Health Wed, 22 Nov 2017 23:52:09 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Uganda Confirms 1 Death From Ebola-like Marburg Virus Uganda Confirms 1 Death From Ebola-like Marburg Virus

Uganda’s ministry of health confirmed Thursday that one person has died of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a close relative of the Ebola virus. Surveillance teams have deployed to the affected district in the eastern part of the country to contain the outbreak.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health says one of the two suspected cases of Marburg virus disease has been confirmed via laboratory tests conducted by the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

“The confirmed case was a 50-year-old female from Chemuron village, Kween District in Eastern Uganda. She presented with signs and symptoms suggestive of a viral hemorrhagic fever," said Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the minister for health. "Preliminary field investigations indicated that prior to her death, the deceased had nursed her 42-year-old brother, who had died on September 25, 2017 with similar signs and symptoms."

According to the World Health Organization, Marburg is transmitted via contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or the handling of infected animals. Local media report that the deceased woman’s brother was a hunter.

The Ministry of Health has dispatched a rapid response team to the Kween district.{loadposition myposition} 

“As of this morning, because their surveillance obviously started from the hospitals where the confirmed case passed away, we have ten health workers who have been listed as contacts, and they have already been isolated in their homes for follow up,”Aceng said.

Uganda is no stranger to viral hemorrhagic fever. The country has battled several outbreaks of Ebola, including an outbreak in 2000 that killed over 200 people.

Marburg is named after the town in Germany where it was first identified in 1967, though that outbreak was traced back to infected monkeys brought from Uganda.

“We have the caves that have the bats that are capable of transferring infection to man in different parts of the country. You can never know when the next outbreak will be. It depends on when man interacts with an infected bat from one of these caves,” said Dr. Miriam Nanyunja , the disease prevention and control officer for the WHO in Uganda.

A person suffering from Marburg presents with sudden onset of high-level fever and headache. This can be accompanied by vomiting, joint and muscle pain, and unexplained bleeding.

There is no cure or vaccine available for Marburg. Patients are given supportive treatment to increase their chance of survival.


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]]> (Concord Essen) Health Fri, 20 Oct 2017 11:34:36 +0000
Urgent Action Under Way to Prevent Spread of Cholera in West Africa Urgent Action Under Way to Prevent Spread of Cholera in West Africa

An emergency vaccination campaign is getting under way in northeastern Nigeria to prevent a deadly cholera outbreak from spreading to other countries.

The World Health Organization reports the potentially devastating cholera situation is emerging in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. During the past few months, it says 2,600 suspected cases of this fatal disease, including 48 deaths, have occurred in this former stronghold of Boko Haram. The militant group has been waging war to establish an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.{loadposition myposition}

Dominique Legros is cholera coordinator for WHO’s department for pandemic and epidemic diseases. He says the outbreak, which is centered in camps for internally displaced people, is spreading to other areas of northeastern Nigeria, toward Chad and northern Cameroon.

He says 900,000 people in the state will receive the oral cholera vaccine to quickly contain the spread of the disease.

“Once it is out of the box, once it has spread, it is very, very difficult to contain and we have a huge number of cases and deaths," he said. "So, this outbreak in Nigeria, hopefully, will not reach Chad, because in Chad already, we have an alert in the eastern part of the country towards the border with Sudan, 344 cases, 49 deaths.”

Legros says this comes to a 14 percent case fatality. He notes this is very high for a cholera outbreak, which usually has a case fatality rate of less than one percent.

WHO estimates the global cholera disease burden at around 2.9 million suspected cases, including 95,000 deaths. It reports Yemen has the world's worst cholera epidemic, with nearly 690,000 suspected cases and more than 2,000 deaths.

The agency expresses concern about the situation in Africa, where it reports tens of thousands of suspected cases and thousands of deaths in, among others; Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania.{loadposition myposition2}

]]> (VOA) Health Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:31:30 +0000
Cholera Outbreak Threatens More Than 1M People in Nigeria Refugee Camps Cholera Outbreak Threatens More Than 1M People in Nigeria Refugee Camps

At least 1.4 million people uprooted by Boko Haram's insurgency in northeast Nigeria are living in 'cholera hotspots,' prey to an outbreak of the deadly disease which is sweeping through camps for the displaced, the United Nations said on Thursday.

