World Immunization Week 2018: 24 to 30 April – #VaccinesWork

The last week of April each year is marked by WHO and partners as World Immunization Week. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. This year’s theme is: “Protected Together, #VaccinesWork”.

WHO’s overarching message for this year’s World Immunization Week is that “We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. We can be protected together.”
WHO’s overarching message for this year’s World Immunization Week is that “We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. We can be protected together.”

Immunisation saves millions of lives and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

Yet, there are more than 19 million unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in the world, putting them at serious risk of these potentially fatal diseases.

Of these children, 1 out of 10 never receive any vaccinations, and most likely has never been seen by the health system.

Immunisation prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – endorsed by 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 – aims to prevent millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020 through universal access to immunisation.

Despite improvements in individual countries and a strong global rate of new vaccine introduction, all of the GVAP targets for disease elimination—including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus—are behind schedule.

In order for everyone, everywhere to survive and thrive, countries must make more concerted efforts to reach GVAP goals by 2020.

Additionally, those countries that have achieved or made forward progress towards achieving the goals must work to sustain those efforts over time – so that no person goes without life-saving vaccines.

Expanding access to immunisation is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN..

Continue reading “World Immunization Week 2018: 24 to 30 April – #VaccinesWork”

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World Health Day 2018 – Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere

Today is World Health Day. It falls on 7 April every year – the purpose is to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. In 2018, it is one of 9 official campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services. Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just US$1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services. Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just US$1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.

“Health for All” has been the WHO’s guiding vision for seven decades, since the Organization’s Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948.

Continue reading “World Health Day 2018 – Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: TB today

Today is World TB Day. It falls on 24 March every year – the purpose is to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic impact of tuberculosis (TB) and urge acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, ranking above HIV and malaria.
TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, ranking above HIV and malaria.

One of the targets of WHO’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to end the global TB epidemic.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: TB today”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Multidrug-resistant TB

WHO estimates that there were 600 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug, of which 490 000 had MDR-TB. And tomorrow is World TB Day!

Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat.
Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat.

Anti-TB medicines have been used for decades and strains that are resistant to 1 or more of the medicines have been documented in every country surveyed.

Drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, through incorrect prescription by health care providers, poor quality drugs, and patients stopping treatment prematurely.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Multidrug-resistant TB”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Symptoms & Treatment

Learn more about tuberculosis (TB) in the lead-up to World TB Day this Saturday, 24 March.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.7 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV). Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.7 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV). Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.

People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–15% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB and becoming infectious.

However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.

When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) may be mild for many months.

This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others.

People with active TB can infect 10–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Symptoms & Treatment”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Tests for TB?

“How do I know if I have been infected with TB germs”? Read about the tests you can take if you have been exposed. I’m running this article as part of promoting public awareness and health education about tuberculosis, in the lead-up to World TB Day this Saturday (24 March).

“TB is still very real in our world today,” observes Dr Siaw Tung Yeng, Founder & CEO, Mobile Health which built the MaNaDr Healthcare Ecosystem.
“TB is still very real in our world today,” observes Dr Siaw Tung Yeng, Founder & CEO, Mobile Health which built the MaNaDr Healthcare Ecosystem.

If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go to your doctor or your local health department for tests.

Image credit: CDC.
Image credit: CDC.

There are two tests that can be used to help detect TB infection: a TB skin test or TB blood test.

The skin test is used most often.

A small needle is used to put some testing material, called tuberculin, under the skin.

In 2-3 days, you return to the health care worker who will check to see if there is a reaction to the test.

In some cases, a TB blood test is used to test for TB infection.

This blood test measures how a person’s immune system reacts to the germs that cause TB.

To tell if someone has TB disease, other tests such as chest x-ray and a sample of sputum (phlegm that is coughed up from deep in the lungs) may be needed. Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: Tests for TB?”

World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: What is TB?

This year’s World TB Day is on this Saturday – it falls on 24 March every year. As part of public awareness and education about tuberculosis, we take a look at what is TB.

This logo is the symbol for the goal ending TB. Every 18 seconds someone dies of TB. End TB by ensuring that everyone affected by TB gets the right diagnosis, treatment, and care.
This logo is the symbol for the goal ending TB. Every 18 seconds someone dies of TB. End TB by ensuring that everyone affected by TB gets the right diagnosis, treatment, and care.

“TB” is short for a disease called tuberculosis.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another.

Image credit: CDC.
Image credit: CDC.

TB germs are passed through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, laughs, sings, or sneezes.

Anyone near the sick person with TB disease can breathe TB germs into their lungs.

TB germs can live in your body without making you sick.

This is called latent TB infection.

This means you have only inactive (sleeping) TB germs in your body.

The inactive germs cannot be passed on to anyone else.

However, if these germs wake up or become active in your body and multiply, you will get sick with TB disease.

When TB germs are active (multiplying in your body), this is called TB disease.

These germs usually attack the lungs.

They can also attack other parts of the body, such as, the kidneys, brain, or spine.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: What is TB?”