Chemotherapy likely to get less painful

Chemotherapy likely to get less painful

Saint Louis University professor of pharmacological and physiological sciences Daniela Salvemini found a molecular pathway by which a painful chemotherapy side effect happens and a drug that may be able to stop it.

“The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel is widely used to treat many forms of cancer, including breast, ovarian and lung cancers,” said Salvemini.

“Though it is highly effective, the medication, like many other chemotherapy drugs, is frequently accompanied by a debilitating side effect called chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN,” she added.

In addition to causing suffering to patients, CIPN is often a limiting factor when it comes to treatment. Salvemini and her colleagues studied paclitaxel, which is also known as Taxol, and discovered that the pain pathway is dependent on activation of S1PR1 in the central nervous system.

This engages a series of damaging neuro-inflammatory processes leading to pain. By inhibiting this molecule, they found that they could block and reverse paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain without interfering with the drug’s anti-cancer effects. The study appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Source: post

Arizona teen dies of heart attack in Mexico after consuming energy drinks

Arizona teen dies of heart attack in Mexico after consuming energy drinks

An Arizona teen has died after suffering an apparent heart attack while vacationing in Mexico – and her parents say energy drinks are to blame.

Sixteen-year-old Lanna Hamann was vacationing in Rocky Point, Mexico with family and friends on Saturday, when she said she didn’t feel well and was having problems breathing. She went to a local clinic, but they were unable to help and she later died of cardiac arrest.

According to Lanna’s friends, she had consumed several energy drinks that day while on the beach. A family friend told that an autopsy performed in Mexico confirmed that energy drinks were partially to blame for Lanna’s heart giving out.

Dr. Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist at Wolfson Integrative Cardiology in Phoenix, Ariz., said the high levels of caffeine and sugar in energy drinks may have contributed to the cardiac arrest.

“There is medical evidence that these things do harm; they can cause changes in the heart rhythm, and impact blood pressure,” Wolfson said. “”These drinks should be regulated as alcohol is, no one under the age of 21 should be allowed to have these drinks.”

Friends and family of Lanna describe her as healthy and athletic, making her death very shocking.

“It kills us. We love Lanna. She’s the greatest girl; all-time best,” said Hayden Birt, Lanna’s childhood friend.

Lanna’s family is currently trying to transport her body from Mexico to Arizona, but they have been told it will cost $13,000. They have set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the cost.

Source: fox news

Revealed — 12 shocking reasons why you are gaining weight!

12 shocking reasons why you are gaining weight

You are not eating more than usual, maybe you are consuming even less calories. You have not stopped exercising. Then why do you find yourself gaining weight?

About 5 years ago I started putting on weight after being slim my whole life. 115 – 120 lbs was my consistent, no effort required weight. The gain coincided with first year university. I gained up to about 130-135 before saying, enough, I have to change. I ate a bit healthier, dropped back to 115 in short order and felt good, maintained that for two years no issue. The last 2 or three months though, I’ve started putting weight on again. The funny thing is, my eating habits didn’t change – or if they did, I was eating less than before. Does anyone have experience with this?

This is Jess’s cry for help regarding unexplained weight gain. She then indicates that ‘there is a lot of new stress’ in her life.

Consuming less calories than usual?

Sometimes, consuming less calories than usual can cause weight gain. Strange but true. This is mainly because your body considers not getting sufficient food (nutrients) as ‘famine’ and starts stocking up in the form of fat, especially in the belly region, for later use as energy. Well, after some time you get back to your usual portions of diet, the ‘stocked’ fat is not used and you gain weight.

Pregnant and eating for two?

Your attitude during pregnancy can also cause you to gain weight that might prove difficult to shed. Overweight pregnant women who ‘eat for two’ are likely to experience excessive weight gain, according to researchers from Penn State College of Medicine. Normal weight pregnant women need only 300 extra calories per day and 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. The researchers found women who gained weight ate more unhealthy food, that too, as a result of craving, and exercised less than usual when pregnant.

There can also be a number of underlying health issues that is causing you to gain weight.

Food sensitivity / food intolerance

Do you think you are eating the ‘right’ foods, but still seem to gain weight? Your favourite food may be the culprit. Although you may have intolerance to any food, scientists have found that 40 percent of offenders are milk or dairy products and 25 percent is wheat. Eggs, yeast and nuts follow closely.

