Dec 312017
WHO declares outbreak of human cases of influenza A/H1 N1 public health emergency

PESHAWAR: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared outbreak of human cases of influenza A/H1 N1 a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under IHR 2005 in Pakistan. The WHO… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] Click for detailed story

Aug 292017
Unsafe water

An alarming high level of arsenic is found in Pakistan’s groundwater. This poses a threat to around 50 to 60 million. According to reports, the water contains 50 micrograms of arsenic per liter. This is five times higher than the limit presecribed by WHO. The country is already fighting a large number of life-threatening diseases. This contaminated water will create more trouble for the people. The relevant  authorities should take immediate action and tackle the issue at the earliest. Water at all wells should be tested and people living in nearby areas must be warned. In order to reduce the risk, authorities must inform residents that the water from such wells is not fit for consumption. The contaminated water has the potential to cause various life-threatening diseases including lung cancer and other lethal skin and heart diseases. In order to safe the people from this menace, appropriate steps should be taken by the government so that the people can have access to water that is fit for consumption. Hadia Aziz (Islamabad) Click for detailed story

Aug 202017
Clean environment

People need a pleasant environment to live in. An environment where air is fresh, water is pure and trees are planted. The residents of Karachi also deserve to live in such a peaceful environment. But the collection of garbage, industrial wastage, poisonous gases that is released from vehicles and the cutting of trees to make roads and buildings, have had an immense effect on the environment of Karachi as well as on the health of its residents. The city is going through a difficult phase. In a survey held by WHO in 2016, Karachi ranked 14th among the 20 most polluted cities of the world. However, Karachi was ranked as the fifth most polluted city of the world in 2017. This hints at the failure of the government to keep the city pollution0-free. If serious steps are not taken, the most populated business centre of Pakistan will top all lists of the most polluted cities of the world. Bilal Siddiqui (Karachi) Click for detailed story

Aug 012017
?Investment of $4.70 per newborn can generate $300 bn in economic gains by 2025?

Islamabad: No country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding, states a new report published by UNICEF and WHO in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] Click for detailed story

May 232017

Earlier in May, a WHO delegation arrived in Karachi to gather information about the chikungunya virus to form a policy for its prevention. The disease has reached to Thatta, Mirpurkhas and now even to Thar. The delegation lamented on the dilapidated condition of health and sanitation and was surprised to know that a few doctors were not only unaware about the dirty conditions of hospitals but also about the symptoms of the disease. Sindh’s provincial capital, Karachi, has been witnessing a marked increase in the number of people falling victim to a debilitating disease caused by chikungunya, a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is characterised by an abrupt onset of fever, frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, and usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged for weeks. Most people recover fully, with symptoms resolving in seven to 10 days. There is no specific vaccine or antiviral drugs for this infection, and the treatment is primarily symptomatic. The symptoms are often difficult to differentiate from dengue. Proper preventive measures, such as avoiding water storage in open containers, using mosquito netting and repellents, wearing protective clothes, keeping the surrounding area free from standing water and avoiding exposure during day time, should be taken by everyone. Dr Zeeshan Khan Lahore Click for detailed story

May 232017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s candidate vying for the top slot of World Health Organisation (WHO) could not qualify as Ethiopian candidate won the election with 133 votes. UK candidate Dr David Nabarro, former health minister of Ethiopia Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Dr Sania Nishtar were among the top three contenders vying for the post. The election campaign for WHO director general started in November last year, in which six countries fielded their candidates: Pakistan, Italy, France, UK, Hungry and Ethiopia. Reform on the menu as WHO votes for new chief First round of the elections were held in January this year in which Dr Nishtar, former health minister, was elected amongst the top three candidates. All 194 member states voted on Tuesday in the final round for to elect the director general for the next five years. In the first round Dr Ghebreyesus secured 95 votes, Dr Nabarro 52 and Dr Nishtar got 38 votes. The Pakistani contender could not qualify for the final round with short of 14 votes. Pakistan’s former health minister among top contenders for WHO chief post She was the first Pakistani candidate to have gone so far. Federal Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar and other health officials were in Geneva to support the Pakistan’s candidate. The government and civil society had widely supported Dr Nishtar. She is Pakistan’s first female cardiologist who founded Heartfile in 1998, a think-tank that also financed poor patients. Dr Nishtar has vast experience in global health in the multilateral system. [Read More…]

