Central China reports one H7N9 death, Excess smartphone use bad for mental health, says study

The World Health Minute IMR in India drops by 68 in 41 years 40 confirmed cases of Zika in Argentina
news Public Health Saturday, May 06, 2017 - 17:01


The World Health Minute brings you top medical stories from around the world.


·        Two more die of strange disease in Liberia’s capital

The death toll from a strange disease that originated from Liberia’s south eastern county of Sinoe has risen to 13, following two more deaths in the country’s capital Monrovia, authorities have said. So far, 21 people are known to have contracted the disease. The health ministry said it has launched a search for all of the 60 people who attended a funeral in Greenville, as it is suspects the disease originated from there (newsghana.com.gh: 02/05/17) (nigeriatoday.ng: 02/05/17) (liberianobserver.com: 02/05/17) (kplr11.com:01/05/17) (gnnliberia.com: 01/05/17) (leparisien.fr: 02/05/17) (boursorama.com: 02/05/17) (laprensa.hn: 02/05/17) (cnn.com: 01/05/17) (scmp.com: 03/05/17)

·        Central China reports one H7N9 death

A woman has died of H7N9 bird flu infection in China’s Hubei province, local authorities said. The 68-year old woman tested positive on April 27 after days of high fever with no apparent explanation. Additionally, Manila Times reported that there are worries in China about mutation of the H7N9 virus and its increased pathogenicity in poultry, though human cases are not linked to this new strain (globaltimes.cn: 03/05/17) (manilatimes.net: 02/05/17) (telegiz.com: 30/04/17)  (telesurtv.net: 02/05/17)  (china.org.cn: 02/05/17) (ecns.cn: 03/05/17)

·        Harrowing images of deadly cholera outbreak sweeping through South Sudan’s crowded refugee camps

A deadly outbreak of cholera has killed hundreds of people fleeing conflict in South Sudan. The country’s Ministry of Health has recorded more than 7,000 cases of cholera, and at least 29 deaths due to the disease. Children and young adults under 30 years old are the worst affected, accounting for more than 70% of the cases (ibtimes.co.uk: 02/05/17) (radiodabanga.org: 27/04/17

·        Human infection with H7N9 virus in China – WHO update on new cases

On the 21 April, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPC) notified WHO of an additional 28 laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza (H7N9) in mainland China. To date, there has been a total of 1,421 laboratory-confirmed human infections with H7N9 reported since early 2013. WHO’s risk assessment noted this fifth wave of H7N9 is greater in numbers of human cases than it was in earlier waves. WHO still views contact through infected poultry, or contaminated environments, including live poultry markets, as the primary source of infection and believes the risk of community level spread is still low (who.int: 02/05/17

·        Five people die of chickenpox in Assam

Five people have died of chickenpox, while another 13 are undergoing treatment, a senior government health official said on Wednesday. These five victims were all admitted to the Tea Garden Hospital, while the other patients are currently receiving treatment in their homes. Elsewhere, Pakistani health experts were meeting to discuss the rise of chickenpox in districts across the country (thestatesman.com: 03/05/17) (nation.com.pk: 03/05/17) (pakobserver.net: 03/05/17)

·        Confirmed cases of dengue shoot up to 277 in Coishco and also rise in Chimbote

Dengue continues its inexorable rise in the Pacific North region of Peru, with the focus of this outbreak on Coishco and Chimbote. In just eight days, the number of confirmed cases in Coishco jumped to 223, up from 128 cases, just 9 days earlier. Chimbote also saw a rise from 28 confirmed cases to 54 cases during the same period (diariocorreo.pe: 03/05/17

·        Reynosa, Mexico – has 60 confirmed cases of dengue

Reynosa health authorities have announced that the town has 60 cases of dengue fever, one chikungunya and six cases of Zika and that it is working tirelessly to bring these outbreaks under control (latarde.com.mx: 03/05/17)

·        Malaria cases rise 50% after delays in spraying

Good rains and hot, humid conditions have fuelled a surge in malaria cases in 2017. There were 9,478 cases of malaria identified in South Africa during the year up to the end of March, an almost 50% increase on the 6,375 cases reported in 2016, the NICD reported (businesslive.co.za: 02/05/17)

