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Mpox: what to watch out for, treatment and what to worry about

Mpox: what to watch out for, treatment and what to worry about

THE new strain of the mpox virus is spreading quickly along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is “the most dangerous yet”, says the World Health Organization. The current outbreak has been driven by sexual transmission but there is evidence this strain can also be passed on through close skin-to-skin contact. Those now being infected include schoolchildren, healthcare workers and entire households. Meanwhile, in South Africa, an outbreak has killed three people so far. Border authorities are screening travellers into and out of the country. Virologist Cheryl Walter explains the history of mpox, the symptoms and…
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What is cervical cancer and how can it be prevented? Answers to key questions

What is cervical cancer and how can it be prevented? Answers to key questions

IN 2020 the World Health Organization rolled out a global strategy to eradicate cervical cancer by 2030. This is the fourth most common cancer among women, claiming an estimated 350,000 lives globally in 2022. More than 80,000 of these deaths were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, one woman dies every two minutes from this disease, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is preventable. The global strategy has three pillars: getting 90% of girls vaccinated against HPV by age 15; ensuring 70% of women are screened by the age of 45; and having 90% of women with…
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Nigeria is pioneering a new vaccine to fight meningitis – why this matters

Nigeria is pioneering a new vaccine to fight meningitis – why this matters

NIGERIA recently became the first country to roll out a new vaccine (called Men5CV) recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), which protects people against five strains of meningococcus bacteria. The Conversation Africa asked Idris Mohammed, a professor of infectious diseases and immunology and former board chair of Nigeria’s National Programme on Immunisation, to explain the new vaccine and its likely impact. What is meningitis? Meningitis is the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord, usually caused by infection. It can be fatal. Meningitis can be caused by several species of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The…
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Congo Republic declares mpox epidemic

Congo Republic declares mpox epidemic

THE Republic of the Congo has declared an epidemic of mpox after 19 cases were confirmed across five departments, including the capital Brazzaville. No deaths have yet been recorded, Health Minister Gilbert Mokoki said in a statement on Tuesday. He called on the public to take precautions including avoiding close contact with suspected cases, avoiding contact with animals and avoiding handling game meat with bare hands. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the virus mpox to replace the older term monkeypox, citing concerns of stigma and racism associated with the name. Mpox was first detected in humans in the…
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Contaminated cough syrup in Africa no longer available – WHO

Contaminated cough syrup in Africa no longer available – WHO

A contaminated batch of Benylin Paediatric Syrup is no longer available in the African countries where it was sold, the World Health Organization said. Earlier this month, Nigeria recalled a batch of the children's cough and allergy medicine after tests found that it contained unacceptable levels of the toxin, diethylene glycol. Five other African countries have also pulled the product from shelves - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa, where the drug was made. The recalled batch of Benylin syrup was made by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) in South Africa in May 2021, although Kenvue (KVUE.N) now owns the brand after…
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Nigeria becomes first country to roll out new meningitis vaccine, WHO says

Nigeria becomes first country to roll out new meningitis vaccine, WHO says

NIGERIA has become the first country in the world to roll out the "revolutionary" new Men5CV vaccine against meningitis, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. Nigeria is one of the hotspots of the deadly disease in Africa. Last year, a 50% rise in annual cases was reported across 26 African countries regarded as meningitis hyperendemic countries, according to the WHO. “Nigeria's rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030," Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, was quoted as saying in a statement. Between last October and mid-March this year, 1,742 cases were suspected in the country,…
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Gambian parliament debates bill to reverse ban on female genital mutilation

Gambian parliament debates bill to reverse ban on female genital mutilation

GAMBIAN lawmakers debated whether to repeal a ban on female genital mutilation, which has been on the rise in recent years despite activist campaigns to end the practice. The small West African nation imposed steep fines and jail sentences in 2015 for those who carry out female circumcision, known by the acronym FGM. The World Health Organization says the practice has no health benefits and can lead to excessive bleeding, shock, psychological problems and even death. Lawmaker Almameh Gibba presented the repeal bill earlier this month, arguing the ban violates citizens' rights to practice their culture and religion. Gambia is…
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Inside the siege on Gaza’s largest remaining hospital

Inside the siege on Gaza’s largest remaining hospital

NASSER Hospital in Khan Younis was until recently the largest medical facility still functioning in the Gaza Strip, despite facing severe challenges. But at the end of January, the Israeli military intensified ground operations in Gaza’s second-largest city, ordered civilians to evacuate, and began laying siege to the hospital. MOHAMED SOULAIMANE Freelance journalist based in Gaza, writing under a pseudonym for safety given the security situation The humanitarian situation inside is now catastrophic, with shortages of fuel, anaesthesia, and medical supplies, Gaza health ministry spokesperson Dr Ashraf al-Qudra told The New Humanitarian in a video interview. The Israeli military is preventing…
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Cape Verde is the third African country to eliminate malaria: here’s how

Cape Verde is the third African country to eliminate malaria: here’s how

CAPE Verde has been certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization. The archipelago to the west of Senegal consists of 10 islands and has a population of over 500,000 people. It is the third country in Africa to be declared malaria-free, after Mauritius (in 1973) and Algeria (in 2019). TIAAN DE JAGER, Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences and Director: UP Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control, University of Pretoria TANESHKA KRUGER, UP ISMC: Project Manager and Coordinator, University of Pretoria This brings the total of malaria-free countries to 43 worldwide. Achieving malaria-free certification is no simple feat. As specialists in malaria…
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Cabo Verde’s malaria victory is a blueprint for Africa

Cabo Verde’s malaria victory is a blueprint for Africa

CABO Verde has achieved a significant milestone in the battle against malaria, securing malaria-free certification from the World Health Organization (WHO). In news released on Friday, January 12, WHO explained that indigenous malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes across the archipelago of 10 islands has been halted nationwide for the past three consecutive years. The country's certification is the fourth on the continent, following Mauritius, Morocco, and Algeria in 1973, 2010, and 2019, respectively. Globally, 43 countries now hold malaria-free certifications. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's Director-General, "WHO’s certification of Cabo Verde as malaria-free is a testament to the power…
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