Food sensitivities can arise when you eat the same foods with too little variety. This causes your body to become sensitized to that particular food/s. Food sensitivities involve immune system antibodies IgG (not IgE that cause true food allergies) that create a reaction that raises insulin and cortisol, both of which make you better at storing fat, especially around the midsection. This immune reaction also makes you crave the very foods that are hurting you, and the vicious cycle goes on, and you gain weight.


Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough of its hormone and is one of the commonest reasons for unexplained weight gain. Other symptoms include dry skin, low energy, and constipation.

There is a complex relationship between thyroid hormone and body metabolism. Metabolism is the amount of oxygen used by the body over a specific amount of time. When the body is at rest, the measurement of metabolism is the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism by helping the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart and other organs working properly.

When the thyroid hormone is present in low levels, the BMR also decreases, causing your body to excessively accumulate salt and water, leading to weight gain. This is just one of the ways thyroid hormone causes weight gain. Actually, there are many other hormones, proteins, and other chemicals that control energy expenditure, food intake, and body weight and all these substances interact on brain centers in different ways to increase body weight.

Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that involves exposure to high levels of hormone cortisol for a long time. The hallmark signs of the syndrome are a fatty hump between your shoulders and a rounded face caused by weight gain and fatty tissue deposits on the face (moon face) and between the shoulders (like a buffalo hump), and pink or purple stretch marks on your skin.

Slow healing of cuts and infection, acne, a fragile skin that bruises easily, and irregular periods in women are other symptoms of the syndrome.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and it has a number of functions –

  • It helps regulate your blood pressure and keeps the cardiovascular system working properly.
  • It helps your body respond to stress.
  • It metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into fast usable energy.
  • It also stimulates insulin release and maintains blood sugar levels.
  • The last two functions are possibly the reason for increase in appetite, as more the cortisol, faster the metabolic rate, and greater your appetite that consequently makes you gain weight.


Eating habits can be difficult to maintain when you are under stress. Excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress. Actually, cortisol has been nicknamed ‘stress hormone’. So, what is the link between stress, cortisol and appetite? Studies have shown that cortisol directly influences food consumption by binding to receptors in the brain region called hypothalamus. This can stimulate an individual to eat food that is high in fat and sugar. Cortisol also increases the levels of CRH (corticotrophin releasing hormone) and neuropeptide-Y, and decreases the levels of leptin, all of which are released during stress and also known to stimulate appetite.

The same reasoning applies to anxiety disorders and depression.

Cortisol concentrations are controlled by specific enzyme that converts inactive cortisone into active cortisol. Scientists have found that more of this enzyme is present in the middle region than anywhere else in the body. Thus, higher the enzyme, greater the cortisol levels in the tissues. That’s why you tend to put on more fat in the belly region.

Lack of sleep

Your weight gain could be the result of sleep deprivation, that is, if you don’t get enough sleep at night, say 7 – 8 hours a day.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicated that lack of sleep could affect metabolism, which in turn causes weight gain. In the long-term study, women who slept five hours or less a night gained an average of about 2.5 lbs more than those who slept seven hours.

Sleep deprivation decreases leptin levels, a hormone responsible for regulating appetite and metabolism. On the other hand, it increases hormone ghrelin levels that tend to stimulate appetite.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a disease of the endocrine system where the ovaries don’t make enough hormones for the eggs to mature fully. Instead the ovaries develop many fluid-filled sacs called cysts because of high levels of male hormone androgens that are found in women with PCOS.

PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin resulting in insulin resistance. This causes insulin and sugar to build up in the bloodstream. High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones called androgens. And androgen is known to trigger weight gain, especially abdominal obesity.

Cancer and cancer treatment

Women with cancers like breast cancer and ovarian cancer undergoing treatment tend to gain weight which is difficult to shed.

This weight gain may be because of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is controlled by insulin. LPL is attached to the surface of the fat cells. The enzyme pulls out fat from the blood stream and passes it on to the cells making them fatter. Estrogen suppresses LPL activity on fat cells. But breast cancer treatment, ovarian cancer treatment viz. chemo and steroids, dramatically decreases estrogen levels. This causes the weight gain.

