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1 in 7 babies worldwide born with low birthweight—Global study

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Pixabay

One in 7 babies around the world is born with a low birthweight according to a global study. That translates to around 15% or 20 million babies worldwide.

Babies born with a low birthweight weigh less than 2,500g or 5.5 pounds and have a higher risk of stunting, lower IQ and death during their childhood.

They also have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other noncommunicable disease during their adulthood.

According to the The United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF, half of the babies born with low birthweight are from Asia. It is also a problem in countries like New Zealand, Australia, and other countries in Europe and North America.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Hannah Blencowe from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said, “Despite clear commitments, our estimates indicate that national governments are doing too little to reduce low birthweight. We have seen very little change over 15 years, even in high-income settings where low birthweight is often due to prematurity as a result of high maternal age, smoking, medically unnecessary caesarean sections and fertility treatments that increase the risk of multiple births.”

“To meet the global nutrition target of a 30% reduction in low birthweight by 2025 will require more than doubling the pace of progress,” she added.

 

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WHO warns: Dengue to likely increase in rainy season; calls for action

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning on the alarming increase of dengue cases in some parts of Asia.

In an advisory released on Wednesday (June12), the WHO said several Asian countries are experiencing unusually high numbers of dengue cases for this time of year.

With the rainy season approaching, the WHO is calling for action to minimize illness and deaths from dengue.

“Dengue is one of the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne diseases. Worldwide, the incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the past 50 years,” the news release said.

It added that, “of an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk for dengue globally, about 70% live in Asia Pacific countries. Climate conditions, unclean environments, unplanned urban settlements and rapid urbanization can lead to increased mosquito breeding, especially in urban and semi-urban areas.”

It further said, “several countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region such as Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam have observed early increases in the number of dengue cases reported so far this year.”

In Cambodia, more than 1300 suspected cases were reported in week 21 alone — a level which is higher than expected for this time of the year.

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as of week 21, a total of 4,216 suspected cases including 14 deaths have been reported.

In Malaysia, a total of 52,941 cases including 81 deaths were reported during the first 22 weeks of 2019.

In Singapore, as of week 21 of 2019, there were a total of 3,886 cases reported.

In Viet Nam, there have been a total of 59,959 suspected cases reported including four deaths as of week 19.

In the Philippines, a total of 77,040 suspected cases of dengue, including 328 deaths, were reported in the first 20 weeks of 2019.

The WHO said, “this is almost double the 41,104 cases reported during the same time period last year. Case numbers remain high, but as they are starting to decline, the rainy season is approaching.”

“The increased number of cases is of concern, but even more worrying is the increase in the rate of people dying from dengue, especially children,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, adding that “this is a signal that we need to work with countries to strengthen care as well as prevention.”

“Health workers in dengue-endemic areas must be able to recognize the symptoms of dengue and the warning signs of severe dengue, do diagnostic tests and provide life-saving care. Also, families need to know what symptoms to look for and where to get early medical attention. This is especially urgent with the rainy season coming to many parts of Asia,” he added.

Call for action

The WHO advisory said that there is no specific treatment for dengue but early detection, improved clinical management and access to proper medical care for severe dengue can reduce fatality rates.

The international health body recommends that dengue-endemic countries continue educating the population and health workers on recognizing dengue symptoms and the warning signs of severe dengue.

It added that appropriate home care with adequate hydration and rest during the early stages can minimize the risk of the disease becoming severe.

The WHO also urges countries to train health professionals on the diagnosis and proper management of dengue and to prepare health centers and hospitals for effective response in case of outbreaks and influxes of patients.

WHO also encourages governments and communities to reduce the spread of dengue by informing the public of how to clean up mosquito breeding sites.

“With these measures, we can minimize the impact of dengue on people in our Region and save lives,” said Dr. Kasai.

