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Latest stories, news and breaking health and medical news from across the world

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Burkina Faso: Growing Violence Threatens Health Care

Away from the worlds attention, Burkina Faso has been slipping into violence. In less than a year, the number of displaced has increased fivefold, from 50,000 last December, to 270,000 in August. As ever, the most vulnerable suffer most: the very young, and the very old. When Alidou Sawadogos elderly mother fell ill, he faced a long and dangerous journey to get treatment for her. “When she collapsed, a friend called me,” he explains. “By the time I arrived she was already unconscious. I decided to take her to the health center and luckily someone who had a motorcycle helped me. Because of the violence many people who are sick wait at home and die. Everyone is afraid of taking the road to the health center in Barsalogho.” Across Burkina Faso, the rising insecurity has forced over a hundred health centers to close, or to limit their work. Half a million people now have little or no access to health care. Dedicated health workers, among them Dr Bertrand Dibli in Barsalogho, are struggl..

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World Bank and WHO Statement on Partnership & Deployment of Financing to WHO for Ebola Response in DRC

WASHINGTON, August 23, 2019—The World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Government and other key partners, are working in close partnership on the Ebola Crisis Response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Central to this partnership is the assessment of the financing needs, and deployment of resources, with the goal to put an end to the current deadly outbreak. The World Bank is today announcing that US$50 million in funding is to be released to WHO for its lifesaving operational work on the frontlines of the outbreak. The WHO is announcing that this US$50 million in funds will close the financing gap for its emergency health response in DRC through to the end of September 2019, and is calling on other partners to mirror this generous support in order to fund the response through to December. The funding comprises US$30 million from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and US$20 million from the World Bank. The US$50 million in grant f..

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Borno State launches first Malaria Operational Plan, reawakens fight against malaria

Maiduguri, 13 August 2019 – Following recommendations from malaria interventions in Borno State Nigeria, the Malaria Annual Operational Plan (MAOP) was developed and launched on 08 August 2019 with technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners. Aligned to the National Malaria Strategic Plan (2014 -2020), MAOP was developed through a broad-based stakeholders workshop involving malaria stakeholders, reviewed on different thematic areas and endorsed by the Commissioner for Health and Permanent Secretary, Borno State Ministry of Health. Speaking during the launch, the Borno state Malaria Programme Manager, Mr Mala Waziri described the MAOP as the first to be endorsed and disseminated in Borno State. “WHO has made us proud by supporting the first ever Malaria Operational Plan right from development, review, printing to dissemination.” Dr Ibrahim Kida, the Ministerial Secretary Borno State Ministry of Health and Incident Manager of the state, described the launch ..

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Nearly half of all dengue deaths in the Philippines are children under nine years old

Manila, August 16 – At least 300 children aged 5-9 have died in the recent Dengue outbreak in the Philippines, Save the Children said today, amid fears the epidemic could claim many more lives before its brought under control. In the first seven months of 2019, some 170,000 people were infected with the disease, killing 720 people – 42 percent were children between 5 and 9 years old. Compared to the same period in 2018, this years dengue caseload is 97 per cent higher. The virus is disproportionately affecting children and young people with a staggering 73 per cent of recorded cases under the age of 19. Albert Muyot, ceo of Save the Children in the Philippines, said: “Hundreds of children have sadly already died, we expect the numbers to rise. The rainy season started late and will continue this month, creating the perfect breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes. “Children are particularly a vulnerable to the disease because their immune systems are weaker than adults and they tend to ..

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Update on Ebola drug trial: two strong performers identified

The co-sponsors of the Ebola therapeutics trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have announced advances that will bring patients a better chance of survival. Two out of the four drugs being tested are more effective in treating Ebola. Moving forward, these are the only drugs that future patients will be treated with. Details of the changes are available in this WHO/NIAID/INRB release. This WHO initiative is the first-ever multi-drug randomized control trial aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of four drugs used for treatment of Ebola patients. Initially developed as a multi-outbreak, multi-country study, PALM (“Together save lives”) was launched in November 2018. It is part of the emergency response in DRC, in collaboration with a broad alliance of partners, including the DRCs National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB), Ministry of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the United States National Institutes ..

