Tuesday April 23, 2019

After 20 Deaths Due To Cholera in Zimbabwe, Emergency Declared

Tents have been erected at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital to cater for the growing number of patients.

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Cholera, Zimbabwe
Cholera patients lie in beds in Budiriro clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

A cholera emergency has been declared in Zimbabwe’s capital after 20 people have died, the health minister said Tuesday.

The deaths in Harare have many fearing a repeat of the outbreak that killed thousands at the height of the southern African country’s economic problems in 2008. Water and sanitation infrastructure is collapsing.

While touring a hospital, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo told reporters this outbreak is spreading to other parts of the country.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa warns people to wash their hands and drink only clean water.. VOA

“The numbers are growing by the day and to date there are about over 2,000 cases, that’s quite a big number,” the minister said, attributing the outbreak to shortages of safe drinking water and poor sanitation. “This whole problem has arisen as a result of blocked sewers. The other problem is that garbage hasn’t been collected on a regular basis. There is water problems, no water availability.”

Residents in some Harare suburbs have gone for months without tap water, forcing them to dig shallow wells and boreholes that have been contaminated by raw sewage flowing from burst pipes.

Cholera is caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water and can kill within hours if untreated.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Some Harare citizens walk by a heap of waste which has not been collected for days. Experts say that is a breeding zone for cholera. VOA

The U.N. children’s agency said it is assisting Zimbabwe’s government with hygiene and water provisions.

Also Read: India, Zimbabwe, Bolivia Join Together Against Climate Change

Tents have been erected at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital to cater for the growing number of patients.

In 2008, over 4,000 people died from cholera, according to government figures.

Next Story

Avoid Smoking During Pregnancy To Prevent Premature Births

The negative health impacts of cigarette smoking during pregnancy, including low birth weight, delayed intrauterine development, pre-term birth, infant mortality, and long-term developmental delays, are well known. 

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smoking
The researcher plans to look at quit rates and smoking intensity and their impact on the risk of infant mortality. Pixabay

Expecting mothers, take note. As smoking during pregnancy is linked with negative health outcomes, a team of researchers has found that smoking cessation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of pre-term birth.

The findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that the probability of pre-term birth decreased with earlier smoking cessation in pregnancy — up to a 20 per cent relative decrease if cessation occurred at the beginning of pregnancy.

baby
If we determine quitting, and quitting early, reduces the risk of infant mortality, then that may speak to mothers even more saliently about the importance of smoking cessation. Pixabay

“Of concern, though, given the substantial benefits of smoking cessation during pregnancy is that the proportion of pre-pregnancy smokers who quit smoking during pregnancy has remained essentially stagnant since 2011,” said lead author Samir Soneji from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in the US.

For the study, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of more than 25 million pregnant women who gave birth to live neonates during a six-year period — measuring their smoking frequency three months prior to pregnancy and for each trimester during pregnancy.

The negative health impacts of cigarette smoking during pregnancy, including low birth weight, delayed intrauterine development, pre-term birth, infant mortality, and long-term developmental delays, are well known.

But the good news is that the proportion of women who start their pregnancy as smokers has been declining in recent years, the researchers said.

smoking

The findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that the probability of pre-term birth decreased with earlier smoking cessation in pregnancy — up to a 20 per cent relative decrease if cessation occurred at the beginning of pregnancy. Pixabay

However, the study also found that only about 25 per cent of women who smoked prior to pregnancy were able to quit throughout their pregnancy, and approximately 50 per cent of women who smoked during their pregnancy did so with high frequency (more than 10 cigarettes per day).

The researcher plans to look at quit rates and smoking intensity and their impact on the risk of infant mortality.

Also Read: How Netflix Binge-Watching Can Lead You The “Mean World Syndrome”

“Thankfully most premature babies end up doing well,” he said.

“But premature birth is strongly linked to infant mortality. If we determine quitting, and quitting early, reduces the risk of infant mortality, then that may speak to mothers even more saliently about the importance of smoking cessation,” he added. (IANS)