WHO warns against the spread of antimicrobial resistance

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 20, 2019   •   3722

A person holds pharmaceutical tablets and capsules in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana September 18, 2013. REUTERS/SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns against the spread of antimicrobial resistance around the world.

A recent UN report showed that 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. Among the 700,000 there are around 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

“Drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis,” the report reads.

On June 18, the WHO launched a campaign which aims to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs. 

The AWaRe tool or Access, Watch, Reserve tool aims to make antibiotic use safer and more effective. The tool specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections.

Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant-Director General for antimicrobial resistance said tackling antimicrobial resistance requires a careful balance between access and preservation

“The AWaRe tool can guide policy to ensure patients keep being treated, while also limiting use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance,” she said.—AAC

Adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 5, 2019

Much as we enjoy being a couch potato, our bodies need the right amount of exercise to stay healthy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults ages 18–64, to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of rigorous physical activity a week.

Studies have shown that physically adults have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

Other benefits include:

  • less risk of a hip or vertebral fracture;
  • exhibit a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness; and
  • more likely to achieve weight maintenance, have a healthier body mass and composition.

The WHO said the recommendation is applicable to all healthy adults. However, there will be adjustments depending on the exercise capacity of an individual and the specific health risks or limitations.

“There are multiple ways of accumulating the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week,” according to their statement.—AAC

Health, environmental advocates urge not to burn trash in cemeteries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2019

Health and environmental advocates urge the public not to burn trash especially in cemeteries during the observance of Undas.

In a joint statement, public health expert Dr. Maricar Limpin and zero waste campaigner Jove Mendoza said there are health and environmental dangers in burning trash.

Exposure to these pollutants can cause breathing difficulties and trigger asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses, especially among children, the elderly and those already suffering from weakened immune systems,” Limpin said.

Meanwhile, Benosa reiterated that burning trash in public is prohibited. He said among the laws banning and penalizing open burning are Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act.

“Instead of burning discards, we appeal to cemetery administrators and visitors to follow the provisions of RA 9003, which requires the segregation of discards at source and their ecological management such as by composting the biodegradables and recycling the recyclables,” said Benosa.—AAC

WHO declares eradication of second strain of wild poliovirus strain

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2019

A child receives an oral polio vaccine from Red Cross volunteers during a vaccination program by the UNICEF at a public school building turned into a temporary evacuation center in the super typhoon devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, 26 November 2013. EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, hailing the development as a “historic achievement for humanity.”

The WHO made the announcement on World Polio day on Oct. 24.

There are three strains of wild poliovirus. All three types can cause irreversible paralysis or even death but the WHO said these three have genetic and virologic differences that must be eradicated individually.

The WPV3 is the second poliovoirus strain to be wiped out following the eradication of wild poliovirus 2 in 2015. The last confirmed case of WPV3 was reported in northern Nigeria in 2012, according to the WHO.

An independent panel of experts concluded that WPV3 strain has been eradicated after meeting the required criteria for verification.

“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board said in a statement.

“We remain fully committed to ensuring that all necessary resources are made available to eradicate all poliovirus strains. We urge all our other stakeholders and partners to also stay the course until final success is achieved,” he added.

According to Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, the type 1 of wild poliovirus still continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We cannot stop our efforts now: we must eradicate all remaining strains of all polioviruses,” Salisbury said in a statement.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal.

Health authorities said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

The WHO said eradicating WPV3 proves that a polio-free world is achievable. Key to success will be the ongoing commitment of the international development community. 

“To this effect, as part of a Global Health Week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in November 2019, the Reaching the Last Mile Forum will focus international attention on eradication of the world’s deadliest diseases,” the WHO said.

The agency believes the event will provide an opportunity for world leaders and civil society organizations to contribute to the last mile of polio eradication.

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