600,000 litres of blood wasted in five years in India, Rape victims in the U.S. made to pay part of the medical bill, and more.

The World Health Minute Rs 600 cap on dengue malaria tests first new antibiotic in decades developedPeople at a clinic especially set up to cater to those suffering from mosquito-borne diseases in Delhi last year; PTI
news Public Health Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 18:59

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

Access to Healthcare

  • Rs. 600 cap on dengue and malaria tests

Indian hospitals and medical laboratories charging exorbitant amounts in the name of tests for vector-borne diseases were issued a fresh notice by the health department that places a cap of 600 Rupees on all tests to diagnose dengue, chikungunya and malaria in the district (timesofindia.indiatimes.com: 23/04/17)

  • 600,000 litres of blood wasted in five years

In the last five years, 28 lakh units of blood and its components have been discarded by blood banks across India, exposing serious loopholes in the nation’s blood banking system. India faces, on average, an annual shortfall of 30 lakh units of blood. Lack of blood, plasma or platelets often leads to maternal mortality as well as deaths in case of accidents involving severe blood loss (timesofindia.inditimes.com: 24/04/17) (deccanchronicle.com: 24/04/17)

  • WHO urges action over growing hepatitis epidemic

The number of people dying from hepatitis is rising, and most of the 325m infected are unaware they have the virus and lack access to potentially life-saving medicines, the World Health Organization said. In its first global report on the infection WHO said millions were at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer and a premature death and swift action on testing and treatment is needed (reuters.com: 21/04/17) (med.news.am: 22/04/17) (globaltimes.cn: 22/04/17)

  • Fake malaria test kits flood the Ugandan market

Members of civil society organizations and a section of officials at the Ugandan Ministry of Health have expressed alarm over the volume of fake malaria testing kits that are flooding the Ugandan market. The Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits are used to confirm malaria cases before treatment. A new study by the Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS-Uganda) has found that RDT kits imported by the private sector outside the National Drug Authority procedures are of very poor quality (monitor.co.ug: 22/04/17)

Women and Children

  • Widespread criticism follows Saudi Arabia joining UN women’s rights group

There is a growing backlash to the election of Saudi Arabia to the top United Nations women’s rights body, with critics pointing to the kingdom’s extremely restrictive gender laws. Saudi Arabia is set to join the UN Commission on the Status of Women for a four year term from 2018-2022. UN Watch’s group executive director, Hillel Neur, blasted the international body’s decision citing its regressive views on women’s rights (newsweek.com: 24/04/17) (nationalreview.com: 24/04/17) (middleeasteye.net: 24/04/17)

  • Rape victims in the U.S. made to pay part of the medical bill

Women who have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. often bear some costs for testing and other medical treatment when they report rape to authorities, a new study says. Victims with private insurance pay on average $950, or 14% of the cost of medical services, and the insurers pay the balance, researchers found. With other violent crimes, victims are not responsible for paying for the damage that results from the crime. The financial burden adds to the emotional burden of the assault (reuters.com: 20/04/17)

  • French regulator links Sanofi epilepsy drug to child deformities

Up to 4,100 children in France suffered major malformations in the womb after their mothers took a treatment against epilepsy and bipolar disorder known as valproate between 1967 and 2016, France’s drug regulator said (reuters.com: 20/04/17) (ft.com: 20/04/17) (guardian.com: 21/04/17) (bbc.co.uk: 20/04/17)

  • Dutch boat handing out abortion pills at sea hopes to make waves in Mexico

A Dutch boat carrying abortion pills for women anchored off the coast of Mexico, in a move designed to draw attention to the country’s stringent abortion laws and barriers faced by women seeking to end their pregnancies. The boat, operated by Dutch non-profit group Women on Waves, provides free abortion services for women up to 9 weeks pregnant in international waters where abortion is banned or restricted (reuters.com: 21/04/17) (noticiaaldia.com: 22/04/17) (fr.news.yahoo.com: 22/04/17)

  • Indian court orders police to rescue boys trafficked to sweet shops

An Indian court on Monday ordered police to rescue 50 boys believed to have been trafficked from Tamil Nadu to sweet shops in western India. Responding to a petition filed by the father of a missing teenager, the high court told police to form a special team to rescue the boys and submit a report in three weeks (trust.org: 24/04/17)

Mental health

  • Will my medical expenses get paid if I become suicidal?

The African press looks at the state of medical insurance with regard to mental health services and reveals that expenses for treatment run out swiftly and many are put off by the mounting costs, leading to many in acute need of support being at extra risk of self-harm or suicide (behkisisa.org: 20/04/17) (allafrica.com: 20/04/17)

  • Research busts the myth of indigenous groups’ mental health

A study by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) found a prevalence of somatic symptoms, psychological and physical ailments and a lower quality of life for the indigenous peoples in the Araku Valley of the Vizag district (timesofindia.indiatimes.com: 24/04/17)

  • Queen’s pride over princes’ mental health campaign

The Queen has backed the decision by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to speak out about their mental health, expressing her pride at the campaign they have spearheaded with the Duchess of Cambridge. Their Heads Together scheme, tackling the stigma around mental health and encouraging others to speak more freely about their struggles, was the official charity of the London Marathon last weekend (thetimes.co.uk: 23/04/17)

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Vaccination gaps lead to dangerous measles outbreaks in Europe - ECDC

Gaps in vaccination coverage against measles have led to several outbreaks of the contagious disease in Europe, during the past year, with more than 1,500 measles cases reported from 14 European countries due to an ‘accumulation of unvaccinated individuals’ according to officials from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In 10 countries, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden – the number of cases reported in Jan-Feb 2017 was more than double that of a year earlier (reuters.com: 24/04/17) (reuters.com: 24/04/17)

  • Travellers failing to take precautions in malaria countries are racking up huge healthcare costs

A new study shows that cases of malaria, with infections often caught overseas before returning to the U.S., has resulted in about half a billion dollars in healthcare costs for the country over a fifteen year period. It concludes that Americans who are travelling more often to countries with malaria are simply not taking the precautions that they should leading to this cost burden (eurekalert.org: 24/04/17) (npr.org: 24/04/17) (abcnews.go.com: 24/04/17)

  • Manitoba scientists develop world’s 1st new antibiotic in decades

Canadian scientists say they have discovered the first new antibiotic in decades. They suggest it may be effective in killing two of the most worrisome superbugs: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The drug, called PEG-2S, works by inhibiting a sodium pump called NQR that at least 20 different types of bacteria need for respiration (ctvnews.ca: 20/04/17) (winnipeg.ctvnews.ca: 20/04/17) (uk.news.yahoo.com: 21/04/17) (aa.com.tr: 21/04/17) (Canadajournal: 21/04/17)

  • UN chief, Trump meet at White House against backdrop of U.S. funding cut threat

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres met with President Trump at the White House in talks set against a backdrop of Trump’s plans to cut funding to the world body and its agencies. Trump has proposed a 28% budget cut for diplomacy and foreign aid, which includes an unspecified reduction in financial support for the UN and its agencies, as well as an enforcement of a 25% cap on U.S. funding for peacekeeping operations. The USA is the largest contributor paying 22% of the $5.4bn core budget and 28.5% of the $7.9bn peacekeeping budget. The talks were said to be constructive and they agreed to meet again in the future (reuters.com: 21/04/17)

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