Engineers advocate ban on pit latrines, world not ready for the next global pandemic, and more.

The World Health Minute Budget for TB elimination in India slashed by Rs 4000 cr untreatable superbug on the rise Image for representation
news Public Health Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 10:37

The World Health Minute brings you a global round up of stories on women and children, access to healthcare, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health.


  • There are more than 1,500 confirmed or probable dengue cases in Lambayeque

There are 1,525 confirmed and probable cases of dengue in the Lambayeque region, according to the latest report from the regional health authorities. Districts recording the highest number of cases include Tuman (519), La Victoria (67), Chiclayo (51) and Jose Leonardo Ortiz (25), with a large number of women infected with this disease ( 09/05/17)

  • Cholera has killed 34 in 11 days in Yemen

According to the World Health Organization, at least 34 people have died of cholera and 2,022 suspected cases have been recorded in a period of only 11 days in Yemen. WHO now ranks Yemen as one of the biggest humanitarian emergencies on the planet alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 08/05/17)

  • Alarming increase in malaria cases in Limpopo – over 600 cases so far

Limpopo is experiencing an alarming increase in malaria cases. The Department of Health in Limpopo says there was a shortage of medication at some clinics, resulting in patients having to move to other areas for treatment. A spokesperson said the supply of medication was not meeting the demand so patients were moved from villages where clinics had no medication to get them to hospital ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17)

  • Probable cases of chikungunya increase to 13,000 in Minas Gerais

In 2017, to date, there have been 13,342 probable cases of chikungunya recorded in Minas Gerais, of which 74 are linked to pregnant women. According to the local health authorities, this number represents an increase of over 4,373% over the same period last year. Eleven suspicious deaths are being investigated. The number of probable dengue cases in Minas Gerais is 22,793, according to the local health secretary ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17)

  • There have been 158 cases of Zika in Mexico since the 1st May

Of the 158 recorded cases of Zika since the start of May, 45 were in the state of Nayrit, the state health secretary said. The regions most affected were Morelos, Jalisco, Yucatan, Veracruz and Guerrero (with 17,12, 11, 11 and 10 cases respectively) ( 08/05/17) ( 08/05/17)

  • Delhi HC is worried about the increasing number of typhoid cases

The Delhi High Court said there has been a surge in the number of typhoid cases because of bad drinking water quality and asked what the DJB is actively doing to provide potable water. The media also learned that the SDMC has reported at least 80 cases of chikungunya and 30 cases of dengue over the last 4 months ( 08/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17)

  • The deadliest form of tuberculosis is snowballing in countries that are already hard hit

The deadliest forms of TB are worsening in four of the countries with the largest number of TB cases, according to a new Lancet Infectious Disease journal report. While TB has an over 83% cure rate, on average globally, multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) which is resistant to the standard antibiotic regimen, has about a 52% survival rate if treated. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) has a 28% survival rate when treated. Currently 40% of all multi-drug TB resistant cases occur in Russia, India, the Philippines and South Africa. This study predicts by 2040 it will be 1:3 in Russia, 1:10 in the Philippines and 1:20 in South Africa – massive increases on the year 2000 baseline ( 09/05/17) ( 10/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 10/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 10/05/17)

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Is India really ‘winning its war’ on open defecation?

Journalists from the Indian Express have investigated Indian government and local government claims about the elimination of open air defecation in some areas under PM Modi’s ‘Clean India’ programme and they found serious corruption and claims of 100% elimination false. For example, in Modhi village approximately 100 out of the 300 total households do not have a toilet. Toilets built by the government are often unusable as they don’t have water connections or tanks and are far from sewage pipes and often linked to open drains. This flatly contradicts claims by Bill Gates praising India for winning its war on open defecation ( 09/05/17) ( 25/04/17) ( 08/05/17)

