WHO priorities 2019

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a number of issues that will demand its attention during the course of this year. Many will not come as a surprise to readers but others might.

 

Air-pollution and climate change.

9/10 people breath in polluted air every day and air-pollution Is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health. Encouraging world leaders to take the climate change issue seriously when self-interest is also an issue continues to be a challenge.

 

Non-communicable diseases.

These are responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide and include illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Over 85% of these premature deaths are in the low to middle income countries and the rise of these diseases has been driven by five major risk factors. These are tobacco, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol, diet and pollution. All of which have been highlighted on this blog and we will continue to do so.

 

Global flu pandemic.

Every year the world faces a flu pandemic. We don’t know when or where it will hit but we know that it will hit hard somewhere in the world. Flu vaccines are constantly being developed to protect people from seasonal flu because there are many different strains, and combinations of flu strains and research is an ongoing need.

 

Fragile and vulnerable settings.

Many of the poorest countries in the world will suffer drought, famine, conflict, and population displacement. They have weak health services which leave them without access to basic care. WHO continue to be active in these areas.

 

Antimicrobial resistance.

The overuse of antibiotics in both people and animals – especially those used for food production, is creating drug resistance within the population. Taken to its extreme, the inability to prevent infections could seriously compromise surgery as well as procedures such as chemotherapy.

 

Ebola and other threats.

Ebola continues to be a threat and 2018 saw two separate outbreaks. WHO has designated 2019 as a “year of action on preparing this for health emergencies“.

 

Weak primary healthcare.

Primary healthcare is usually the first point of contact people have with the health care system and ideally should provide comprehensive affordable community-based care throughout life.

 

Many countries do not have such adequate primary healthcare facilities and WHO will work with partners to strengthen primary healthcare in such countries during 2019.

 

Vaccine hesitancy.

Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease and it currently prevents between 2m and 3m deaths a year. However, measles has seen a 30% increase in cases globally due to vaccine hesitancy which, if such attitudes develop, could see the return of diseases that were long thought to be under control.

 

These 8 issues will keep a very busy and important organisation occupied in 2019 directing and coordinating health work where it is most needed on an international stage.

Mayfair, we care.

Source:

https://www.who.int/about

Global health 2017 scorecard: what have we achieved so far?



The beginning of every New Year comes with a promise of hope and concern.

 It was no different for 2017. New threats and new regimes promised to tug the world of global health in different and unknown directions. In fact, everyone is already feeling the road of change among us.

As the year wears on, the global health sector is filled with measured hope for progress and a huge air of uncertainty. Climate change, refugee crises, and global migration are also in the list of the things affecting the global state of health. If you come to think of it, the course of these three will come to affect the state of global health for many coming decades or centuries.

Three quarters of the way through the year is an appropriate moment to reflect on what 2017 has done to the state of health; have we achieved anything?

Alternatively, has complacency taken centre stage allowing apathy to set it? We look at some of the outstanding health issues that would objectively show the highs and lows facing the health sector in 2017.

The era of superbug

A Nevada woman visited India where she broke her thigh and got a bacterial infection. That was last summer. Back in Nevada, she went in for treatment. As the world knows it, antibiotics would stop the infection. But this time they did not.

 

Not just one type of antibiotics but rather the 26 of them available in the world today could not stop the bacterial infection.

As it came to be called in the medical corridors, this was a superbug. It could not be stopped by the extensive medicine arsenal the world has today. Sadly, these incurable infections are claiming 700,000 lives each year.

After the UN General Assembly recommended some ways to deal with the threat last September, this is yet to be put into action.

The perilous complacency around HIV

If it was possible for fatigue and progress to reproduce then they would surely call it Complacency?

The world has come far with HIV. You can now comfortably say treatment and management of the virus are at a better place. Dealing with stigma is no longer a big problem among victims and their families. The world has come to understand HIV. Great achievement you would say.

However, that is how far the good news goes about HIV. In a place like Namibia, HIV infection rate among women stand at 31%.

People no longer see HIV as a threat: they perceive it as a normal life condition. That is dangerous. Complacency has set it and the results are new infections that in a single swipe could take to drain all the achievement the world has had all these years.

Zika has settled in

Approximately a year ago, the World Health Organization declared a state of emergency for Zika virus. Surprisingly, 10 months later the emergency was lifted. Why? It is no longer a threat. No vaccine for Zika yet. The virus is not going away. Just like yellow fever and malaria, Zika is not going anywhere.

The world had better prepare because it is far from over with Zika.

A dead end for reproductive health

With new world leaders taking office in the last 12 months, reproductive health funding took a turn for the worse.

Bodies under the umbrella of better reproductive health have had to deal with constrained funding and bureaucracy in getting projects approved. The world is at a better place with very few maternal death rates, teen births and abortions. But the politics around reproductive health threatens to bring down all the achievements.

In summary

In terms of health, the world is at a better place in 2017 than the years before. New vaccines, continued research and societies that are more informed are some of the things to be proud of. However, complacency and bad politics threaten to wash away all that has been achieved. It is time humanity puts its best interests first and health is one of them.

And remember, Mayfair cares.

