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WHO: Tobacco kills 8 million each year; e-cigarettes, not a proven alternative

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2019

FILE PHOTO – A cigarette burns in an ashtray at a pub in Prague, Czech Republic, May 8, 2017. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Tobacco kills eight million people each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday (May 29), ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Friday (May 31).

The WHO said 40 percent of tobacco victims die from lung diseases and about one million from second-hand smoke.

More than 60,000 children under 5 years old die of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke, WHO director for non-communicable diseases, Vinayak Prasad, said in a briefing.

“Out of these 8 million, we have about 3.3 million — about 40% — of these deaths, due to lung diseases. What are these lung diseases: cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and even tuberculosis,” said WHO Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases Director, Dr. Vinayak Prasad.

Globally, there are around 1.1 billion smokers.

Anti-tobacco campaigns and measures are bearing fruit, but mostly in high-income countries, Prasad said, while the smoking population remained constant or even increased in low-income countries, where the tobacco industry is now focusing sales efforts.

Prasad issued a caveat on e-cigarettes, saying there is no evidence proving they are a safer alternative to cigarettes, warning that it normalizes smoking and hooks young people.

“There is a perception that these are safe products and it is actually hitting the market and the group which is most vulnerable — children, teenage children…So it is a problem we are seeing in a number of countries now,” he said.

The WHO recommends that e-cigarettes be subjected to the same guidelines as for tobacco products, meaning non-smokers should be protected from second-hand smoke, pregnant women should be prohibited from using them, and advertising content must be regulated.

“These products (e-cigarettes) are not smokeless, these products are tobacco products, so there are two big things: one is these are tobacco products, and our recommendations as WHO (World Health Organization) is ‘please regulate them as tobacco products’. The claims that these are less harmful… We don’t know,” he said.

“There is no evidence to demonstrate that and therefore we follow the precautionary principle: take precautions, treat them as tobacco products, and regulate them, the way you regulate for other products,” he added.

Earlier this week, more than 100 public health and anti-tobacco organizations called on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to take swift action to curb advertising of tobacco products on their platforms.

This is after a Reuters report documented how cigarette maker Philip Morris International has used young personalities on Instagram to sell a new “heated tobacco” product called IQOS. (REUTERS)

READ: Rules on use of e-cigarettes, vapes out next week – DOH

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#WorldBloodDonorDay: WHO urges people to give blood, save lives

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the public to donate blood ahead of the celebration of the World Blood Donor Day on June 14 (Friday).

In a Twitter post, the WHO Philippines called on the public to participate in a blood donation drive they will organize with the Philippine Blood Center on June 13 (Thursday).

The bloodletting activity will be held in Sta. Cruz town, Manila from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“In early celebration of #WorldBloodDonorDay, WHO Philippines will be organizing a blood donation drive on 13 June, with the Philippine Blood Center,” the WHO Philippines announced.

“Join us at our office inside the @DOHgov compound from 9am to 4pm. Donate blood, save lives!” the agency added.   

According to the WHO website, the theme for this year’s campaign is blood donation and universal access to safe blood transfusion, as a component of achieving universal health coverage.   

The slogan “Safe blood for all” was also developed to raise awareness on the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care and the crucial roles that voluntary donations play in achieving the goal of universal health coverage.

The WHO said the theme aims to strongly encourage more people all over the world to donate blood regularly, and to urge all governments and health authorities to provide adequate resources and implement systems to increase blood collection, promote/implement appropriate clinical use of blood, and to set up policies for the oversight and surveillance on the whole chain of blood transfusion.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III emphasized the need for blood especially during rainy season when mosquito-borne disease called dengue is more prevalent in the Philippines.

“That’s the time when you will have to consider ensuring availability of blood. In areas of identified hotspots, you have to ensure that delivery units have adequate stock of blood,” Duque said.

Aside from raising awareness, according to the WHO, the event also “serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.”The host country for World Blood Donor Day 2019 is Rwanda and the global event will be held in Kigali on June 14.

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Uganda confirms first case of Ebola

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Uganda has confirmed its first case of Ebola during the current outbreak, a five-year-old Congolese child who is receiving care after arriving from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday (June 11).

Uganda Minister of Health, Aceng Jane Ruth, confirmed the case and detailed the circumstances to the media at a briefing in Kampala.

The WHO said in a statement: “This is the first confirmed case in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak on-going in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

The affected child, traveling with his family, had entered Uganda on June 9 through Bwera Border post. They sought medical care at Kagando hospital and the child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit for management, the WHO said.

“The confirmation was made today by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI) … Contacts are being monitored,” the WHO said.

Since the epidemic began in August in eastern Congo, the Congo health ministry said on Monday that it had recorded 2,062 cases including 1,390 deaths.

Uganda has suffered regular outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg over the years, both high-fatality viral haemorrhagic fevers, and health facilities to treat the diseases are relatively robust for the region. (REUTERS)

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Public warned vs groups fronting as MCGI to ask for cash donations

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Several cases of street scams have been reported not only in the Philippines but in different parts of the world.

Scammers usually pose as members of charitable institutions or religious groups to ask for cash donations allegedly to fund charity events or programs.

Many of them have gone viral on social media such as a Filipina who was caught on camera asking money from customers inside a restaurant abroad saying the donations were to support a certain “children’s foundation”.

