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    Exclamation Yemen cholera epidemic

    A million cases of cholera in war-torn Yemen...

    Yemen cholera cases reach one million - ICRC
    21 December 2017 - The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says.
    At least 2,226 people are believed to have died of the disease since April, although the number of new cases has declined for 14 consecutive weeks. The ICRC said the outbreak was "amplifying the suffering of a country caught up in a brutal war". More than 80% of Yemenis lack food, fuel, water and access to healthcare. The war between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the rebel Houthi movement has killed more than 8,670 people since March 2015.


    The outbreak peaked in June, when some 50,000 suspected cases were reported in one week

    Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera. In severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated. The outbreak in Yemen peaked at the end of June, when more than 50,000 suspected cases were reported in one week across 22 out of 23 provinces. Since then, it has steadily declined. The latest figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday show that 7,622 suspected cases and one associated death were reported last week.

    However, WHO officials have warned that there could be a new wave of cases at the beginning of the rainy season in March if the Saudi-led coalition does not ease its blockade of Yemen and allow in more food, fuel and medicines. The blockade was tightened after the Houthis fired a ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in November. The coalition said it wanted to halt the smuggling of weapons to the rebels by Iran - an accusation that officials in Tehran denied - but the UN said the restrictions could trigger "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades".


    Sixteen million Yemenis are cut off from regular access to clean water and sanitation

    Yemen's health service has been unable to cope with the cholera outbreak, with more than half of all medical facilities closed due to damage sustained during the conflict. Hospitals have also faced crippling shortages of medicines, fuel and equipment because of the coalition blockade. Damage to infrastructure and a lack of fuel for pumping stations has also left 16 million people cut off from regular access to clean water and sanitation, increasing the likelihood of cholera spreading. Malnourished children are also at increased risk of dying from infectious diseases. In Yemen, some 1.8 million children are acutely malnourished, including 400,000 under the age of five with severe acute malnutrition.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42440805

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    Preventable, Forgotten Diseases Re-emerging in Yemen... Preventable, Forgotten Diseases Re-emerging in Besieged Yemen December 21, 2017 — The charity, Doctors Without Borders reports preventable, long-forgotten diseases are re-emerging in Yemen due to the catastrophic war that has been going on since March 2015.
    Diphtheria has been eradicated in most parts of the world. The last outbreak of this highly infectious, but preventable respiratory disease occurred in 1982 in Yemen. But, this disease has made a deadly comeback after two and one-half years of catastrophic war and the blockade of humanitarian and commercial goods imposed by Saudi Arabia. Marc Poncin is Emergency Coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Yemen. He said an outbreak of diphtheria emerged in early October. "Today, we have a bit more than 300 cases of diphtheria, 35 deaths," he said. "So, it is a mortality rate of above 10 percent. What is really worrying with diphtheria is the mortality rate in the under-five. We have 25 percent, one out of four children dying of diphtheria in Yemen."
    People fill buckets with water from a well that is alleged to be contaminated water with the bacterium Vibrio cholera, on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen
    Unfortunately, he said the vaccines needed to prevent diphtheria and the antibiotics to treat the infection are both in short supply. Yemen is suffering the worst cholera epidemic in history. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports cholera cases in Yemen have now reached the one millionth mark. Poncin said he believes this official figure is largely exaggerated. "If you look at the mortality rate, for instance, of cholera, it has decreased a lot line in the three last months," he added. "That shows that probably most of the cases today that are reported are diarrhea, simple diarrhea, not cholera." However, he warned this is no time for complacency. While reported cases have gone down to 15,000 a week from a high of 50,000 at the end of June, he says cholera remains a serious problem. Poncin noted worrying predictions from experts who say they expect a new wave of cholera to emerge next year during Yemen's rainy season in March and April. https://www.voanews.com/a/preventabl...n/4173653.html

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    Yemen cholera epidemic eases but not over...

    Cholera Cases in Yemen Dropping, But Epidemic Not Over
    December 24, 2017 — The World Health Organization reports the number of cholera cases in war-torn Yemen has decreased significantly. But the U.N. agency warns the epidemic is far from over and more efforts are needed to contain the disease and prevent future outbreaks.
    The World Health Organization says cholera cases in Yemen have topped one million over the last 14 months, confirming this as the worst cholera epidemic in history. While this is a huge number of infections, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says the death toll of 2,227 is very low. "We are talking about one million, but it is important to understand that this is not one million people who are sick.Today, 99.7 percent of them, in fact, have survived and have recovered from cholera," he said.



    A child receives a polio vaccination on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital Sana'a



    Jasarevic said the average number of cases per week has dropped significantly over the last three months.But, he warns people must remain vigilant and not let down their guard. The spokesman says everyone must work together to make sure the disease is contained and does not come back in the future. "WHO is still supporting dehydration treatment centers… as well as continued surveillance, detection and treatment.Since the beginning of the cholera outbreak we have saved tens of thousands of lives by establishing treatment centers, delivering supplies, distributing public health guidance, training health workers and working with communities on prevention," he said.


