Saturday December 7, 2019

Tanzania Denies Withholding Information from WHO on Suspected Cases of Ebola

This is not a disease that the Tanzanian government can hide, Tanzania health minister Ummy Mwalimu

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Tanzania, Information, WHO
FILE - A nurse prepares a vaccine against Ebola in Goma, DRC, Aug. 7, 2019. VOA

Tanzania denied Thursday it was withholding information from the World Health Organization (WHO) on suspected cases of Ebola, saying it was not hiding any outbreak of the deadly disease in the country.

“Ebola is known as a fast-spreading disease, whose impact can be felt globally. This is not a disease that the Tanzanian government can hide,” Tanzania health minister Ummy Mwalimu told journalists in commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

“Reports suggesting that Tanzania has not been transparent about suspected cases of Ebola and is not sharing information with the WHO are false and should be ignored.”

Last month WHO said Tanzania had refused to provide detailed information on suspected Ebola cases.

Tanzania, Information, WHO
Map of Tanzania showing cities and a refugee camp. VOA

Travel advisories

The organization said it was made aware Sept. 10 of the death of a patient in Dar es Salaam, and was unofficially told the next day the person had tested positive for Ebola.

This week the United States and Britain issued travel advisories to their citizens against Tanzania amid persisting Ebola concerns.

Days before WHO’s rebuke of Tanzanian authorities, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traveled to the country at the direction of U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar, who had also criticized the country for not sharing information.

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Mwalimu said Tanzania has investigated 28 suspected cases of Ebola over the past year, including two cases in September, but they all tested negative.

She said they had shared that information with WHO.

“We are committed to implement international health regulations in a transparent manner,” Mwalimu said.

High alert for Ebola

Tanzania, Information, WHO
Ebola is known as a fast-spreading disease, whose impact can be felt globally. Pixabay

Authorities in east and central Africa have been on high alert for possible spillovers of Ebola from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a yearlong outbreak has killed more than 2,100 people.

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Tanzania and DRC share a border that is separated by a lake. (VOA)

Next Story

Reduction in Air Pollution May Increase Life-Expectancy: Study

Findings of a Research indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution

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Pollution
Fortunately, reducing air Pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Pixabay

Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, reviewed interventions that have reduced air pollution at its source. It looked for outcomes and time to achieve those outcomes in several settings, finding that the improvements in health were striking.

Starting at week one of a ban on smoking in Ireland, for example, there was a 13 per cent drop in all-cause mortality, a 26 per cent reduction in ischemic heart disease, a 32 per cent reduction in stroke, and a 38 per cent reduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly, the greatest benefits in that case occurred among non-smokers.

“We knew there were benefits from pollution control, but the magnitude and relatively short time duration to accomplish them were impressive,” said lead author Dean Schraufnagel from the American Thoracic Society in the US.

“Our findings indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately,” Schraufnagel added.

Pollution
Reductions in Air Pollution yielded fast and dramatic impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, a new study suggests. Pixabay

According to the researchers, In the US a 13-month closure of a steel mill in Utah resulted in reducing hospitalisations for pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis and asthma by half.

School absenteeism decreased by 40 per cent, and daily mortality fell by 16 per cent for every 100 µg/m3 PM10 (a pollutant) decrease.

Women who were pregnant during the mill closing were less likely to have premature births.

A 17-day ‘transportation strategy,’ in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games involved closing parts of the city to help athletes make it to their events on time, but also greatly decreased air pollution.

In the following four weeks, children’s visits for asthma to clinics dropped by more than 40 per cent and trips to emergency departments by 11 per cent. Hospitalizations for asthma decreased by 19 per cent.

WHO
Findings of the Study indicate almost immediate and substantial effects on health outcomes followed reduced exposure to air pollution. It’s critical that governments adopt and enforce WHO guidelines for air pollution immediately. Wikimedia Commons

Similarly, when China imposed factory and travel restrictions for the Beijing Olympics, lung function improved within two months, with fewer asthma-related physician visits and less cardiovascular mortality.

“Fortunately, reducing air pollution can result in prompt and substantial health gains. Sweeping policies affecting a whole country can reduce all-cause mortality within weeks,” Schraufnagel said.

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Local programmes, such as reducing traffic, have also promptly improved many health measures, said the study. (IANS)