The Ministry of Health would like to inform the general public that Malawi will commemorate the World Mental Health day which falls on 10th October every year under the theme “Mental Health and Older People”.The Ministry of Health would like to inform the general public that Malawi will commemorate the World Mental Health day which falls on 10th October every year under the theme “Mental Health and Older People”.Older adults face special health challenges. Many of the very old people lose their ability to live independently because of limited mobility, frailty or other physical or mental health problems and require some form of long-term care.

Mental health challenges faced by the elderly are multifaceted including under-identification by health care professionals and older people themselves as well as reluctance by older people themselves to seek help.Social, demographic, psychological, and biological factors contribute to a person’s mental health status. Almost all these factors are particularly pertinent amongst older adults. Factors such as poverty, social isolation, loss of independence, loneliness and losses of different kinds, can affect mental health and general health of the elderly. Older adults are more likely to experience events such as bereavements or physical disability that affect emotional well-being and can result in poorer mental health.

On the other hand, social support and family interactions can boost the dignity of older adults, and are likely to have a protective role in the mental health outcomes of this population.In high-income countries where data exists, around 4-6% of older persons have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. The frequency should be even higher, as many older adults are too scared or are unable to report maltreatment. This type of abuse includes; physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and self-respect.Globally, there is a drastic demographic change with a rise of ageing populations in most countries. This brings about new challenges but also potential opportunities. The quality of life for older people fare less well in many African and East Asian countries – Malawi is ranked number 86 out of 91 according to the 2013 Global Age-Watch Index report.Mental health of older adults can be improved through promoting active and healthy ageing. Promoting healthy

The quality of life for older people fare less well in many African and East Asian countries – Malawi is ranked number 86 out of 91 according to the 2013 Global Age-Watch Index report.Mental health of older adults can be improved through promoting active and healthy ageing. Promoting healthy life styles among the general population, starting from an earlier age with strategies such as increasing physical and mental activity, avoiding smoking, preventing harmful use of alcohol and providing early identification and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), can contribute to better mental health among older adults.

Addressing elderly maltreatment is also critical for the promotion of mental health among the elderly.To commemorate this year’s World Mental Health Day, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners has organized an open event that will take place on Saturday, 26th of October, 2013 from 9.30am at Lilongwe Community Ground in Lilongwe. The event will start with a big walk from Lilongwe Town Hall to Lilongwe Community Ground.

The Ministry has organized a mental health week from 14th to 21st October 2013 in order to intensify message dissemination through print and electronic media as well as to conduct outreach activities towards the older adults.The general public may wish to know that involving civil society, non-governmental and non-profit organizations, and public-private partnerships could facilitate the implementation of health promotion strategies for older adults.

Ebola Virus Disease

The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

Background

The current outbreak in west Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveller only) to Nigeria, and by land (1 traveller) to Senegal.

The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability. On August 8, the WHO Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

A separate, unrelated Ebola outbreak began in Boende, Equateur, an isolated part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The virus family Filoviridae includes 3 genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus. There are 5 species that have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Taï Forest. The first 3, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, and Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus causing the 2014 west African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species. 

How is it transmitted?

  • Eating dead animals especially monkeys and bats.
  • Direct contact with wounds, body fluids like blood, semen, sweat, saliva and vomitus from an infected person or animal.
  • Using skin piercing instruments that have been used by an infected person.

 

How long does it take for one to become sick?
The incubation period or period from infection to onset of symptoms is from 2 to 21 days (most commonly 8 to 10 days). The infected person becomes contagious (or can transmit the disease to another person) once they begin to show symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of Ebola?

  • Sudden onset of fever, headache and weakness.
  • Muscle pain, skin rash.
  • Vomiting, sore throat, abdominal pain and diarhhoea.
  • Jaundice, severe weight loss, mental confusion and sometimes bleeding through body openings, i.e, nose, gums, eyes, ears, anus.

Meanwhile, what should those who travelled to, or through West Africa do

Go to a health facility where they should be screened or checked whether they are carrying the Ebola virus or not.

Who is at risk of getting the Ebola Virus?

  • People who travelled to, or through the countries in West Africa where the outbreak has been confirmed.
  • People who had direct contact with secretions of an infected persons.
  • People eating bush meat from animals that died from unknown causes including bats and monkeys.

How can Ebola be prevented?

  • Wash hands regularly after contact with other people or animals.
  • Avoid direct contact with fluids, blood, saliva, vomitus, urine and stool from an infected person. Use protective materials like gloves, goggles.
  • Avoid eating animals that have died from unknown causes, e.g monkeys, antelopes and bats
  • Do not use skin piercing instruments that have been used on an infected person.

Remember

  • Ebola is a serious disease with a high fatality rate.
  • It spreads through contact with fluids and secretions from an infected person.
  • Practice hand washing with soap and clean water after getting in contact with any suspected person always.
  • Ensure proper surveillance of people who have been in contact with a suspected, confirmed or those who died from Ebola Virus Disease immediately.
  • An infected person becomes contagious (or can transmit the disease to another person) once they begin to show signs and symptoms

Coronaviruses

On 31 December 2019, the Government of China reported a cluster of cases of Pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A new coronavirus was isolated and eventually identified. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people, although several known Coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

 

 

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