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Wide disparatities in antibiotics use – WHO report

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There are disparities in the use of antibiotics in the world, with some countries overusing antibiotics, while others lack sufficient access to the medicines, a new report by the World Health Organisation has shown.

The report, which collected data on antibiotic consumption for human healthcare from 65 countries, shows there are wide differences in consumption of antibiotics in different countries.Using a measurement called a defined daily dose (DDD), the average dose a patient needs everyday, to compare drug consumption in different countries, the report showed that the country with the lowest rate of antibiotic use is Burundi which has a rate of four defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 inhabitants per day.

In Southern Africa, South Africa had the highest antibiotic consumption rates of 33 and 27 daily defined doses per 1,000 people. Globally, the country with the highest rate of antibiotic consumption was found to be Mongolia, with a rate of 64 DDD.

“Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the leading causes of antimicrobial resistance. Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat common infections like pneumonia,” said Dr Suzanne Hill, director of the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products at the WHO.

Antibiotics are often wrongly prescribed for viral infections like colds and flu where they have no benefit, and half of all doses are given to livestock for growth.Deemed a medical marvel for transforming modern medicine by treating and preventing bacterial infections, antibiotic are losing their magic and becoming ineffective against infections, because the drugs are routinely prescribed for infections they do not treat, or for which they are not needed.

“More than 70 per cent of antibiotics prescribed are either given unnecessarily or used improperly,” says Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr MosepeleMosepele. He said that when antibiotics are used too much, they would not work anymore; instead they kill.

Dr Mosepele said there was need to take urgent action, such as enforcing prescription-only policies, to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics. Last year, the World Health Organisation published a list of 12 bacteria, which pose the greatest threat to human health because they are resistant to antibiotics.The list was drawn up in a bid to guide and promote research and development of new antibiotics to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.

Drug-resistant infections are already responsible for an estimated 700,000 deaths every year. If no action is taken, they are expected to kill 10 million people annually by 2050. The WHO report found that amoxicillin and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid – first or second-line treatments for common infections – are the most frequently used antibiotics worldwide. But the report also found that some third-line treatments, which it urges should be used with caution, are being consumed at high levels.

“Reserve” antibiotics, which should only be used as a last resort for treatment of specific infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria, account for less than two per cent of total antibiotic consumption in most high-income countries and were not reported by most low- and middle-income countries.

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Sun Health

Tobacco also kills non-smokers

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This year’s world cancer day theme, ‘I Am and I Will’ is an empowering call to action, it is call to individuals to make a personal commitment to help reduce the impact of cancer.

We at the Anti -tobacco Network have heeded the call. We hereby call upon all citizens of this country to stand up against the monstrous impact of tobacco use in our society. We all know that tobacco kills. I want to tell everyone that tobacco kills non-smokers as well. Let us be clear about it. Second-hand smoke also kills. It is well documented through solid science that exposure to second-hand smoke causes cancer and contributes to various lung and heart diseases.

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 700 million, or almost half, of the world’s children are exposed to second-hand smoke. In spite of what science tells us, however, in many places it is considered so acceptable to smoke, and so rude and unaccommodating to protest, that we dare not speak out against second-hand smoke. The time has come for us to speak out. We have a right to breathe clean air.

We have a right to good health and to protect our friends and family. We need to clear the air of second-hand smoke. Today, on this very important day, we are calling for a ban on smoking in public places. A ban that offers a comprehensive solution to keeping the air clean and safe for all people, both smokers and non-smokers. A ban that puts emphasis on people’s right to health and helps to make smoking the exception rather than the norm.

Whoever you are – a cancer survivor, co-worker, carer, friend, business leader, healthcare worker, teacher or student – ‘I A m and I Will’ represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future. The power of lending your voice to this very important call. Your participation in this Call to Action is crucial to the cause. However you choose to take action, know that your efforts will be making a difference in the lives of many.

Dr Bontle Mbongwe is the Executive Director of the Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN), as well Head of Environmental Health Programme, University of Botswana.

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YOGA AN EFFECTIVE TOOL TO FIGHT NCDS

Rachel Raditsebe

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The ancient Indian practice of Yoga can definitely help in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which account for at least 70 percent of deaths worldwide.
This is the firm belief of Swami Purnachaitanya- Director of Programmes and Senior International Trainer with the Art of Living Foundation.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics indicate that NCDs mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are the main causes of death with more than 36 million dying annually. And the trends in NCDs morbidity and mortality in Botswana are no different from the global picture.The high burden of NCDs is attributed to a change in population lifestyles, which include physical inactivity because of the changing nature of work, alcohol, smoking and substance abuse particularly among the youth and pollution.

While the problem of NCDs is a not an easy one because it is caused by so many factors including lifestyle choices, Purnachaitanya said exploring Yoga, as one of the possible solutions is worth it as it has the ability to bring together the body, soul and mind for a holistic approach to health and well-being, including physical, mental and spiritual realms of the human being.

Almost 80 percent of most health problems are entirely created by stress, according to Purnachaitanya. That is why a holistic intervention like Yoga can contribute to building resilience against NCDs. “It allows for ‘real’ rest, deep restoration which brings us to balance and allow our bodies into a healing place. Yoga can definitely influence our entire lives and help us make shifts to live in a way that is better for us and cope with the challenges of life with more harmony and vitality,” he said interview recently during a visit to Botswana.

“Yoga is not just a set of exercises. It is a philosophy of discipline and meditation that transforms the spirit and makes the individual a better person in thought, action, knowledge and devotion,” he said. Yoga, he added, is the most ancient practice that also increases the mental health and boosts immunity.

When we are stressed, Purnachaitanya explains, our minds get agitated and we produce certain hormones in the body, which lower our immune system, affect our digestion, blood pressure and many other organs in the body.

Highlighted in World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030, is that the routine practice of Yoga is a valuable tool for people of all ages to make physical activity an integral part of life and reach the level needed to promote good health.

It claims that regular practice of Yoga and meditation fights the free radicals, regulates the blood glucose metabolism and prevents any heart disease. “So just by regular practice of some breathing techniques, Yoga meditation, people the world over have had huge improvements”, shares Purnachaitanya.

The travelling teacher,who has dedicated his life to teaching Yoga around the world and serving humanity says, the practice of Yoga can also help fight stigma, especially the self-inflicted one. “It helps one to accept where they are in life and how they give meaning to life”.

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