The World Health Organization (WHO) says over three million girls are at risk every year to genital mutilation, fearing that the number may increase to 4.6 million in 2030 unless accelerated actions are taken to prevent this harmful practice.
Regional Director for Africa, WHO, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this in a statement to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The theme of this year celebration is – “Unleashing Youth Power: One Decade of Accelerating Actions for Zero Female Genital Mutilation by 2030″.
According to Nationonline, She explained that apart from FGM being a human rights violation, it also has no health benefits and can result in significant health complications for the women and girls affected, as well as social consequences and an economic burden for health systems and society.
Nationonline quoted her as saying, “Globally, FGM is estimated to have been performed on more than 200 million girls and women alive today. More than three million girls are at risk each year, and this number is expected to increase to 4.6 million girls in 2030 unless we accelerate action to prevent this harmful practice.
“Eliminating FGM will require the full support of donors and decision-makers. To support the call for increased investment, at WHO, today we are launching an interactive FGM economic cost calculator.
“The tool visualizes the health and economic costs of FGM and the potential cost savings in implementing interventions to prevent it. The calculator is relevant to decision-makers, donors and communities, who can use its results to inform actions towards eliminating FGM.
“In the African Region, FGM occurs in 30 countries. We have seen progress – for instance, in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Liberia and Togo, FGM has decreased among girls aged 15 to 19 years over the past 30 years. However, collectively we need to do more to protect girls, women and communities from the harms associated with FGM”.
She appealed to decision-makers, policy-makers, programme planners, and donors to use the new WHO calculator to inform decisions and invest more to eliminate FGM within a generation.
Explaining the level of partnership between the WHO, Member States and partners to eliminate FGM, she added that the WHO is developing guidelines, tools, training, and policies for health workers to provide the highest quality health care, including counselling girls and women living with FGM, while also taking actions to prevent the practice.
“We are generating knowledge about the causes and consequences of the practice and about how to prevent it; and developing publications and advocacy tools efforts to end FGM,” she said.
HEALTH CORNER: What You Need To Know About Peptic Ulcer Disease
Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a condition that affects the stomach and first part of the small intestine. It is characterized by open sores(wounds), known as “ulcers,” that form in the lining of these organs.
Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) affects four million people worldwide annually and has an estimated lifetime occurrence of 5−10% in the general population. Its frequency is reducing among young males and increasing in older females.
The most common cause of PUD is a bacterial infection called “Helicobacter pylori” (H. pylori), but it can also be caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Puroxicam, or excessive acid production in the stomach in some disease conditions.
The risk factors include alcohol abuse, smoking, prolonged use or use of high doses of NSAIDs, misuse of steroids such as Prednisolone and Dexamethasone, and exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation.
“Stress, carbonated soft drinks, and spicy foods do not cause ulcers but can make them worse.”
Symptoms of PUD can vary from person to person, but they commonly include:
1. Burning or gnawing abdominal pain, usually in the upper middle part of the abdomen.
2. Feeling full and bloated after eating.
3. Nausea or vomiting.
4. Loss of appetite.
5. Weight loss.
6. Dark or black stools (indicating gastrointestinal bleeding).
If a person has symptoms suggestive of PUD, it is important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis.
A healthcare provider will take relevant history, perform a physical examination, and may recommend tests such as an upper endoscopy, a breath test for H. pylori, or blood tests.
Treatment for PUD typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Medications may include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and antihistamines to reduce stomach acid production, antacids to neutralize already produced acid, and antibiotics to eliminate H. pylori.
FROM THE AUTHOR: HEALTH CORNER: Indian Hemp Benefits, Risk In Its Consumption
Lifestyle changes may include avoiding NSAIDs, alcohol, and smoking, as well as managing stress levels and eating a healthy diet.
In severe cases of PUD, complications like bleeding, perforation (a hole in the stomach or intestine wall), or obstruction may occur. These require immediate medical attention and may lead to hospitalization or surgery.
