The Health News – 15 June 2016

Overview:
• Shaun Inguanzo from The Australian Red Cross Blood Service said about half of all first-time donors never made further
donations. He said that they are hoping that by targeting people who are at risk of not coming back, they will be able to boost that
repeat donation rate among our donors and we won't have such a struggle during times like winter where other regular
donors drop off due to colds and flu.

• According to researchers, the results of the first survey of antibiotic use in Australian nursing homes were very concerning,
particularly for those residents who had very prolonged prescriptions of antibiotics for very unclear reasons. Health authorities say
frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to the kind of antimicrobial resistance that creates superbugs.

• In the past week more than 220 civilians have been killed as violence has increased across Syria. The majority of deaths are the
result of government and Russian bombing with 50 of the dead listed as children. Muskilda Zancada, Head of Medicines san
Frontieres Head of Mission in Syria said she is deeply concerned about the growing death toll in the northern city of Aleppo.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  15th of June 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-14/red-cross-blood-donors-sent-texts-to-boost-reserves/7505444

Blood donors at risk of not making repeat donations will be sent a text to tell them when their blood has been dispatched to a hospital under an initiative to boost reserves.

Shaun Inguanzo from The Australian Red Cross Blood Service said about half of all first-time donors never made further donations.

“We’re hoping that by targeting people who are at risk of not coming back, that we’ll be able to boost that repeat donation rate among our donors and we won’t have such a struggle during times like winter where other regular donors drop off due to colds and flu,” he said.

“So we’re trying to introduce a new initiative that shows just how quickly, or just how soon after their donation is made, that their blood is then required by a patient, so people feel that connection between their donation going to a patient in hospital and are hopefully more likely to return.”

He said at this stage, the texts would not be sent to regular donors.

“We have a lot of loyal donors and they don’t need a message via text in order to come back because they often rebook at the end of their appointment,” he said.

“They know when they’re due back, they’re well aware their blood goes on to save the lives of patients.”

He said a recent SMS trial in New South Wales was hugely successful.

“We saw the frequency among our donors double from just over one to just over two donations a year so hopefully this will lead to more donations particularly during critical times of need,” he said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-10/superbug-fears-over-antibiotic-use-in-australian-nursing-homes/7497664

There are fears Australian nursing homes are contributing to the creation of superbugs, with antibiotics being inappropriately prescribed in up to 20 per cent of cases.

The results of the first survey of antibiotic use in Australian nursing homes were “very concerning, particularly [for] those residents who had very prolonged prescriptions of antibiotics for very unclear reasons”, according to researchers.

Frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to the kind of antimicrobial resistance that creates superbugs, health authorities say.

Professor Karin Thursky, from the National Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Stewardship, said the survey showed most of the antibiotics prescribed in Australian nursing homes were for urinary, respiratory, skin, or soft-tissue infections.

But one in five patients were given antibiotics as a preventative measure.

The survey found nearly 22 per cent of prescriptions were given to residents who had no signs or symptoms of an infection in the week before they started the course of antimicrobial medication.

For residents who did show symptoms of an infection, about two-thirds of prescriptions were deemed inappropriate.

More than 180 nursing homes across all Australian states took part in the pilot survey between June and August 2015.

On the day of the survey, 11.3 per cent of the residents were on an antibiotic even though only 4.5 per cent of them had signs or symptoms of infection.

The World Health Organisation has warned antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health, but the survey found the danger was a relatively new concept for people working in nursing homes.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-14/medecins-sans-frontiers-says-world-turning-blind-eye-to-syria/7510654

The head of Medecins San Frontieres in Syria says the world is turning a blind eye to the suffering of civilians in Syria.

In the past week more than 220 civilians have been killed as violence has increased across Syria.

The majority of deaths are the result of government and Russian bombing with 50 of the dead listed as children.

Muskilda Zancada is the Medicines san Frontieres Head of Mission for Syria. She is deeply concerned about the growing death toll in the northern city of Aleppo.

“The world is turning a blind eye to the carnage in Aleppo,” Ms Zancada said.

“In the past week the doctors we support in Aleppo have reported an upsurge in attacks that are targeting civilian infrastructure.

“Where there are hospitals markets and residential areas that are still under fire and nobody is doing anything to put out the flames.”

Ms Zancada said any sense of reprieve felt over the last few months is clearly over.

“We are back to the same level of brutality that existed before and this is very, very worrying. The situation is worsening even more …

South of Damascus, the besieged city of Daraya has been under relentless barrel bombing since Friday.