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13 million children in need of humanitarian aid, over 5 million close to famine

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(Last Updated On: May 23, 2022)

Save the Children said Monday, in its latest report on Afghanistan, that 24.4 million people, including 13 million children, need humanitarian assistance and that over five million children are close to famine.

In its April report, the organization said 19.7 million people, including 9.6 million children, are facing critical levels of hunger; “5.3 million children are one step away from famine” and 1.1 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.

According to the report, 5.8 million internally displaced people and returnees remain in some form of displacement and close to 700,0000 people were internally displaced in 2021.

In addition to this, Save the Children said eight million children need support to access education in Afghanistan and 10 million children are at risk of dropping out of school if teacher salaries are not paid and crippling poverty levels continue.

The report also noted that 4.5 million children are in need of mental health and psychosocial support.

The organization stated that armed clashes continue in Baghlan, Takhar and Panjshir provinces, where Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) “authorities are being attacked”.

“Increased number of explosions in Kabul city killed and injured a number of civilians, including children. In addition, airstrikes by Pakistani Air Forces killed 41 civilians including six children in Khost and Kunar provinces” last month, the report stated.

Save the Children said the economic crisis continues to impact the finances of families and in a survey carried out by the organization, it was found the majority of the families reported loss of some or all of their income and are unable to afford the rising cost of food.

“93% of people in Afghanistan face insufficient food consumption due to the economic decline. 4.5million children and breastfeeding women are at risk of acute malnutrition in 2022,” the report stated.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) meanwhile confirmed nearly 55,400 measles cases and more than 290 related deaths since the beginning of 2021, including more than 3,300 new cases and 21 related deaths confirmed between March 20 and 26-2022.

Of the total cases, approximately 80 percent have been children ages five years and younger, Save the Children organization said.

In conclusion, the report noted that the ban on secondary school girls attending classes, and the non-payment of teacher salaries has led to growing rates of teacher, and subsequently student, absenteeism and drop-out.

“Shortages of qualified female teachers serve as a barrier to girls’ access to education,” the report stated.

Health

African officials say spread of Monkeypox is already an emergency

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(Last Updated On: July 1, 2022)

Health authorities in Africa say they are treating the expanding monkeypox outbreak there as an emergency and are calling on rich countries to share the world’s limited supply of vaccines in an effort to avoid the glaring equity problems seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monkeypox has been affecting people in parts of central and west Africa for decades, but the lack of laboratory diagnosis and weak surveillance means many cases are going undetected across the continent, The Associated Press reported. 

To date, countries in Africa have reported more than 1,800 suspected cases so far this year including more than 70 deaths, but only 109 have been lab-confirmed.

“This particular outbreak for us means an emergency,” said Ahmed Ogwell, the acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control. 

“We want to be able to address monkeypox as an emergency now so that it does not cause more pain and suffering,” he said.

Last week, WHO said its emergency committee concluded that the expanding monkeypox outbreak was worrying, but did not yet warrant being declared a global health emergency. The UN health agency said it would reconsider its decision if the disease continued spreading across more borders, showed signs of increased severity, or began infecting vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children, AP reported.

Globally, more than 5,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 51 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of those cases are in Europe. No deaths beyond Africa have been reported.

Within Africa, WHO said monkeypox has spread to countries where it hasn’t previously been seen, including South Africa, Ghana and Morocco. But more than 90 percent of the continent’s infections are in Congo and Nigeria, according to WHO’s Africa director, Dr. Moeti Matshidiso.

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Health

Sleeping with light linked to higher risk of diabetes, obesity: study

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(Last Updated On: June 30, 2022)

Sleeping while exposed to any type of light whatsoever — even dim light — is linked to an increase in the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure) in older adults, according to a new study.

The study has been conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“Whether it be from one’s smartphone, leaving a TV on overnight, or light pollution in a big city, we live among an abundant number amount of artificial sources of light that are available 24 hours of a day,” said Dr Minjee Kim, a corresponding author of the study.

“It appears that even a tiny amount of light has a noticeable effect on our body’s response,” Kim told Medical News Today.

While this particular study scrutnised the negative effects on adults, Medical News Today reported that previous studies have shown that not sleeping in darkness affects all age groups.

Kim explained that in young and healthy adults, who were experimented in a sleep lab overnight, increased heartrate and blood glucose was found.

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Cholera cases rising in Takhar

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(Last Updated On: June 27, 2022)

Cholera and diarrhea cases are rising among children and adults in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, local officials said.

Abdul Qahar Ahadi, provincial health director, said that more than 20,000 patients suffering from various diseases visited public health facilities during the past two months, which is unprecedented.

Takhar’s main hospital meanwhile said that most of the visitors were treated for cholera and diarrhea.

Hayatullah Imami, an official at Takhar hospital, said that 30 percent of patients visiting the facility daily were suffering from diarrhea.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria.

People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.

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