·        Cases of malaria have grown by 60% among the indigenous people of the Upper Rio Negro region

In the last two years, malaria cases have increased by 60% among the indigenous population of the Alto Rio Negro region of Amazonas. By 2015, there were around 11,000 notified cases of malaria in the region. In 2016, the number rose to more than 17,000. Three municipalities saw the majority of these cases: Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira, Santa Isabel do Rio Negro and Barcelos (radioagencianacional.ebc.com: 02/05/17

·        Nigeria Lassa fever outbreak death toll now stands at 68

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reports that there have been 68 fatalities due to Lassa fever, since the outbreak began mid-December, through to the end of April. Lassa is still active in nine states: Bauchi, Ondo, Edo, Taraba, Nasaraw, Kaduna, Mano, Kogi and Enugu (outbreaknewstoday.com: 02/05/17) (iol.co.za: 02/05/17

·        Brazil yellow fever outbreak spawns alert – stop killing the monkeys

As fear over the resurgence of yellow fever spreads in Brazil, health officials are issuing a warning to the population – stop killing monkeys. People’s panicked reactions to this alarming outbreak have included many instances where monkeys have been burnt, clubbed or stoned to death. Experts say this is the wrong target, as monkeys are dying in even greater numbers, as it is mosquitoes,not monkeys, which are the vector for the virus. Monkey populations serve as ‘warning beacons’ telling populations where yellow fever is spreading to, so killing them is dangerous (nytimes.com: 02/05/17

·        Argentina – 40 confirmed cases of Zika in the northern part of Chaco district

The Ministry of Health in Chaco, Argentina, said that there were 40 confirmed cases of Zika in the northern part of the province, and 32 probable cases on top of this number. In Castelli, there is a confirmed case of Zika, another in Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena, and 38 cases in El Suazalito, which is a Zika hotspot at the moment (ecoticias.com: 03/05/17)  

·        Tambogrande – 59 confirmed cases of dengue and a further 43 of chikungunya

These confirmed Tambogrande cases are part of a total of 839 cases, where people have fallen sick and whose cases are now being examined in laboratory tests in Lima. The majority of people infected are youngsters and adults between the ages of 15-49. Health authorities also confirmed there are 14 cases of leptospirosis in the region (elregionalpiura.com.pe: 02/5/17)

·        After a 12th person died from dengue, the Piura region now has around 10,000 people suffering from symptoms

Piura health authorities announced the 12th person had died from dengue and that the total number of people exhibiting symptoms of dengue fever now stood at 9,967 cases, of which 586 cases have already been medically confirmed (rpp.pe: 03/05/17) (trome.pe: 03/05/17) (rpp.pe: 02/05/17) (diariocorreo.pe: 02/05/17)

·        Swine flu has claimed 22 lives in Telangana since August last year

Twenty-two people have lost their lives in Telangana due to swine flu and related complications, since last August, the government told the media. As many as 10,232 samples have been tested for H1N1 and 1,146 tested positive for the virus (indianexpress.com: 02/05/17

·        Probable cases of chikungunya now exceed 11,000 in Minas Gerais state

So far this year, 11,696 probable cases of chikungunya have been recorded, according to a state health bulletin, and 11 suspicious deaths are being investigated. Probable cases of dengue in 2017 in Minas Gerais now stands at 21,891, one death has occurred,and another 18 are being investigated. Probable cases of Zika in Minas Gerais stand at 594, with most cases having occurred during February and March (G1.globo.com: 02/05/17) (portugaldigital.com.br: 03/05/17) (hojeemdia.com.br: 02/05/17)

·        Brazilian Ministry of Health confirms 240 deaths from yellow fever since last December

The Brazilian Ministry of Health reported that since the beginning of the Yellow Fever epidemic, last December, there had been 392 suspected deaths due to the disease, with 240 confirmed as yellow fever. Overall, the number for confirmed cases of yellow fever infection now stands at 715 since the outbreak began (gp1.com.br: 03/05/17) (gazetaweb.globo.com: 03/05/17)

