Hi! I came across this interesting piece on Malaria vaccine from the London Evening Standard. Enjoy!
A new malaria vaccine has the potential to prevent u
I came across this article from Punch Nigerian Newspaper and would like to share it with you all:
The World Health Organisation warns there could be a resurgence of malaria in countries where much progress had been made over the past decade.
The WHO has released its annual World Malaria Report, which warns of funding and resource shortfalls.
The WHO’s Richard Cidulskis says the past decade had seen a concerted effort by endemic countries, donors and others to ”strengthen malaria control around the world.” He said many lives were saved.
”Tremendous progress in that we estimate there have been 1.1 million deaths averted from malaria. Those 1.1 million deaths, the majority of them, have been averted in the 10 highest burden countries in Africa.
The other progress we’ve seen is 50 countries out of 99 with ongoing transmission are on track to meet international targets of reducing malaria incidence by 75 percent by 2015,” he said in an interview with the Voice of America.
However, those 50 countries represent only three per cent – or seven million people – of the malaria cases that were estimated to have occurred in 2000.
WHO said the 2000 estimate is the benchmark against which progress is measured.
There had also been a large increase in the availability of rapid diagnostic tests and in artemisinin combination therapy.
Cidulskis is the WHO’s coordinator for strategy, economics and elimination in the Global Malaria Programme.
He said, ”One of the concerns is the amount of money available for malaria control seems to be plateauing. In previous years, we’ve seen it rise to a large extent year on year.
“In 2011, however, the amount of money for malaria control was actually less than in 2010 and amounted to $2.3 billion.
“That’s a lot of money, but it’s well short of the $5.1 billion that are needed to ensure everybody has access to malaria interventions.”
There are other concerns. The number of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets – delivered to endemic countries – has dropped from a high of 145 million in 2010 to 66 million in 2012.
What’s more, the World Malaria Report said the ”expansion of indoor residual spraying programmes has levelled off, remaining at 11 percent of the population at risk.”
”If we don’t scale-up control operations in 2013, it is likely that we’ll have [a] major resurgence of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Cidulskis.
The WHO report said the malaria burden is concentrated in 14 endemic countries that account for 80 percent of malaria deaths. Most are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the hardest hit in that region, while India is the most affected in South East Asia.
It’s estimated there are 219-million malaria cases worldwide. About 660,000 people die every year from the disease.
”Each one of those cases and each one of those deaths is preventable,” he said.
Cidulskis said the levelling-off of funding is due in part to the global recession. But he also said most of the countries where malaria is endemic are poor. And while they’ve been increasing spending on control and treatment programmes, their resources are limited.
The WHO report called for strengthening malaria surveillance programs and ensuring affected countries have all the medicine and bed nets they need.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.
This is an interesting piece that I came across from Journal Watch worth sharing: MMWR details a case of lead poisoning in an infant of Nigerian descent who wore traditional eye makeup called tiro. The CDC is advising clinicians to look for cosmetic use in immigrant children with elevated lead levels.At his 6-month checkup, the infant had a blood lead level of 13 μg/dL, over twice the CDC’s reference value of 5 μg/dL. An investigation found that tiro, which was 83% lead, had been applied to the infant’s eyelids three or four times a week since he was 2 weeks old. It was said to improve attractiveness and promote healthy vision. Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants may use similar lead-containing products, for example, surma, kajal, and kohl. Accordingly, in the event of unexplained high blood lead levels, the CDC says, clinicians may want to consider cosmetics and folk remedies as a possible source.
I read this from the VOA and would like to share it with my blog visitors:
It was on late Thursday in Zamfara State, Nigeria, a fuel tanker overturned in a road accident and poured its entire contents into a nearby river, potentially impacting the drinking water of millions of people in Zamfara and neighboring Sokoto state. Officials say they currently don’t have the expertise or the equipment to clean up the oil and prevent another health disaster. Nigeria’s Zamfara state is also known for being the site of the worst lead poisoning outbreak in modern history, which is an ongoing crisis.
When Mouktar Lugga, the environment commissioner for Zamfara State, arrived on the scene of the fuel spill Friday morning, he saw about ten men standing nearby. They were artisanal gold miners, a mainstay of the local economy. But with 33,000 liters of industrial fuel in the river they couldn’t go to work.
