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Alcohol abuse kills 3 million people every year, WHO says

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2018

 

 

A glass of whiskey | Screengrab via Reuters video

More than 3 million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday (September 21).

More than three-quarters of these deaths were among men, the U.N. health agency said. And despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.

“Alcohol consumption is the top leading risk factors for poor-health at the age group from 15 to 49 years old”, member of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Vladimir Poznyak, told Reuters.

Europe has the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by around 10 percent since 2010.

“Alcohol kills”, Poznyak said, adding that there were no “safe alcohol consumption” and that any drinking is a risk.

The report found that almost all countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other pricing strategies such as banning below-cost sales or bulk buy discounts.

“These figures show that the cost of alcohol consumption to societies are much bigger than the revenues that the governments and societies receive from alcohol taxes”, Poznyak said. — Reuters

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WHO sees Congo’s Ebola outbreak lasting 3-4 months at least

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

Congolese officials and the World Health Organization officials wear protective suits as they participate in a training against the Ebola virus near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Samuel Mambo

Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak is expected to last several months and could spread at any time to Uganda or Rwanda, which are well prepared but have not approved the use of a vaccine, the World Health Organization said on Thursday (October 11).

But the most concerning area is the city of Beni in Congo’s North Kivu province, where dozens of people who may have been exposed to the deadly disease are hiding from health workers, emergency response chief Peter Salama told Reuters.

The outbreak has now caused 194 cases and 122 deaths, and two-thirds of cases in the past month have been in and around Beni, where the Ebola response was disrupted last month by a spate of attacks by armed groups and a period of official mourning.

The next few days will tell if the recent wave of infections in Beni is over, he said, depending on the security situation and the local community’s willingness to support the response.

Many of the new cases are already known to health workers as people who have had contact with recorded Ebola patients. On average, 80-90 percent of people with potential Ebola exposure is being monitored on a daily basis.

But a smaller number, around 40 or more, are “actively avoiding follow-up” and have not been found for days on end, increasing the risk of the disease spreading, Salama said. More than 90 percent of those people were in Beni, he added.

Some Ebola victims are suspicious of health workers, fearing that hospitalization is a death sentence – despite the obvious risks of missing out on treatment – while families believe that bodies may not be returned for traditional burials.

Local authorities in Beni have threatened people who harbor suspected patients with three-month jail sentences. — Reuters

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WHO extremely concerned about Ebola ‘perfect storm’ in Congo

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

 

FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization (WHO) logo is pictured at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, January 25, 2015. REUTERS/PIERRE ALBOUY

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday (September 25) that the Ebola outbreak in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo could deteriorate rapidly because of attacks by armed groups, community resistance and the geographic spread of the disease.

“We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks and months to create a potential perfect storm,” WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama told a news conference in Geneva.

At least 100 people have died in the outbreak, out of 150 cases in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The response was at a critical juncture, and although the weekly number of new cases has fallen from about 40 to about 10 in the past few weeks and more than 11,700 people have been vaccinated, there were major obstacles ahead, Salama said.

Attacks by armed opposition groups had increased in severity and frequency, especially attributed to the Alliance of Democratic Forces, most dramatically an attack that killed 21 in the city of Beni, where WHO’s operation is based.

The city has declared a “Ville Morte”, a period of mourning until at least Friday (September 28), obliging WHO to suspend its operations.

On Monday (September 24), 80 percent of Ebola contacts and three suspected cases in and around Beni could not be reached for disease monitoring.

Pockets of “reluctance, refusal, and resistance” to accept Ebola vaccination were generating many of the new cases, Salama said. — Reuters

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Congo Ebola outbreak not yet stabilized – WHO chief

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Congolese officials and the World Health Organization officials wear protective suits as they participate in a training against the Ebola virus near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Samuel Mambo

The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo is on the decline, but it is too soon to say that an outbreak is stabilizing due to difficulties identifying new cases near rebel-controlled areas, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday (August 29).

Some areas close to the outbreak’s epicenter in the town of Mangina are off-limits to health workers for security reasons, hampering efforts to control the spread of the disease.

“We need to be more aggressive. The virus doesn’t actually differentiate between a rebel and so on, it’s dangerous to everybody,” Tedros told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference, adding that the next seven to ten days would be critical to controlling the outbreak.

Since the latest outbreak was declared on August 1, 112 confirmed and probable cases have been identified in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, including 75 deaths, according to overnight data from Congo’s health ministry.

Congo has experienced 10 outbreaks of Ebola since it was discovered in the country’s forested north in 1976. The disease causes hemorrhagic fever and usually kills about half of the people it infects. — Reuters

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