Another incident which happened in Japan was recorded by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who, in the video, was questioning another Filipino about the legality of her action. The latter was caught collecting cash donations from passers by allegedly to support the same foundation for children.

Such scheme was reported by a local news agency in Japan.

Three Filipinas also made headlines in Thailand this year for illegally soliciting funds allegedly to support the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines even if the calamity happened six years ago.

The same modus operandi was reported in Brazil where the scammer was confronted by another Filipino in an airport.

The scammer was caught on video asking monetary donations from tourists and locals to allegedly raise a Yolanda fund and also to donate to a certain children’s foundation by a Filipino founder.

Just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate and facilitate the closure of a religiously-inclined group luring Filipinos into an investment scam.

Because such modus operandi have been exposed, scammers are now using the names of legitimate organizations to push their interests.

The Members, Church of God International (MCGI) was not spared from such illegal activities.

A report has reached the knowledge of MCGI administration about individuals posing as supporters of the group’s charity works and collecting money from just anybody on the streets.

The street scammers were using the name of La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) and MCGI to ask for cash donations.

“We vehemently deny the involvement sa mga ganyang klase ng pangongolekta, panghihingi ng donasyon sa kalsada o saan mang lugar, (in any practice of collecting or begging for donations on the streets or just anywhere),” Kuya Daniel Razon said during the program “Good Morning Kuya” on UNTV.

“Hindi po iyan totoo. Hindi po nanggagaling iyan sa organisasyon, iyang ganyang klase ng panghihingi para maipagpatuloy ang ating charity works. Natuto po tayo sa katwiran ng Panginoon na magbatak ng buto,” he further stressed.

(That is not true. That is not a practice in the organization to collect money [from just anybody] to support our charity works. We have learned from the righteousness of God to work and earn a living.)

Kuya Daniel offered a reward to anybody who could provide information that will lead to the arrest of these scammers implicating the names of LVCC and MCGI and to curb such illegal practice while putting those behind the scams to justice.

“Anybody na gumagawa ng ganyan, ipahuli ninyo. Kuhanan ninyo ng video dahil iyan ho ay scam, isang paninira din iyan na maituturing dahil wala hong ganyan na ginagawa ang mga members ng Church of God International o anybody na nagtataguyod po ng La Verdad Christian College or ng ating mga ginagawang mga charity works,” he said.

(Anybody who engages in such schemes, have them arrested. Get videos of them because that is a scam, a form of provocation and defamation because such is not a practice among members of Church of God International or anybody who supports La Verdad Christian College or any of our charity works.)

La Verdad Christian College is a private, non-stock, non-profit institution that provides scholarship to deserving but financially challenged students.

The school is operated by MCGI spearheaded by Bro. Eli Soriano and supported by UNTV under the supervision of Kuya Daniel Razon.

“Sina Bro. Eli Soriano at Kuya Daniel Razon ang isa sa kanilang ginagawa para ma sustain at magtuloy-tuloy ang kanilang advocacy na makapag-provide ng free quality education from pre-school to college (ay) from their own pocket,” noted Shiela Sabugaa, LVCC’s Deputy Administrator.

(Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel Razon primarily work to sustain their advocacy and to be able to constantly provide free, quality pre-school to college education, (they spend) from their own pockets.)

“Nagbibigay talaga sila (ng) galing sa kanilang sariling pera, business or sweldo. Iyon talaga ang primary source ng fund para sa operational expenses ng La Verdad (Christian College). At para ma-sustain, meron pa silang ibang projects na ginagawa,” she added.

(They provide funds taken from their personal earnings, from their personal businesses or salaries. Those are the primary sources of funds for the operational expenses of La Verdad Christian College. And to sustain it, they do additional projects to generate funds.)

Each La Verdad scholar is entitled to free college education, books, uniform and meals without paying any amount.

Scholars from the provinces are also provided with free lodging, regardless of religious affiliation as long as they have the interest and perseverance to learn.

“Free tuition po talaga as in walang binabayaran maski miscellaneous fees po. Tapos aside pa doon may free lunch pa, may free uniform pa tapos minsan pati mga instructional materials ibinibigay sa amin ng libre – paggamit ng computer sa library, walang bayad, walang internet fee unlike doon sa ibang university,” said La Verdad scholar Carein Claire Viray.

“I can never thank them enough doon sa ginawa nila kasi ang dami nilang buhay na natulungan,” said another scholar, Paul John Nadela.

(I can never thank them enough for what they have done because they have helped many lives.)

“Iyon ang catch doon. They don’t ask anything in return. There are so many scholarships available sa labas and oftentimes after they graduate mandated ka nang magtrabaho ng ganito, mag-render ng ganito or anything and doon sa scholarship na ibinibigay sa amin ni Bro. Eli at Kuya hindi lang siya for academic purposes. Hindi lang nakaka-enrich ng mind pati ng spirit,” he added.

(That’s the catch there. They don’t ask anything in return. There are so many scholarships available outside and oftentimes after you graduated, you are mandated to work for them, to render service or do anything [for them]. The scholarship that Bro. Eli and Kuya provide does not serve for academic purposes only. It does not enrich the mind but also the spirit.)

Aside from the free scholarship provided by LVCC, many charitable works are being jointly operated and supported by MCGI and UNTV such as the daily free ride, medical mission, legal consultation and programs that extend assistance to those in need such as UNTV Cup and concerts for a cause.

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