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Concerns raised over typhoid outbreak in Zimbabwe
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Community Water Alliance (CWA) report that they are gravely concerned by recent reports of an outbreak of typhoid in some parts of Harare’s high-density suburbs.

The organizations say that according to media reports and monitoring reports by CWA’s health monitors, typhoid cases have been recently recorded in some of Harare’s high-density suburbs. More than 800 cases of typhoid are reported to have been recorded since January and several people have received treatment.

ZLHR and CWA say that they are appalled that in 2019, the country continues to record outbreaks of cases of typhoid, a  ‘medieval’ water-borne disease that is largely preventable.

“This is an indictment on local and central government and exposes gross negligence on the part of the state that continues to dismally fail to fulfil constitutional obligations” they say.

It is reported that the prevailing situation in high density suburbs of Glenview and Budiriro is an affront to citizens’ fundamental right to health care, the right to clean, safe and potable water, the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being, the right to dignity and the right to life.

They add that the constitution, particularly section 48, section 51, section 73, section 76 and section 77, places an obligation on state actors to ensure that citizens’ rights are not compromised but progressively realised.

“Therefore, it is imperative that government takes these rights seriously and upholds the fundamental obligations contained in the supreme law of the land,” they said.

ZLHR and CWA said that they consider  the current typhoid outbreak as a terrible consequence of local and central government’s failure to commit adequate resources, and lack of capacity to manage the country’s health care system and provide basic services such as water and sanitation infrastructure.

They say that over the years, they have previously repeatedly highlighted the key drivers of the outbreak of typhoid and other waterborne diseases which include the erratic supplies of clean water in most urban communities,
the supply of contaminated water, and failure to attend to the leaking of raw sewage into the environment.

“We have also condemned the continued destruction of wetlands in Harare as wetlands play a critical role in purifying ground water, which can also minimise the contamination of sources of water,” they add.

The organizations say that both City of Harare and government should take immediate decisive action to contain the typhoid outbreak before the problem reaches unsustainable levels.

ZLHR and CWA make the following recommendations:

•        All relevant government actors must robustly respond to cases of typhoid before the problem reaches unsustainable levels;

•       Through relevant line ministries and the local authorities, the state must come up with an urgent, well-resourced comprehensive plan that adequately provides for responsive mechanisms to any suspected cases of typhoid across the country;

•       Government must implement urgent and effective measures for the provision of safe, clean, potable water as a direct measure to combat the spread of typhoid;

•       Government should roll out a well-publicised campaign as part of a public awareness campaign on
prevention of the spread of typhoid and containing it wherever it is reported;

•       Government must set up a commission of enquiry that looks into the recurrence of a preventable disease and come up with recommendations for non-recurrence in the future;

•       Government must increase funding allocation on water, sanitation and hygiene and strive to achieve 15% allocation to health as stipulated in the Abuja Declaration in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens;

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Abuse of cannabis and alcohol on the rise in Ghana -Yale report.
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority Dr Akwas Osei

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority Dr Akwas Osei

 

A research shepherded by a group of scholars from Yale University in the US and the University of Ghana, Legon, has revealed that 41 percent Ghanaians are mentally unstable due to abuse of cannabis and alcohol. The report also says the country is experiencing low level of productivity as a result of the trend and has amounted to seven per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Reacting to the impact of this, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority Dr Akwas Osei said apart from the loss in GDP, mental health problems are threatening the security of Ghanaians as such situations could even lead to attacks on one another due the frustrations one might be going through. Dr Osei, added the 41 percent figure is largely a mental disorders, caused by psychological distress.

Speaking in an interview in Accra at the sidelines of an international conference on precision in psychiatric medicine, he debunked the belief that the use of cannabis has no effect on one’s mental health and said studies over the years had shown a strong and indisputable correlation between the two.

“Cannabis distorts the ability of one’s brain to grow the way it should so one is not able to reason or judge properly,” he said, adding that many users of cannabis dropped out of school because of their inability to cope with academic work.  He, however, expressed the hope that with the coming into effect of the Mental Health Law and a Legislative Instrument to support it, a mental health levy would be exacted from Ghanaians to provide funding for the sector.

