Saturday December 7, 2019

World Health Organization Reports Oral Cholera Vaccine Campaign to Stem Cholera Outbreak in Sudan

The government declared the cholera outbreak in Blue Nile State on September 8, with other cases reported from Sinnar State soon after

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World, Health, Cholera
Blue Nile State , Sudan. VOA

The World Health Organization reports an oral cholera vaccine campaign later this month is only one of a number of actions it will implement to stem a cholera outbreak in Sudan.

Latest reports from Sudan’s Health Ministry put the number of confirmed cholera cases at 215, including eight deaths.   The government declared the cholera outbreak in Blue Nile State on September 8, with other cases reported from Sinnar State soon after.

The World Health Organization warns six other states are at risk.  WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says past experience shows quick action is needed to contain this deadly disease.

“There were cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhea from August 2016 until March 2018, with more than 36,000 cases, and lessons from this outbreak have been incorporated in the response plan that is currently being put in place by the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO and other partners,” Jasarevic said.

World, Health, Cholera
Latest reports from Sudan’s Health Ministry put the number of confirmed cholera cases at 215, including eight deaths. Pixabay

WHO notes that previous outbreak had affected 18 states, leading to the deaths of 823 people, 15% of them children under age 5. It says WHO staff is monitoring water quality at the community level and improving infection prevention measures at health facilities.

Jasarevic says WHO, the U.N. children’s fund and partners will launch an oral vaccination campaign in mid-October.  He says it will be funded by the GAVI Alliance. Could we explain who this is?

“We aim to vaccinate 1.6 million people in eight localities in the two states which have confirmed cholera cases,” Jasarevic said. “Again, those are Blue Nile and Sinnar States.  The vaccination will be as in other OCV campaigns for everyone above age of 1 year and will include lactating and pregnant women.”

Jasarevic says cholera vaccines are given in two doses, so a second round will follow at a later date.

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Cholera and other diarrheal diseases are a recurring problem in Sudan because of the country’s weak health infrastructure and dilapidated safe water and sewage system.  WHO warns these factors heighten the risk of cholera spreading widely unless needed responses are immediately adopted.

WHO says it needs $10 million to $15 million to contain the current outbreak in the coming three to six months. (VOA)

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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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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)