·        H1N1 claims its 14th victim in Saurashtra

Swine flu claimed the life of a 52 year old man from Junagadh. He tested positive for H1N1 at the Rajkot Civil Hospital and died early Monday. Swine flu has claimed the lives of 14 people over the last two months (timesofindia.indiatimes.com: 03/05/17

·        Nearly 3,600 birds infected with H5N1 in Vietnam outbreak destroyed

An avian flu outbreak in Vietnam, in Dak Lak province, has led to the destruction of 3,475 ducks and 90 chickens all infected with the H5N1 virus (baotintuc.vn: 02/05/17)

        Sustainable Development Goals

·        U.S. African-Americans are living longer, but health gaps persist: CDC study says

African-Americans are generally living longer than they did in 2000, but health disparities mean they are still more likely to die at a younger age than white counterparts, a federal study showed on Tuesday. This CDC study of data from 1999 to 2015, shows that younger black people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are living with, or dying from, diseases that are typically seen in older people (reuters.com: 02/05/17) (huffingtonpost.com: 03/05/17) (cnn.com: 02/05/17)

·        Asbestos harms the health of millions of Indian workers. Will the government finally move to ban it?

Representatives of the Indian government are participating in the Conference of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and NGOs such as the Occupational and Environmental Health Network India are calling for the government to sign up to a ban on chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos. WHO figures indicate white asbestos’ lethal toxicity, and that there is a 7.25% prevalence of asbestosis among workers India (scroll.in: 02/05/17) (hindustantimes.com: 03/05/17)  

·        Private education plays expanding role across Africa

As many as one in four young Africans, or 66m pupils, could be enrolled in some form of private education by 2021, furthering what has been a surge of private schooling across the continent, according to a report. The growth in private education has been driven by parents’ lack of faith in public education, or an inability to find a place. The report concluded that African governments that block the advance of private education on ideological grounds risk losing out on both finance and expertise (financial times: 02/05/17)

·        NDM ‘superbug’ found in County Galway, a first on European beaches

Untreated sewage has a major consequence: it is littering the beaches of Europe with ‘superbugs.’ Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been found on swimming beaches in Ireland and researchers are blaming waste water dumping. Researchers found the NDM enzyme for the first time on European beaches, according to the Irish Times. The enzyme makes bacteria highly resistant to some of the last line antibiotics available to hospitals (wateronline.com: 02/05/17) (irishtimes.com: 25/04/17)

·        Africa needs $35bn to close its power deficit and unlock the continent’s potential

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, says the continent needs 35bn dollars to close its power deficit. Adesina said his vision for the continent was Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa  and improve the Quality of Life for the people of Africa (guardian.ng: 03/05/17

·        CRISPR eliminated HIV in live animals

A new study released by a team of researchers at Lewis Katz School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh shows that HIV DNA can be exised from the genomes of living animals to eliminate further infection. The researchers achieved this with three different animal models, including a ‘humanized’ model in which mice were transplanted with human immune cells and infected with the virus. The study shows that HIV-1 replication can be shut down and the virus eliminated with a powerful gene-editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas9 (genengnews.com: 02/05/17) (huffingtonpost.co.uk: 02/05/17) (zeenews.india.com: 02/05/17) (upi.com: 02/05/17)

·        Drowning is a silent epidemic – and it is time to end the silence

Three nations’ UN Ambassadors co-authored an article calling for global action on drowning, which they describe as a ‘hidden epidemic,’ pointing out that it causes the equivalent number of deaths as two thirds of all malnutrition and half of all malaria deaths, yet it remains unrecognised and under-resourced with a child drowning every other minute somewhere in the world (news.trust.org: 02/05/17) (news.trust.org: 02/05/17)  

·        DNA fingerprinting reveals how malaria hides from our immune system

DNA fingerprinting has revealed how the malaria parasite shuffles genes to create different strains and hides from our immune system. This trick allows the parasite to remain undetected and re-infect the same people, much like flu. A study involving more than 600 children living in a small village in Gabon found that each child in one village had a different strain of the malaria parasite. In each case there is a distinctly different set of up to possible 60 genes that the human immune system has to focus upon in order to detect and control this infection (infectioncontroltoday.com: 02/5/17) (medicalxpress.com: 02/5/17)