An update on the Zika virus - where has the danger spread to?


According to World Health Organization (WHO), Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that was first discovered in Uganda, 1947 in monkeys. It comes from the Zika forest of Uganda Later in 1952; it was discovered in humans in now both Uganda and Tanzania.

Zika virus can be transmitted through a mosquito, Aedes aegypti which bites in the evenings, sexual transmission in partners, and mother to child during pregnancy and blood transfusions.

Brief History

1947- It was first discovered in Uganda, where monkeys tested positive for the Zika virus.

1952- It was discovered in human beings where at first the symptoms resembled those of yellow fever.

1954-1983- The virus spread across African and Asian countries during this period

2007- The first outbreak of Zika virus beyond Africa and Asia was discovered on the Island of Yap in the Federal States of Micronesia. 

2013-2014- Zika virus spread to French Polynesia, Easter Island, Cook Islands and New Caledonia.

2015- Zika virus crossed borders from Brazil to countries in South America, North America, Central America and the Caribbean. It is estimated that 1.5 million people have been infected by Zika virus in Brazil.

2016- World Health Organization declared Zika virus as a long term disaster rather than an emergency.

2017- Angola reported two cases of the Zika virus.

Zika virus at the moment

According to newsroom reports, below is the statistics as per today.

Caribbean

There are 598 confirmed cases of Zika virus.

South America 

There are 5439 confirmed cases of Zika virus.

Mexico, Florida and Texas 

There is evidence of Zika virus in the US & Mexico. Expectant mothers and those intending to conceive together with their partners have been warned not to travel to Zika transmission areas.

Zika forecast

With a view of the Aedes aegypti map, Africa, South America and Asian countries will have highest infections of Zika virus infection in the next five years. The infections will primarily be transmitted through mosquito bite.

What can we do?

It is said prevention is better than cure and as we can see in the current situation cure is becoming hard to find and if it is there, not everyone can afford the cost that comes with it. Health providers have therefore come up with preventive measures for people to follow.

• Sleep under treated mosquito net. It is recommended everyone should try and sleep under a net more especially those in affected regions.

• Shut windows and doors to avoid entry of the mosquitoes. Apply insect repellent. This can apply to people who do not want to use a net. The repellent has an annoying scent to keep off these tiny monsters.

• Wear clothes that cover 99% of your skin to minimize mosquito biting.

• Abstaining from sexual acts with infected people.

• Using protection when engaging in sexual act with an infected person.

For Expectant mothers

Avoid unnecessary travel to regions that are prone to the Zika virus until after delivery.

Zika Vaccine

Scientists are working round the clock to come up with the vaccine. It is expected that by 2018, health facilities across the Globe will be fully equipped with the vaccine.

And remember, Mayfair Cares and will keep you informed.

References

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/yes-zika-will-soon-spread-united-states-it-won-t-be-disaster

https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/health/what-is-zika-virus.html?_r=0

 

Some Zika virus do’s & don’ts – a practical guide.


With the Rio Olympics and Paralympics over, the focus for the Zika virus has moved with hotspots of the virus being reported across the Africa and Asia Pacific regions due largely to mosquito friendly weather conditions.

A recent cluster of cases in Singapore has given cause for concern and if you live in any of the regions affected, or are likely to be visiting, then you may find the following facts, do’s and don’ts very helpful:

Key facts

·         Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.

·         People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.

·         These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

·         There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

·         Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated

Do’s:

Prevent and control mosquito breeding by:

    • Covering all water tanks and containers with tight lids.
    • Disposing & destroying all unused containers, junk materials, tyres, coconut shells etc.
    • Emptying, scrubbing & dry deserting coolers every week before refilling.
    • Using larvivorous fish in ornamental tanks at houses and hotels
    • Observing a weekly dry day
    • Emptying and scrubbing all containers holding water for a week like bird bath, flower vase, ant-trappers etc

 

For Personal Protection

·         Use bed-net at home and hospital during Dengue/ Zika Virus fever to prevent mosquito bite so as to interrupt transmission.

·         To avoid mosquito bite during day time wear full sleeved clothing and apply mosquito repellent.

For managing fever

·         Use paracetamol for fever.

 Don’ts

    • Don’t allow water to stagnate in and around your house in coolers, buckets barrels, flower pots, bird baths, freeze trays, coconut shells etc.
    • Don’t throw broken utensils, unused bottles, tins, old tyres and other junk materials here and there as Aedes mosquitoes breed in these objects during rainy season.
    • Don’t use Aspirin to treat fever.
    • There is no specific medicine for Zika Virus disease
    • Don't self-medicate – always consult your doctor 

Prevention against Mosquito Bites

Protection against mosquito bites is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection. This can be done by wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as window screens or closing doors and windows; sleeping under mosquito nets; and using insect repellent containing DEET, IR3535 or icaridin according to the product label instructions.

Special attention and help should be given to those who may not be able to protect themselves adequately, such as young children, the sick or elderly. Travellers and those living in affected areas should take the basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

More information is available on www.who.int as well as government websites.

Keep safe if you are travelling around and remember – Mayfair Cares.

With acknowledgement and thanks to the World Health Organisation