Apart from these medical conditions, the following factors too could make you gain weight.

Menopause: Estrogen helps regulate body weight. Low estrogen levels means you will eat more and exercise less – a perfect equation for weight gain. Estrogen levels reduce drastically with menopause. Lack of estrogen also causes insulin resistance which increases fat storage and induces weight gain.

Medications: Tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines (cetirizine, Allegra), antipsychotics, beta-blockers (high blood pressure drugs), oral corticosteroids, oral medication for type2 diabetes, anti-seizure drugs for epilepsy, bipolar disorder and migraine prevention.

Family history: If your parents are overweight, you are more likely to carry the genes for obesity. But health practitioners believe that weight gain can be countered by modifying your faulty lifestyle choices.
Basically, it is the hormonal imbalance that is causing your weight gain – excess cortisol levels, increased insulin release, low levels of leptin, low estrogen levels, high androgen levels, and so on. So, see an endocrinologist first, who can then refer you to the concerned specialist if required.

Source: the health site

8 Best Natural Remedies to Treat Malaria

malaria Prevention

Malaria is extremely common and a serious disease that causes chills, shivering and high fever. You can get infected from a bite by a malaria parasite carrying mosquito. Malaria is most commonly found in Africa, Southern Asia, South America and Central America. The elderly, children and people with lower levels of immunity are a greater risk. Early diagnosis and anti-malarial medication will help in effective treatment of malaria. Usually the malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with parasites.

The Most Common Symptoms are:

  • Anemia, caused by destruction of red blood cells
  • Merozoites being released into the bloodstreamThe Most Common Symptoms
  • Chills in the body
  • High fever and headache
  • Blood in stools
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling of Nausea
  • Coma
  • Jaundice
  • Convulsion

The parasite for malaria seems to disappear over the winter. More than one million people die of malaria every year. It is a major hazard for travelers to warm climate. In some parts of the world the mosquitoes carrying malaria have become resistant to insecticides and the parasites have developed resistance to antibiotics. This has made it much more difficult to control the spread of diseases and rate of infection.

Possible Complications:

The parasites in the body can create different types of complications.

  • Cerebritis – brain infection
  • Hemolytic anemia – destruction of blood cells
  • Kidney failure
  • Meningitis
  • Liver failure
  • Pulmonary Edema – Fluid in lungs causes respiratory failure
  • Hemorrhage – Spleen rupture leading to heavy internal bleeding


People living in areas where malaria is common found usually develop immunity to the disease. However, visitors will not have this immunity and need to take preventive medications.

Before traveling overseas or other areas of your country, you need to see your health care provider. The treatment may begin 2 weeks before your trip for the prevention of malaria. It may also continue for a month after you leave the area.

There are different types of anti-malarial medications prescribed for a different area of visit. Anti-malarial medications will not completely protect you from becoming infected. You need to avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents, creams, wearing protective clothing that will cover your arms and legs and using screens on windows. Maintain clean surroundings by avoiding swamps and drainage flow beside your residence.

Treatment for Malaria

Medicines are the first option treat the illness. However, some malaria parasites can survive as they are in your liver or they are resistant to medicines. Inform your doctor in case you notice the symptoms of malaria.

The three main types of malaria, tertian fever, malignant tertian malaria and quartan fever, are caused depending upon the parasites which cause it. The most common symptom of all these types of malaria is high fever. The fever is accompanied by shivering, chills, headache and pain in the limbs. The temperature comes down after some time with excessive sweating. Avoiding stress is also essential to protect your body.

According to Naturopathy wrong feeding habits and unhealthy lifestyles are the real causes for accelerating malaria. The consumption of tinned, flesh foods, alcoholic beverages and de-natured foods causes the development of malaria.

Natural Remedies to treat Malaria


Fruits and vegetables are always great when it comes to treating the body. One of the most effective home remedies for malaria is Grape fruit. It should be consumed daily. The natural quinine-like substance can be extracted from the Grape fruit by boiling a quarter of it and straining its pulp.


Fever Nut

Another effective natural remedy for malaria is using fever nut seeds. These seeds can be obtained from any herbal store and preserved for use as and when required. Two hours before the assumed time of attack take six grams of these seeds with a cup of water, and the same dosage should be taken one hour after the attack. Whether the attack takes place or not the same procedure should be resorted.