Lugga says the tanker accident the previous night left oil slicks the size of two football fields on the river. He says Zamfara has neither the equipment nor the knowledge to clean up the spill and he is hoping the federal government will send technical experts to devise a clean-up plan.
I noticed that these days, ladies are becoming more fashionable and thus feel it is very vital to share this piece with my blog visitors (especially the ladies). Enjoy!
Lead is in many lipsticks. But is that okay?
In a study recently conducted in the US, it was found that all the 400 lipsticks tested had high levels of lead measuring up to 7.19 parts per billion. This was highlighted in a national Campaign for Safe in an analysis of lead in lipsticks done for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Safe Cosmetics says that the quantity found is more than twice the levels reported in a previous FDA study, leaving greater concerns.
In a press release issued by Safe Cosmetics quoted Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, policy advisor of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and co-chair of the Environmental Health Task Force for the National Medical Association, who said, “Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels.”
In addition, “lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioural problems. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the foetal brain where it can interfere with normal development,” said Sean Palfrey, M.D., a professor of paediatrics and public health at Boston University and the medical director of Boston’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, as quoted in the press release.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.
It was yesterday evening when I was reading the e-copy of Leadership News, a Nigerian newspaper, that I came across this news piece on Zamfara Lead Poisoning.
It reads as follows: “Since the story of lead poisoning in Zamfara state hit the news stands, the names of the sleepy little villages of Bagega, Dareta, Abare and Yargalma continue to prominently feature in the world news”. Our correspondent in Gusau, SHEHU UMAR who recently visited these villages analyses how the catastrophic lead poisoning wraught great havoc on these farming and herding communities.
In March 2010, various media organizations all over the world beamed their search lights on these communities in their effort to perhaps be at the forefront in the timely reporting of what seemed to be the biggest lead poisoning disaster ever recorded in history.
Since then, there have been a heavy media representation in the affected villages.
LEADERSHIP WEEKEND investigation revealed that lead poisoning started when people in the poverty stricken communities resorted to illegal mining of the gold and other mineral resources to make ends meet.
Many illegal mineral processing plants were established by the villagers in their personal residences, not minding or ignorant of the dangers associated with the mining activities.
The heavy presence of lead in the mined minerals resulted in unprotected contamination of the villagers, especially women and children.
A very large number of women and children were affected, resulting in the death of over 1000 children, while hundreds of others were deformed. Beside the deformities, health experts have also made it clear that lead poisoning could cause infertility and miscarriage in women.
Mallama Zuwaira, a house wife who lost her five year old child, Aliyu following the very large concentration of lead in his blood recounted her grief and sorrow to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND.
’He was the only child in the family and we lost him. I am pleading with the government to come to our aid to stop this for recurring’’. She wept.
This menace drew the attention of government and non-governmental organizations, such as UNICEF,WHO and Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), the world over.
These organizations partner with the federal and state governments by sending experts to provide medical aid and sensitise the affected communities on how to take preventive measures against lead poisoning.
Government on its part had embarked on massive sensitization and enlightenment campaigns against the danger of lead poisoning. It has also commenced a crackdown on these illegal miners.
LEADERSHIP WEEKEND checks in one of the illegal mining sites in Bagega village in Anka local government area of the state revealed that poverty plays a major role in this problem, as youths, mostly in their early twenties were busy digging under ground tunnels in search of the precious minerals, especially gold.
One of the illegal miners who goes by the name Haruna Kaba told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that he would never abandon the mining sites until he was satisfied that he had got what he wanted.
‘’Any attempt to stop people from these mining activities means government wants to invite security problems, because these mining activities provide jobs for thousands of unemployed youths and they eke out a living here’’. He explained.
Speaking on the dangers associated with the mining, the gold digger said, “Every living soul would taste the bitter pill of death, whether a miner or not”, he explained, as he continued with his mining activities resigning him self to fate.
Investigations further revealed that the major attraction, in spite of the health hazard, is that the youths are making a lot of money from mining. It was learnt that recently a group of three miners in the same mining pit made six million Naira. Moreover, there is a ready market for the gold because dealers from neighbouring countries have flooded the mining sites and the villages.
