on our patient-derived cell studies and our animal studies, so an epidemiological study in humans should be carried out in the future."
Mochly-Rosen, who holds the George D. Smith Professorship in Translational Medicine, is the senior author of the study, which will be published Dec. 12 in Acta Neuropathologica Communications. The lead author is postdoctoral scholar Amit Joshi, Ph.D.
Starting with cells
Epidemiological studies in East Asian populations have previously suggested an association between the mutation in ALDH2 that causes facial flushing and Alzheimer's disease. However, there have also been other studies that didn't find an association. To further explore a possible role for ALDH2, the authors of the current study examined cell cultures made using cells from 20 patients with Alzheimer's disease. One culture had the ALDH2 mutation, also known as ALDH2*2. While the amount of ALDH2*2 protein in this sample matched the level of ALDH2 protein in normal cells, the mutant protein had only a fraction of the ability to break down acetaldehyde.
Compared to normal cells, the ALDH2*2 cells had more free radicals and more 4-HNE, another toxic chemical that's normally processed by ALDH2.
"Free radicals are formed when we have fever, when we have chronic diseases, when we are stressed; free radicals are formed under many kinds of pathological stimuli. These free radicals form toxic aldehydes, and the job of ALDH2 is to remove these toxic chemicals," Mochly-Rosen said. "Once these aldehydes accumulate, the first organelles that they damage are the organelles that contain the enzyme that is supposed to get rid of them: the mitochondria." This vicious cycle ultimately leads to reduced mitochondrial activity, increased free radical formation by the damaged mitochondria and, in the case of Alzheimer's disease, to death of neurons.
The level of free radicals was restored to normal following the addition of Alda-1, a small molecule that "fixes" ALDH2*2 by binding to the catalytic site and restoring the enzyme to a functional structure, Mochly-Rosen said. Mochly-Rosen and her colleagues discovered Alda-1 as an activator of ALDH2*2 in 2008. Alda-1 also activates the nonmutant ALDH2 and therefore may benefit more people, she said. Clinical trials are in progress to test the usefulness of Alda-1-like molecules as a treatment for a variety of health conditions. Mochly-Rosen consults for these clinical trials but does not own stocks in the pharmaceutical company conducting the them. The company did not fund any of the current research.
Adding alcohol to cells with either ALDH2 or ALDH2*2 derived from patients with Alzheimer's disease led to an increase in free radicals; the effect was greater, though, in the ALDH2*2 cells. Alda-1 reversed these effects, though not completely. These results indicate that alcohol damages cells normally protected by ALDH2 and that this damage is more severe in cells from patients with a genetic form of Alzheimer's disease, the study reports.
Moving on to mice
To further understand the link between alcohol and ALDH2, the researchers studied mice that carry ALDH2*2. The mice were injected with alcohol each day for 11 weeks to simulate chronic alcohol use.
"The animals were given one gram per kilogram per day, which is equivalent to about four to five drinks for the animal. But since mice metabolize alcohol much faster than humans, it comes to about two drinks a day," Joshi said.
Consistent with their results in cell cultures, the researchers saw that mice with the ALDH2*2 gene produced more free radicals than normal mice when provided with alcohol. The mutant mice also accumulated beta-amyloid protein fragments and activated tau protein more than normal mice. Both of these changes are molecular signatures for Alzheimer's disease. Treatment with Alda-1 reduced the accumulation of both of these toxic proteins.
The ALDH2*2 mice also showed an increase in neuroinflammatory signs following their injection with alcohol compared with normal mice. Neuroinflammation, or inflammation of the nervous system, is normally caused by injury, infection and even the aging process, but recent studies have found that chronic neuroinflammation worsens the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. Treatment with Alda-1 reduced the accumulation of these neuroinflammatory proteins in mice.
The researchers also prepared cell cultures from the brains of normal and ALDH2*2 mice and found that alcohol led to increased levels of free radicals and cell-death proteins not only in neurons, but in astrocytes, as well. Astrocytes are cells found in the central nervous system that provide support for neuronal function and maintenance, but that can also contribute to neuroinflammation. Treatment with Alda-1 reduced the alcohol-induced changes in the cell cultures, the study found.
Looking to the future
The findings in the study point to a previously undiscovered role of alcohol and ALDH2 in Alzheimer's disease. Since the work was done in cell cultures and mice, further validation is needed in large epidemiological studies of humans to see whether alcohol drinkers who have the ALDH2*2 mutation develop Alzheimer's disease at a higher-than-average rate, Mochly-Rosen said. Such studies could help determine whether decreased alcohol consumption and treatment with compounds, such as Alda-1, might reduce the progression and burden of Alzheimer's disease in the world's aging population.
