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NHS considers banning sale of sugary drinks in hospitals

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Sugary drinks could be banned from hospitals in England under new plans to tackle the rising number of overweight National Health Service (NHS)staff.

NHS England is considering banning the sales of fizzy drinks and other drinks with added sugar, such as fruit juice with added sugar and sweetened milk.

Alternatively, it is proposing that vendors pay a levy to sell sugary drinks on NHS premises, the proceeds of which would be put towards extending staff health and wellbeing programmes.

The organisation has launched a formal consultation on both initiatives.

More than half of the NHS’s 1.3 million staff are estimated to be overweight or obese, something which it said is not only bad for its employees’ health, but also affects their ability to give credible advice to patients.

Chief executive Simon Stevens said the organization was “calling time on hospitals as marketing outlets for junk food and fizzy drinks”.

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Mr Stevens, who is to announce the details of the document at the ukactive conference in London, said: “Confronted by rising obesity, type 2 diabetes and child dental decay, it’s time for the NHS to practice what we preach.

“Nurses, visitors and patients all tell us they increasingly want healthy, tasty and affordable food and drink options.

“So like a number of other countries we’re now calling time on hospitals as marketing outlets for junk food and fizzy drinks.”

A pilot scheme in one organization reported that although no sugary drinks were sold during a trial, the number of drinks sold did not decrease and they were financially unaffected.

Commenting on the consultation, ukactive executive director Steven Ward, said: “With the health service under unprecedented strain, we must urgently shift priorities towards prevention over cure to save the NHS from bankruptcy.”

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said: “It’s a brilliant move particularly since it stems from the staff’s own ‘good ideas’ box.

“They know full well the ravages caused by sugary drinks on a patient’s health.”

However, it was not all praise for the idea.

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: “It’s hard to see how a ban on soft drinks can be justified given that the sector has led the way in reducing consumers’ sugar intake – down by over 17% since 2012.

“In 2015 we also became the only category to set a calorie reduction target of 20% by 2020.

“Given that the Government is looking to introduce a soft drinks tax in 2018 it seems slightly odd that another public body wishes to duplicate this process.”

The World Cancer Research Fund predicts that around 25,000 cancers cases could be prevented every year in the UK if everyone was a healthy weight.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Tanzania: officials summons WHO over Ebola claims

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Tanzania’s government has summoned the World Health Organisation’s local representative over claims that they’re concealing information on Ebola virus infections in the country.

On Saturday, WHO said in a statement that it had learned of one suspected fatal case in the main city, Dar es Salaam, and two other infections but, despite repeated requests, was given no information.

Last week, Tanzania said it had no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola.

Government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said on Twitter that the ministry of foreign affairs had summoned the WHO’s Tigest Ketsela Mengestu to obtain “in-depth details from the agency on reports circulating in the media”.

A short video clip has also been posted on the ministry’s Twitter account, showing Dr Tigest clarifying at a meeting with Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Damas Ndumbaro that the WHO did not say there was Ebola in Tanzania:

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WHO rejects claims to issue a statement on existence of Ebola in Tanzania.

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More than 2,100 people have died during the current Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

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WHO accused Tanzania of hiding information on Ebola victims

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Ebola virus has cause major loss of life and socioeconomic disruption in Africa.

The number of cases has began to decline gradually, following the commitment of substantial international resources.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has rebuked Tanzania for failing to provide information about possible Ebola virus infections.

The WHO said it had learned of one suspected fatal case in Dar es Salaam and two others but, despite repeated requests, was given no information

Tanzania has said it has no suspected or confirmed cases.

The latest outbreak has killed more than 2,000 in eastern DR Congo, with Uganda battling to stop any spread.

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