Alhaji Ibrahim Garba, one of the dealers told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that he buys a gramme of gold at the rate of six thousand Naira.
‘’The miners don’t need to go to Gusau to sell the gold as soon as they bring their product we weigh it and then pay them. An average miner makes about 50 thousand a day’’ he said.
Four gold miners were recently buried alive in the underground tunnels they dug themselves and all effort to rescue them failed. Even though the illegal miners have deserted the site where that particular incident happened, other illegal mining sites still flourish in the area.
The state governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari has said that the government would not stop illegal mining activities in the state. Only recently, a remediation project was flagged off in Bagega village and this is one of the drastic actions that was taken to end the calamity that threatens to wipe away the entire generation.
The state government also revealed that at least N2.6bn is needed to put an end to the calamitous lead poisoning through the remediation projects already started in the affected communities of Bagega, Dareta, Yargalma and so on.
The contaminated soils in these communities is being evacuated and replaced with the safer one and international communities have since developed interest in assisting through the provision of funds and experts.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.
Exhaust fumes and ground-level (tropospheric) ozone increase the risk for premature birth, according to a study by a team of researchers at Umeå University in northern Sweden. The study, carried out in Stockholm – a city with comparatively low exhaust emissions – showed that ozone and fumes affect the foetus more than if the mother were a smoker.
Previous studies carried out in more polluted global cities has previously shown that the risk for premature birth is heightened. The Umeå study now reveals that even ground-level ozone poses a danger to pregnancy, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily.
David Olsson, a PhD student in Public Health and Clinical Medicine and part of the research group, has expressed surprise at the results which show that the effect of air pollution is comparable to that of smoking during pregnancy. “If we add up the effects of being exposed to high exhaust levels and ozone it has an even greater effect than smoking,” he told SvD.
Ground-level ozone can disrupt the development of the placenta and thus influence the time of birth. In the later stages of pregnancy, traffic exhaust fumes have been found to cause the inflammation of mother’s airways and expedite delivery.
Further studies have shown that premature babies carry a heightened risk of asthma and other respiratory problems.
According to Magnus Wickman, professor and chief physician at the Sachsska Children’s Hospital in Stockholm, prescriptions for asthma medicines are more common among premature babies than those going to full term.
As I was reading this interesting piece, what crossed my mind was Zamfara lead poisoning. It was reported that a panel of experts urges US government to lower the threshold for lead poisoning in children. This is in view of the fact that if the current threshold is maintained, developing brain of those exposed to lead could suffer which means lower IQ. This is a job well done for the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and the CDC of the US as the present lower level of 10 micrograms of lead per decilitre of blood would be downgraded to 5 micrograms. This lower level currently impact on about 450,000 children in the US but several millions in developing countries (eg Nigeria).
I was wondering if Zamfara issue is still receiving the right attention from the Nigeria government.
I strongly believe that there are so many unreported cases of lead poisoning in other parts of Nigeria. I also believe that with what we saw in Zamfara, some of the unexplained causes of childhood mortality and morbidity (convulsions, renal disorders, behavioural and hearing disorders etc) in Nigeria are not unrelated to lead poisoning.
I should commend W.H.O, US CDC, MSF and other International NGOs too numerous to mention for their tireless efforts on curbing the menace in Zamfara. If not because of their untiring support and commitment to issue of Zamafara lead poisoning, Nigerian Government alone would have thrown the issue long ago into the dustbin.
I was going through some subscribed articles on my Blackberry handset then came across this interesting piece captioned: “Lead Poisoning in China: The Hidden Scourge”. The fist thing that came to my mind was the Zamfara State Lead poisoning saga in Nigeria which I analysed earlier in one of my postings on this blog.
This incidence occurred in MENGXI village in China which harboured a battery factory (Zhejiang Haijiu Battery Factory). The factory manufactures lead acid battery for use by motorcycles and electric bikes.
Interestingly, the factory in its 6th year of operation in the area (providing jobs and other source of livelihood to the populace), flagrantly violated environmental regulations and polluted the environment without the knowledge of the locals. This became overt last March, when a Medical doctor told the father of a 3 year-old (an employee of the factory who lived just across the road from the plant) that his daughter had absorbed enough lead that could harm her nervous system and irreversibly diminish her intellectual capacity.
