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WHO concerned about worsening access in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2021)

The World Health Organization is concerned about worsening access to provide life-saving medicines and supplies in Afghanistan and attacks on health care facilities, as Afghan forces fight Taliban insurgents, a WHO official said on Friday.

Rick Brennan, WHO regional emergencies director for its Eastern Mediterranean regional office, said that aid supplies would arrive next week including 3.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and oxygen concentrators.

“It is a terribly concerning situation and it’s very fluid right now,” Brennan, speaking from Cairo, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “We are concerned about our lack of access to be able to provide essential medicines and supplies and we are concerned about attacks on health care.”

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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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EU signs deal with Bavarian Nordic for delivery of monkeypox vaccine

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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2022)

The European Commission on Tuesday said it had signed a deal with Danish biotech firm Bavarian Nordic (BAVA.CO) for the delivery of around 110,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine.

The agreement marks the first time that the EU budget is used for the direct purchase of vaccines and would make the shots rapidly available to all EU member states, Norway and Iceland, the commission said.

Around 900 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 19 EU countries, Norway and Iceland since May 18.

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Research finds ‘alarming’ levels of chemicals in male urine samples

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(Last Updated On: June 13, 2022)

A study of urine samples from nearly 100 male volunteers has uncovered “alarming” levels of endocrine disruptors known to reduce human fertility.

Cocktails of chemicals such as bisphenols and dioxins, which are believed to interfere with hormones and affect sperm quality, were present at levels up to 100 times those considered safe, scientists have found.

The median exposure to these chemicals was 17 times the levels deemed acceptable.

“Our mixture risk assessment of chemicals which affect male reproductive health reveals alarming exceedances of acceptable combined exposures,” wrote the authors of the study, published on Thursday in the journal Environment International.

The study measured nine chemicals, including bisphenol, phthalates and paracetamol, in urine samples from 98 Danish men aged 18 to 30.

The study authors, led by Professor Andreas Kortenkamp of Brunel University London, said they were “astonished” by the magnitude of this hazard index in the volunteers studied, Euronews reported.

Sperm quantity and quality have dramatically declined across Western countries in recent decades, with research suggesting sperm counts have been more than halved in the space of 40 years.

Meanwhile, other reproductive health disorders have been on the rise, such as non-descending testes and testicular cancer.

Scientists around the world have considered a range of other possible causes behind falling sperm counts, including lifestyle factors, tobacco consumption and air pollution.

But recent studies have increasingly zeroed in on the role played by chemicals, Euronews reported.

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