·        WHO slashes the number of worldwide Hepatitis C cases

The estimated number of individuals living with hepatitis C virus worldwide has been slashed in half by a new WHO report. Surprisingly the drop has little to do with the release of lifesaving HCV drugs. The dramatic decrease is largely due to tests that measure patients’ RNA, rather than seroprevalence, which are less precise. The meta-analysis of studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa showed that only 51% of patients diagnosed as positive from antibody tests had evidence of viral RNA. The inaccuracy is because patients can spontaneously clear the virus, while the antibodies will hang around – so the issue is more due to diagnostic tests rather than treatment (specialtypharmacytimes.com: 02/05/17)

·        If you can’t cope with mosquitoes, infect them back (dengue feature)

El Pais reported on the Medellin project to eliminate dengue by inoculating a bacterium into mosquitoes (wolbachia) which shortens mosquito lives. They are most infectious at their final stages in the life cycle, so this process cuts the risk of the mosquitoes transmitting dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya. Wolbachia is transmitted from mothers to children, so all the mosquito offspring are unable to transmit to humans. If a male is the carrier and the female is not, the eggs are infertile. This theory was put into successful practice in Australia and now experiments are beginning in Indonesia, Brazil and Colombia (elpais.com: 03/05/17) (telemedellin.tv: 03/05/17)

·        GM drive against malaria 

The Target Malaria Initiative, involving scientists at Imperial College London and partner teams in Burkina Faso, Mali and Uganda,are collectively working on a ground breaking project known as the mosquito gene drive to engineer a long-term solution to the spread of malaria in Africa. According to WHO, there were 212m cases of the disease worldwide in 2012, and 429,000 deaths. The initiative seeks to interrupt malaria transmission using gene editing to reduce the fertility of females or boost the male to female ratio. Scientists are balancing their promise with calls to ensure safety, inclusion and transparency (scidev.net: 02/05/17)

Women and Children

·        In 41 years, as the economy grew 2,100%, infant mortality in India dropped by 68%

The Economic Times points out that over the last 41 years an Indian national health programme to reduce infant mortality across the country has brought about a 68% drop in numbers to 2016, against a backdrop of an economy growing 2,100% during the same period. Even so, India’s Infant Mortality Rate of 41 deaths per 1,000 live births is still higher than poorer neighbours like Bangladesh (31) and Nepal (29) (economictimes.indiatimes.com: 03/05/17) (hindustantimes.com: 03/05/17)

·        Kept in the dark about sex education, girls in Guatemala are suffering the unwanted consequences

Reuters reports on Guatemala, which has one of the highest rates of unwanted pregnancies due to a lack of information about sex, girls own bodies and endemic violence, according to women’s health campaigners. Government statistics cited by the Planned Parenthood Federation recorded more than 5,000 pregnancies by girls under 14 in 2014 – in four out of five of the cases, the offender was a close relative, such as a father uncle or grandparent. Over the last five years, one quarter of all children in Guatemala have been born to adolescent mothers, data shows (reuters.com: 03/05/17) (reuters.com: 03/05/17)

·        Acutely malnourished Somali children increase to 1.4m - UNICEF

The number of Somali children who are, or soon will be, severely malnourished, has risen by 50% to 1.4m since January, according to UNICEF. The UN body said this number includes over 275,000 who are already experiencing, or will soon do so, life-threatening severe acute malnutrition. About 615,000 people, the vast majority women and children, have been displaced by drought since November 2016. But the combination of drought, disease and displacement is deadly, particularly for children, and the world urgently needs to do more (xinhuanet.com: 02/05/17) (dailysabah.com: 02/05/17) (un.org: 02/05/17) (plenglish: 02/05/17) (thenews.com: 02/05/17) (allafrica.com: 02/05/17) (tsf.pt: 02/05/17) (china.org: 02/05/17) (unicef.de: 02/05/17)