The news had spread further that workers from that factory and other villagers alike had been poisoned by lead emissions from the factory, a development that pushed the locals to take laws into their hands.
It is important to mention that in China and especially in recent months, there were similar instances where the local governments authorities tried to cover up the messes of similar lead industries. This is often as a result of pursuit of dividends of economic development by the local officials thus overlooking environmental contamination, worker safety and dangers to public health.
It is as a result of this recent development that the Human Rights Watch released a report last Wednesday which stated that some local officials have reacted to mass poisonings by arbitrarily limiting lead testing, withholding and possibly manipulating test results, denying proper treatment to children and adults and trying to silence parents and activists.
In comparison to more developed nations where lead pollution has been tightly regulated for decades, this and similar incidences of lead poisonings in China, would for sure be deemed a public-health emergency.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.
The latest Paediatric Academic Societies annual meeting which was held last sunday, finds that the higher the amount of Bisphenol A (BPA) an expecting mother is exposed to early in her pregnancy, the more likely her newborn will experience wheezing during the first 3 years of life.
This new study has added to rising concerns about the safety of BPA, a chemical used to manufacture plastics and found in hundreds of household products, including plastic food containers, soda cans and reusable cups.
According to Dr. Adam Spanier, a Paediatrician with Penn State’s Hershey Medical Centre and lead author of the study, foetuses exposed to high levels of BPA at 16 weeks of gestation had an increased risk of transient wheeze. At 6 months the infants were twice as likely to wheeze; the condition persisted for 3 years then cleared up. If moms-to-be were exposed to BPA later in pregnancy, researchers did not see the same effect.
“The challenge with dealing with BPA is that it has such a broad range, from zero to several thousand,” Spanier explains. “We were just looking to see if any exposure was associated with wheezing.” At 16 weeks of gestation the women in this study tested positive for BPA levels ranging from 0.4 to 37.5 micrograms per litre.
Previous studies – done mainly on mice – have linked BPA to potential side effects on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children, according to the Food and Drug Administration. But officials with the Environmental Protection Agency say there remains uncertainty in the extrapolation of dose levels from animals to humans. Still, last year the FDA concluded that there is “reason for some concern” and beefed up measures to reduce human exposure to the chemical. In particular, the government warned parents to limit infants’ use of products that contain bisphenol-A.
In response to the study, Steven Hentges, executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group with the American Chemistry Council said this: “This small-scale study, which has not been peer-reviewed or published in the scientific literature, is inherently incapable of establishing a cause-effect relationship between any causative agent and wheezing. The statistical associations reported in this study have not been verified or corroborated by any other study on BPA, which is one of the best tested substances in commerce. Based on the full weight of scientific evidence, government agencies around the world have determined that BPA is safe for use.”
Spanier also notes that this investigation, which included 367 pairs of mothers and infants whose BPA levels were tested at 16 and 26 weeks of gestation and again during the delivery, was the first to evaluate the link between BPA and wheezing and the research needs to be replicated in another study population. In this study, 99% of the mothers in the study had detectable levels of urinary BPA at some point during the study. Factors associated with the increased levels in these women included working as a cashier, eating canned vegetables and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Health officials say there are several things that consumers can do to limit their exposure.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends purchasing plastic containers marked at the bottom with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 because they are very unlikely to contain BPA. You can also look for the “BPA-Free” label when shopping for canned goods and various household items.
Experts from the National Institutes of Health recommend consumers avoid putting polycarbonate plastic food containers into the microwave because high temperatures may break down the chemical and increase the chances of BPA entering your food.
The National Toxicology Program also provides a list of ways to reduce exposure, including opting for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned goods. The lining of the cans are often made with BPAs. They suggest using glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers to store food.
They also recommend consumers beware of the sales receipts you receive particularly at grocery stores and ATMs, as the developer used for dyes in thermal paper may contain levels of BPA which could pose a risk for human exposure. An NIH spokesperson suggests not taking a receipt unless you have to while the government continues to investigate.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.