Tuesday January 28, 2020

World Health Organization: “Historic Step” towards Polio-Free World

Global polio cases have been cut by more than 99% since 1988, but type 1 polio virus is still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan

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World, Health, Historic
Afghan women wearing burqas from a polio immunization team walk together during a vaccination campaign in Kandahar, Oct. 15, 2019. Polio immunization is compulsory in Afghanistan, but distrust of vaccines is rife. VOA

The World Health Organization welcomed an “historic step” towards a polio-free world on Thursday as an expert panel certified that the second of three types of the crippling virus has been eradicated globally.

The announcement by the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication means that only wild polio virus type 1 is still circulating, after type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015, and type 3 this week.

Global polio cases have been cut by more than 99% since 1988, but type 1 polio virus is still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it has infected a total of 88 people this year. That is a resurgence from a record low global annual figure of 22 cases in 2017.

“The eradication of wild polio virus type 3 is a major milestone towards a polio-free world, but we cannot relax,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa.

World, Health, Historic
The announcement by the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication means that only wild polio virus type 1 is still circulating, after type 2 was declared eradicated. Pixabay

Seth Berkley, chief executive of the GAVI vaccine alliance, said it was “a tremendous victory in the fight against polio.”

Polio invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours. It cannot be cured, but infection can be prevented by vaccination – and a dramatic reduction in cases worldwide in recent decades has been due to intense national and regional immunization campaigns in babies and children.

In unvaccinated populations, however, polio viruses can re emerge and spread swiftly. Cases of vaccine-derived polio can also occur in places where immunity is low and sanitation is poor, as vaccinated people can excrete the virus, putting the unvaccinated at risk.

The Philippines last month said it was planning an emergency vaccination campaign after polio re-surfaced and caused the first two recorded polio cases there for 20 years.

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Moeti urged governments to be vigilant: “Countries must strengthen routine immunization to protect communities, ramp up routine surveillance so that we are able to detect even the slightest risk of polio re-emerging,” she said in a statement. (VOA)

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Ways to Correct Your Posture for a Healthy Life

Build better posture for good health

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Posture
Maintaining a poor posture for long periods of time affects the natural alignment of the body and lowers energy levels. Pixabay

Poor posture can not only make you look bad but can also have adverse effects on your overall health and lifestyle.

“Maintaining poor postures for long periods of time affects the natural alignment of the body and lowers energy levels. In addition to soreness and pain in the body, poor posture can also lead to physical and mental stress.

“Postures defects can negatively influence lung function and lead to shortness of breath. Long term effects of bad posture could even impact blood circulation, digestive pattern as well as the nervous system. People who tend to slouch have also often reported having headaches,” Dr Sumalatha KB, Consultant, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Aster CMI Hospital told IANSlife.

Posture
Become more mindful of your posture throughout the day, even when you are absorbed in any external activities. Pixabay

The expert shares these top tips to maintain correct postures:

1. Become more mindful of your posture throughout the day, even when you are absorbed in any external activities. Exercises focusing on the body core help immensely in retraining the body to hold itself the right way, while also increasing self-awareness of the body.

2. Exercise in the correct form, and invest in rest and recovery after a workout. Engage in muscle-strengthening exercises.

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3. It is advised to switch sitting positions, take brief walks and breaks from the computer system on your workdays. Do not stay in the sitting position for too long. Ensure you stand/walk often and stand straight while you do it. Doing this can help you prevent pain, injuries and other health problems. (IANS)