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Cholera Infection May Be on Edge in Yemen, says WHO

Yemen may be on edge of the deadly Cholera Epidemic, says World Health Organisation

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FILE - A Yemeni woman suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sanaa. VOA
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The World Health Organization (WHO) warns Yemen may be on the verge of another cholera epidemic, which could be deadlier than previous ones because of widespread malnutrition in the war-torn country.

Yemen has had two major waves of cholera epidemics in recent years.

The World Health Organization reports that an increasing number of cases in several heavily populated areas over the past few weeks indicate the country may be on the cusp of a third major wave of this deadly disease.

WHO’s emergency response chief, Peter Salama, told VOA another cholera epidemic is likely to be more life-threatening than the previous ones because the population is seriously weakened after three years of civil war. Fighting has been raging between the government and rebel forces.

FILE - Public health workers spray insecticide amid fears of a new cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA
FILE – Public health workers spray insecticide amid fears of a new cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA

“What we are likely to see is that interplay with cholera and malnutrition occurring more and more and food insecurity,” he said. “And, not only more cases because of that, but even higher death rates among the cholera cases that do occur because people just do not have the physical resources to fight the disease any longer.”

Also Read: WHO: Breastfeeding Gives Babies The Best Start in Life

The United Nations is calling for three days of tranquillity between August 4 and 6. It wants the warring parties to stop fighting during this period so WHO and its partners can carry out a massive oral cholera vaccination campaign.

Salama said 3,000 health workers are being mobilized in three districts in northern Yemen. Their aim is to vaccinate more than 500,000 individuals above the age of one. Last year, cholera cases in Yemen topped one million in the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. (VOA) 

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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)