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Alcohol abuse kills 3 million people every year, WHO says

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2018

 

 

A glass of whiskey | Screengrab via Reuters video

More than 3 million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday (September 21).

More than three-quarters of these deaths were among men, the U.N. health agency said. And despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.

“Alcohol consumption is the top leading risk factors for poor-health at the age group from 15 to 49 years old”, member of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Vladimir Poznyak, told Reuters.

Europe has the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by around 10 percent since 2010.

“Alcohol kills”, Poznyak said, adding that there were no “safe alcohol consumption” and that any drinking is a risk.

The report found that almost all countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other pricing strategies such as banning below-cost sales or bulk buy discounts.

“These figures show that the cost of alcohol consumption to societies are much bigger than the revenues that the governments and societies receive from alcohol taxes”, Poznyak said. — Reuters

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Congo’s Ebola outbreak to last at least six more months, WHO says

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Health workers treating Ebola patient in treatment unit | REUTERS

The Ebola outbreak in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which has already killed more than 200 people, is expected to last until mid-2019, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday (November 13).

WHO emergency response chief Peter Salama said the WHO is “planning on at least another six months before we can declare this outbreak over.”

The outbreak in Congo’s North Kivu province has caused 333 confirmed and probable cases of the deadly virus and is now the worst in Congo’s history.

The location of the disease is perhaps the most difficult the WHO has ever encountered, due to a dense and mobile local population, insecurity caused by two armed groups, and its spread by transmission in health centers, Salama said.

One of the major drivers of the spread of the disease was due to people visiting the several hundred “tradi-modern” health centers in the town of Beni, he said. — Reuters

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Poor air quality in India’s capital triggers health concerns

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2018

 

New Delhi in smog | REUTERS

Pollution levels in New Delhi, the capital of India, are over 50 times more than the allowed limits, raising people’s concerns over health especially for children.

Four-year-old Avyan suffers from severe wheezing and chest infections, which often leading to multiple hospitalizations. Although he is under the protection of air purifiers and anti-pollution masks, his mother still worries about his health condition because the pollution in the city shows no sign of improving.

“Whenever I put a mask on him for doing the nebulizer, every time some part of me inside me cries. Because once I am pumping him with all those strong medicines, just to manage those symptoms, the other is his body really needs that to survive in this environment. So we would want him to have a very nice happy healthy childhood, but it’s sad that we are not able to give him that, just because we’re in a place which has so much of pollution,” said Anchal Garg Karanth, mother of Avyan.

Recent studies have shown that one in every three children in Delhi has impaired lung function according to the Center of Science and Environment. Doctors also say newborn babies in Delhi take in gulps of polluted air equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes on the first day of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization, over 100,000 children died below the age of five due to the air pollution in India in 2016, which is the record high in the world. Children are particularly vulnerable to bad air because they breathe more rapidly than adults and absorb twice as many pollutants.

“If you are not oxygenating very well, your cognitive function in terms of behavior, intelligence, has a major impact, especially if it happens in the younger years because that is when the neurological system is really developing. Other than that, any chronic lung issue can impact the cardiovascular system as well,” said Anupama Gupta, a pediatrician.

Delhi’s smog is said to be a toxic mix of vehicular pollution, construction dust, and fumes from crops burnt by farmers in neighboring states. This year, the Delhi government banned all construction, digging and excavation work when the pollution levels started rising. The government might also act by taking private cars off of Delhi’s roads if pollution levels deteriorate further.

“In emergency response, you are not really solving the problem, but what you are doing is you are stopping from adding more where the situation is already very bad. But the more fundamental solution will come when you are doing a round-the-year plan and with stringent implementation of that plan,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhary, an environmentalist.

The Indian government is currently working on a national clean air plan and has suggested it aims to reduce air pollution by 30 percent in the next five years. — Reuters

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WHO sees Congo’s Ebola outbreak lasting 3-4 months at least

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

Congolese officials and the World Health Organization officials wear protective suits as they participate in a training against the Ebola virus near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Samuel Mambo

Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak is expected to last several months and could spread at any time to Uganda or Rwanda, which are well prepared but have not approved the use of a vaccine, the World Health Organization said on Thursday (October 11).

But the most concerning area is the city of Beni in Congo’s North Kivu province, where dozens of people who may have been exposed to the deadly disease are hiding from health workers, emergency response chief Peter Salama told Reuters.

The outbreak has now caused 194 cases and 122 deaths, and two-thirds of cases in the past month have been in and around Beni, where the Ebola response was disrupted last month by a spate of attacks by armed groups and a period of official mourning.

The next few days will tell if the recent wave of infections in Beni is over, he said, depending on the security situation and the local community’s willingness to support the response.

Many of the new cases are already known to health workers as people who have had contact with recorded Ebola patients. On average, 80-90 percent of people with potential Ebola exposure is being monitored on a daily basis.

But a smaller number, around 40 or more, are “actively avoiding follow-up” and have not been found for days on end, increasing the risk of the disease spreading, Salama said. More than 90 percent of those people were in Beni, he added.

Some Ebola victims are suspicious of health workers, fearing that hospitalization is a death sentence – despite the obvious risks of missing out on treatment – while families believe that bodies may not be returned for traditional burials.

Local authorities in Beni have threatened people who harbor suspected patients with three-month jail sentences. — Reuters

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