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Up to 8 children dying daily in Kabul hospital from malnutrition: Source

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(Last Updated On: March 9, 2022)

As many as eight children die each day from malnutrition at just one hospital in Kabul, a reliable source told Ariana News on Wednesday.

According to the source, who asked not to be named, the deaths have happened at the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul.

However, hospital officials have denied the claims and said they have recorded only one death from malnutrition in the past month.

Malnutrition among children across Afghanistan has raised serious concerns in the past few months.

Last month, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan warned that one million Afghan children could die from severe acute malnutrition if “urgent actions” are not taken.

Hasib Rahimzai Wardag, chief of the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital, said on Wednesday: “We have two wards for malnutrition – one which involves medium-level treatment and supply of materials and the other involves acute cases requiring hospitalization. We had only one death among the patients in beds during the past one month.”

Meanwhile, patients and visitors at the hospital have complained about a number of issues including the lack of discipline among staff, the lack of medicine and medical supplies, and the mistreatment of patients at the facility.

“There is no accountability and we wait so long for doctors. My patient is suffering from both malnutrition and a cleft palate. They should attend to people. We buy all the medicines. There is nothing in the hospital,” said Zarlasht, a relative of one patient.

Humaira, a relative of another patient, said: “I have been at the hospital for one month. I don’t understand why the doctors are not telling me what the child is suffering from and why he is not recovering.”

UNICEF meanwhile has also warned that some 3.2 million children under the age of five are at risk of severe malnutrition in Afghanistan by the end of the year as a result of the country’s severe humanitarian crisis.

Health

Monkeypox cases top 35,000: WHO

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2022)

Monkeypox infections continue to rise globally, with more than 35,000 cases across 92 countries and territories, and 12 deaths, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday.

“Almost 7,500 cases were reported last week, a 20 per cent increase over the previous week, which was also 20 per cent more than the week before,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking during his regular press briefing from Geneva.

The majority of cases are being reported from Europe and the America.

“The primary focus for all countries must be to ensure they are ready for monkeypox, and to stop transmission using effective public health tools, including enhanced disease surveillance, careful contact tracing, tailored risk communication and community engagement, and risk reduction measures,” said Tedros.

Currently, global supplies of Monkeypox vaccines are limited, as is data about their effectiveness. WHO is in contact with manufacturers, and with countries and organizations willing to share vaccine doses. 

“We remain concerned that the inequitable access to vaccines we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic will be repeated, and that the poorest will continue to be left behind,” said Tedros. 

COVID-19 deaths have also increased over the last four weeks, rising by 35 percent, with 15,000 lives lost in the past week alone.

“Fifteen thousand deaths a week is completely unacceptable, when we have all the tools to prevent infections and save lives,” Tedros remarked.

Although everyone might be tired of COVID-19, “the virus is not tired of us,” he said.

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Health

Afghanistan makes progress toward polio eradication

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

One year on from Afghanistan’s transition of power in August 2021, the polio eradication programme in Afghanistan has made critical gains – but the job is far from finished.

Wild poliovirus transmission in Afghanistan is currently at its lowest level in history.

Fifty six children were paralysed by wild poliovirus in 2020. In 2021, the number fell to four. This year to date, only one child has been paralysed by the virus, giving the country an extraordinary opportunity to end polio, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

The resumption of nationwide polio vaccination campaigns targeting 9.9 million children has been a critical step.

With access to the entire country following the August transition, seven nationwide vaccination campaigns took place between November 2021 and June 2022, and a sub national campaign targeting 6.7 million children in 28 provinces took place in July.

Of the 3.6 million children who had been inaccessible to the programme since 2018, 2.6 million were reached during the November, December and January campaigns.

With improving reach to previously inaccessible children during subsequent campaigns, the number of missed children has been reduced to 0.7 million.

Additional campaigns are planned for the remainder of the year.

With Afghanistan and Pakistan sharing one epidemiological block, the two countries continue to coordinate cross border activities. December and May’s campaigns were synchronized with Pakistan’s national campaigns, focusing on high-risk populations including nomadic groups, seasonal workers and communities straddling both borders, WHO reported.

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US and Britain roll out campaigns after poliovirus detected in water samples

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2022)

The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples from New York and London has sparked fears of a possible public health crisis but health experts in the United States believe that the virus is unlikely to secure widespread transmission in the country, especially in highly vaccinated areas.

Medical Daily reported that the US declared the eradication of poliovirus in September 1994, and not many people are aware of the disease it causes and its symptoms at present. There is also limited awareness on how it spreads.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poliovirus spreads through person-to-person contact and other ways, such as the oral-fecal route and droplets.

Poliovirus is so contagious it can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions. Transmission is inevitable when a person makes contact with the feces from an infected person while infection via droplets from a sneeze or cough is less common, Medical Daily reported.

The CDC noted that an infected person could spread the virus almost immediately before and up to two weeks after the symptoms of the disease appear. Once the virus enters the mouth, it can stay in the intestines for many weeks. Asymptomatic people can still pass the virus to other people and make them sick, the report read.

Last month, the US reported its first case of polio in almost a decade.

Meanwhile, Britain rolled out urgent polio vaccinations this week for all London-based children below 10 after the discovery of polio traces in sewage samples across several London boroughs. The move was made after the detection of polio in wastewater samples from New York, London and even Israel sparked fears of a wider outbreak.

Among the symptoms of polio, paralysis is the one most commonly associated with the disease since it can lead to permanent disability or even death. Scientific data showed between 2 and 10 out of 200 infected people develop paralysis and die because the virus can significantly impact the muscles used for breathing.

Since there is no cure or specific treatment for paralytic polio, patients rely on long-term physical or occupational therapy to help them with arm or leg weakness.

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