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Uganda declares Ebola virus disease outbreak

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By Francesca Iwambe

Uganda health officials on Tuesday declared another outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease following the confirmation of a case of the Sudan ebolavirus confirmed in Mubende district in the central part of the country.

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The case was confirmed after Uganda Virus Research Institute tested a sample taken from a 24-year-old man.

This follows an investigation by the National Rapid Response team of six suspicious deaths that have occurred in the district this month. There are currently eight suspected cases who are receiving care in a health facility.

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Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. It has six different species, three of which (Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire) have previously caused large outbreaks.

The case fatality rates of the Sudan virus have varied from 41 per cent to 100 per cent in past outbreaks. Early initiation of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola.

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Commenting on the situation, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said: “This is the first time in more than a decade that Uganda is recording an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus. We are working closely with the national health authorities to investigate the source of this outbreak while supporting the efforts to quickly roll out effective control measures.

“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control. Thanks to its expertise, action has been taken to quickly to detect the virus and we can bank on this knowledge to halt the spread of infections.”

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There have been seven previous outbreaks of the Sudan ebolavirus, with four occurring in Uganda and three in Sudan. Uganda last reported an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus in 2012. In 2019, the country experienced an outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus. The virus was imported from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo which was battling a large epidemic in its north-eastern region.

WHO is helping Ugandan health authorities with the investigation and is deploying staff to the affected area. The Organization has dispatched supplies to support the care of patients and is sending a tent that will be used to isolate patients.

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While ring vaccination of high-risk people with Ervebo (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine has been highly effective in controlling the spread of Ebola in recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere, this vaccine has only been approved to protect against the Zaire virus.

Another vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson may be effective but has yet to be specifically tested against Ebola Sudan.

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Health

Difference between HIV 1, HIV 2 everyone should know

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By Francesca Iwambe

Even with the recent groundbreaking discoveries made about the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), many people are still ignorant about this disease. This is why it continues to spread fast in our society. Most times we hear of the general term HIV, however, there are two types of HIV; HIV-1 and HIV-2

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Even though both of them cause the disease in the same way and destroy the body’s defense (white blood cells), HIV-1 is more common and accounts for 99% of world HIV infections. A person diagnosed with HIV has a very high chance of being infected with HIV-1. But there are important differences between these two. In this article, I’ll like to enlighten you about the differences between HIV-1 and HIV-2 according to Verywell Health

1. Origin

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The origin of HIV-1 was traced to chimpanzees and gorillas in west Africa. People in western African countries (Nigeria inclusive) have higher cancer of HIV-1. While the origin of HIV-2 was traced to a monkey species called sooty mangabey also found in west Africa.

2. Predominance

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HIV-1 is more predominant than HIV-2 because it can spread faster (more infectious) and can overcome the body’s defense (more virulent). Due to its predominance in society, most cases of HIV are presumed to be HIV-1

3. Rate of spread and mortality

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HIV-1 is more easily transmitted and kills faster than HIV-2. Even though people infected with HIV-1 or HIV-2 will die of complication if the disease is left untreated, those who have HIV-1 may have higher odds of dying faster as the disease progresses very fast and cause more deaths.

4. Diagnosis

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A test called Multispot HIV-1/HIV-2 can be used to differentiate between the two these diseases. People who are from west Africa or are not responding to HIV treatments have to be tested for HIV-1

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Early signs of pregnancy you will notice before missed period

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By Francesca Iwambe

When you are doing all that is required to get pregnant, you might want to know if you are pregnant as soon as possible. Unfortunately, without doing a home pregnancy test, or getting a blood test or ultrasound, there is not a 100% assuring way to tell you are pregnant before missing your period.

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Nevertheless, specific signs and symptoms could be an indication that you are in the first weeks of pregnancy. According to Healthline, provided below are some of the early signs of pregnancy you may notice before missing your period. Keep in mind that pregnancy signs usually mimic PMS symptoms.

1. Darkening areolas: You might also notice your areolas, which are the area around your nipples that get darkened. This can occur as early as one to two weeks after conception and is usually the first sign of pregnancy.

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2. Cervical mucus: You may observe a change or increase in discharge from your private organ in early pregnancy. During the first trimester, you might secrete sticky, white, or pale yellow mucus. This is induced by increased hormones and vaginal blood flow. This might continue throughout your pregnancy as your cervix softens.

