Category Archives: Health

Malaria outbreak in Limpopo and Mpumalanga

Malaria outbreak in Limpopo and Mpumalanga Following the malaria outbreaks in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, there has been daily monitoring of the developments through the district outbreak response meetings. However, the overall number of reported malaria cases has declined in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo over the past two weeks. There have been a high number of malaria cases in South Africa in the 2016/17 season, compared to the previous season. This has been attributed to the rise in ambient temperature, rainfall and humidity.…

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Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

On 9 May 2017, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic. Since 22 April, nine cases including three deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized. On 11 May 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of DRC informed WHO that of the five samples collected from suspected cases, one tested positive by RT-PCR for Ebola…

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WHO supports proposed sugar-sweetened beverages tax in South Africa

The World Health Organization supports the consideration of Government of South Africa of introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) to help reduce excessive sugar intake. This is one of interventions proposed in the Strategy for the prevention and control of obesity in South Africa 2015-2020. WHO has supported introduction of such taxes since it was proposed by the National Treasury in August 2016. WHO’s Representative to South Africa, Dr Rufaro Chatora, took part in a parliamentary hearing held on 31 January to discuss…

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Final trial results confirm Ebola vaccine provides high protection against disease

{{unknown}}An experimental Ebola vaccine was highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea, according to results published today in The Lancet. The vaccine is the first to prevent infection from one of the most lethal known pathogens, and the findings add weight to early trial results published last year. The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, was studied in a trial involving 11,841 people in Guinea during 2015. Among the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, no Ebola cases were recorded 10 days or…

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First WHO toolkit to strengthen Europe’s health response to migration

Over one million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. 2016 has become the deadliest year ever for these travellers, with over 4700 people found dead or missing at sea so far. Sudden and large influxes of refugees and migrants can disrupt entire health systems in countries of transit and destination, if these are not adequately prepared. While the health problems of refugees and migrants are similar to those of the rest of the population, many suffer from physical and psychological illnesses…

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Full impact of devastated health services in north-eastern Nigeria revealed by WHO report

One third of more than 700 health facilities in Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria, have been completely destroyed, according to a report released today by WHO. Of those facilities remaining, one third are not functioning at all. “High insecurity, difficult terrain and lack of health workers, medicines, equipment and basic amenities such as safe water are making access to essential, lifesaving health care extremely difficult for people in this conflict-affected area,” says Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative in Nigeria. “WHO’s top priority is to help save…

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Aleppo health workers witness the worst day of their lives

As the violence in Syria intensifies, civilians and health workers continue to pay the highest price. Today, Aleppo is the most dangerous city in the world. Tens of innocent men, women and children have been killed or injured, and thousands more have been forced to flee for safety. Health workers who choose to stay behind are overwhelmed, exhausted and working with limited resources. Risking their lives daily to save others, they work under the most stressful and challenging conditions. For some, the suffering becomes personal,…

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WHO responds to increasing health needs in Aleppo, Syria

As the conflict in Aleppo intensifies, WHO and partners are providing lifesaving services and health supplies for thousands of people fleeing to safer areas. More than 250 000 people in besieged eastern Aleppo city are facing dwindling supplies of food, medicine, water and fuel. All ten of eastern Aleppo’s hospitals are closed or barely functional, depriving thousands of people of access to life-saving trauma care, major surgeries, and treatment for other serious health conditions.  As the humanitarian situation deteriorates, an estimated 31 500 people have…

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WHO scales up trauma care services for injured people from Mosul, Iraq

As military operations into Mosul continue, WHO is working with national health authorities to ensure that people with war-related trauma injuries have access to live-saving medical care. WHO anticipates that approximately 40 000 civilians will require care for trauma injuries as a result of Mosul military operations. This week, WHO is establishing 2 fully equipped trauma stabilization points in eastern Mosul, less than 25 km away from Mosul city, where most of the casualties are coming from. With hospitals near the front lines either nonfunctional…

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WHO and partners immunized over 155 000 migrant children through special vaccination posts in South Sudan

In response to the poliomyelitis outbreak associated with type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) and ambiguous vaccine derived polio virus (aVDPVs)  identified in Unity state,  the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with Ministry of Health and partners immunized over 155 000 migrant children under the age of 15 through special vaccination posts. Type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) and ambiguous vaccine derived polio virus (aVDPVs) was being detected in September 2014 and April 2015 respectively. Widespread displacement and continual population movements due to ongoing…

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National World AIDS Day 2016

World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on 1 December. The National Department of Health appeals to all South Africans to remember the importance of this day and support those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Under the theme “It Is In Our Hands To End HIV and TB”, communities are encouraged to care of their health by getting tested, practising safe sex and taking treatment. Media is invited to support and participate in the following activities on the day Activities for the day…

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WHO condemns massive attacks on five hospitals in Syria

WHO condemns the attacks on five hospitals that took place in Syria on 13–15 November 2016, including three hospitals in Western Rural Aleppo and two hospitals in Idleb. At least two people were reportedly killed as a result of the attacks and 19 people were wounded, including six medical staff. Shockingly, such attacks on health in Syria are increasing in both frequency and scale. Throughout 2016, WHO and partners have documented 126 such attacks across the country. One of the damaged facilities in Western Rural…

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WHO delivers lifesaving medicines and supplies to displaced people in Yei River State, South Sudan

November 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO) delivered lifesaving supplies to assist thousands of women and children in Yei River State, one of South Sudan’s states most affected by conflict. The lifesaving health supplies will benefit more than 30 000 people living in areas affected by conflict in parts of Logo and Kirkwa in Yei River State for the next three months. The supplies include 20 basic unit kits, 10 basic antimalarial kits, five supplementary antimalarial kits, one Diarrhea Disease kit and one Interagency…

