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WHO eyes decision on monkeypox ’emergency’, Africa says it’s long overdue

WHO eyes decision on monkeypox ’emergency’, Africa says it’s long overdue

THE World Health Organization will decide on Thursday whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency, stirring criticism from leading African scientists who say it has been a crisis in their region for years. The deliberations and scrutiny of the WHO’s response to the outbreak follow concerns over how the United Nations agency and governments worldwide handled COVID-19 in early 2020. A “public health emergency of international concern” is WHO’s highest alert level. The agency does not declare pandemics, but it did start using the term to describe COVID-19 in March 2020. For many governments, that – rather than WHO’s…
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Nigeria must improve health services for mothers and babies: here’s what can change

Nigeria must improve health services for mothers and babies: here’s what can change

NIGERIA is one of the largest contributors to maternal and newborn (neonatal) deaths in the world. It’s estimated that in 2017 the country accounted for more than 20% of the global deaths of women due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. In 2018, the maternal death rate was 512 per 100,000 live births while the death of babies within the first four weeks of life was 39 per 1,000 live births. Author JAMILU TUKUR, Professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Bayero University, Kano These rates are among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. A recent Lancet Commission noted that the country has…
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Children’s mental health and the digital world: how to get the balance right

Children’s mental health and the digital world: how to get the balance right

TECHNOLOGY has increasingly blurred the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. This has led to dramatic shifts in daily life and changed the way children and adolescents live, socialise, move around and learn. Never before has this been so evident than at the onset of the COVID pandemic and the subsequent exponential rise in technology and internet use. Global estimates suggest that one in three internet users is a child. Author RACHANA DESAI, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand Digital technology exposes children to information, social connection, education, online support groups and professional help. Yet, children engaging in…
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Yes, women might ‘feel the cold’ more than men. Here’s why

Yes, women might ‘feel the cold’ more than men. Here’s why

WE all have different preferences for when it’s the right time to bring out the winter blankets. And the thermostat’s setting often forms the basis of office arguments between women and men regarding the “correct” temperature for it to be set. Authors CHARLOTTE PHELPS, PhD Student, Bond University CHRISTIAN MORO, Associate Professor of Science & Medicine, Bond University Between the sexes, there are always more similarities than differences. But research does consistently show women prefer a higher indoor temperature than men. But is there any science backing up the widespread belief women “feel the cold” more than men? Biological differences…
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HIV control approaches may not work for TB: lessons from South Africa and Zambia

HIV control approaches may not work for TB: lessons from South Africa and Zambia

TUBERCULOSIS (TB) is one of the most deadly infectious diseases. Around 9.9 million people around the world fell ill with the disease in 2020 and an estimated 1.5 million people died. The advent of HIV in the 1980s unleashed large increases in TB, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In some countries, the number of people diagnosed with TB quadrupled every year. People with HIV are particularly susceptible to falling ill with TB. Author HELEN AYLES, Professor Infectious Diseases and International health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine My colleagues and I were part of a research project called TREATS –…
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People will continue to die of rabies if Kenya doesn’t educate healthcare workers

People will continue to die of rabies if Kenya doesn’t educate healthcare workers

RABIES – a viral disease spread through an animal bite – has had an effective vaccine for more than a century. Yet people continue to die from it. Rabies kills nearly every known person that shows clinical signs of it, making it arguably one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. Authors VERONICAH MBAIRE CHUCHU, PhD Candidate, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Nairobi MUTONO NYAMAI, PhD candidate, University of Nairobi PHILIP KITALA, Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nairobi THUMBI MWANGI, Associate professor, Washington State University Africa accounts for 36.4% of the 59,000 rabies deaths in humans annually.…
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U.S. Supreme Court leak stirs abortion passions in Africa

U.S. Supreme Court leak stirs abortion passions in Africa

WHEN a desperate and bleeding 17-year-old girl walked into his rural health centre, Kenyan medic Ismail Mohammed Salim thought he was doing the right thing by helping her conclude an unwanted and dangerous pregnancy. Days later, both were in jail. "I gave an evacuation service to save a patient's life as the government trained me to do. Then I'm prosecuted," said Salim, who was accused of performing an illegal abortion and detained in Kilifi town, where he had to sleep 20-to-a-cell. "I was in despair." After a week in custody and a two-year legal process, the clinical officer and girl…
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21 cases of monkeypox cases in Nigeria

21 cases of monkeypox cases in Nigeria

Nigeria has confirmed 21 cases of monkeypox since the start of the year with one death reported, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said late. Monkeypox, a usually mild viral infection, is endemic in the African countries of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. But it has caused global alarm after more than 200 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus were detected in at least 19 countries since early May, mostly in Europe. No deaths have been reported so far. The NCDC said out of 61 suspected cases of monkeypox reported since January, 21…
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Ghana startup strives for greater African representation in cancer research

Ghana startup strives for greater African representation in cancer research

COOPER INVEEN and FRANCIS KOKOROKO IN the open-air kitchen of a small research clinic in Ghana's capital, Accra, pathologist Kafui Akakpo carefully carved a piece of cancerous breast tissue into a sample smaller than a matchbox. Hundreds of other samples bobbed around him in plastic jars of formaldehyde, but this one would soon travel across town to Yemaachi Biotech, a Ghanaian research and diagnostics startup that Akakpo thinks could change African cancer studies forever. "Even though breast cancer has been studied extensively throughout the world, the truth is that most samples are not of Africans," he said. Data on cancer…
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