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The WHO says we must work together to fight monkeypox. African doctors are skeptical – CBC News

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As an infectious diseases specialist in Atlanta, Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji spent much of 2020 on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle raging in the U.S. 

When a vaccine arrived in December that year, she felt some relief. But also, fear. 

“I had seen what COVID was capable of doing to people the age of my parents,” Titanji said. 

“I was absolutely terrified because from the moment I had access to vaccination up until the moment my parents had access to vaccination, it was eight months.”

In Cameroon, where Titanji is from, her parents didn’t get a first coronavirus jab until August 2021. By that time, most Canadian and American adults were well past their second shots. 

“It was the most nerve wracking experience of living in fear that they would get COVID,” she said. 

Despite the World Health Organization’s pleas to rich countries to stop stockpiling COVID vaccines and share with the lower-income nations – particularly in Africa – global health experts agree that we failed. 

Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, an infectious diseases specialist in Atlanta, says no vaccines or antiviral drugs have been available when she has dealt with monkeypox in her home country of Cameroon. (Boghuma Kabisen Titanji )

They also aren’t surprised, because the same inequitable distribution of vaccines and treatments has been a pattern for decades. 

On July 23, the WHO declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” – and doctors fear the same pattern will repeat itself as Canada, the U.S. and European countries rush to vaccinate at-risk populations. 

They’re using a vaccine originally manufactured for smallpox, which has been eradicated. In Canada, it’s called Imvamune, and small quantities were stockpiled years ago in case smallpox ever returned. Imvamune is also approved to vaccinate people against monkeypox. 

Yet monkeypox has been endemic in several African nations for 50 years. Dozens have died this year alone, Titanji said, but no vaccine has ever been made available, except for targeted studies involving health-care workers.   

When she dealt with monkeypox outbreaks in Cameroon, she said there was also no access to antivirals to treat the disease.

“If you diagnose someone with monkeypox [in Africa], you provide supportive care. So basically, you make the diagnosis and you tell them to isolate and, you know, take paracetamol for their fever … and to rest and recover.” 

Although anyone can become infected through close contact with someone who has monkeypox or with personal items like bed linens, in countries outside Africa, the most at-risk population right now is men who have sex with men. In Africa, it has historically been spread primarily through contact with infected animals.

Lack of concern for illness in Africa

If a pandemic the scale of COVID didn’t galvanize a global response that was equitable, Titanji said, she’s skeptical that the response to monkeypox — not to mention future outbreaks of other diseases — will treat Africa any differently. 

“The issue is that there has been a generalized neglect of health equity in Africa,” said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, head of Amref Health Africa, a group based in Nairobi, Kenya, working to improve health-care access across the continent. 

“The view is that as long as the health threats are limited to African communities, it is all right for the world not to worry.”

But if rich countries want to end epidemics that affect their own citizens, it’s in their best interest to ensure low and middle income nations have the resources to stop the spread of disease, Gitahi said.

“Pandemics and disease threats start in a community,” he said. “If you have one community that isn’t safe, the whole world isn’t safe in our current connectedness.”

“This must change for not just for monkeypox but for other neglected diseases in low-income countries as the world is reminded yet again that health is an interconnected proposition,” the WHO chief said. 

What’s the solution?

One of the things that has to change is the monopoly that rich countries hold on vaccines and medications, including antivirals, African physicians and global health experts said. 

During COVID-19, donations through the vaccine-sharing program COVAX helped, but they arrived in African countries too late, said Gitahi. “People died as they waited for vaccines.” 

In many cases, vaccines were unusable because they landed with “very little shelf life remaining.” 

In addition, by the time they arrived, people who would previously have lined up to get vaccinated had lost both the sense of urgency and trust in the health-care system, with a perception that they were receiving vaccines rejected by rich countries, Gitahi added.

LISTEN | African doctors say monkeypox response is another example of vaccine inequity: 

CBC News2:44African doctors say monkeypox response is another example of vaccine inequity

Health experts say they’re skeptical that the world has learned from COVID-19 as rich countries battle monkeypox outbreaks. (CBC The World This Weekend)

The path to even the playing field for low and middle-income countries, according to some experts, is to remove intellectual property protections on essential vaccines and treatments. 

Rich countries invest enormous amounts of money in vaccine manufacturing companies during emergencies, said Titanji. That gives them leverage to make funding contingent on giving lower and middle income countries an equal chance to buy them at a fair price, she said.

Dr. Mary Stephen, technical officer at the WHO Regional Office in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, says it’s critical to develop Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own vaccines and therapeutics. (Dr. Mary Stephen)

But an even better solution, experts said, is to make sure Africa is able to mount its own emergency responses to epidemics, rather than being forced to wait for charities and rich nations to act. 

“If we want to build a resilient system, there is much, much, much to do beyond just the donation of vaccines,” said Dr. Mary Stephen, technical officer with the Health Emergencies Program at the WHO Regional Office in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. 

