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

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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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What the European election means for health care

The European Parliament election is sure to shake up health care issues as newly elected MEPs jockey for positions following the departure of some key members. While some familiar faces are sticking around, theres a notable vacuum when it comes to one of the most controversial files that will carry over to the next Parliament — health technology assessment legislation — as many of the rapporteurs are now gone. An influx of Green party candidates will likely ramp up pressure on industry, including pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturers, and also ensure stronger ties between environmental and health issues. MEPs will elect a new Parliament president and confirm the committees at the first plenary sitting scheduled to begin July 2. The committees will hold their first meetings in July, when theyll elect their chairs and vice-chairs. Romanian European Peoples Party MEP Adina-Ioana Vălean, the most recent chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI), is r..

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Ultra-processed food linked to early death

Ultra-processed foods – such as chicken nuggets, ice cream and breakfast cereals – have been linked to early death and poor health, scientists say. Researchers in France and Spain say the amount of such food being eaten has soared. Their studies are not definite proof of harm but do come hot on the heels of trials suggesting ultra-processed foods lead to overeating. Experts expressed caution but called for further investigation. What are ultra-processed foods? The term comes from a way of classifying food by how much industrial processing it has been through. The lowest category is "unprocessed or minimally processed foods", which include: • fruit • vegetables • milk • meat • legumes such as lentils • seeds • grains such as rice • eggs "Processed foods" have been altered to make them last longer or taste better – generally using salt, oil, sugar or fermentation. This category includes: • cheese • bacon • home-made bread • tinned fruit and vegetables • smoked fish • beer Then ..

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Psychiatrists call for warnings over antidepressant withdrawal

Patients suffering severe symptoms when they come off antidepressants too quickly need more help and support, the Royal College of Psychiatrists says. Current guidance suggests that most people should be able to withdraw from the drugs over four weeks. But psychiatrists say some patients taking the pills long-term can experience serious side effects that can last much longer. National clinical guidelines are currently being updated. Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said she wanted to see the guidelines "more in keeping with what we're hearing from some patients – and GPs – about the range of experiences of coming off antidepressants". The number of prescriptions for antidepressants in the UK nearly doubled between 2007 and 2017, from around 40 million to more than 82 million, a report by the College shows. At the same time, data shows an increase in depression among adults and children. A normal course of antidepressants should last at least six..

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