  • Laws to tackle climate change now exceed 1,200 worldwide – says new study   

Nations around the world have adopted more than 1,200 laws to curb climate change, up from about 60 two decades ago, which is a sign of widening efforts to limit rising temperatures. Most nations now have a legal basis for taking action against greenhouse gas emissions. The study carried out by the LSE across 164 nations, said these laws ranged from national cut in greenhouse gases to curbs in emissions such as transport, power generation or industry ( 09/05/17)

  • The world is not ready for the next global pandemic

Time magazine reviews the global state of affairs in world healthcare through the prism of current virus worry H7N9. It says the virus has started jumping from chickens to humans and is a killer. During a recent spike, 88% of people infected got pneumonia, three-quarters ended up in intensive care with severe respiratory problems and 41% died. It may not spread easily from person to person, yet, but the longer it spends in humans the more it might mutate and the contagion spread ( 04/05/17)

  • Why 8% of India’s population accounts for 46% of the total malaria burden

While a state or two in India may be on the brink of eliminating malaria in the foreseeable future, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and the northeast are far behind. These states bear the largest share of India’s malaria burden and specifically the killer falciparum malaria. Eight percent of India’s population, largely the tribal residents of these states, account for 46% of the total malaria burden ( 09/05/17)

  • Engineer advocates ban on pit latrines

Business Ghana features a story with engineering experts calling for a legislative instrument asking for a ban on the construction and use of pit latrines for local communities. It argues that poor use and maintenance of these latrines were the causes of cholera outbreaks and other intestinal diseases. Dubbed the ‘Community Led Total Sanitation’ programme, it is backed by World Vision International Ghana ( 09/05/17)

  • Dangerous untreatable superbug on the rise say doctors

A group of dangerous bacteria called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, has been flagged as a drug-resistant threat by the World Health Organization. Local doctors in Illinois said the state appears to be ground zero for CRE cases in the United States as it is home to one of the largest outbreaks of CRE infections in the country. Areas west of Chicago saw a 27% increase in CRE from 2014 to 2015, the most current reporting. Chicago itself saw an 11% decrease in CRE ( 08/05/17)

  • Mosquito-borne viruses like Zika may be spread at lower temperatures, potentially expanding impact

University of South Florida researchers are playing a key role in pinpointing optimal temperatures for mosquito-borne disease transmission. A recently concluded study shows that diseases such as Zika occur at lower temperatures than previously thought. This means that future transmission is much more likely to occur in subtropical and even temperate areas, such as the southern U.S. and northern Mexico ( 09/05/17)

Women and Children

  • Gut bacteria may help explain benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has long been linked to a variety of health benefits in babies and a new study suggests that bacteria transferred from mothers to their nursing infants might at least be partly responsible. Researchers found gut microbial communities matched the bacteria in their mothers’ milk and on their mothers’ skin much more than it resembled samples from other women in the study ( 09/05/17)

  • Postnatal depression is the ‘dark side’ of becoming a mother

El Nuevo Dia features an article on Postnatal Depression and its prevalence and impact on one in five women. It cites WHO figures that a study of 7,187 women in Mexico in 2012 concluded that the dramatic changes and mood swings that affect one in five women are part of this syndrome. It is particularly tough to detect and is often put down to baby blues, when for most women it resolves itself after a few weeks, for some it carries on for months and that is when it becomes critical and needs medical support. The stigma of seeking support should be removed and the issue more actively discussed and understood, argues the article ( 10/05/17)

  • U.S. state could become the first to enact a blanket ban on child marriage - activists

A measure to ban child marriage could become law in New Jersey this week, which would make it the first of the 50 states in America to outlaw the practice without exception. It would prohibit marriage of children under the age of 18. Activists say the practice of under-aged marriage is rampant in the U.S. where about 170,000 children were wed between 2000 and 2010 in 38 states where data was available. That could be as high as 248,000 children, according to Unchained At Last, an NGO campaigning to change laws on arranged or forced marriages ( 10/05/17)