“Just imagine if …  countries on the continent were able to produce their own PPE, were able to produce their lab reagents, their test kits. [If] they were able to produce vaccines, medicines … it will go a long way,” she said. 

An important step in building that self-reliance has been the opening of the “mRNA Vaccine Hub for Africa” in Capetown, South Africa, supported by WHO. Scientists there have produced its first batches of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. 

As Africa works toward health care self sufficiency, it’s important for the world to remember that the continent has already made significant contributions to global health, Titanji said.

For instance, African participants in many clinical trials have enabled the development of HIV/AIDS treatments received by patients in rich countries, she said. 

Now that the world is confronted with monkeypox, Africa has decades of knowledge about the virus that wealthy nations are relying on, Titanji said. 

“It’s 50 years of research by African scientists, sometimes with incredible challenges to publish this data,” she said of monkeypox studies, including one on health-care workers in Congo that tested the effectiveness of the Imvamune vaccine. 

“We are building on that now to be able to address outbreaks in non-endemic countries, meanwhile, leaving the very people who contributed to that body of knowledge behind.” 

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Several Vitamins Recalled Due to Potential Metal Contamination, Including Products Sold at Costco and Walmart

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Several types of vitamins, including some popular brands sold at major retailers like Costco and Walmart, are being recalled due to the possible presence of metal fibers. Health Canada issued three recall statements on Friday, highlighting the affected products and advising consumers on the necessary steps.

Among the brands involved in the recall is Kirkland Signature, a staple at Costco, along with Webber Naturals and other brands sold at multiple retailers across Canada, including Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The vitamins listed in the recall are:

  • Kirkland Signature: B100 Complex Timed Release
  • Life: Vitamin B Complex with Vitamin C
  • Option+ & Life: Prenatal Multi-vitamins 100 Tablets with Folic Acid, Spectrum Prenatal Postpartum, Multivitamins & Minerals Women, Spectrum Women 22 Vitamins & Minerals plus Lutein, Lycopene
  • Webber Naturals: B50 Complex Timed Release, Most Complete Multi Womens 50+ One Per Day, Most Complete Multi Mens 50+ One Per Day, Vitamin B50 Complex
  • Wellness by London Drugs, Option+ & Life: Multi Women/Femmes 50+ with Lycopene and Lutein Multivitamin and Mineral, Multivitamin & Minerals Women 50+, 50+ SPECTRUM Women/Femmes 50+ 23 Vitamins & Minerals plus Lutein, Lycopene
  • Wellquest, Equate, Option+, Wellness by London Drugs & Life: Vitamin B100 Complex, Timed Release
  • Natural Factors: Hi Potency B Complex, RevitalX, Super Multi® IRON FREE
  • VegiDay Vegan Organic ALL IN ONE: VegiDay Vegan Organic ALL IN ONE

Health Canada advises consumers who have purchased any of the affected products to consult their healthcare provider before discontinuing use and to monitor for any health concerns.

Customers with concerns or questions can contact the recall firm directly. Additionally, any side effects or health product safety complaints should be reported to Health Canada.

For more detailed information, you can access the three Health Canada notices, which are listed under the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies Inc. recall, on the Health Canada website.

This recall serves as a reminder to consumers to stay vigilant about product safety and to follow recall advisories to ensure their health and well-being.

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8 Tips for Incorporating More Fruits into Your Dessert

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Incorporating more fruits into your desserts is not just a way to enhance flavours, but also a smart approach to add nutritional value to your treats. While desserts are often indulged as guilty pleasures, introducing fruits can transform these moments into healthier delights, enriching them with vitamins, minerals, and fibres. Whether you’re a home cook looking to improve your family’s diet or a culinary expert aiming to innovate your menu, adding fruits offers a myriad of benefits. These range from boosting the aesthetic appeal of your dishes with vibrant colours to enhancing the natural sweetness with a lower calorie count.

The tips provided here will help you seamlessly integrate more fruits into your dessert recipes, making them irresistibly wholesome and appealing to all ages. This approach not only caters to the health-conscious consumer but also opens up a palette of fresh, tantalizing flavours that can redefine what dessert means.

Explore Variety

Diversity is key in enriching desserts with fruits. Experiment with different textures and flavours, from berries to tropical fruits. This variety ensures each bite is unique and delightful. Try combining sour cherries with sweet mangoes, or add citrus segments to balance richer desserts. Even blending frozen bananas into a creamy texture can mimic ice cream. Consider adding a double fudge bar frozen dessert to your fruit platter for an indulgent twist.

Use Fresh and Seasonal Fruits

Seasonal fruits offer the best in flavour and nutrition. Incorporate fresh, local produce into your desserts to capture peak tastiness. Fresh strawberries or peaches can elevate simple dishes like ice cream or cakes. Local farmers’ markets are ideal for finding the freshest options. Remember, the closer the fruit is grown to its consumption point, the more nutrients it retains. This approach supports local agriculture as well.