3. Basal body temperature: Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature when you are fully at rest. It’s often taken when you first wake up in the morning. An increase in basal body temperature for 18 days following ovulation might be an early sign of pregnancy. This approach works best if you have been tracking your BBT for a while and know what it was pre-pregnancy and throughout your cycle.

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4. If your stomach feels bloated, it might be a sign of early pregnancy. Your digestive system can slow down due to hormonal changes. This can induce bloating, constipation, or gas.

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FG to reduce severe medication harm by 50 percent in 5 years

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By Francesca Iwambe

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The Federal government has disclosed that plans were underway to ensure 50 per cent reduction in severe preventable medication-related harm.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire in a message to commemoration of the 2022 World Patient Safety Day said, Nigeria is working to develop its National Policy and Strategy on Patient Safety and Quality of care.

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The minister who said that the 2022 theme: ‘Medication Safety’ and slogan is: ‘Medication without Harm’ is apt said; “The goal of Medication Safety as earlier stated is to reduce severe and preventable medication related harm by 50% in the next 5 years specifically by addressing harm resulting from errors or unsafe practices in the health system.

“This can be achieved by making improvements at each stage of the medication process, including prescribing, dispensing, administering, monitoring and use”.

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“We are hoping it will be completed and launched this year so that it can be deployed for use in all our health facilities at all levels of care.

The policy focuses on improving medication safety, surgical safety, safety of all medical procedures etc.

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Sensitization and capacity are ongoing in our Federal Tertiary Health Institutions in the form of training on medication safety, infection prevention control, and other aspects of patient safety.

It is my hope that hospitals at all levels will be able to adopt and implement patient safety at different levels of care.

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“Patient safety is everybody’s business and it requires the active participation of many key partners ranging from patients and their families to governmental, nongovernmental and professional organizations.

“This policy document will improve patient safety, clinical outcomes and client satisfaction by establishing the systems for assessing, measuring and improving patient safety at all levels of care in Nigeria”.

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Dr Ehanire who lamented that medication errors are under reported in the country quoted a study conducted by Ogunleye et al on medication errors amongst health care professionals (doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists) in 10 tertiary hospitals across the country.

He said, 35.5% of 2386 professionals that participated in the study reported medication error, while 33.4% did not think reporting was necessary.

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According to the minister, a high incidence of major medication errors related to prescription of incorrect antiretroviral therapy (ART), protocols, potential drug-drug interaction in Nigeria’s HIV treatment Programme have been reported in the past.

He said, “The incidence rate of medication errors was somewhat high; and majority of identified errors were related to prescription of incorrect ART regimens and potential drug-drug interactions; the prescriber was contacted, and the errors were resolved in majority of cases.

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Active screening for medication errors is feasible in resource-limited settings following adequate capacity building.

“Ladies and gentlemen, patients and members of the public are sometimes passive while receiving drug treatment. Most patients especially those on long term medications for chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. are not aware of medications prescribed for them. Some patients abuse medications such as antibiotics that can create problems of antimicrobial resistance.

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“Polypharmacy which is the routine use of four or more over-the-counter, prescription and/or traditional medications at the same time by a patient can also cause harm from multi drug interactions and increase the side effects of drugs.

“Miscommunications can also occur when patients’ drugs are not properly handed over either during change in shifts or transfer of care from one health facility to another”.

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While stressing the need for all hands to be on deck, the minister added that Nigeria is already working to develop its National Policy and Strategy on Patient Safety and Quality of care.

“We are hoping it will be completed and launched this year so that it can be deployed for use in all our health facilities at all levels of care. The policy focuses on improving medication safety, surgical safety, safety of all medical procedures etc.

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“Sensitization and capacity are ongoing in our Federal Tertiary Health Institutions in the form of training on medication safety, infection prevention control, and other aspects of patient safety.

It is my hope that hospitals at all levels will be able to adopt and implement patient safety at different levels of care.

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“Patient safety is everybody’s business and it requires the active participation of many key partners ranging from patients and their families to governmental, nongovernmental and professional organizations.

“This policy document will improve patient safety, clinical outcomes and client satisfaction by establishing the systems for assessing, measuring and improving patient safety at all levels of care in Nigeria”.

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