An estimated 28 people have died from cholera in the conflict-hit region, while about 837 are suspected to have been infected with the disease, including at least 145 children under the age of five, said the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF).

The outbreak was first identified last week in the Muna Garage camp in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which is the heart of jihadist group Boko Haram's brutal eight-year campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.

About 1.8 million people have abandoned their homes because of violence or food shortages, U.N. agencies say, and many live in camps for the displaced throughout northeast Nigeria.{loadposition myposition}

Several aid agencies last month told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that Nigeria's rainy season could spread disease in already unsanitary displacement camps, and 350,000 uprooted children aged under five are at risk of cholera, UNICEF said.

"Cholera is difficult for young children to withstand at any time, but becomes a crisis for survival when their resilience is already weakened by malnutrition, malaria and other waterborne diseases," UNICEF's Pernille Ironside said in a statement.

"Cholera is one more threat amongst many that children in northeast Nigeria are battling today in order to survive," added Ironside, UNICEF's deputy representative in Nigeria.

UNICEF said aid agencies have set up a cholera treatment centre at the Muna Garage camp, chlorinated water in camps and host communities to curb the outbreak, and mobilised volunteers and local leaders to refer suspected cases to health facilities.

The disease, which spreads through contaminated food and drinking water, causes diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It can kill within hours if left untreated, but most patients recover if treated promptly with oral rehydration salts.

The latest figures represent a 3.3 percent fatality rate - well above the 1 percent rate that the World Health Organization rates as an emergency. The short incubation period of two hours to five days means the disease can spread with explosive speed.

More than 20,000 people have been killed in the conflict with Boko Haram, at least 2.2 million have been displaced, and 5.2 million in the northeast are short of food, with tens of thousands living in famine-like conditions, U.N. figures show.{loadposition myposition2}

]]> (Concord Essen) Health Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:06:58 +0000
Controversial appointment: Fired Director of Laquintinie appointed Regional Delegate of Public Health Controversial appointment: Fired Director of Laquintinie appointed Regional Delegate of Public Health

The Minister of Public Health has appointed Jean II  Dissongo Regional Delegate of Public Health for Littoral, barely 19 months after his sacking.
The former director of Laquintinie was dismissed in 2016 by a ministerial order following the deaths of a pregnant  woman(Monique Komaté) and her unborn twins. {loadposition myposition}
In the wake the tragedy which made international headlines, the Minister of Public Health defied public demand for his resignation. Instead, he fired the director of the hospital on grounds that there was appalling poor management at the institution.

But shockingly, the same man who 'couldn't manage a simple hospital' has been giving the giant task of overseeing the health of a whole region.
What's happening?
Will Mama Fouda apologise and resign? {loadposition myposition2}

]]> (Concord Essen) Health Wed, 06 Sep 2017 16:46:52 +0000
Scientific breakthrough opens up vast new opportunities in combating heart disease Scientific breakthrough opens up vast new opportunities in combating heart disease

A landmark drug study has opened up a potent way to lower the risk of heart attacks — beyond the now standard advice of reducing cholesterol — promising new avenues of treatment of heart diseases and stroke.

The findings, more than two decades after the discovery of powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, taken by tens of millions, were announced Sunday at a medical conference in Barcelona and published in two leading medical journals.

Physicians not involved in the study described the results as a scientific triumph, calling the implications for drug treatment of heart disease “huge.”{loadposition myposition}

The findings provide validation of an idea that has been tantalizing cardiologists for years: that reducing inflammation could be a way to treat artery-clogging heart disease.

“It's a new paradigm: a new opportunity to further reduce death and disability,” said Mark Creager, a past president of the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study. “We’ve made such tremendous inroads in treating heart disease over the last couple of decades, and it’s hard to imagine we could confer additional benefits, but here you go.”

But the implications and timing of any benefit for patients remain to be seen. The drug company that sponsored the trial, Novartis, plans to meet with regulators this fall and file for approval by the end of the year. The drug, an injection given once every three months, would then be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

A key question is which patients will benefit; the study showed its effect — a 15 percent drop in a combined measure of heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular death — in a select, high-risk population of people who had suffered a previous heart attack and had high levels of a marker of inflammation in their blood. But a subset of patients appeared to get greater benefit from the drug, called canakinumab.