    Despite this positive assessment, Jasarevic said the health situation in Yemen remains extremely dire and prone to epidemic disease outbreaks at any time. He said matters are made worse by the inability of aid workers to access certain areas of the country and Saudi Arabia's blockade of Yemen's sea and airports.He says this is preventing the import of vaccines, medications and medical equipment that are needed to save lives.


    https://www.voanews.com/a/yemen-cholera/4177173.html

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    Cholera Vaccination Campaign Gets Underway in Zambia...

    Cholera Vaccination Campaign Gets Underway in Zambia
    January 10, 2018 — The Zambian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization are beginning a cholera vaccination campaign January 10 to help stop an outbreak of this deadly disease. Latest official figures put the number of cases at 2,672, including 63 deaths.
    Two rounds of immunizations are planned. At each stage, about one million people will be vaccinated against cholera. Most of those who will receive these shots live in or around the Zambian capital, Lusaka, since nearly all of the cases of this fatal disease are centered there. World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier says the WHO has helped the government plan the campaign and has trained about 500 health and community workers how to administer the vaccine.



    The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.



    He agrees vaccination is an important measure in preventing the onset and spread of cholera. But he says access to clean water, proper sanitation and good hygiene are fundamental to stopping outbreaks entirely. He tells VOA the government is taking measures to remedy this situation. “First of all, it has deployed the military to clean up parts of the city where sanitation has been poor. It has also closed a market where sanitation was poor. It has banned street vending and also public gatherings and was delaying the start of the new school semester,” he said.


    Cholera, an acute diarrheal disease, can kill within hours if left untreated. People become severely dehydrated and must have their lost fluids replaced quickly if they are to survive. Lindmeier says it is critical for people to have access to treatment centers where they can easily be helped through oral rehydration or, in the more serious cases, through intravenous fluids.


    https://www.voanews.com/a/cholera-va...a/4201714.html

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    Cholera outbreak strikes Malawi...


    Cholera Outbreak Sparks Blame Game in Malawi
    March 13, 2018 — Malawi continues to register new cases of cholera in an outbreak that has now reached half of the country’s 28 districts. However, the government and communities trade blame over containment efforts.
    According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health 23 people have died from cholera since the first case was recorded in November. The number of infected people has now ballooned to 739 from 157 in January. Ministry spokesperson Joshua Malango told VOA that a major cause of the rising number of cases is because of people’s beliefs in superstitions. “Some [people] are still believing that having cholera is not to do with hygiene, it’s to do with witchcraft or some traditional beliefs," he said. " So, instead of rushing to the hospital, they rush to seek traditional medicine which cannot help.” Malango says, for example, one patient died last Thursday in the capital, Lilongwe, because he refused to go to the hospital for medical help. Malango also says churches that prohibit their sick members from getting medical help have contributed to the death toll.



    A woman draws water from an unprotected well in Chigwirizano, a peri-urban area hit by a Cholera outbreak in Malawi.


    He says authorities recently rescued and took to the hospital some cholera patients who were being prayed for at a church in Salima district, central Malawi. “They are members of Zion Church who resorted to go to churches for prayers and the like. So, three of them died and using police force we managed to rescue seven [cholera patients] who were at the church," he said. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if not treated. It spreads via contaminated food and water. Levi Zacheyu Mwazalunga is head of the Zion Church in Blantyre, which does not allow its members to get medical help when sick. He told VOA it is wrong to say that his church members died of cholera because they did not go to the hospital. He says we believe that whether one goes to the hospital or not, they will die. It is what God told Adam when He created the earth that everyone will die regardless of age or circumstances.




    Communities try to identify cholera hot spots from images taken by a drone during a mapping exercise which UNICEF conducted in peri-urban areas of Lilongwe in February this year.



    He read out several verses in the Bible where sick people were healed because of prayers. But health rights campaigners have a different view. Maziko Matemba is the Executive Director for Health and Rights Education Program. He says the rising cholera cases confirm the government's failure to sensitize communities on measures to prevent and contain the disease. “The issue is how far has the ministry of health identified the gap which is there right now," Matemba said. " Because if the condition is still coming out, this means that there is somewhere which the government could have done [ better] in terms of sending messages to do with hygiene.”



    A UNICEF-funded cholera treatment camp in Bwaila Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi.


    Joshua Malango defends the government's efforts to contain the cholera outbreak. “If you look at the figures which we are getting on a daily basis comparing with previous months or weeks, it looks like we are making some slides because as of yesterday we had only one new cholera case in Salima. Lilongwe has no new cholera cases," he said. He also says the government has just immunized about 100, 000 people during the first round of cholera vaccinations that took place in the northern districts of Karonga and Rumphi.


    https://www.voanews.com/a/malawi-cholera/4296285.html

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