According to the Counseling Center, Faculty of Education, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, C/R Ghana, reports from school surveys in countries across Africa show that the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by adolescents start with alcohol and cigarettes. The average age at first use of substances ranged between 14-19 years, with extremes of 6 and 25 years.

The findings indicate that substances most commonly used by the youth included alcohol, cigarette, cannabis, cocaine, tranquilizer and heroine and more common either at the school or at home.  Some of the reasons given for alcohol and drug use among the youth centered on the perceived benefits, such as enabling them to study, to do hard work, to get rid of shyness, and to forget about their problems; for curiosity, for fun, and due to peer pressure.

Other reasons include the lack of parental control and rebelling against parents.  In previous studies conducted in some other African countries and in Ghana researchers seem to indicate that lifetime prevalence rates of alcohol, cigarette, and cannabis are significantly greater for boys compared to girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHO rejects idea of closing Rwanda-DRC border over Ebola
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Health workers fighting Ebola outbreak in DRC

Health workers fighting Ebola outbreak in DRC

World Health Organization have rejected calls to  order  Rwanda to close its border with Goma city of Democratic Republic of Congo over Ebola outbreak.

Since August 2018, Eastern parts of Democratic Republic of Congo have  been hit by Ebola disease that  have claimed over 1600 lives.

WHO says that since the outbreak, there are 2512 confirmed or probable cases, including 136 health workers affected, with 40 deaths among them.

Early this week,  a new case was reported in Goma, a city in the East of Congo that borders with Rwanda.

The new patient was travelling from Beni, the epicenter of  the outbreak to Goma. Upon arriving to Goma, he went to the health center,  there he was confirmed to having Ebola and died hours later.

Many people who got in contact with patient were put in quarantine and are being monitored.

On Wednesday, 17 July 2019 in Geneva, WHO convened a meeting of the International Health Regulations  Emergency Committee for Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On the agenda of the day, the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was reviewed.

The statement released after the meeting, said that  Beni remains the epicenter  of the outbreak, with 46% of the cases over the last three weeks.

On the new case that was found in Goma, WHO rejected the idea of closing border with Rwanda as to avoid the outbreak from spreading to neighboring  countries.

About 15,000 people cross the border from Goma to Rwanda every day, as Goma is an important centre of economic activities with Rwanda.

 

“Closing this border would strongly affect the population of Goma and have adverse implications for the response. There is a continuing need for increased awareness among the population on the outbreak situation and stronger engagement on health-seeking behaviors”, the statement says

WHO urges that no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel and trade.

“Such measures are usually implemented out of fear and have no basis in science. They push the movement of people and goods to informal border crossings that are not monitored, thus increasing the chances of the spread of disease”, WHO urges

Rwanda has placed surveillance cameras on the border with Congo that helps to screen Ebola on the people who cross every day.

WHO says  the level of preparedness in Goma and priority actions for Rwanda show  significant improvements .

However there is  fear that Goma is close to international airports which  could contribute in spreading  the disease.

WHO advised national authorities to  work with airlines and other transport and tourism industries to ensure that they do not exceed  advice on international traffic.

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South Sudan: Gunshot injuries remain high despite peace deal
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Restoring essential health services after Cyclone Idai in Mozambique
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Set pragmatic measures to achieve MCHN- WHO to Ghana
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Dr Kaluwa

Dr Kaluwa

The 2018 Atlas for African Health Statistics published by the World Health Organization WHO, World Bank, UNICEF and others showed that Ghana had a lot of work to do to reach the SDG target on Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition, MCHN.

According to the report, the country in 2015 had a maternal mortality ratio of 319 deaths per 100,000 live births. If the current rate of reduction is maintain, the country is bound to reach a ratio of 210 per 100,000 live births in 2030 against the SDG target of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Meanwhile, under-five mortality in Ghana in 2015 estimated to have a rate of 61 deaths per 1,000 live births. Meaning at the current pace, Ghana could only reach 36.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2030 against the target of 25 deaths per 1,000 live births.