  • Early puberty tied to an increase of dating abuse

A new study shows that girls who go through puberty sooner may be more likely to experience dating abuse than their peers who develop later, a U.S. study says. Girls who make the early transition to puberty are at risk of lower self-esteem and of depression, and these characteristics may give them fewer coping skills to leave relationships that ultimately become abusive. The risk also rises proportionally to the increased levels of exposure to more boys at an earlier, more unprepared age ( 08/05/17)

  • Side effects of the Mirena coil can be daunting

There is a growing number of complaints from women in Spain and the U.S. about Bayer’s Mirena Coil, with users talking about it having terrible side effects such as depression, anxiety, hair loss and other symptoms. The French media are speculating whether this issue could blow up into a full international health scandal ( 10/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 10/05/17)

  • HRT could increase the risk of deafness, major study finds

Women who take HRT to help them cope with symptoms of the menopause could face an increased risk of deafness, a landmark study suggests. The research on more than 80,000 women found that those who took hormone replacement therapy for between five and ten years had a 15% higher risk of hearing loss. And those who took it for longer had a still greater chance of suffering from deafness, the mass study said ( 10/05/17) ( 10/05/17) ( 10/05/17)

Access to Healthcare

  • Budget to eliminate TB slashed by Rs 4,000 crore

The budget for the Indian National Strategic Plan to eliminate tuberculosis by 2025 has been cut back from Rs16,000 to Rs12,000 crore in the proposal sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for final approval. The plan originally envisaged a budget of Rs19,000 crore, according to health ministry sources. The plan proposes greater and better incentivized engagement with the private sector that treats the bulk of TB cases, availability of molecular tests, SMS service to ensure better patient compliance and a new body to coordinate better nutritional support ( 07/05/17)

  • Infant mortality and malaria soar in Venezuela, according to newly released government data

Venezuela’s infant mortality rose 30% last year, maternal mortality shot up 65% and cases of malaria jumped 76%, according to government data, sharp increases reflecting how the country’s deep economic crisis has harmed citizens’ health. The statistics, issued on the ministry’s website after nearly two years of data silence from President Nicolas Maduro’s government, also showed a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and Zika ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17) ( 09/05/17)

  • Rumours hit immunization programme in Haryana’s dominated Mewat

Haryana’s Muslim-dominated Mewat district has the lowest immunisation rate among children under the age of 6, which is a matter of concern to health authorities who are trying to rope in clerics to address the situation. The immunization there is 13%, much lower than the state average of 62.2%, according to the National Family Health Survey. Officials say rumours about vaccines having a sterilizing effect on children are part of the reason for lower numbers ( 04/05/17) ( 03/05/17)

  • How to not discriminate in implementing the government’s new hepatitis C strategy

El Economista Mexico praises the IMSS plans to offer a coordinated innovative therapy to combat hepatitis C virus. However, it points out that only patients fortunate enough to enter the IMSS will benefit and this highlights the postcode lottery impact of the healthcare system which means you get better treatment depending on which part of the health system you connect with. Other experts are wondering why only the IMSS and not other institutions, resulting in expensive therapies for the few, not for all. NGOs are asking the government for clarity on who can access this treatment and on what conditions ( 09/05/17)

  • Thousands of Cameroonians to benefit from free healthcare soon

Six thousand Cameroonians will soon benefit from free medical services from an international NGO. Mercy Ships will settle at the Douala Sea Port, where it will carry out the ten-month programme. The NGO was invited to Cameroon by the head of state at the backdrop of growing health concerns in the country, especially for the financially unstable ( 10/05/17)


  • Diabetes and low immune system deficiencies can lead to tuberculosis

Health expert Juan Jose Atilano Garcia said that people with diabetes and deficiencies to their immune systems are more likely to develop tuberculosis. People who are already carriers of the bacterium see typical symptoms such as cough, fever, loss of weight and malnutrition ( 08/05/17) ( 08/05/17)