Artemisia Annua

Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood is yet another effective natural agent that helps in fighting malaria. The herb has to be steeped in cold water and the water should be consumed directly in order to get optimum results.



Cinnamon is a valuable remedy for treating malaria. One teaspoon of powdered cinnamon should be boiled in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and a tea spoon of honey. This needs to be taken every day which is a beneficial medicine for malaria.



Chirayata is a herb which is botanically known as Swertia andrographis paniculata. It is beneficial for treating intermittent malarial fevers. It helps to lower the temperature. Take 250 ml of water, add 15 gm of chirayata, 2 cloves and a stick of cinnamon and boil them together. One to two tea spoons of this can be consumed twice a day.


Lime and Lemon

Lime and lemon play a vital role to reduce the quartan type of malarial fever. Take 4 to 5 drops of lime, add the juice of one lemon and dissolve it in one glass of water. This mixture needs to be consumed before the onset of fever.



Alum needs to be dry roasted and powdered. A teaspoon of this powder needs to be consumed four hours before the expected fever attack and half a teaspoon after two hours of the attack. It will give great relief from malaria.


Holy Basil

Holy basil leaves are a beneficial remedy in prevention of malaria. Make a paste using eleven grams of holy basil leaves with three grams of black pepper powder. This mixture can be consumed daily in the cold stages of malarial fever. This will check the severity of the disease.


Best Diet for Patients with Malaria

One can fast on orange juice and water for a few days. Depending on the severity of the fever, one must fast on orange juice. One can munch on fresh fruits for the first few days to repair the infected cells. Milk can also be added after a few days to the diet. Fresh fruits and raw vegetables can be consumed for better results. Prevent yourself from malaria by using the above home remedies. Keep yourself healthy by eating the right kind of food and by keeping away from mosquitoes.

Source: the fit indian

Is working standing up good for health?

Is working standing up good for health

Standing up three hours a day, five days a week for a year, would be the equivalent of “running ten marathons” according to UK health experts.

Dr Mike Loosemore, head of Exercise Medicine at University College Hospital, told the Today programme’s Justin Webb that small amounts of regular physical activity, like standing up and walking short distances, can improve health in the long term and reduce risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer.

Source: bbc news

Father’s pageant dance with his disabled daughter touches hearts

Father's pageant dance with his disabled daughter

With help from her adoring father, a 12-year-old girl with a rare genetic disease is dancing her way through pageants, winning trophies and stealing hearts.

A video that’s going viral shows McKenzie Carey being wheeled onstage by her father at a local pageant held earlier this month. Dad Mike Carey lifts his daughter into his arms and twirls, carries and dips her to the music before ending the dance with a beaming smile and cheers of support from the audience.

“Dancing with daddy makes her feel like she’s on top of the world,” Carey, of Dallas, Georgia, tells TODAY Parents. We’re pretty sure the feeling is mutual.

This isn’t the first time McKenzie has wowed the crowd. She has competed in over 100 pageants and has performed the two-step, hip hop, the waltz and several other dances with her dad (who, while an enthusiastic partner, is clearly not a trained dancer).

McKenzie is living with mitochondrial disease, which deprives her body of energy. In the US, approximately 1,000 to 3,000 children per year are born with a mitochondrial disease, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. The disease confines McKenzie mainly to her wheelchair and limits her verbal communication to just a few words.

“Pageants give her the same opportunity as other children and show people that she can accomplish anything with a little bit of help,” says her mom, Tammy. “I just want the judges to look at her, not her wheelchair.”

Mitochrondrial disease is classified as terminal, and most children diagnosed do not survive past their teen years. “We were told it would be a miracle if McKenzie made it to age 5,” Tammy says.

Father's pageant dance with his disabled daughter touches hearts 2

Her father says her personality shines through everything McKenzie does: “She’s like a puppy dog that doesn’t say a word but always has their tail wagging. There’s no way you can be unhappy around her.”

Mike Carey spends the bulk of his days as a truck driver, supporting McKenzie and her siblings. His wife, Tammy, is a stay-at-home mom who has always had an affinity for pageants.

“She can’t take gymnastics or dance, but pageants are something she can do,” explains Tammy.

