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Polio vaccine campaign to be rolled out in western provinces

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(Last Updated On: May 22, 2022)

More than one million children are expected to receive polio vaccinations in the fourth round of the current campaign which is set to start on Monday in the western provinces of Afghanistan.

According to public health ministry officials, vaccination teams will go from house-to-house and vaccinate children under the age of five.

“Necessary preparations have been made in Herat and the western area for the implementation of the polio campaign and the necessary training has been given to the employees; approximately 5,000 employees [are involved] in the implementation, monitoring and care of the polio campaign,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, Herat Deputy Minister of Public Health.

“Our goal in Herat province is [to reach] 710,000 children under the age of five, for whom we have to apply the vaccine, which fortunately we achieved in the previous campaign, and we hope to achieve this in this period as well,” said Abdul Wahid Rahmani, head of the vaccination program in Herat.

The Herat Department of Public Health says that in this province alone, 710,000 children are to be vaccinated against polio, while in Badghis, about 180,000 children will be vaccinated.

“In this round, the campaign targets 180,489 children, and we try not to leave any children out in this campaign,” said Mohammad Asif Qant, Badghis Public Health Director.

Thousands of children will also be reached in Ghor province.

“The campaign will be carried out to all parts of Ghor and from house-to-house, and fortunately there are no obstacles in our way,” said Fazulhaq Farjad, head of the polio vaccine program in Ghor.

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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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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