More than 20 million babies were born with a low birthweight (less than 2500g; 5.5 pounds) in 2015—around one in seven of all births worldwide according to the first-ever estimates documenting this major health challenge.
These findings and more are documented in a new research paper developed by experts from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, published in The Lancet Global Health.
More than 80% of the world’s 2.5 million newborns who die every year are of low birthweight. Those low birthweight babies who survive have a greater risk of stunting, and developmental and physical ill health later in life, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Low birthweight is a complex clinical entity composed of intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth,” says co-author Dr Mercedes de Onis from the Department of Nutrition at WHO.
“This is why reducing low birthweight requires an understanding of the underlying causes in a given country. For example, in Southern Asia a large proportion of low birthweight babies are born at term but with intrauterine growth restriction, which is associated with maternal undernutrition, including maternal stunting.
“Conversely, preterm birth is the major contributor to low birthweight in settings with many adolescent pregnancies, high prevalence of infection, or where pregnancy is associated with high levels of fertility treatment and caesarean sections (like in USA and Brazil). Understanding and tackling these underlying causes in high-burden countries should be a priority.”
Although close to three-quarters were born in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the problem remains substantial in high-income countries in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. High-income countries have seen virtually no progress.
What is being done to tackle this major public health problem
Reducing the incidence of low birth weight requires a comprehensive global strategy, which must include improving maternal nutritional status; treating pregnancy-associated conditions such as pre-eclampsia (hypertensive disease of pregnancy); and providing adequate maternal care, perinatal clinical services and social support.
Affordable, accessible and appropriate health-care is critical for preventing and treating low birthweight. Reductions in death, illness and disability in newborn babies will only be achieved if pregnancy care is fully integrated with appropriate care for low birthweight babies.
Two-thirds of Global South hypertension sufferers missing treatment – study
Healthcare in low- and middle-income countries is poorly prepared for the increasing number of people with high blood pressure, with more than two-thirds of people affected going without treatment – a new study reveals.
Researchers studied health data for one million people in the Global South, discovering that less than half of those affected are diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension. Of these patients, only 30% are treated and only 10% have the disease under control.
The research team analysed the healthcare of hypertension in 44 countries. Using a cascade of care approach, which looked at the numbers of people with hypertension who had been screened, diagnosed, treated, and controlled, they determined how well the health systems of the various countries are treating people with hypertension.
University of Birmingham researchers worked with colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Göttingen and the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg, publishing their findings in The Lancet.
Justine Davies, Professor of Global Health at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, comments: “Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is known from other studies to be prevalent in lower and middle income countries.
“Our research adds by showing that care in these countries is not able to match the number of people who need treatment. This is a particular problem as without treatment there is a considerable risk of complications – including stroke and death.
“It is not all bad news though. We found that some countries – like Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan and Peru – are doing much better than expected, and it is important to look in more depth at those countries and learn from their success.”
The group carried out its research using surveys including the World Health Organisation’s STEPS survey – which uses a uniform approach to obtain data on established risk factors.
“Our study shows not only that care for hypertension in these countries is severely inadequate, but also where exactly patients are being lost in the treatment system,” says Pascal Geldsetzer, postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and first author of the study.
Dr. Mary Mayige, Principle Research Scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania and co-author of the study, commented: “There is an urgent need to strengthen the healthcare system for chronic disease care in low income countries. This includes improving information systems and increased financing to ensure universal access across the continuum from preventive interventions to tertiary health care services.”
Researchers firstly determined how many people suffered from high blood pressure. Based on this, they determined how many of these patients were examined, diagnosed and treated each time. Finally, they analysed how many patients successfully controlled the disease with medication.
“High blood pressure can be treated relatively well and cheaply, but undiagnosed or untreated hypertension represents a considerable risk for the people affected,” says Sebastian Vollmer, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Göttingen.
“High blood pressure is one of the major widespread diseases in the Global South and increasingly common as populations in these countries age. This study provides important insights for policy-makers about where in the treatment chain for hypertension the greatest problems currently lie,” adds Till Bärnighausen, Professor of Global Health at Heidelberg University Hospital and the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg.
Environmental Sanitation Law: Oyo Govt. Seals 6 Shops, Canteen, Butcher’s Stand In Ibadan
At least six shops, including a food canteen and a butcher’s shop were sealed on Thursday along Old Ife road and Gbagi area in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital for flouting the State’s environmental Sanitation and Waste Management Law.
