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Authorities In Zimbabwe Face Drug-Resistant Cholera Bacteria

Critics blame the government for failing to address issues of poor water supply, blocked sewers, and irregular trash collection, factors which are said to be making a cholera outbreak worse.

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Cholera, Zimbabwe
Cholera patients are seen isolated at Budiriro clinic. VOA

The United Nations says it is hopeful Zimbabwe will soon contain an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than two dozen people. Efforts are complicated as authorities are fighting a drug-resistant bacterium said to be fueling the spread of the waterborne disease.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health Friday said the number of cholera-related deaths has climbed to 28, and more than 3,700 cases have been reported across Zimbabwe, with the country’s capital, Harare, remaining the epicenter of the problem.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Amina Mohammed, the deputy chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), says her organisation is importing more drugs to combat cholera and is optimistic the situation is improving and stabilizing, in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

Amina Mohammed, the deputy chief of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said patients are not responding to the drugs typically used to combat the disease. She said doctors are now using second and third-line drugs, which she said UNICEF is importing.

She said the outbreak can be contained if people follow basic hygiene practices at home.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
A medical staff member (left) administers oral rehydrating solution to a cholera patient to replace fluids he lost through diarrhea, in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

 

“This is an outbreak, at the beginning it is not easy to bring everyone together. But I think we have all rallied behind and are improving. I think we are stabilizing. I am happy about that. It could be better but we are happy that there is coordination by the ministry of health, together with the WHO, ourselves, MSF is doing a great job managing these cases,” said Mohammed referring to the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders, the latter known for its French acronym MSF.

UNICEF, the WHO and MSF are some of the organizations that took action after Zimbabwe’s health minister declared a state of emergency Monday.

 

Cholera, Zimbabwe
A woman is seen washing clothes in the Mukuvisi River in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 11, 2018, as water shortages persist, what experts say is fueling the spread of cholera. VOA

 

On Thursday, the University of Zimbabwe postponed a graduation ceremony that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was supposed to attend, after police banned all public gatherings in light of the cholera outbreak.

But Jacob Mafume, spokesman of the main opposition party MDC, said the ban was only meant to stop its planned “inauguration” of party leader Nelson Chamisa Saturday as the “people’s president.”

 

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Raw sewage is seen flowing in the streets in Harare, Zimbabwe Sept. 11, 2018, with experts saying such conditions create an ideal environment for waterborne diseases such as salmonella, typhoid and cholera to thrive. VOA

 

“The government is using its failure to provide water, it is taking advantage of its failures to restrict the freedoms of the people. They are running scared of our president Nelson Chamisa since his victory, to quickly take over from ZANU-PF inefficiency so that people can be healed from medieval diseases,” said Mafume.

Mnangagwa’s government has refused to comment on what it called “cheap politics” by the opposition, which has refused to accept results from the July 30 elections.

Cholera, Zimbabwe
Authorities go for weeks without collecting trash resulting in Harare residents dumping it anywhere they can, creating conditions for cholera organisms to thrive, say health experts, in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

It said it is concentrating on containing the cholera outbreak which has since spread from Harare to other parts of the country.

Also Read: Video- Zimbabwe’s Newly Appointed President Calls For Unity

Critics blame the government for failing to address issues of poor water supply, blocked sewers, and irregular trash collection, factors which are said to be making a cholera outbreak worse. (VOA)

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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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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)