Wednesday August 22, 2018

NGO urges government to frame program to tackle epilepsy

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New Delhi: Ekatwam – an NGO that seeks to improve the lives of epilepsy patients – on Tuesday urged the government to frame and implement a national program to deal with epilepsy.

Photo: https://www.aesnet.org/
Photo: https://www.aesnet.org/

It said that there was a need for a policy akin to the successful anti-polio program.

Health ministry estimates say India has over 12 million people suffering from epilepsy. The global figure is more than 50 million.

“There is an urgent need to frame and implement a national policy to control and treat this disorder,” Adosh Datta, Secretary of Ekatwam, told reporters here.

Speaking on the occasion, Manjari Tripathi, professor of neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here, said: “Despite such high prevalence of the neurological disorder in India, the awareness concerning it is quite low.

“A person with epilepsy is just like a person who has headache or asthma, which is episodic too. But the stigma faced by people with epilepsy is huge, impacting marriage, education and jobs,” said Tripathi.

According to medical science, 70 percent of the seizures can be controlled with medication. But the treatment gap remains as high as 75 percent in India, especially in rural and remote areas.

(IANS)

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Europe Suffers From a Severe Measles Outbreak

The U.N. agency on Monday called for better surveillance of the disease and increased immunization rates to prevent measles from becoming endemic.

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Measles
Doctor Roberto Ieraci vaccinates a woman in Rome as Italy battles one of its worst epidemics of measles in recent years. VOA

The World Health Organization says the number of measles cases in Europe jumped sharply during the first six months of 2018 and at least 37 people have died.

The U.N. agency’s European office said Monday more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year — more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade.

The previous highest annual total was 23,927 cases in 2017. A year earlier, only 5,273 cases were reported.

The agency said half — some 23,000 cases — this year occurred in Ukraine, where an insurgency backed by Russia has been fighting the government for four years in the east in a conflict that has killed over 10,000 people.

France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia also had more than 1,000 measles infections each so far this year.

measles
An undated electron microscope image of a measles virus particle. VOA

Measles, among the world’s most contagious diseases, is a virus that’s spread in the air through coughing or sneezing. It can be prevented with a vaccine that’s been in use since the 1960s, but health officials say vaccination rates of at least 95 percent are needed to prevent epidemics.

Vaccine skepticism remains high in many parts of Europe after past immunization problems.

Measles typically begins with a high fever and also causes a rash on the face and neck. While most people who get it recover, measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children, according to the WHO.

Also Read: Meteor Shower Lights Up Bosnia, Southeastern Europe

Italy has introduced a new law requiring parents to vaccinate their children against measles and nine other childhood diseases. Romania also passed a similar bill, including hefty fines for parents who didn’t vaccinate their children.

The U.N. agency on Monday called for better surveillance of the disease and increased immunization rates to prevent measles from becoming endemic.(VOA)

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