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Amitabh Bachchan appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region

World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Amitabh Bachchan as its Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region. He has been appointed to boost awareness to stop the spread of hepatitis, which is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis. As an ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan will participate in public awareness programmes to scale up prevention measures, early diagnosis and treatment.

It is estimated that around 325 million across the world suffer from chronic hepatitis which is an inflammation of the liver resulting in liver scarring, liver cancer and death if untreated.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis viruses is one of the common cause of liver damage but other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol, certain medicine, food contaminants, bad lifestyle and autoimmune diseases may also result in chronic hepatitis.

Of the five hepatitis viruses, namely, types A, B, C, D and E, types B and C are the most deadly. These two types are mostly responsible for liver damage. Hepatitis viruses B, C and D spread by contact with contaminated blood or body fluids. Hepatitis A and E spreads through unsafe food and drink. Symptoms of Hepatitis include  yellowing of the skin and eyes, abdominal pain and swelling, yellow urine, pale or dark stools, chronic fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite. Hepatitis B vaccination are administered at 0, 1, 2, and 6 months to children to protect them against the disease as well as to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease.

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First malaria vaccine to be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi in 2018

The World Health Organization has announced that it is ready to test the first malaria vaccine in the real world setting in 2018. The aim of the testing will be to ascertain whether the vaccine will work under real world circumstances or not. Kenya, Ghana and Malawi have been chosen for taking part in the pilot project.

The vaccine, RTS,S, also known as Mosquirix, was produced by GlaxoSmithKline in 1987 in a public-private partnership with the PATH Malaria Initiative and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2015, the vaccine received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

For the next four years (2017-2021), the vaccine will be administered to children between 5 and 17 months in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi. The vaccine will be given four times and will be administered by an intramuscular injection.

The RTS, S vaccine works by targeting the liver phase of the malaria parasite’s life cycle as the parasite multiplies inside the liver after getting introduced into the body by a mosquito bite. It has taken about 30 years for the creation of the vaccine to the approval of pilot programme in 2017. Only five species of Plasmodium parasite spread malarial parasite worldwide.

Need

According to WHO, malaria kills one child every two minutes and has killed 429,000 people in 2015. According to the WHO World Malaria Report 2016, Nigeria suffers most malaria deaths worldwide (26%), followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (10%), India (6%), and Mali (5%). African continent suffers the most mosquito-borne ailments and there still exists gaps in prevention coverage as many people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to mosquito protection like bed nets or bug spray.

 

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April 7: World Health Day  

The World Health Day (WHD) is observed every year on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Observance of the day focuses on disseminating knowledge and awareness about human health, increasing life expectancy by adding good health to the lives of people and promoting healthier living habits across the globe.

The day also provides with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

2017 theme: “Depression: Let’s talk. It seeks to encourage people to come forward for treatment. Under it, WHO will be leading a one-year global campaign on depression which is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. The goal of the campaign is that people with depression get help.

More than 300 million people around the world are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. It affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, which is now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds. 

Background
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) annually marks World Health Day on 7 April to celebrate its founding in 1948. It is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO
  • On this day in 1948, the first World Health Assembly was held Geneva, Switzerland. Since then the World Health Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year with effect from 1950 as the World Health Day.

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