This, the  WHO Country Representative in Ghana, Dr Owen Kaluwa said it is clear that doing business as usual will not lead to the achievement of the SDGs for MCHN targets by 2030, and called for fast-tracked action and collective work, to speed up the implementation of programs and interventions. Currently, maternal mortality remained unacceptably high, with 830 women globally, dying daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. He added even though progress has been made in addressing MCHN over the years, pragmatic measures are to be taken both globally and on the Africa Region.

Dr Kaluwa who was speaking at the opening of the second annual MCHN, in Accra under the theme: “Enhancing Integrated Reproductive Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition to Accelerate the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”. He stated in 2017 alone, over six million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable cause of diseases. He emphasized the need for Ghana, to process set up the right stage and environment to scale-up interventions that are ongoing to address the issue. Citing the National Health Sector Medium Term Development Plan, highlighted MCHN as a priority, and the adoption of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as overreaching health sector initiatives to enhance progress.

He pledged the WHO’s commitment to support Ghana and all stakeholders to improve the health of Ghanaians .However the Director General of Health Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said Ghana over the years has sustained efforts at reducing mortality rate among women and children through the implementation of different programs driven by global and national evidence, amidst dwindling donor funding. He  explain the Service recorded its lowest maternal mortality rate at the end of 2018, with a prevalence of 128.4 deaths per 100,000 live births as against 144.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017, and since then, stakeholders have been working hard to ensure “Zero Tolerance for Maternal Deaths,” through a host of initiatives and programs.

Example of such programs includes rolling out of the new Combined Maternal and Child Health Record Book in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to improve the vital registration system in the country, and again, the implementation of the Girls Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementation Program to reduce anemia among adolescent girls. The rest are the creation of E-learning platforms for capacity building of health professionals, the introduction of a task shifting for maternal health services, to complement the work of the regular staff. In addition, the improvement in the supply chain through the Last Mile Distribution System, to deliver medical consumables such as blood products and vaccines to hard-to-reach areas using the Drone technology.

The Conference, was organized by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with its development partners, to discuss emerging issues affecting maternal and child health, and  low access and utilization of family planning services; quality care; rise in non-communicable diseases as a cause of death, and early childhood development initiatives.

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Ghana to miss 2020 target in HIV Prevention.
June 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica.

Director General of Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare

Director General of Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare

The health sector players working on HIV/AIDs in Ghana have confirmed that the country  will likely not  achieve its 90-90-90 agenda by 2020. This is as a result of, the fluctuations in figures the country has recorded in the past few years.

They also cited complacency, donor fatigue, low advocacy and commercial activities as the cause of the new twist to the HIV prevalence in Ghana.   According to the Director General of Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, if the country and its stakeholders do not re-strategize for HIV education and prevention, Ghana will not achieve its target.

During the country’s 2018 HIV Sentinel Survey HSS, released by the National AIDs and STI Control Program, the National HIV prevalence has increased from 2.1 per cent to 2.4 percent. Western and Greater Accra Regions top the other regions in HIV new infections, as against Ashanti and Greater Accra in 2017. The programs Manager for National Aids and sexually Transmitted Infections STI  Control program Dr Stephen Ayisi AddO has noted that, HIV/AIDs prevalence in regions are shooting up due to commercial activities within those regions. He added many young adults are exploiting sexual activities as commercial activities in those communities boom in business. As a result of, the older men with HIV are sleeping with the younger ones between the ages of 15 to 25 a trend he laments  is worrying.

Touching on the issues, Dr Addo maintain that as a lower middle-income country, there are limited donor flow to the country as well as advocacy work and other forms of sensitization has been affected. However, he was quick to add that, the government of Ghana has step into the vacuum created by these donors and they are hoping to continue the fight by raising local resources.

On his part, the head Virology Department at Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, Prof William Ampofo has stated that Ghana will not meet the 2020 target of eliminating HIV/Aids. This is because the country is unable to achieve its 90-90-90 target agenda set to drive the program due to those underlined factors. He emphasized there is the need for paradigm shift to avoid business as usual.