·        The activist taking on patriarchy to end domestic violence in Kenya

News Deeply featured Kenyan activist, Saida Ali, who is taking on ‘dowry culture’ and a ‘fixation on reproduction’ which has contributed to waves of domestic violence towards women in African homes. It tells her story and expresses her view that awareness campaigns about domestic violence are on the rise and that she is more optimistic that attitudes are slowly starting to change (newsdeeply.com: 03/05/17

·        HIV positive women report healthier, more assured lives, thanks to the Well Project

The Well Project reports that the majority of women who used its online resources and programmes, engaged more with healthcare and self-care and had developed a better outlook on living with HIV (thebody.com: 02/05/17

·        580 mothers with HIV Aids in Carabobo have had no milk or antiretrovirals from the government for more than a year

More than 580 young HIV-positive mothers with infants in Carabobo, Venezuela, have gone more than a year without receivingantiretroviral drugs for their children, or milk formula for them, and many infants are already presenting signs of malnutrition, according to Eduardo Franco, President of NGO Mavid. To date, the government has not responded to requests for help in any way (el-carabobeno.com: 02/05/17)

·        Opinion: Where were the women at the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference?

The writer argues that gender was missing from most of the plenary sessions she attended. “Addressing gender issues requires a conviction that attention to gender is necessary”. “It requires employing time and financial resources, predicated on the knowledge that shrugging off the need for these resources means letting down women, the largest and most consistently marginalized population on the planet” (devex.com:  02/05/17)

·        Men in the Middle East slow to embrace gender equality - study

Most young men in the Middle East and North Africa still hold traditional attitudes similar to their fathers towards women’s role in society, according to a survey, which said the region was bucking a global trend by not embracing change fully. The study of nearly 10,000 men and women across Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Territories also revealed significant levels of domestic violence and sexual harassment (news.trust.org: 02/05/17) (reuters.com: 02/05/17) (theguardian.com: 02/05/17) (bbc.co.uk: 02/05/17)

Access to Healthcare

·        Doctors at Delhi hospital get martial arts training after attacks on staff

Doctors at one of Delhi’s top government hospitals will be given daily martial arts training, in response to a sharp rise in reports of violence against medical practitioners. About 1,500 resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences will attend taekwondo classes in the hospital’s gym every evening from May 15th (theguardian.com: 27/04/17

·        Head of NGO is fighting for better access to medicine

The Greek publication published an interview with James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, an NGO focused on knowledge management and governance. The interview zeroed in on his view that de-linkage of the cost of research from the final cost of a drug is an unavoidable change in pharmaceutical business models, if the world is to find ways of mass producing medicines cheaply, and thus, reduce the cost. Achieving this would allow mass production of drugs, which would reduce mushrooming healthcare costs and bring huge benefits to public health all over the world (ekathimerini.com: 01/05/17

·        Superbug fungus spreading through New Jersey hospitals

Described by the CDC as a serious global health threat, a drug-resistant fungus is sickening hospitalised patients in a handful of U.S. states and New Jersey is one of them. New Jersey has had 17 confirmed clinical cases of the potentially fatal infection known as Candida auris. It has caused infections of the bloodstream, wounds and ears, the CDC reports. Sixty percent of people with C. auris have died, according to the CDC, and many others have suffered serious illnesses (nj1015.com: 02/05/17

·        How smart partnerships can help fight chronic disease in Africa – Harald Nusser

Novartis’ Harald Nusser writes an opinion article on the benefits of public private partnerships to tackle the mounting healthcare challenges African governments are facing. He explains how the Novartis Access programme could grow to become a model,whereby, private sector companies, governments and faith-based organizations could work as one to overcome access to healthcare issues in poorer countries (ewn.co.za: 02/05/17) (cnbcafrica.com: 03/05/17)

·        Venezuela – there are not enough vaccines left in the country to keep disease under control

Venezuelan health NGOs are sounding the alarm. “There has been no pneumococcal vaccines for two years. In the state of Bolivar there is only 50% coverage for diphtheria vaccines. Three years have gone by since we had chickenpox vaccine and we’ve not had yellow fever vaccine for quite some time. Last year, many children did not receive protection against tuberculosis. Now on top we have malnutrition throughout many parts of the country, we are in crisis”, the healthcare sector NGO said (el-,nacional.com: 02/05/17) (reporte1.com: 28/04/17) (notiexpresscolor.com: 28/04/17)