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]]> (Concord Essen) Health Mon, 28 Aug 2017 07:27:12 +0000
Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest: What’s the Difference? Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest: What’s the Difference?

What Is It?

Cardiac arrest, sometimes called sudden cardiac arrest, means that your heart suddenly stops beating. This cuts off blood flow to the brain and other organs. It’s an emergency and is deadly if not treated immediately. Call an ambulance right away!

Cardiac arrest is quick and drastic: You suddenly collapse, lose consciousness, have no pulse, and aren’t breathing. Right before it happens, you could be very tired, dizzy, weak, short of breath, or sick to your stomach. You may pass out or have chest pain. But not always. Cardiac arrest can happen with no warning signs at all.
What Happens

Your heart has an electrical system that keeps it beating regularly. Cardiac arrest can strike if the electrical signals go haywire and cause an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. There are different types of arrhythmias, and most aren’t dangerous. One called ventricular fibrillation triggers cardiac arrest the most. If this happens, the heart can’t pump enough blood to your body. That’s life-threatening within minutes.
 Heart Disease Link

Many people who have cardiac arrest also have coronary artery disease. Often, that’s where the trouble starts. Having coronary artery disease means less blood flows into your heart. This can lead to a heart attack that damages your heart’s electrical system.
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Other Causes

Cardiac arrest can also happen for other reasons, including:

    Major blood loss or severe lack of oxygen
    Intense exercise, if you have heart problems
    Too high levels of potassium or magnesium, which could lead to a deadly heart rhythm
    Your genes. You may inherit certain arrhythmias or a tendency to get them.
    Changes to your heart's structure. For instance, an enlarged heart or changes caused by an infection.

Not a Heart Attack

Unlike cardiac arrest, your heart doesn’t usually stop during a heart attack. Rather, blood flow is blocked in a heart attack, so your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen. That can kill some of the heart muscle. But the two are linked: The scar tissue that grows as you recover from a heart attack can mess with the heart’s electrical signals and could put you at risk. And a heart attack itself can sometimes trigger cardiac arrest.  

Not Heart Failure, Either

Cardiac arrest strikes suddenly. It’s an instant crisis. Heart failure is different. It’s a condition where your heart gets weaker over time until it can’t send enough blood and oxygen around your body. When your cells don’t get enough of these nutrients, your body doesn’t work as well. You may find it hard to catch your breath when you do simple things like carry groceries, climb stairs, or even walk.

At Risk for Cardiac Arrest

It’s more likely if you:

    Have coronary artery disease (This is the biggest risk.)
    Are a man
    Have had arrhythmias or cardiac arrest, or someone in your family has
    Smoke or abuse drugs or alcohol
    Have had one or more heart attacks
    Have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart failure
    Are obese

Intense Emotion

Sudden strong feelings, especially out-of-control anger, can prompt arrhythmias that trigger cardiac arrest. Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression also may make you more likely to have it. That’s one more reason to tell your doctor or see a counselor if you’re having a hard time.


If you have cardiac arrest, you need immediate treatment with a defibrillator, a machine that sends an electric shock to the heart. This shock sometimes can get your heart to beat normally again. But it must be done within minutes to help. First responders like police, firefighters, and paramedics usually have a defibrillator and know how to use it. Some public places have a version of the machine, called an AED, that anyone can use.

AED: What to Do

You don’t need training to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). Just follow the directions. This device can sense dangerous arrhythmias and send a lifesaving shock to the heart if needed. If you think someone is having cardiac arrest, call 911 and send someone to look for an AED. Do CPR until the AED or emergency responders arrive.
At the Hospital

The doctors will watch you closely. They will try to find out what caused your cardiac arrest and treat the problem. If you have coronary artery disease, you may get a bypass or a procedure called angioplasty to open narrowed or blocked arteries in your heart. You may also get medicines and advice for lifestyle changes to lower your chances of having it again.

See a Cardiologist

After you recover, you’ll see a heart doctor (cardiologist), who will check your heart’s electrical system and come up with your treatment plan to try to prevent another cardiac arrest. You might get blood tests and other types of studies to check on your heart.

See a Cardiologist

After you recover, you’ll see a heart doctor (cardiologist), who will check your heart’s electrical system and come up with your treatment plan to try to prevent another cardiac arrest. You might get blood tests and other types of studies to check on your heart.