May 222017
Ethiopian Elected to Head World Health Organization

GENEVA � Ethiopian official Tedros Adhanom Gheybreysus has been elected director-general of the World Health Organization. Tedros won the post in two rounds of balloting Tuesday, defeating Dr. David Nabarro of Britain and Dr. Sania Nishtar, a Pakistani cardiologist. The vote by 185 member states took place by secret ballot after the candidates made last minute pitches.The candidates have been campaigning for this fiercely contested post for the past year-and-a-half. As they approached the final stretch, each in turn presented his or her most persuasive arguments for becoming the new director-general of the World Health Organization.Tedros, a former Ethiopian health minister, told the assembly that he has dedicated his whole life to improving health, reducing inequalities, and helping people everywhere to lead more productive lives.He noted that while the WHO has never had a director-general from Africa, no one should elect him just because he’s from Africa.But, there is a real value in electing a leader who has worked in one of the toughest health environments and transformed the health system. I bring a fresh perspective, an angle with which the world has never seen before, Tedros said.Others in the runningNot to be outdone, the second candidate, David Nabarro of Britain, put in a vigorous performance. He touted his long experience in global health and described the work he has done in tackling infectious outbreaks and emergencies, such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He said he was the best person to lead the fight against newly emerging diseases [Read More…]

May 212017
Outgoing WHO Director Says Agency Remains Relevant

GENEVA � Margaret Chan, the outgoing Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has opened this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) by staunchly defending the organization against critics who say it has lost its relevance.Chan’s tenure as head of WHO will soon end and after 10 years of service, she appears intent on handing her successor, who will be elected Tuesday, an organization that is viable and remains the essential leader in global health.In addressing the WHA for the last time, Chan presented 3,500 delegates from WHO’s 194 member states with, what could be seen, as a report card of her work by presenting some highlights from a report issued this month tracking the evolution of public health during her 10-year administration.The report sets out the facts and assesses the trends, but makes no effort to promote my administration. The report goes some way towards dispelling criticism that WHO has lost its relevance. The facts tell a different story, Chan said.Drug costsThe report covers setbacks as well as successes and some landmark events. Among the successes, she cited WHO’s decade-long fight to get the prices for antiretroviral treatments for HIV down.In contrast, she said prices for the new drugs that cure hepatitis-C plummeted within two years.The results in both cases have been dramatic in making life-saving drugs affordable for millions of people. During the past 10 years, antiretroviral treatments have fallen from $10,000 to less than $100 a year and Hepatitis C drugs, which cost a prohibitive $80,000 just [Read More…]

May 102017
Clean Karachi

WHO officials recently paid a visit to Karachi to investigate the chikungunya outbreak. According to them, Karachi is the world’s fifth filthiest city. Heaps of garbage, stagnant water, etc, have played a major role in trampeling with the sanitary conditions of the city. Time after time, the Sindh government promises to improve sanitary conditions, repair damaged drainage system, but nothing constructive has been done to date. Residents of Karachi are facing a lot of difficulties. The outbreak of deadly virus like chikungunya, dengue has also taken a toll on the lives of residents. Air pollution has also shown its effects in form of the heatwave. In addition, a majority of the people do not have access to safe drinking water. The provincial government should take action to improve the current state of the city. Residents should also take initiatives to keep the city clean. They can start by discarding trash into garbage bins and by adopting the reduce, reuse, recycle approach. At the government level, vigorous campaigns should be launched through the media to raise awareness regarding the methods that can be adopted for garbage disposal. Teams and appropriate ministries should join hands with international organisations to efficiently manage solid waste. “Climathon rallies International movement”,whereas megacities of 53 countries collaborate together to address issues of urbanization. Natasha Latif Karachi Click for detailed story

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