The act was in accordance with the recent agreement made by Stakeholders during an advocacy programme on environmental laws organised by Oyo State Government to leverage on environmental laws in its bid to ensure a healthy and safe environment.
Oyo State government held a stakeholders advocacy meeting on Tuesday 16th July at the House of Chiefs in Ibadan, where various groups and government representatives deliberated on ways forward to put a stop to indiscriminate waste disposal, where participants charged the Seyi Makinde-led administration to step up enforcement exercise among other solutions to the menace of filthy environment.
The Director of Environmental Health Officers for the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Sanitarian Olusoji Oyewole who led the enforcement team during the weekly environmental sanitation within Ibadan environs, said it was surprising that despite the campaign efforts of the present administration against the scourge of filth and maintenance of healthy and safe environment, some shop owners were still violating the environmental regulation.
He further warned traders, shop owners, motorists and the general public to desist from violating the sanitation laws which include dumping of refuse indiscriminately, construction of shanties on drainage, display of wares and food items at the road set back and under high – tension wires among others as mobile court would soon be established to prosecute residents that violate environmental sanitation law in the state
“It is disheartening that despite the efforts of the State government to bring to a halt, the culture of filth through indiscriminate refuse dumping, lackadaisical attitude to environmental exercise on Thursdays and other regulations, some are still found doing same.
“All these regulations are for our own good. We will spend less on maintenance of our health and you will see that the government’s strive to make the State an investor friendly will be successful.
“The mobile court that will see to immediate dispensation of justice to environmental
Mr. Oyewole therefore enjoined all and sundry to embrace cleaningness as environmental issue is a collective responsibility.
Activate Waste To Wealth Project’ – CCII, Stakeholders Charge Makinde
… As Oyo Kicks off Environmental Mobile Courts
Oyo State government has been urged to start work on the Waste To Wealth project which was part of cardinal programs of the Seyi Makinde-led administration to bring to a bearest minimum, the problem of indiscriminate refuse dumping in the State.
The call was made by the President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Yemi Soladoye and other stakeholders at an advocacy meeting organized for Stakeholders by the government to sensitize the populace on immediate solution to the menace of poor waste disposal culture, pervading the State.
Soladoye noted that before long, waste collectors would be paying those that generate the waste instead of collecting money from them whenever waste recycling begin in the State.
He called for haste in the implementation of the Orita-Aperin recycling project, which he said has suffered abandonment overtime.
“While commending the efforts of the State in its unrelenting stride to eradicate poor waste disposal culture, I need to call on our Governor to start work on the Waste to Wealth project so as to not only beautify our environment but to also create wealth for the populace and generate more revenue for government.
“I have traveled far and wide but there was a time I found it so difficult to come home to Ibadan because of the culture of filth then. Today, the story has changed and we have a clean environment which needs to be sustained.
“Imagine a time that we allocated a parcel of land for Olubadan’s palace but within short time, people turned the land to refuse dumping ground. We invited the police and they left within a week as they were frustrated.
“We need to do more advocacy and enforcement especially at all local communities while I want to reiterate the call for the commencement of the waste recycling project in Oyo State. Soon, you will see people collecting money instead of paying to dispose refuse,” he maintained.
The Head of Service in Oyo State, Mrs Ololade Agboola who presided over the meeting said the people must spread the gospel of collective responsibility in order to stop the poor waste disposal culture.
Ololade who applauded what she called an impressive attendance by stakeholders at the gathering declared that the State government has concluded all preparations to kick off the operation of environmental mobile courts in the State.
She also reminded the people of the interest of the present administration to bring in as many foreign investors as possible as well as create enabling environment for local business to thrive especially in a clean environment.
“This meeting is at the behest of the governor of Oyo State who was worries over the state of filth in the State and various meetings have been held with other sectors and strategic members of the society to achieve more understanding about the need for a clean environment which will engender good health and promote business.
“Soon, Oyo State Mobile Court will be in operation to dispense express justice to sanitation offenders and deter the poor attitude to waste disposal. Also, the Orita-Aperin Waste to Wealth project will soon begin work to complement other efforts at imbibing good environmental culture.”
Contributions were made at the event by members of the steering committee on environment in Oyo State which include the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Olusoji Oguntola, his colleague from the Ministry of Works, Mr Olusola Oyedele and Mrs Christiana Abioye, of Ministry of Women Affairs.
Others are Iyabo Olaleye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Bashir Olanrewaju.
Various groups and organizations that were represented at the meeting include the National Council of Women Society (NCWS), Community Development Association, NGOs and royal fathers from different communities.