  • Experimental drug reduces thyroid-associated ‘Graves’ eyes

The experimental orphan drug teprotumumab significantly reduces the eye bulging associated with Graves’ disease, according to the results of a small trial. Among the participants with moderate-to-severe disease who were given intravenous infusions of either teprotumumab or a dummy drug every three weeks for eight treatments, 43% who had the real drug saw a reduction of at least 2 millimetres in eye protrusion by the sixth week compared to 4% in the placebo group. The marked reduction in bulging is similar to that reported after decompression surgery ( 09/05/17)

  • High-salt diet putting teens at risk of heart disease later in life

A study presented to the 2017 Paediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco concluded that consuming too much salt is having a negative effect on teenagers’ health and could possibly lead to cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Too much salt increases arterial stiffness in younger people who have high risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol ( 08/05/17)

  • ADHD treatment tied to lower car crash risk

People with ADHD are already at increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, but it is significantly reduced when they are taking ADHD medication, a 10-year study finds. Researchers estimate that one in five of the vehicle accidents among more than 2 million people with ADHD during the study period could have been avoided if these individuals had been receiving medication the entire time ( 10/05/17)

  • Roche’s star cancer drug stumbles in study, raising doubts about future

Roche’s Tecentriq immune-oncology drug failed a late-stage follow-up trial against advanced bladder cancer, the Swiss drug maker said, raising questions about whether regulators could scale back their approval of the medicine. U.S. fast-track approval for Tecentriq against bladder cancer had been agreed but subject to success at these further trials ( 10/05/17)

WHO elections

  • WHO DG candidate says it is the only legitimate body for the evaluation of toxicity in agrichemicals

David Nabarro was interviewed about his candidacy to become Director General and his vision for the World Health Organization going forward by Uruguayan newspaper La Diaria ( 10/05/17)

  • Health leadership in a multipolar world: A view from Europe

Johanna Ralston, a fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and a former CEO of the World Heart Federation, writes an opinion article on leadership for healthcare on the global stage and says she is backing the candidacy of Sania Nishtar to become next DG ( 09/05/17)

  • Whoever fills the role, the new WHO director-general has a rocky road ahead

Sonia Allan, consultant on Health Law and Governance, writes an explanatory article outlining the global challenges facing the three candidates to become the World Health Organization’s next Director General. Allan explains the biographies and experience of all candidates and what hurdles they need to overcome ( 09/05/17)

  • WHO to get a new Director General

New Vision Uganda’s Joyce Namutebi tells readers that the World Health Organization is electing a new Director General at the end of May. She outlines details of the process and explains a little bit about each candidate ( 09/05/17)

  • Ethiopia stands as a global model for effective health system reform

Supporters of the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom produce an opinion article backing his candidacy to become the next director general of the World Health Organization ( 07/05/17)

Mental health

  • Macho players need help fighting mental health issues - Gascoigne

Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, who has spent several spells in rehab battling alcohol and drug addiction, called for more help for players dealing with stress-related issues. He said soccer’s macho culture often deterred players who are constantly in the public limelight from seeking help. “You look at the Everton player who has just been sectioned and realise there are lots of people who have got everything but inside they don’t share enough” ( 09/05/17)

  • Designed by patients, the mental health centre saving the NHS £300,000 a year

Welsh charity Hafal runs a mental health centre in Wales called the Gellinudd Recovery Centre where patients, their families and all stakeholders involved have a say in everything from policy to the décor. The Guardian asks its readers whether co-produced innovations such as this offer a brighter future for mental health care ( 10/05/17)

  • The number of people suffering from depression doubled in twenty two years

Mexico saw the number of people suffering from depression or trying to commit suicide jump from 2.2 cases per 100,000 people to 4.7 cases between the years 1990 and 2012, according to WHO statistics. The group of people most at risk were young people between the ages of 15 and 29. Many were women of reproductive age and another major group were older adults. The way society looks at depression is partly to blame, asking sufferers to snap out of it, or make a bigger effort, instead of helping them to overcome the situation with treatment and advice ( 09/05/17)    

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.