There have also been other studies demonstrating that ALDH2*2 increases the risk of developing cancer in the esophagus. Because ALDH2 is so important for human health, Che-Hong Chen, a senior research scientist in the Mochly-Rosen Lab, organized the Stanford-Taiwan ALDH2 Deficiency Research Consortium, or STAR. This group aims to promote research and public awareness about the ALDH2 mutation in East Asia, where nearly half the population carries it.
Alda-1-like compounds may prove to aid in treatment to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease in humans, Mochly-Rosen said.
#UN; #UNHealthAgency; #Malaria; PregnantWomen&ChildrenToBePriortized; #MoreFundingNeeded
United Nations, Dec 4 (Canadian-Media): While more pregnant women and children are being protected against malaria than before, more fast-tracking and greater funding are needed to reinvigorate the global response, according to a new United Nations report launched on Wednesday.
More women in sub-Saharan Africa are using bed nets to protect themselves against malaria.
Image credit: ©UNICEF/Josh Estey
“We’re seeing encouraging signs, but the burden of suffering and death caused by malaria is unacceptable, because it is largely preventable”, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency behind the World malaria report 2019.
The report notes a significant increase in the number of pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets and using preventive medicines. However, WHO maintains that progress has stalled in the hardest-hit countries.
In 2018, some 11 million pregnant women were infected with malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, which resulted in low birth weights for nearly 900,000 children.
According to WHO, pregnancy reduces a woman’s immunity to malaria, rendering her more susceptible to infection and at greater risk of illness, severe anaemia and death.
Maternal malaria also interferes with growth in the womb, increasing the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight – a leading cause of child mortality.
And despite encouraging signs that preventive measures are helping protect pregnant women and children, from 2014 to 2018 there was no improvement in the global rate of malaria infections in the hardest-hit countries.
“Pregnant women and children are the most vulnerable to malaria, and we cannot make progress without focusing on these two groups”, the WHO chief spelled out.
Women at the fore
In outlining progress in protecting women and children in sub-Saharan Africa, the report revealed that some 61 per cent of them slept under an insecticide-treated net in 2018, as compared to 26 per cent in 2010.
Moreover, the delivery of antimalarial medicines known as “intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy” (IPTp) to antenatal care facilities, increased from an estimated 22 per cent in 2017 to 31 per cent in 2018.
Still, too many women do not receive the recommended number of IPTp doses, or none at all.
Some women are unable to access antenatal services. Others who reach a care facility do not benefit from IPTp as the course of drugs are either not available or the health worker does not prescribe it.
Keeping children safe
WHO recommends insecticide-treated nets and preventive antimalarial medicines to guard pregnant women and children against malaria, along with robust health services that include prompt diagnostic testing and treatment.
Recalling that in 2018, 72 per cent of eligible children benefited from preventive medicine, WHO recommends seasonal preventative drug courses, during the high-transmission rainy season, for children under-five living in Africa’s Sahel subregion.
Another recommended strategy – intermittent preventive treatment in infants (IPTi) – calls for delivering antimalarial medicines to very young children through a country’s immunization programme. The tool is currently being pioneered in Sierra Leone.
“IPTi offers a tremendous opportunity to keep small children alive and healthy,” said Pedro Alonso, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme.
Although timely diagnostic testing and treatment are vital, many children with a fever are not brought in for care. According to recent country surveys, 36 per cent of children with fever in sub-Saharan Africa do not receive any medical attention.
Integrated community management for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea can bridge gaps in clinical care in hard-to-reach communities.
And while 30 countries now implement the approach, bottlenecks in health financing bar most sub-Saharan African countries.
Last year, malaria afflicted 228 million people and killed an estimated 405 000, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Inadequate funding remains a major barrier to future progress.
Total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated $2.7 billion in 2018, falling far short of the $5 billion global target.
“The lack of improvement in the number of cases and deaths from malaria is deeply troubling,” said WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus.
#PacificIslandNationOfSamoa; #measlesOutbreak; #ChildrenDieOfMeasles
Pacific island nation of Samoa, Dec 2 (Canadian-Media): The death toll of children, mostly under four years old, has arisen to more than 53 from the latest flare-up of a global epidemic of virus measles in the small Pacific island nation of Samoa had forced closure schools and restricted travel ahead of the holiday season, media reports said.
Pacific island nation of Samoa. Image credit: Pinterest
The vaccine coverage in Samoa was only about 31 percent when measles took hold, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) with more than 3,700 cases of measles recorded in the population of around 200,000.
Health authorities have vaccinated 58,150 people so far, the government said on Monday.
Reported measles cases are the highest they've been in any year since 2006, WHO said.
Samoan authorities have blamed low coverage rates in Samoa in part on fears caused last year when two babies died after receiving vaccination shots, according to local media reports.
The country's immunization program was also temporarily suspended. The deaths were later found to have been caused by medications that were wrongly mixed.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters the country is sending additional vaccines and dozens of medical professionals to Samoa to help with the outbreak.