When McKenzie gets dressed up in her pageant finery and sees herself in front of a mirror, “she has the biggest smile on her face and claps her hands, which is what she does when she’s really excited,” Tammy adds. “That’s how we can tell she enjoys it and has fun, and dancing with daddy is just the icing on the cake.”

Mike always supported the pageant hobby, but never imagined he’d one day be performing alongside his daughter. At one memorable pageant in 2010, Mike noticed that his wife was particularly anxious while waiting for McKenzie’s turn onstage.

“My wife was sitting in the audience and was so stressed about McKenzie, so I decided to do something a little crazy.” remembers Mike. “I took McKenzie up on stage and did a wheelie with her wheelchair. Then I spun her around, picked her up and started doing a freestyle dance. The crowd went wild and gave us a standing ovation!”

McKenzie took home every award from that competition, and has been on a roll since, winning almost 20 competitions overall.

“Her room is full of trophies,” laughs Tammy. “I told my husband to put up more shelves because we’re out of room!”

When he’s not on the road, McKenzie and her dad practice their routines at home. “We rehearse with McKenzie out of the wheelchair and go through the motions. But she is getting so heavy and I am getting so old, that holding a sixty pound girl for four minutes kills me! You’ll see me smiling on stage but I’m crying on the inside!” Carey jokes.

The Careys say that they compete in pageants to raise money for the extensive treatments needed to help McKenzie with her disease. But mainly, they’re hoping to inspire people and to show what people with disabilities can do.

“Sometimes we’ll walk into a pageant and people will ask why we’re there,” says Mike. “Then we dance, and they say we’ve inspired them and given them a whole new perspective on life.”

McKenzie is scheduled to compete in three more pageants this summer.

“I never thought my life would turn out the way it is now, it’s just so unbelievable,” shares Mike. “I always tell people not to be sorry for us. McKenzie was put on this earth for a purpose. I believe she is an angel and I’m just her spokesperson, I’m just her arms and legs.”

Source: today

Drug gives bald man full head of hair

Drug gives bald man full head of hair

Kyle Rhodes loves to consider the possibilities: He could sport a long, full Viking beard, or maybe grow a mullet like his favorite 1980’s hockey players. Or he could get something nice and clean like George Clooney’s signature 1990s Caesar haircut.

They’re all choices he’s never had before — he was diagnosed with alopecia areata at age 2, and the hair on his head started falling out in patches. By 18, he’d lost all the hair on his head and body.

One day his doctor at Yale University had a thought: Since Rhodes’ hair loss was caused by an autoimmune disease, why not try a treatment used for another autoimmune disorder? He chose the drug Xeljanz, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Eight months later, Rhodes had a full head of hair. His eyebrows and eyelashes grew back, as did the rest of the hair on his body. “I was ecstatic,” said his dermatologist, Dr. Brett King. “I was truly overjoyed for him.”

King is also cautiously optimistic for the 6.5 million others who suffer from alopecia acreata and who also may be able to benefit from the drug. He said he would like to try it out on more patients soon.

But Dr. George Cotsarelis isn’t so sure that’s a good idea. Some people who’ve taken Xeljanz have died from infections such as tuberculosis, and others face an increased risk of cancer, according to the drug maker’s website.

“This drug really can have some nasty side effects,” said Cotsarelis, chairman of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “You really have to decide how much risk you want to (take).”

King said he hopes to make a cream form of Xeljanz so that a patient can use it right at the source of hair loss rather than taking a pill and exposing the whole body to the drug.

Neither doctor said he believes the drug will work for the common kind of baldness that comes with age. Cotsarelis was adamant about it because male pattern baldness isn’t related to the immune system.

But King said he thinks conducting more research is worth a try. “To not imagine it would be crazy,” he said. “The possibility should be imagined and should be investigated.”

It’s not clear whether someone with hair loss would have to keep taking the drug for life. Rhodes said he continues to take it not so much for his full head of hair but because the drug has helped his psoriasis, which gives him painful dry, bleeding skin. His doctor recently upped the dosage to six pills a day in the hopes of making an even bigger dent against the disease.