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In a first since 2014, vaccination campaign reaches 13 million children in Sudan including in newly accessible areas

KHARTOUM, 1 August 2019 – For the first time in five years, UNICEF and partners were able to reach nearly 13 million children with vaccination in close cooperation with local health authorities and the World Health Organization including in areas where access was restricted for many years due to insecurity and conflict. “We welcome the new window of access that allowed to vaccinate children in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. This will significantly reduce the risk of diseases spreading among children,” said UNICEF Representative in Sudan Abdullah Fadil Kicking off in April, and despite ongoing socio-political uncertainty in the country, the campaign provided children under the age of 10 with vaccines against measles and polio combined with vitamin A supplement covering 18 states. Measles is the third cause of mortality among infants in Sudan. While the country has not seen a case of polio for almost nine years, certain factors put it at considerable risk of poliovirus importation ..

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A high-level delegation visited Yei River State to intensify Ebola preparedness in Sudan

Juba, 16 July 2019 – On 15 July 2019, a high-level delegation led by Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Undersecretary, Ministry of Health and Mr Alain Noudehou, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and comprising Ambassadors of donor countries, heads of United Nations (UN) agencies, , and Representatives of international non-governmental organizations visited Yei town. The objective of the visit was to among others reassure local authorities of the continued support of the development partners and the one UN in South Sudan; secure sustained commitment of the local authorities to the EVD preparedness efforts and publicize in the national press key messages to the general public regarding Ebola preparedness. South Sudan is one of the four priority one countries (Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda) prioritized by WHO to enhance preparedness and operational readiness based on the proximity to the outbreak area as well as the capacity to manage Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks in the Democratic ..

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Winning the hearts of communities fearful of Ebola

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 June 2019 – “You cant take my son away because I know you will go kill him. You will inject him with Ebola. Thats what everybody here knows.” This response from an angry father, faced with the possibility that his son would be moved from a local hospital to an Ebola Treatment Centre, reflects the reality of containing an epidemic in an area where folklore, rumour and suspicion of outsiders abound. For Dr. Ramses Kalumbi, Surveillance Team Leader for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Goma, reassuring his patients and their families is all in a days work. Empathy, patience and compassion are a vital part of the treatment offered by his team of doctors, psychologists and health workers. The Ebola-affected city of Butembo, where the 27-year-old man has been working as a driver, is 350km away – an eight-hour journey by road. He had returned home to visit his family when he started to feel unwell. Initial symptoms indicated malaria but his ..

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As post-cyclone resettlement, 200 000 people lack access to health services in Mozambique

Maputo, 21 June 2019 – 94 health facilities damaged or destroyed by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth remain unsafe and 200 000 people who have been resettled live more than 5 km away from a functioning health facility, according to a recent Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and latest data. “The ongoing relocation of families to new resettlement areas presents new challenges for access to heath,” said Dr Djamila Cabral, WHO Representative in Mozambique. “At the resettlement sites, there is limited access to essential health care, limited or no access to water and sanitary facilities. The fact that some health facilities remain damaged is a huge risk to health.” Humanitarian partners continue supporting the population affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique shifting gradually from emergency to early recovery interventions. Urgent health priorities include delivery of basic health services for the affected population – especially at resettlement sites – building back better, strengthening surveil..

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One-in-five suffers mental health condition in conflict zones: new UN report

More than one-in-five people living in conflict-affected areas suffers from a mental illness, according to a new UN-backed report, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for increased, sustained investment in mental health services in those zones. Around 22 per cent of those affected, suffer depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an analysis of 129 studies published in The Lancet – a United Kingdom-based peer-reviewed medical journal. “The new estimates, together with already available practical tools for helping people with mental health conditions in emergencies, add yet more weight to the argument for immediate and sustained investment, so that mental and psychosocial support is made available to all people in need living through conflict and its aftermath,” said study author Mark van Ommeren, who works in WHOs Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The study also shows that about nine per cent of conflict-affected populations..

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