“Please do understand that PUD, just like Malaria, is curable with appropriate and adequate treatment, and not a life-long diagnosis. However, it can recur as many times as possible as long as the patient keeps exposing himself/herself to the causative agents or keeps indulging in behaviours that can trigger and/or worsen its symptoms.”
It is worth noting that while PUD can cause discomfort and complications, with proper treatment and management, most people can find relief from their symptoms and prevent recurrence.
It is important to follow the healthcare provider’s advice and attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor the condition.
Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
HEALTH CORNER: Indian Hemp Benefits, Risk In Its Consumption
Indian hemp, also known as Cannabis, Igbo or Marijuana, is a controversial substance with potential health risks and benefits. The effects of Indian hemp can vary depending on the individual, the method of consumption, and the dosage. Listed below are some of the potential risks and benefits:
1. Addiction Potential: Indian hemp contains compounds, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that can be addictive for some individuals. Regular and heavy use of Indian hemp can lead to dependency, making it difficult to quit.
2. Impaired Cognitive Function: Heavy and prolonged use of Indian hemp can affect memory, attention, and cognitive abilities, particularly in young individuals whose brains are still developing.
3. Mental Health Concerns: Some studies suggest that heavy cannabis use, especially in those with a predisposition to mental health conditions, may increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis (referred to by the medically untrained as madness).
4. Respiratory Issues: Smoking Indian hemp can lead to respiratory problems, similar to those associated with tobacco smoking, such as chronic bronchitis and lung damage.
B. Potential Benefits:
1. Pain Relief: Some individuals use Indian hemp to alleviate chronic pain, including pain associated with conditions such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Certain components of cannabis have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.
2. Nausea and Vomiting: Indian hemp can be used to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting, particularly in individuals undergoing chemotherapy or those with conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
3. Appetite Stimulation: In cases of certain medical conditions where appetite has been compromised, Indian hemp can help stimulate appetite.
4. Epilepsy: Evidence suggests that a specific cannabis-derived medication called Epidiolex can be effective in treating certain forms of epilepsy in children.
5. Reduction of anxiety: A chemical found in hemp works by lowering autonomic and emotional reactions to stress and interfering with the consolidation and extinction of frightened memories, that has been linked to anxiety disorders, autistic spectrum disorder, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Please note that the use of Indian hemp for medical purposes should be done under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional. Additionally, the legal status of Indian hemp varies globally and within different jurisdictions, so it is important to adhere to local laws and regulations.
Overall, the use of Indian hemp should be approached cautiously, and individuals considering its use should weigh the potential risks and benefits and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.
HEALTH CORNER: What You Need Know About Chlamydia Infection, Prevention
By Silver Yeibake
Chlamydia infection is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is one of the most prevalent STIs worldwide and can affect both men and women. In 2020 alone, the WHO estimated 129 million new infections worldwide, making it the most common STI.
Chlamydia is primarily transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be passed from a mother to her newborn during childbirth. Many people with chlamydia may not experience any symptoms, which increases the risk of unknowingly spreading the infection.
When symptoms do occur, they can vary between men and women. In men, symptoms may include a burning sensation while urinating, discharge from the penis, and swollen or painful testicles. Women may experience abnormal vaginal discharge, painful urination, and pelvic pain. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum and throat, leading to symptoms such as rectal pain, discharge, or a sore throat.
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. In men, untreated chlamydia can lead to epididymitis, a painful condition that can affect fertility. Chlamydia also increases the risk of contracting or spreading HIV.
Fortunately, chlamydia can be easily diagnosed through a simple urine test or a swab from the affected area, such as the cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat. It can be treated effectively with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is important to complete the full course of medication to ensure the infection is properly cleared.
To prevent chlamydia and other STIs, practicing safe sex is crucial. This includes using condoms correctly and consistently, getting regular STI screenings, discussing sexual health with partners, and considering mutual monogamy or maintaining a long-term mutually monogamous relationship.
If any STI is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention for properevaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, informing sexual partners so they can also get tested and receive treatment if necessary is essential to prevent further spread of the infection.
Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
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