Bolivia Invests More than 12,9 Million Dollars in Vaccines

Bolivia's Ministry of Health spends 12,9 Million dollars annually on vaccines to be apply free to the population in order to prevent transmission or spread of 21 diseases. Each year the national government increases the budget to acquire the doses, which are not cheap. The average cost of each one is 21 Bs.(three dollars), not counting human resources, transport and accessories (syringe and cotton), explained Julio Sumi, head of the Expanded Program on Immunization.

These vaccines prevent diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, pneumonia, Hib meningitis, polio, severe rotavirus diarrhea, and seasonal influenza. There are also doses against measles, rubella, mumps, yellow fever, diphtheria, military tuberculosis, meninguae, pneumococcal pneumonia, mumps and congenital rubella syndrome.

This list was complemented by a vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) aimed at girls aged 10 to 12 to prevent cervical cancer.

The health official exemplified the difference between the cost of the HPV vaccine established in pharmacies between 1,200 Bs. (172 dollars) and 1,500 Bs. (215 dollars) each dose, while the Ministry of Health gave the two doses at no cost to schoolgirls.

Thanks to these vaccines, 80 percent of the population, especially children under five, were immunized against 21 diseases in 2017, Sumi concluded.

The vaccines and supplies purchased by this Bolivian ministry fulfill strict quality standards, which are certified by international institutions such as the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), according to an institutional bulletin of this state portfolio

Cuba Lung Cancer Vaccine: Researchers develop world's first lung cancer vaccine

Cuba has developed the world's first lung cancer vaccine, which is already making its way into other Latin American countries. And, it's the first Cuban patented drug being allowed to undergo clinical trials at a US cancer research institute. CGTN's Michael Voss has this report from Havana.

Caridad Gomez started smoking when she was 13. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. After undergoing intensive chemotherapy, she is now being treated with the world's first lung cancer vaccine. CimaVax- EGF is a Cuban developed drug aimed at preventing the recurrence of the disease. Gomez is now back at work and once a month, she returns to the hospital for a series of intramuscular injections.

CARDIDAD GOMEZ LUNG CANCER PATIENT "I feel good, I have even gained some weight. I've been using the vaccine for two years and four months now and so far I've felt really good."

Patients still have to complete a course of chemo or radio therapy before moving onto the vaccine. There are other lung cancer fighting drugs which work by attacking the cancer cells. What's different about the vaccine is that it helps the body generate its own immune system in a way that starves the cancer and stops it from growing.

DR YOANNA FLORES ONCOLOGIST "It has revolutionized lung cancer treatment in our country. It's a new therapeutic weapon for treating the disease. Patients are responding well and surviving for longer than those not being treated with it."

Early results were so positive that in 2016, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the United States persuaded the U.S. government to allow it to test the vaccine. The first time a Cuban produced drug is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. The vaccine is just one of an impressive array of cancer drugs developed at Cuba's Center for Molecular Immunology.

MICHAEL VOSS HAVANA, CUBA "This research center has been working on cancer treatments for more than 20 years. It already has drugs to help with pancreatic cancer and brain tumors. Lung cancer is its first vaccine. Now it's working on one for prostate cancer."

 It was Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro who decided to concentrate on developing a world-class biotechnology sector and it's been well-funded ever since. If the clinical trials now underway in the United States are successful, pharmaceuticals could prove an important new income source for the Cuban economy. Michael Voss CGTN Havana.

  • Published in Cuba

New Treatment for Parasitic Diseases Tested

A new treatment can be effective against parasitic diseases, which cause more than 50,000 fatalities a year worldwide, said sources today.

Developed by researchers at the Novartis Genomics Institute in the United States, the drug has proven its positive effect in mice against Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and African trypanosomiasis, which affect 20 million people in the world.

Specialists, after testing some three million candidates, found an effective compound, called GNF6702, able to selectively block the actions of parasites, said the research published by the journal Nature.

Jeremy, one of the authors, said that it is a step forward in understanding the parasites that cause those three diseases and, potentially, it will provide the cure for them.

According to the source, the project is at an early stage and the team will advance to the toxicological tests before testing in humans.

  • Published in World

Nearly 8 Million Children in Sudan to be Immunized Against Measles

Following one of the worst measles outbreaks in Sudan´s recent history, the Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF, the Measles and Rubella Initiative (M&RI) and national partners, is launching a massive campaign to immunize 7.9 million children aged six months to 15 years against this life-threatening disease.

Since the start of the outbreak at the end of 2014, there have been 1,730 confirmed cases, 3,175 suspected cases and 22 fatalities.