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FDA warns public against adulterated cosmetic products

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, June 6th, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a health warning to inform the public of the report of the ASEAN Post-Marketing Alert System (PMAS) on several cosmetic products.

The FDA Advisory, dated June 3, 2019, said that these products were subjected to post-marketing surveillance by the Cosmetic Control Group, Food and Drug Administration, Thailand.

The results of the laboratory analyses showed that “the products are not compliant with the technical standards set forth by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD) as these contain ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product.”

Brands that were found to have ammoniated mercury were B-Plus Miracle Gold Cream, Madame Organic Whitening Arbutin, and Herbal Turmeric Herbal Cream.

Products that were found to have ammoniated mercury, betamethasone 17-valerate and clobetasol propionate were BeQuala Beauty Quality Lab, O-Ping Wink Winner Ping Whitening Cream, and Myrina Night Cream.

Brands that have both ammoniated mercury and betamethasone 17-valerate were Beauty 3 Night Cream and Polla Gold Super White Perfects.

Brands such as Melusma Melasma Brightening Cream and Ozzy Mark were both found to have contained ammoniated mercury, with hydroquinone and clobetasol propionate, respectively.

The advisory further said that “mercury is a naturally occurring heavy metal which is known to be severely hazardous to health even in small amount.”

It says, “according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the main adverse effect of exposure to inorganic mercury (e.g. ammoniated mercury) is kidney damage.”

It added that “mercury may also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scarring,” as well as, neurodevelopmental deficits in children in case pregnant women and nursing mothers got exposed to mercury and, in turn, transferred it to their children.

Hydroquinone, betamethasone 17-valerate and clobetasol propionate, on the other hand, are not allowed to be part of cosmetic products as these are classified as drug products because of their multiple serious adverse effects when used indiscriminately. 

Because of the hazards posed by the aforementioned products, the FDA strongly advises the public to be vigilant and to report to them whenever they see these products in the market.

Reports may be coursed through email report@fda.gov.ph, the Center for Cosmetic Regulation and Research (CCRR) hotline (02) 857-1900 local 8107 and 8113, and the FDA online facility, eReport, at www2.fda.gov.ph/ereport.

ERRATUM:

An earlier version of this article erroneously included an image of a counterfeit mineral clay mask marketed as Pond’s Pure White Mineral Clay Mask D-Toxx Treatment.

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WHO lauds PH for passing child restraint law

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the Philippines for passing the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act or Republic Act 11229.

WHO said in a statement on Wednesday (March 13) that the initiative places the Philippines among the few countries to pass child restraint legislation.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on February 22 mandating special protection for child passengers in motor vehicles. It aims to guarantee the safety and welfare of children, aged 12 and below.

The new law requires vehicle owners to use restraint systems appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight. It also restricts children from sitting in the front seat of motor vehicles.

READ: Duterte signs law requiring child restraint system in vehicles

The WHO said the newly-signed law that requires mandatory use of child restraints when transporting children is “a landmark legislation,” and “a significant step towards prioritizing the safety of infants and children on Philippine roads, and preventing traffic-related deaths and injuries.”

The agency reported that more than 600 Filipino children die from road crashes each year.

“Child restraints keep a child firmly secured in the seat so that in the event of a sudden braking or collision, the child is not thrown against the car interior or ejected from the vehicle. Evidence has shown that child restraints reduce the likelihood of a fatal crash by approximately 70% among infants and between 54-80% among young children,” the WHO added.

The international health body believes the law will help save the lives of children on roads.

“With proper implementation and enforcement, this law will save the lives of many children over the next years,” the WHO said.

“We congratulate the legislators and road safety advocates who together have worked hard during the past years to push the passage of this child restraint legislation,” the agency added.

The WHO also assured to provide support for the Philippine government as it drafts the law’s implementing guidelines.

“WHO is here to continue providing technical support to the Philippine Government, especially as they draft the Implementing Rules and Regulations for RA 11229,” the WHO said. – Robie de Guzman

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