Thursday September 19, 2019

WHO calls for commitment, focused efforts to eradicate tropical diseases

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Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director of WHO South-East Asia. Photo Credit: www.searo.who.int

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: The World Health Organization has given call on Thursday to work towards eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTD) like kala-azar, leprosy, yaws, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis that affects the people of South-East Asia.

who.siWhile speaking at a meeting of health ministers and health ministry officials from the 11 member countries in Dili in Timor-Leste, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director of WHO South-East Asia, said: “Though called neglected diseases, these are diseases of the people who are neglected, the poorest of the poor. Strong political commitments and renewed and focused efforts centered on the affected population are needed to control, eliminate, and eradicate these diseases.”

Regarding the elimination of these NTDs, Singh added: “Stronger surveillance for early detection, appropriate treatment for prevention and cure of all the affected and at-risk population is the mainstay of the NTD elimination strategies.”

NTDs are serious diseases that may disable, disfigure, or even cause deaths of the affected people. Though considerable progress has been made with respect to diseases like leprosy, they are still endemic in South-East Asian countries.

Around 155,000 cases of leprosy were reported in the region in 2013 which was around 73% of the global cases. India alone reported 126,000 cases of leprosy in 2013. Similarly, the South-East Asia region reports 10,000 new cases of kala-azar every year. The disease is endemic in parts of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The situation is similar in the case of lymphatic filariasis as well. Around 60 million people in the region are affected by the disease, which accounts for around 50% of the global cases.

(With inputs from IANS)

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WHO Calling for Urgent Action to End Bad Health Care Practices Responsible for Killing Millions of Patients

WHO issued a report in advance of the first World Patient Safety Day on September 17

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WHO, Health Care, Patients
Intravenous bags hang above young cancer patients at Rady's Children Hospital in San Diego, California, Sept. 4, 2019. VOA

The World Health Organization is calling for urgent action to end bad health care practices responsible for killing millions of patients around the world every year.  WHO issued a report in advance of the first World Patient Safety Day on September 17.

People who fall ill go to their doctor or sign themselves into a hospital in the expectation of receiving treatment that will cure them. Unfortunately, in many cases the treatment they receive will kill them

The World Health Organization reports one in 10 patients is harmed in high-income countries. It says 134 million patients in low-and-middle-income countries are harmed because of unsafe care leading to 2.6 million deaths annually. WHO notes most of these deaths are avoidable.

Neelam Dhingra-Kuram is WHO coordinator of Patient Safety and Risk Management. She said harm occurs mainly because of wrong diagnosis, wrong prescriptions, the improper use of medication, incorrect surgical procedures and health care associated infections.

WHO, Health Care, Patients
The World Health Organization is calling for urgent action to end bad health care practices responsible for killing millions of patients around the world every year. Pixabay

“But the major reason for this harm is that in the health care facilities, in the system there is lack of patient safety culture. And, that means that the leadership is not strong enough…So, lack of open communication, lack of systems to learn from mistakes and errors. So, already suppose errors are happening and harm is taking place. If you do not learn from it, it is really a lost opportunity,” she said.

Dhingra-Kuram said systems must be created where health care workers are encouraged to report mistakes and are not fearful of being blamed for reporting errors.

Besides the avoidable and tragic loss of life, WHO reports patient harm leads to economic losses of trillions of dollars globally each year. It says medication errors alone cost an estimated $42 billion annually.

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On the other hand, WHO says a study in the United States finds safety improvement in patient care has resulted in estimated savings of $28 billion in Medicare hospitals between 2010 and 2015. (VOA)