The Health News – 21 April 2015

Overview

  • Medical workers ran into the hospital as soon as the helicopter landed in Zhengzhou, central-eastern China.
  • Banyan House was founded to treat alcoholics, but these days the Darwin rehabilitation centre is a place for minds unravelled and rewired by methamphetamine.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted serious failings in its handling of the Ebola crisis and pledged reforms to enable it to do better next time, its leadership says.



Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 21st April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-20/china-faces-uphill-battle-in-organ-donation-campaign/6405660

Medical workers ran into the hospital as soon as the helicopter landed in Zhengzhou, central-eastern China.

The box they were carrying contained a liver and two kidneys that had been donated by a man in the same province.
A surgeon emerged eight hours later to declare the liver transplant operation a success.
The wife of the male recipient looked relieved …

Donor shortages are an international problem but the number of organ donors in China is extremely low for a country with a population of more than 1 billion.
Between March 2010 to April this year, only 3,824 people donated organs like their kidneys, lungs, liver or heart.
One reason for the low figures is because the national organ donation program was only implemented in 2014, after being trialled for several years.
Prior to that, the country was almost entirely dependent on executed prisoners as a source of transplant organs but this practice has gradually decreased …

Chinese officials are working to persuade medical insurers to subsidise organ transplant operations.
In China, a liver transplant procedure costs 300,000 renminbi (around $AU63,000) including hospitalisation; four times what an average person earns a year in a prosperous city like Beijing.
Doctors said the high cost and a lack of awareness about organ transplants were reasons why the waiting list only had 22,000 people even though an estimated 300,000 people may need the surgery.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-20/ice-rehab-in-the-nt/6388056

Banyan House was founded to treat alcoholics, but these days the Darwin rehabilitation centre is a place for minds unravelled and rewired by methamphetamine.

When Paige (not her real name) arrived at the suburban centre in January, she was met with cleaning rosters, a chicken coop, and the reality of life without a drug commonly known as ice.
“I was ringing my lawyer for the first two weeks asking her to get me out,” she said.
Her only other option: “just take me back to jail”.
Banyan House has seen a surge in cases like Paige’s since 2010 and is struggling to respond to demand.
The centre is one of the Northern Territory’s only residential rehabs and accepts voluntary patients through to court-ordered criminals for a minimum of a 12-week stay.
People who end up at the facility have generally exhausted all other treatment options, meaning they have abandoned society for a calculated dysfunction.

Back in 2010, one in 10 of the centre’s patients were ice addicts. That number is now at 65 per cent, with this admittance rate rising significantly in the past year.
In April, Banyan House reached capacity for the first time in five years following a string of ice-related admissions.
This increase corresponds with national fears about ice and, while it is unclear if the word “epidemic” is justifiable, the crystalline drug’s broadening reach is worrying some NT health workers.


Treating such visceral addiction has given Banyan House new challenges, such as detoxification periods spanning up to 70 days and extensive psychiatric damage.
Its executive director, Chris Franck, would like to tailor programs for ice addicts but said the centre was already “doing more with less”.
Banyan House is located in an abandoned detention centre, has had to reduce the number of staff over the years, and has seen its occupancy rate double since 2012.
Centrelink covers direct patient costs but a $1.2 million annual government budget covers the rest: wages, power bills, transport and outings aimed at socialising addicts back into society.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-20/ebola-virus-who-admits-failings-promises-reform/6405130

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted serious failings in its handling of the Ebola crisis and pledged reforms to enable it to do better next time, its leadership says.

“We have learned lessons of humility. We have seen that old diseases in new contexts consistently spring new surprises,” said the statement attributed to the WHO director-general Margaret Chan, the deputy director-general and regional directors.
“We have taken serious note of the criticisms of the Organisation that, … the initial WHO response was slow and insufficient, we were not aggressive in alerting the world … we did not work effectively in coordination with other partners, there were shortcomings in risk communications and there was confusion of roles and responsibilities.”
The statement, which was seen by Reuters on Sunday, listed eight lessons learned, including areas where the WHO’s response to Ebola could have been better, such as information sharing and communication.
Some critics have said that its reluctance to declare the outbreak an emergency were major factors in allowing the epidemic to balloon into the worst Ebola crisis on record, with more than 25,000 cases and 10,000 deaths.

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