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New data reveal higher blood pressure in low-and middle-income countries

Worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 to 2015 A pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement studies with 19·1 million participants According to new research published in the Lancet,  the number of people in the world with high blood pressure reached 1.13 billion, nearly doubling since 1975. The largest ever study of its kind, the research involved the World Health Organization and hundreds of scientists throughout the world, and incorporated blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people. High blood pressure is no longer a…

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World Antibiotic Awareness Week – 14-20 November 2016

World Antibiotic Awareness Week is being marked 14-20 November 2016. Antibiotics have saved millions of people’s lives from infections that were once deadly. We have come to rely on antibiotics in modern medicine and agriculture, to treat humans and animals that are sick and to prevent others from becoming infected. But they are losing their power, as ‘superbugs’ that resist treatment develop and spread, due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals. We must change the way that we use these…

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Minister Motsoaledi to announce government initiatives on the occasion of World Prematurity Day

South Africa will mark World Prematurity Day on 17th November 2016. According to the World Health Organization, globally an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm every year, and this number is increasing. Prematurity refers to a broad category of neonates born at less than 37 weeks’ gestation, and preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality and the most common reason for antenatal hospitalisation. Prematurity is one of the three major causes of newborn deaths in South Africa. The National Department of Health,…

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No medical Interns in Limbo

Recent media statements have claimed that 307 medical interns are in limbo due provincial budget cuts. The National Department of Health, as the custodian of the newly implemented ICSP Online system, has been working with provinces since July 2016 to quantify and address the shortfall of posts. Additional posts have been added throughout the application period as provinces have responded to this call. However, under the current fiscal conditions the process to fund more posts has taken some time. Notwithstanding this, the Department is confident…

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WHO condemns reported attacks using ambulances as weapons targeting civilians in Tikrit and Samarra

WHO condemns reported attacks using ambulances to target civilians  in Tikrit and Samarra. WHO received reports of suicide bombers driving ambulances, killing more than 20 people and injuring  dozens more at a checkpoint in Tikrit and a car park in Samarra. The reported use of medical vehicles as weapons threatens the ability to deliver health care and urgent medical services.  When ambulances are suspected as potential security threats, their freedom of movement to care for the sick and injured is at risk of life-threatening delays. Such…

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WHO recommends 29 ways to stop surgical infections and avoid superbugs

3 November 2016 (Geneva) – People preparing for surgery should always have a bath or shower but not be shaved, and antibiotics should only be used to prevent infections before and during surgery, not afterwards, according to new guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) that  aim to save lives, cut costs and arrest the spread of superbugs. The Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection includes a list of 29 concrete recommendations distilled by 20 of the world’s leading experts from 26 reviews of the…

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Over 1 million treated with highly effective hepatitis C medicines

Over one million people in low- and middle-income countries have been treated with a revolutionary new cure for hepatitis C since its introduction two years ago. When Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) were first approved for hepatitis C treatment in 2013, there were widespread fears that their high price would put them out of reach for the more than 80 million people with chronic hepatitis C infections worldwide. The new medicines have a cure rate of over 95%, fewer side effects than previously available therapies, and…

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WHO and partners gear up to safeguard lives of displaced persons fleeing Mosul

The World Health Organization, together with national health authorities and health cluster partners, have accelerated preparedness and response measures for internally displaced persons from Mosul by prepositioning 46 mobile medical clinics, 45 mobile health teams and 26 ambulances in a number of prioritized areas around the country. Life-saving medicines and supplies for more than 350 000 beneficiaries have also been prepositioned, including chronic disease medicines, diarrhoeal disease medicines, and trauma and surgical supplies. Additional essential medicines are being delivered from WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai,…

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Pink Lady® Hosts Breast Cancer Association in Mauritius

The famous Pink Lady® Apple brand of South Africa’s True Cape won the hearts of Mauritians last Friday with 50 ladies, led by The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare. The ladies were treated to High Tea and intimate discussion where the Warriors narrated their breast cancer plight in living and breaking the silence for a dreaded illness. The corporate women invited had a lot to learn from these warriors about check up, and relationships with loved ones and mainly children on…

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WHO report warns global actions and investments to end TB epidemic are falling far short

New data published by the World Health Organization  (WHO) in its 2016 Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report show that countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect and treat the disease if they are to meet global targets. Governments have agreed on targets to end the TB epidemic both at the World Health Assembly and at the United Nations General Assembly within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. They include a 90% reduction in TB deaths and an 80% reduction in TB cases by…

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World Obesity Day

Today is World Obesity Day, and the international focus is on childhood obesity. The Department of Health is deeply concerned about the growing obesity rate in the country and urges all South Africans to adopt healthier lifestyles. Obesity rates in South Africa are increasing rapidly, with almost 70% of women and 40% of men either overweight or obese, according to The Lancet. One in four girls and one in five boys between the ages of 2 and 14 years are overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases…

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WHO urges global action to curtail consumption and health impacts of sugary drinks

Geneva: Taxing sugary drinks can lower consumption and reduce obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay, says a new World Health Organization (WHO) report. Fiscal policies that lead to at least a 20% increase in the retail price of sugary drinks would result in proportional reductions in consumption of such products, according to the report titled Fiscal policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). Reduced consumption of sugary drinks means lower intake of “free sugars” and calories overall, improved nutrition and fewer people…

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