The National HIV Sentinel Survey is a cross-sectional survey targeted at pregnant women attending selected antenatal clinics in Ghana. Conducted annually, using an unlinked anonymous testing since its inception in 1992. Over the decades, the HSS data has remained a primary data source for the national prevalence and the AIDS estimates in Ghana. The 2018 maiden HIV prevalence among pregnant women is 2.4 percent with a confidential interval of 2.18 percent -2.62 percent. Regional HIV prevalence ranged from 3.1 in the Greater Accra and Western regions as the Northern Region remains the lowest with 0.6. HIV prevalence among young populations aged 15 to 24.  Hence, the 2018 HIV Sentinel Survey witnessed an increased in the rural prevalence as it is seen catching up with the urban centers.

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Cabinet downplays Ebola scare in the country
June 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist-27

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki during an interview at her office in Nairobi on November 9, 2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki during an interview at her office in Nairobi on November 9, 2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has allayed fears of the deadly Ebola outbreak in the country, saying the suspected patient is in stable condition.

Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport during an inspection of the screening exercise and Ebola preparedness by the medical personnel, Kariuki assured the public that the country is free from Ebola.

“A rapid surveillance and response team has examined the patient who is in stable condition and has confirmed that the patient does not meet the case of definition of Ebola. Allow me to confirm to Kenyans that the patient does not meet the case definition of Ebola,” said Kariuki.

“I wish to reassure all Kenyans and our visitors that we do not have any cases of Ebola and indeed the ministry has undertaken and continues to implement the preparedness measures,” she added.

He further disclosed that the government has laid down strict measures to handle the suspected case. She noted the ministry has deployed 229 staff at various points of entry into the country, including 21 Ebola champions.

A 36-year-old woman has been put in Isolation at Kericho County Referral Hospital in the Kenyan Rift Valley over suspected Ebola symptoms. She was experiencing headache, fever and vomiting.

Her blood samples had been submitted to the Kenya Medical Research Institute for further analysis.

The woman was reported to have travelled from Busia, border of Kenya and Uganda.  Uganda is on high alert after two people, a woman and her five year old grandson died few days after arriving from DRC which has been battling with the killer disease for years.

The number of people put in isolation in Kericho over fears of the lethal disease has risen to four.

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Kenya:Panic after suspected case of Ebola in Kericho
June 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma| @journalist_27

Fear has gripped residents of Kericho County in Kenyan Rift Valley after a patient with symptoms similar to those exhibited by Ebola patients was admitted to the county hospital.

The female patient whose name is yet to be unveiled was taken to Kericho County referral hospital on Sunday evening. She complained of headache, body fever, puffy face, diarrhea and nausea as per the hospital administrator.

She has been isolated to avoid contact with other persons including health officers. The woman had traveled from Malaba, Western Kenya at the border of Kenya and Uganda to see her spouse.

‘The patient has been placed in isolation and blood samples sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi for further analysis. The preliminary test results are expected to be ready within the next 12 and 24 hours,” said the County Health Department Chief Officer Dr. David Ekuam.

Dr. Ekuam has quelled the anxiety assuring the public that the hospital is well equipped and is capable of handling such cases to ensure protection of other hospital users.

“It is important to note that the symptoms that have been exhibited by the patient can be indicative of any other medical condition and so there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Kericho at the moment,” he reiterated.

Last week the government intensified screening for the killer disease at Busia One Stop border, at the entry point to Uganda, after the eruption of the disease was reported in the neighbouring country.

All travelers from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Southern Sudan were being screened. Health Officers employed use of thermo-guns to check temperature levels in order to evade direct contact with travelers.

Two family members, a woman and her grandson were reported to have died of Ebola at Kasese district, western of Uganda after travelling to Democratic Republic of Congo to look after the ailing family member who later died of the disease.

The woman’s other grandson, aged three, was also infected and he has been put under intensive care unit.

On August 1, 2018 DRC declared its second-biggest Ebola epidemic in the north east of the country. The disease has consumed thousands of lives.

Ebola is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

 

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Where does it come from?
June 10, 2019 | 1 Comments

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

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Why do we use it?
June 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

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What is Lorem Ipsum?
June 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum

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