Make Fruit the Star

Create desserts where fruits are the main attraction. Dishes like fruit tarts or berry-packed pavlovas highlight the natural sweetness of fruits, reducing the need for added sugars. Let fruits dictate the dessert’s flavour profile and design, focusing on the natural colours to attract the eye. This strategy can make even simple dishes feel luxurious and crafted with care. Plus, it often leads to lighter, less calorie-dense desserts.

Opt for Healthier Preparations

Instead of always baking or frying, try raw preparations or use healthier cooking methods like grilling or poaching. Grilled pineapple or poached pears offer a delightful texture and are easy to prepare. These methods preserve the integrity and nutritional value of the fruit better than baking or frying. Cooking fruit in this way can also unlock new flavours, enhancing your dessert experience. Try brushing fruit with a little honey or maple syrup before grilling for a caramelized finish.

Experiment with Spices

Spices can enhance the natural flavour of fruits. A dash of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla complements fruits like apples and pears beautifully, adding complexity to any dessert. Nutmeg and ginger are also excellent with juicy fruits like peaches and plums. Experimenting with spices can transform a simple fruit dish into an exotic and enticing dessert. Such additions are simple but effective ways to elevate the taste without added sugar.

Incorporate Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are concentrated in flavour and can be a great addition to desserts. Sprinkle raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dates over oatmeal cookies or mix them into homemade granola bars for a chewy texture. Dried fruits work well in baked goods because they provide a burst of sweetness and texture. They are also perfect for decorating cakes and adding to snack mixes. Be mindful of the sugar content in store-bought dried fruits, opting for unsweetened varieties when available.

Create Colourful Fruit Layers

Layer fruits in parfaits, trifles, or cakes to create visually appealing and delicious desserts. Layers of colourful fruits not only look spectacular, but also offer varied flavours and textures. This layering technique can be applied in smoothie bowls and gelatin desserts for a stunning visual effect. Try to choose fruits that contrast in colour and texture for the most striking presentations. These desserts are particularly appealing to children and can make eating fruit more exciting for them.

Finish with A Healthy Twist

Top off your desserts with a nutritious twist, such as a dollop of Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds for extra crunch and nutrients. These additions provide a contrast in textures and increase the health benefits of your dessert. Nuts add healthy fats and proteins, making the dessert more satisfying. Consider using a drizzle of natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar to enhance flavour without resorting to refined sugars. Such finishes not only improve taste but also boost nutritional value, aligning with a healthier lifestyle.

Incorporating fruits into your desserts is an enjoyable way to make your sweet dishes healthier and more flavourful. By using fruits in various forms, from frozen to dried, and employing them in creative ways, such as natural sweeteners or vibrant toppings, you can transform any dessert into a delightful and nutritious treat. So next time you prepare a dessert, remember these tips and enjoy the added benefits of fruits in your culinary creations.

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5 Life-Transforming Tips to Make it More Fun-Filled

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Everyone wants to make the most out of life. From personal life to establishing a successful career, enjoyment is all that people crave the most. But the key to happiness is having fun most of the time. It can be challenging to find time and moments of fun in the routine as life becomes boring and dull for many.

However, you can cultivate your mindset and embrace more pleasure and laughter in your everyday routine. To transform your boring and dull life into a fun-filled one, here are a few tips that you can consider in this blog.

Read on to explore!

 

1.    Start Enjoying Little Moments

The fun doesn’t need to come from an extensive and spectacular event happening around your life all the time. There are so many small moments in your life that can turn into more fun. All you have to do is embrace those little times in your life and be happy.

For example, you can give yourself a little break from a hectic day and enjoy some chocolate. Or you can make time to enjoy things that you like.

 

2.    Be Spontaneous In Life

Just like life becomes unexpected most of the time, you can be a little unpredictable with it as well. To bring fun to your life, you can work on being more open to new and unplanned experiences.

If you get an invitation for any activity, event, or sport, don’t say no to it. Getting to indulge in more social activities will help you create new memories and experience new thrills in life.

 

3.    Bring a Furry Friend in Life

A boring life can easily distance you from fun. To embrace joy in life, having a furry company can do wonders. You can cherish love and warmth and have little moments of joy with a furry one.

If you don’t have a furry companion, you’re majorly missing joy. It’s time for you to look for the best puppy-selling company, such as Fou Fou Puppie’s website, to bring a cute puppy into your life.

 

4.    Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness will help you to live the present to the fullest. As most people worry more about their future, it makes them overlook the current joys of life.

What you can consider best to bring fun to your life is practicing mindfulness for at least 2 minutes. Let go of all the thoughts that pop into your head and focus on the positive aspects of living.

 

5.    Participate More in Fun Activities

There should be no excuse for having fun in life as there are many low-cost fun activities for the community that you can explore to have fun. It can be simple, but it prevents you from living a boring and less-inspiring life.

For example, you can call your group of friends to have coffee together and share more laughter, or you can go to the movies to unwind yourself. These activities will not cost you a fortune and allow you to make the most out of your day, week, and month.

 

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