·        Bridging the gap between TB innovation and access to healthcare

The authors praise the emergence of new diagnostic tools for TB, and the emergence of new drugs to treat it, but frontline health experts are realising that availability of new tools does not necessarily result in widespread access. They’ve undertaken an analysis and published a report identifying the main barriers blocking scale-up and patient access to these newly approved TB treatment tools  (huffingtonpost.ca: 02/05/17)

·        South Sudan is getting close to complete collapse

Fears on the ground are growing that any form of legitimate governmental authority is starting to break down. Kate Almquist, director of the Washington African Center for Strategic Studies, and her colleague, former coordinator of the UN expert panel for South Sudan, Payton Knopf, see the situation as critical, and are floating the idea of placing South Sudan under an international administration as quickly as possible. They fear that the actions of the predatory elite in South Sudan will end up with half the population either dead or fleeing abroad if action is not taken soon (frankfurterrundschau: 02/05/17

·        Stigma on the profession: organ theft shocks Lahore’s medics

A recently reported human organ stealing incident from a housing society in Lahore has sent shockwaves through the community, especially doctors. Medics called a hurried press conference to condemn the atrocious act and appealed to society at large to raise the issue of human organ trafficking. They also elaborated on the importance of setting up a centralised system that would ensure legalised organ donation and transplantation (tribune.com.pk: 02/05/17

·        Risks of counterfeit medicines 

Worldwide, every second drug sold via the internet is counterfeit and this can have fatal consequences for the person who takes the medicine or tablets. These were the results of a study by international researchers at the University of Osnabruck (apotheken-umschau.de: 30/04/17)

·        Half of all children born in Ho are immunised 

Dr Djokoto, Municipal Director of the Ghana Health Services, said although diseases such as polio and measles have been eradicated, the Ho Municipal authorities were sitting on a health time bomb and risked seeing outbreaks once again due to negligence. He said vaccinations were vital in warding off diseases and charged local health authorities to take the immunisation programme seriously and improve public sensitization of health risks (newsghana.com.gh: 28/04/17


·        Smoking weakens a gene that protects the arteries – new study

New research points to a genetic explanation for how smoking can lead to a plaque build-up that stiffens arteries and causes heart disease, a report in the journal Circulation said. This is one of the first big steps towards solving the complex puzzle of gene-environment interactions that lead to coronary heart disease (thehindu.com: 03/05/17) (sciencedaily.com: 02/05/17)

·        Main causes of mortality in Tehran

A new study by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, drew up a list of the 10 leading causes of death in Tehran and two of its major counties. According to the study, which examined all causes of death under the age of 70 last winter, heart attacks, diabetes and strokes were the top three causes of mortality in Tehran, Rey and Eslamshahr. It went on to add that across the country, 95,000 people lose their lives prematurely each year through cardiovascular disease, 35,000 are under the age of 55, although many cases could be prevented though measures such as healthier lifestyle, timely check-ups and physical exercise (financialtribune.com: 03/05/17

·        New Zealanders not taking asthma seriously enough, experts warn (World Asthma Day)

15% of children and 11% of adults have asthma. It causes 1.6 deaths and 163 hospitalisations per 100,000 people, with far higher rates among Maori and Pacific communities. A recent report indicated the disease was prevalent for children in the Whanganui, Tairawhiti and Northland District Board areas and for adults in Wairapa, Hutt Valley and Mid Central districts (radionz.co.nz: 02/5/17

·        Fears over statins and their reported side effects are causing thousands to die needlessly from heart attacks

Thousands of British people are needlessly dying from heart attacks and strokes after being scared away from statins by warnings of non-existent side effects, experts have warned. Professor Peter Sever accused UK drug regulators after an investigation demonstrated that aching muscles and other reported symptoms could not be blamed on the cholesterol lowering drugs. The study, which involved 10,000 patients at risk of heart and artery disease, highlighted a ‘nocebo effect’ phenomenon that can turn expected bad outcomes into a reality. Reports of possible side effects led to a fall in the numbers of patients taking statins and a reluctance among some doctors to prescribe them