Cardiac Catheterization

Your doctor may put a soft, thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your neck, arm, or upper thigh and guide it to your heart. She may send a special dye that’s visible on X-rays into the tube to check for narrowed or blocked arteries. She can also test your heart’s response to certain drugs or electrical signals. She may even use the tube to do angioplasty, a procedure to open blocked arteries.

If You Need an ICD

This device is a small automated defibrillator that a surgeon can implant under your skin to send an electric shock to your heart if it finds certain irregular heartbeats. Your doctor may suggest that you get one if you have severe heart disease or have already had cardiac arrest. A surgeon places the ICD under your skin. Some devices include a pacemaker as well as an ICD to keep your heart rhythm regular.

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]]> (Concord Essen) Health Thu, 24 Aug 2017 14:57:16 +0000
Douala: Medical staff from 'Mercy Africa' ship to provide over 3,000 free surgeries in the next 10 months Douala: Medical staff from 'Mercy Africa'  ship to provide over 3,000 free surgeries in the next 10 months

The world’s largest non-government hospital ship is docked in Cameroon’s commercial capital, Douala. Medical staff and volunteers from around the world plan to provide nearly 3,000 free surgeries on the ship over the next 10 months. Local health care gaps remain enormous.

Fifteen patients board the Africa Mercy.

Bernadette Aboudjio traveled 600 kilometers from eastern Cameroon. Her two children suffer from club foot.

She said she brought them here because she has been told that they will get free operations. She said she is very grateful because she does not have the money to take the children to the hospital.

Club foot is just one of many ailments for which little surgical treatment is available in Cameroon.

The Ministry of Health reports that the country has just 4,200 medical doctors for a population of 23 million, and only about half are practicing.

This ambulance rushed to the Yaounde general hospital last month to find hundreds of patients suffering kidney defects blocking the hospital entrance. They said they had not received treatment for two months. Their leader, Aloise Ovidi, said almost all equipment was broken.

He said the government has not been fulfilling its promises even though it is aware 32 people living with kidney defects had died in less than two months.{loadposition myposition}

He said others can no longer walk because only eight of the 17 dialysis machines at the general hospital in Yaounde are functioning. He said instead of the four hours of treatment, patients are receiving just three.

Outside the two main cities of Yaounde and Douala, quality medical care is even harder to find. The Ministry of Health says the majority of the population relies instead of traditional healers.

Cameroon’s health minister, Andre Mama Fouda, told VOA only seven percent of the national budget is allocated for health care.

He said raising that allocation to 15 percent would enable the country to develop the health sector, including infrastructure and surgical equipment. He said many more people should have access to health care but unfortunately the country has many other development priorities and only limited resources.

Back in the waters off Douala, flags fly on the Africa Mercy, the gigantic white vessel housing Mercy Ships' mobile hospital. The flags represent some of the 40 nationalities of the medical staff and volunteers on board.

Warie Blackburn is the managing director of Mercy Ships. The U.S.-based charity has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978.

“About 3,000 people from Cameroon we are hoping to help surgically. In addition, we are also planning to help with the training of the doctors, the nurses and other health professionals," said Blackburn.

She said they have selected the patients on the basis of need, focusing on surgeries that cannot be performed in local hospitals for lack of equipment and qualified staff. Such surgeries include tumor removal and repair of hernias, obstetric fistulas, cleft palates and cataracts.

The government of Cameroon is providing transportation, lodging and food for patients and their families while they receive care.

Mercy Ships hopes to train 1,000 local health care workers to do follow up care and help other patients before the ship raises anchor in June 2018.


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]]> (Concord Essen) Health Thu, 24 Aug 2017 14:52:41 +0000
HIV/AIDS is no more the leading cause of death in Africa HIV/AIDS is no more the leading cause of death in Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has updated its data on global deaths with Africa experiencing a decrease in the recurrent leading causes of death including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

The new death statistics researched by African fact-checking organisation, Africa Check, indicated that lifestyle diseases have taken over as the leading causes of death on the continent.

Top on the list are lower respiratory tract infections. These are caused by viruses and bacteria that target airways and lungs.

The most common diseases under this category is bronchitis or pneumonia which is responsible for 16% of global deaths of children younger than five.

