Wednesday July 17, 2019

5 billion people have no access to safe and affordable surgery, says study

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A new study published in the Lancet medical journal suggests that two-third of the world population has no access to safe and affordable surgery.

It simply implies that millions of people are dying from conditions that can easily be treated like appendicitis and obstructed labor.

In 2010 itself, inaccessibility to safe and inexpensive surgeries resulted in deaths of almost 17 million people.

The Global Surgery 2030 Commission was written by 25 experts of surgery and anesthesia, with assistance from more than 110 countries, including India.

“More than 2 billion people are unable to receive surgical care based on operating theater density alone,” the study disclosed.

The findings of the study revealed, “At least 4·8 billion people worldwide do not have access to surgery. The proportion of the population without access varied widely in nations that are developed and those which are not. The proportion is greater than 95% in south Asia and central, eastern, and western sub-Saharan Africa, and less than 5% in Australasia, high-income North America, and western Europe lack access.”

The commission said that even those who are able to access surgery fall under great financial pressure due to high costs of the surgical procedures. Worldwide, a quarter of people who have a surgery incur costs that they cannot afford, which ultimately push them into poverty. This, in due course, prove that cost is a great barrier.

Andy Leather, Director of the King’s Centre for Global Health, King’s College London, and one of the commission’s lead authors said, “In the absence of surgical care, common, easily treatable illnesses become fatal.”

“There is a long way to go, but if the global health community wishes to address ongoing inequities and the growing burden of disease, improving access to surgical care cannot be ignored,” the report suggested.

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Massive Displacement in DR Congo’s Ebola-Affected Ituri Province Poses Serious Health Hazard

At least 160 people were killed during renewed clashes early last month between Lendu farmers and Hema herders

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FILE - A woman and her children wait to receive Ebola vaccinations, in the village of Mabalako, in eastern Congo Monday, June 17, 2019. VOA

The International Organization for Migration warns massive displacement from renewed inter-ethnic fighting in DR Congo’s Ebola-affected Ituri province poses a serious health hazard.

At least 160 people were killed during renewed clashes early last month between Lendu farmers and Hema herders in Ituri province.  U.N. agencies report the violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and sent more than 7,500 refugees fleeing for their lives into neighboring Uganda.

The International Organization for Migration reports people who have fled the frontline of the conflict are living in abysmal conditions that create a fertile ground for the spread of disease, most worryingly Ebola.

The latest World Health Organization figures put the number of Ebola cases at 2,382, including 1,606 deaths.  The bulk of these cases and deaths are in conflict-ridden North Kivu province   About 10 percent are in Ituri.

DR Congo, Ebola, Health
The International Organization for Migration warns massive displacement from renewed inter-ethnic fighting. Pixabay

The inter-communal fighting has displaced an estimated 400,000 people.  IOM spokesman, Joel Millman, says his agency manages 12 displacement sites in Ituri’s Djugu Territory.  Thousands of people unable to cram into these overcrowded camps, he says, are sheltering in spontaneous sites.

“Poor hygiene conditions in displacement sites severely increase the risk that Ebola, as well as cholera, measles and acute respiratory diseases, will spread,” Millman said. “Many of these people are seeking assistance in Ebola-affected Bunia, where the displacement site officially called “General Hospital Site” has received more than 5,000 new Internally Displaced Persons, increasing the site’s population to 10,000 or twice its capacity.”

Millman says plans are underway to relocate many of the IDPs to a new improved settlement on land owned by Bunia’s Catholic Diocese.

He says IOM also is reinforcing its Ebola surveillance and disease prevention activities at Ituri’s Points of Entry at International borders.  Measures include hand washing, hygiene promotion, and screening travelers for possible Ebola infections.

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On June 11, the first case of Ebola spread across the border from DRC to Uganda.  A five-year old boy and his grandmother subsequently died from the deadly virus.

Millman says IOM is working to reduce disease transmission to new areas and across borders by expanding its preparedness measures to include Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi. (VOA)