(mirror.co.uk: 02/05/17) (menafn.com: 03/05/17) (theguardian.com: 02/05/17

·        Obesity, overweight still rising among Nigerian children - study

A new report entitled “The 2016 Nigerian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth” has revealed a prevalence of overweight and obesity among Nigerian children. According to the report, schools are not complying with stipulated physical activity requirements and there was no change from the 2013 obesity figures (nigeriatoday.ng: 02/5/17

·        Alarm over West Australians’ high blood pressure

Almost one-third of WA adults have high blood pressure, but about half are not having it treated, experts warned. University of WA chairman of cardiology and heart foundation member, Carl Schultz, said many people were ticking time bombs waiting for heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease because they had unmanaged hypertension (thewest.com.au: 02/5/17

     WHO elections       

·        Whoever fills the role, the new WHO Director-General has a rocky road ahead

The Huffington Post highlights the forthcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva, where all 194 member countries will vote on the next director-general of the World Health Organization. It features the candidates biographies and the challenges they and the organization will need to face (huffingtonpost.com: 02/05/17) (theconversation.com: 03/05/17)

·        Tedros receives Paul Harris Fellow Award

Rotary International Ethiopia bestowed the Paul Harris Fellow Award on Tedros Adhanom for his contribution to creating a polio-free Ethiopia (waltinfo.com: 02/05/17

·        For opponents, WHO DG nominee Tedros Adhanom represents Ethiopia’s repressive government

Ethiopians who feel marginalized by their country’s government are campaigning hard against Tedros Adhanom online, arguing he should not be elected to run WHO, because he represents the interests of Ethiopia’s autocratic ruling elites not the people (globalvoices.org: 03/05/17

·        Opinion – a new deal for health – Sania Nishtar

Nishtar writes in detail about her vision for global healthcare and explains how she’d bring transparency to the DG role and how her refusal to make deals gives her the moral authority of independence and good governance (devex.com: 02/05/17

·        Who will be the next leader of the WHO?

Leading international health consultant Sonia Allan outlines the challenges which are facing the next Director General of the World Health Organization (usnews.com: 03/05/17

·        Candidate for WHO top post David Nabarro is all for making healthcare affordable

David Nabarro told the Economic Times that if elected he would transform the UN body into a dependable and predictable organization and strive to make healthcare affordable. Extreme inequalities in different parts of the world is hampering people from accessing health services and this is an area that needs WHO’s attention (economictimes.indiatimes.com: 02/05/17

     Mental health       

·        Excess smartphone use bad for mental health - study

Excess use of smartphone and other devices may lead to attention, behaviour and self-regulation problems for adolescents already at risk of mental health issues, a new study warns. Researchers from Duke University followed 151 young adolescents and their daily use of digital technology. The participants were surveyed three times a day for a month were assessed for mental health symptoms 18 months later. Researchers noted adolescents who were already at risk of mental health issues, regardless of digital devices, saw these devices add to their problems (timesofindia.indiatimes.com: 03/05/17

·        Branded mad for life, Kerala’s mentally ill are being abandoned at institutions by families

The stigma surrounding mental health still persists in India and it can be seen in examples at mental health care institutions in Kerala, where inmates cannot leave even after their treatments are complete in many instances, because their families are unwilling to accept them back, leading to unwelcome overcrowding in these facilities (thenewsminute.com: 02/05/17)    

·        On suicide, ’13 reasons why’ puts feelings before facts

The latest Netflix hit, ’13 Reasons Why’ is based on a novel of the same name by Jay Asher. It deals with fictional teenage Hannah Baker’s death by suicide. The narrative is a noble one, but simplistic, ‘be nice to others as you don’t know what they are dealing with.’ Evidence based organizations, with a firm grasp of suicide prevention issues, strongly discourage graphic depictions, or discussions of suicide, because the risk of additional suicides increases when a story describes method, or uses dramatic or graphic headlines or images, or glamourizes the issue in any way (cnn.com: 03/05/17)    

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