Rhodes said he’s had no side effects and he’s not scared to take the pill since he’s used other potentially dangerous drugs before to combat his skin diseases. What might make him stop taking it is cost. Xeljanz is a new, expensive drug.
Without insurance it can cost $25,000 a year, according to King.

Rhodes said his insurance pays for most of the cost. Pfizer, the company that makes the drug, agreed to give him a discount card that takes care of his $600 per month co-payment, so for now he can afford it and enjoy a full head of hair.
“I find myself a lot of times just playing with it,” he said.

Source: bbc news

Zimbabwe: 10 Bottled Water Brands ‘A Health Risk’

Zimbabwe 10 Bottled Water Brands 'A Health Risk'

More than 10 brands of bottled water being sold in various shops pose a health risk to unsuspecting consumers as they have not been approved by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe.

This comes in the wake of a study by researchers from the University of Zimbabwe and Masvingo Polytechnic which showed that some companies were selling water with high levels of nitrites that are responsible for cancer in humans.

The experts concluded that the bottled water also contained viable bacteria and heavy metals at levels that exceed limits set by the World Health Organisation Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.

According to the experts: Nitrites are transformed to amines and amides resulting in the formation of nitrosamines which have been found to cause gastric and oesophagal cancer. In infants, nitrites compete with oxygen for active sites on haemoglobin resulting in oxygen deprivation. For the safety of consumers, the nitrite levels should fall below the recommended maximum limit.

A comparison of the list of brands approved by SAZ and those being sold in shops and by vendors in Harare’s Central Business District showed that at least 10 brands were not among the 22 approved by SAZ.

SAZ certifies bottled water according to minimum standards set by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

The standards body has certified 22 brands since 2011 although the certification of three on the list expired in March this year.

The three whose certification has expired are Tanganda, Schweppes and Mukati Investments.

SAZ director-general Mrs Eve Gadzikwa said her organisation had an obligation to continuously inform the public on the status of bottled water sold to them.

“Water is certified after satisfying the SAZ national standard ZWS 457:1995,” she said. “As part of the process towards certification, bottling companies are required to meet the minimum requirements set by the Ministry of Health.

“SAZ undertakes regular checks on the bottled water company to verify continuous compliance to the standard. SAZ has an obligation to regularly publish the status of certified, suspended and withdrawn bottled waters.”

SAZ laboratories are accredited for Water Chemical Analysis testing in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said her organisation was carrying out its own investigations into the matter.

“We saw your article (on the research on bottled water by academics) and we are also carrying out our own investigations into the matter,” she said.

The CCZ has, however, called on Government to speed up the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act as part of measures to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices.

The country does not have legislation to safeguard the rights of consumers.

Source: all africa

Fighting Malnutrition Among Refugees in Cameroon

Fighting Malnutrition Among Refugees in Cameroon

Samira Suleman is carrying her six-month old twins and is trying to breastfeed them but she cannot produce enough milk. “I have not eaten since morning so my milk is not flowing and I have no other way to feed my children.

When I manage to have some food, I am happy because it enables me to produce some breast milk for my twins,” says this 26-year old mother. She arrived in Mboy in eastern Cameroon with her family about four months ago, after fleeing the ongoing violence in neighbouring Central African Republic.

Not far from Samira is Awawou Bakari who is reeling from the loss of one of her newborn twins who died the previous day, just a few hours after birth. “My baby did not survive. I suffered a lot during the last quarter of my pregnancy because my antenatal visits were interrupted due to lack of resources. We spent all our money on transportation to get to the Cameroon border. Here in Mboy, we usually go several days without any meals. Sometimes the villagers give us a few kilograms of maize,” recounts Awawou, in a barely audible voice.

Both women now live in a refugee camp in Yokadouma, along with over 650 other people, where access to drinking water is also very difficult, with the lone supply source not up to consumption standards. “It is very difficult for us to get water and in order to get some, we need to travel several kilometres to reach the source. We give our children this water because we have no other choice,” adds Awawou.

Their stories echo those of thousands of other families, driven from their villages by the fighting and violence that has plunged the Central African Republic into total chaos for more than a year now.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 88,939 men, women and children fled their homes, heading to the relative safety found in refugee camps and host communities in the east, Adamawa and far north regions of Cameroon.