HIV/AIDS took the number two position despite the increase in education on prevention and treatment.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus disables the immune system restricting defence against infections.{loadposition myposition} 

An estimated 760,000 deaths from HIV/AIDS and related complications were recorded in Africa in 2015, against the 1 million deaths in 2010.

The third leading cause of death in Africa are diarrhoeal diseases caused by viral, bacterial or parasitic infections.

This is the passage of three or more liquid stools per day or more than normal for a person.

88% of deaths in this category worldwide are due to unsafe water, poor sanitation and insufficient hygiene, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is the second leading cause of death of children younger than five in Africa.

The next leading cause of death is stroke which has increased over the past five years from 406,595 (4.4% of deaths) to 451,000 deaths (4.9%) in 2015.

This disease occurs when blood flow to a region of the brain is interrupted by either a clot or bleeding, depriving the body of oxygen and nutrients.

The next leading cause of death in Africa is the ischaemic heart disease or commonly known as heart attack.

This is the narrowing of the arteries of the heart due to the buildup of plaques causing less oxygen to reach portions of the heart. When fully blocked, damage is caused to the heart and death occurs.

In 2010, 389,785 deaths were as a result of heart attack (or 4.2% of total deaths). This increased in 2015 to an estimated 441,000 deaths (or 4.8% of the total).

The sixth leading cause of death in Africa is tuberculosis (456,000 or 4.7% of total), followed by malaria (403,000, or 4.4%), preterm birth complications (344,000 or 3.7%), birth asphyxia or trauma (321,000 or 3.5%) and road injury (269,000 or 2.9%).

This information includes 2015 WHO data. The estimates are based on the latest available national information on deaths collected from national civil registration systems of deaths, with the underlying cause of death captured by the national authority or partner organisations.


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]]> (Concord Essen) Health Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:50:17 +0000
Contraband drugs flood Cameroon markets, despite Gov’t fight against Contraband drugs flood Cameroon markets, despite Gov’t fight against

The health sector in Cameroon and the world at large is faced with the inflation of contraband drugs in markets, hospitals, streets and pharmacies.

Despite Government efforts to check the importation and sale of illicit drugs in the country, contraband drugs in pharmacies and streets remain a major scourge to the population and society at large.

Man is vulnerable to some diseases and infections, causing illnesses such as; malaria, typhoid, stomach disorder, headache, among others.

Most inhabitants turn to look on to the ‘local chemists’ who sell drugs on the streets, rather than going to the hospitals.

They say going to the hospital is quite costly.{loadposition myposition} 

Speaking to this reporter, Elizabeth Shuri, said roadside drugs are cheaper.

“I prefer buying drugs from the ‘chemists’ on the roadside, because, it is less expensive and saves huge sums of money, which I ought to spend in hospitals for so called consultation and tests,” she said.

Another inhabitant, Edmond Fru, said he prefers getting drugs from the ‘local chemist’, because, most hospitals, nowadays, focus more on selling their drugs, rather than treating patients.

In an exclusive interview, the Administrator of the Southwest Regional Fund for Health Promotion,   Ngondo  Musenja,  warned inhabitants of the Region to beware of counterfeit, stolen and illicit medications which put their health and life at risk.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, estimates that up to 30 percent of medicines available in developing countries are likely to be imitations.{loadposition myposition2} 


]]> (Abeh Valery) Health Sat, 29 Jul 2017 17:50:56 +0000
Anti-HIV vagina ring to be tested in Africa Anti-HIV vagina ring to be tested in Africa

Plans are underway to introduce a vagina ring in Africa which is expected to curb HIV infection  by 56%.
The ring has already been tested in teenage girls in the US, reports the BBC.
Infused with microbicides, the ring, which sits on the cervix, has been shown to cut infections by 56%, according to the BBC.

The six-month US trial gave the ring to 96 sexually active girls aged 15 to 17, who had not used it before. {loadposition myposition}

Data presented at the IAS Conference on HIV Science, showed:
◾87% of the girls had detectable levels of the drug in their vagina
◾95% said the ring was easy to use
◾74% said they did not notice the ring in day-to-day life, the BBC reports.
Reports say the ring enhances satisfaction, contrary to initial concerns.
The ring which is removed every month, will help  protect women from the 'dishonesty' of some men, who can't be trusted when using condoms.{loadposition myposition2}
In fact, some men tend to break condoms when making love to women.

]]> (Concord Essen) Health Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:28:49 +0000