Category: Health

3,000 people a day fleeing in cholera-stricken Somalia as famine looms

By Katy Migiro NAIROBI, March 29 – More than 3,000 people a day are fleeing their homes in search of food and water due to Somalia’s worst drought in 20 years, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said, warning of impending famine with children already dying of malnutrition. The devastating drought has decimated harvests and livestock in the war-torn country, posing the threat of renewed famine six years after a similar crisis in which 260,000 people died. “These are clear hallmarks of a catastrophe in the making,” NRC’s Somalia country director Victor Moses said in a statement on Wednesday. “Now...

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Regulator grants licence for Britain’s first 3-parent IVF babies

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent LONDON, March 16 – Britain’s fertility regulator on Thursday granted doctors the first UK licence to create babies using a three-parent IVF technique designed to prevent inherited genetic diseases. The licence, granted to a team of doctors in Newcastle, northern England, means the first child created in Britain using the mitochondrial pronuclear transfer technique could be born before the end of this year. Critics of the treatment say it is a dangerous step that will lead to the creation of genetically modified “designer babies”. But the medical team at the Newcastle Fertility...

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Syria Sanctions Indirectly Hit Children’s Cancer Treatment

By Dahlia Nehme DAMASCUS, March 16 – In the cancer ward at Damascus Children’s Hospital, doctors are struggling with a critical shortage of specialist drugs to treat their young patients – and it’s not just due to the general chaos of the Syrian civil war. Local and World Health Organization (WHO) officials also blame Western sanctions for severely restricting pharmaceutical imports, even though medical supplies are largely exempt from measures imposed by the United States and European Union. Six years of conflict have brought the Syrian health service, once one of the best in the Middle East, close to...

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12 treated for chemical weapons agents in Mosul since March 1, UN says

BAGHDAD, March 5 – Twelve people, including women and children, are being treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons agents in Mosul, where Islamic State is fighting off an offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, the United Nations said on Saturday. The U.N.’s World Health Organization has activated with partners and local health authorities “an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical,” the agency said in a statement. It said all 12 patients had been received since March 1 for treatment which they are undergoing in Erbil, the...

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What does the “global gag rule” mean for reproductive rights?

LONDON, March 2 – A summit hosted by Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden on Thursday aims to support family planning charities affected by President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S.-funded groups providing abortions or abortion information. The meeting in Brussels comes amid mounting anger at Trump’s decision from women’s rights and health campaigners, who say it will result in restrictions on abortion that will endanger women’s lives, especially in developing countries. Government officials from about 50 countries, charities and businesses are expected to attend the conference to discuss reproductive rights, including safe abortions and contraception, as well as funding for...

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In Yemen, the threat of polio looms large amid war, starvation

LONDON, Feb 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Yemen has launched a major polio vaccination campaign amid fears the disease could reappear in the war-ravaged nation where the health system is on the verge of collapse and aid agencies are warning of famine. The World Health Organization (WHO), which is supporting the drive, said some 40,000 health workers aimed to immunise more than 5 million children under the age of five across the country. “The threat of (polio) virus importation is serious and this campaign aims to curb any possible return of the virus to Yemen,” WHO’s representative in Yemen,...

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Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, dies at 69

Feb 18 – Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as “Jane Roe” in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, died on Saturday at the age of 69, a journalist close to McCorvey said. McCorvey died on Saturday morning of heart failure at an assisted living home in Katy, Texas, Joshua Prager, a journalist who is writing a book about the ruling, said in an email. Her lawsuit, filed under the pseudonym, resulted in the court’s 1973 decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion. McCorvey lent her real name to supporters of the...

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Adults urged to get vaccinated

 Too many U.S. adults are not getting vaccinated, putting themselves and others at risk, immunization experts say. According to the latest available data, about 44 percent of adults over age 19 had a flu shot; 20 percent had a Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis; and 20 percent of 19-to-64-year-olds at risk of pneumonia had that vaccine (compared to 60 percent of those over 65). Just 27 percent of those over age 60 were vaccinated against herpes zoster, which cuts the risk of shingles in half, according to new guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization...

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Study of cancer-causing toxins finds e-cigarettes much safer than smoking

Consuming e-cigarettes is far safer and less toxic than smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes, according to the findings of a study analyzing levels of dangerous and cancer-causing substances in the body. Researchers found that people who switched from smoking regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum or patches for at least six months had much lower levels of toxins in their saliva and urine than those who continued to smoke. “Our study adds to existing evidence showing that e-cigarettes and NRT are far safer than smoking, and suggests that there is a very low risk...

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