The majority are preferring to remain in the east region, close to their home country. More than 43,000 sit in transit centres, still waiting to be transferred to camps. They live in precarious conditions and lack shelter, food and health care. While they wait, entry points into Cameroon continue to bustle, with new refugees arriving by the hundreds daily.

At the Garoua-Boulai transit camp, a team of Cameroon Red Cross Society volunteers is actively taking care of 600 new refugees. These teams conduct malnutrition screening among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

“We have recorded 16 cases of malnourished children since morning,” says Ina Kombo, a volunteer in charge of screening at the site. “Ten children were moderately malnourished while six were severe. Cases of severe malnutrition are referred to the Garoua-Boulai district hospital for immediate care.”

The majority of refugees arriving in Cameroon are children (57 per cent). Many are suffering the effects of not having adequate nutritious food to eat, the results of which can lead to life-long challenges.

Undernourished children are less able to ward off infection and are more susceptible to common childhood ailments like diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Sickness keeps them out of school, which later affects their ability to attend higher education.

“Since the outbreak of the crisis, we have detected more than 500 cases of malnutrition among the target population in the Gado camp alone,” says Faustin Tsimi, emergency operations coordinator, Cameroon Red Cross Society.

“These patients are treated in various hospitals by a joint team from the Cameroon Red Cross, the ministry of public health and other humanitarian agencies. The management of malnutrition equally includes the provision of food supplements to patients, implemented in partnership with the World Food Programme.”

More than 300 Red Cross volunteers have been deployed as part of this operation, some of whom will support the French Red Cross Society in the management of malnutrition in Timangolo, which now hosts 750 refugees. The teams will manage an integrated health centre which is being refurbished and which specializes in maternal and child health and nutrition.

As part of its support to the Cameroon Red Cross Society, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) revised its emergency appeal in the country in a bid to provide further assistance to the increasing influx of new refugees, focusing on malnutrition. “We are doing our best to cover the basic needs of the population.

However, we are facing an increasing demand due to the arrival of new refugees. Evaluation missions conducted by our teams will enable us to improve assistance to thousands of new refugees. It is only through effective mobilization of the international community that we can reduce the vulnerability of refugees and host populations,” says Denis Duffaut, IFRC regional representative, Central Africa.

The revised emergency appeal of 642,579 Swiss francs is currently 66 per cent funded.

Source: all africa

Grenada investigates reports of chikungunya virus

Grenada investigates reports of chikungunya virus

The ministry of health in Grenada has intensified its campaign against the imminent threat from the chikungunya virus, as investigations continue into reports of the presence of the virus on the sister Isle of Carriacou.

Meanwhile, efforts are continuing by the ministry of health, wellness and the environment in St Vincent and the Grenadines to address a chikungunya outbreak there, with vector control measures and public sensitization programs currently taking place across the nation.

In the latest news update from Grenada, chief medical officer (CMO) Dr George Mitchell, said health officials were called in to investigate chikungunya-like symptoms in the village of Windward.

Mitchell, who is spearheading the ministry’s response, said that teams of health officials are on the ground and that specimens are being tested.

The CMO said one of the measures being undertaken is a fogging campaign of the immediate vicinity where the suspected cases were reported.

However the senior public health official said the healthcare providers will continue to carry out their work while they await laboratory confirmation of the suspected cases.

Public health officials are also calling on the public to ensure the cleanliness of their surroundings as well as the reduction and removal of mosquito breeding sites in and around the home. The chikungunya virus is primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is black and white in colour.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, the health ministry said to date some 396 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been recorded there. The majority of those cases have been confined to the Grenadines island of Bequia.

Efforts aimed at eradicating the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the virus have intensified.

The Insect Vector Control Unit in the ministry is continuing to carry out vector control measures on the mainland and also in the Grenadines. Fogging operations have also been targeting specific areas where mass crowds are expected to gather for the Carnival activities.

Clean up activities have also been taking place in several communities as part of efforts to deprive the mosquito of a breeding ground.

In addition to the vector control measures, the Health Promotion Unit has embarked on a public education campaign which includes visits to schools, communities and business places to sensitize individuals on the virus and provide information on how they can better protect themselves.

Given that there is no current cure for the chikungunya virus, the best course of action is to avoid mosquito bites. Signs and symptoms include an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

Source: caribbean news now