West Darfur remains the worst affected state, with 441 confirmed cases and five deaths. Kassala has had 365 confirmed cases and five deaths, while in Red Sea state there have been 263 cases and four deaths.

The campaign, which launches today will initially target 28 affected localities in six of the highest risk states, before expanding to other areas identified as being at risk of an outbreak. In total it will target 96 localities in 16 affected and "at risk" states.

The immunization campaign will be a complex operation, however, as ongoing conflict in some areas of Sudan could restrict humanitarian access.

There are children in conflict zones in the Kordofans, Blue Nile and Darfur who have not received routine immunization since 2011. UNICEF has called on all parties to the fighting to facilitate humanitarian access so that these children can be reached.

Children are most at risk of the disease - children who are malnourished are even more vulnerable. In Sudan, some 36 per cent of children are stunted and the country has one of the highest levels of malnutrition in Africa.

Of the total number of reported measles cases in Sudan, 69 per cent are below 15 years of age, including 52 per cent under the age of five. For malnourished children measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, ear infections, pneumonia and severe diarrhoea. The measles virus is spread by respiratory transmission and is highly contagious. Up to 90 per cent of people without immunity who are sharing a house with an infected person will catch it.

  • Published in World

HIV: Until it Happens

HIV risk awareness in Cuba is low. Despite the stability in the figures of new infections, it’s necessary to keep working in the effective protection against the epidemic.

It doesn't happen until it happens, that simple. HIV risk awareness in Cuba is still low. Most of the new infected people are related with that circumstance.

I will be spared—it seems to be the instinct.

According to sources at the Ministry of Public Health, the largest incidence is among youths between 20-29 years, mainly men who have had sex with other men.

Propaganda campaigns are plentiful in television, radio and other media… still many have sexual relationships without wearing condoms.

The figures speak for themselves: 1 600 new patients receive antiretroviral therapy in 2014. There is not a great increase in comparison to last year, but the amount is considerable.

A question arises: is there disinformation about this subject? This doesn't seem to be the case. Instruction levels in Cuba are high; most of the population has full access to the media.

Most of those infected simply trusted, thought they would be spared, they didn't take the elementary protective measures.

The domestic panorama indicates that the epidemic makes no discrimination among cultural or economic levels; but a large number of the new patients are men who had had sex with other men, many times at meeting places, in situations that at times invite negligence.

The situation is complicated, it has many angles.

Many of the men found in meeting places do it because they don't have other places to have sex.

And others—and this is a figure not to discard—do it for the mere pleasure of living the fling.

These practices are hard “to control”. The attempt of controlling them could carry out even incomprehension and irregularities of the authorities involved.

It’s clear that the educational campaigns have overlooked this fact.

It’s really striking the candor of many of the messages and posters. For the poorly informed spectator, watching the everyday characters on the television spots, the HIV problem in Cuba is manifested equally in men and women.

  

The actions must be more intentional, it’s necessary to identify a public, at least on the media.

Obviously, the epidemic doesn't distinguish genders, sexual orientation (regrettably many still think HIV is only a thing for homosexuals), but it’s indispensable to be more kin in health promoting programs.

To achieve this goal a few prejudicial barriers must be broken in our people.

Past beyond the recommendations on the relevancy of certain sex practices—that at present can or can’t regarded—, the most effective means of protection is still wearing a condom.

Condoms distribution has faced specific problems in the last months in drugstores, but the figures show that infections are not directly related with this shortage, but with the lack of culture on the use of the condom.

A total of 11.400 Cubans infected with HIV or who have developed AIDS receive antiretroviral treatment at the moment in the island.

The need is large, but sometimes it is necessary to struggle with the shortage of some medications.

The head of the department for Prevention and Control of STD/AIDS at Minsap, María Isela Lantero, pointed out in statement to Prensa Latina that Cuba has passed a national plan of response for the next five years, following WHO’s recommendations.

That entity advises that antiretroviral treatment begins in the earliest stages in the disease, hence the importance of a quick detection.

Despite many people’s reticence to undergo traditional services for HIV testing, this year more than two million tests have been carried out to detect the virus.

The presence of HIV /Aids in the country is 0, 12%, in the population group of 15-49 years. At first sight this might seem a moderate figure, but the fact that the tendency remains stable makes us rethink some strategies.

The goal, although farfetched d, is that the number of new infections come closer to zero.

Contrary to other epidemics, HIV control does count with true means and sure at some extent.

It is mostly a matter of education. The challenge is settled.

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