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South Africa launches drug dispensing ATM for HIV/AIDS patients.

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South Africa on Thursday launched an ATM-like vending machine to dispense medicines to patients with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.

Officials say ,the move is aimed at reducing waiting times and congestion in public healthcare facilities.

The health department and charity Right to Care said the Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU) designed as an Automated Teller Machine was the first of its kind in Africa, and allows patients with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS to receive repeat medication in a few minutes.

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The unit, dubbed “ATM pharmacy”, was launched in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township.

It works like a cash-vending machine but produces medicines.

Patients can speak to pharmacists located at a call centre by using a telephone receiver on the PDU and receive advise on their medicines.

Primrose Good, 60, was among the first to try out the PDU on Thursday when she collected her diabetes medication.

“This machine is helping me when it comes to time and helps me when it comes to standing because we are sick, we get dizzy at times because it gets very full. With this machine you just get here and punch in your numbers and take your medication and go home,” said Good.

“I spoke to at least three patients, one patient was coming for the first time, she used to take… she’s on ART for a year, she used to queue in the clinic, she’s really fascinated that she can come here, get her medication and go home, but I was with her at the ATM, she was a little bit uneasy, but she say now second time, she will be able to use it,” said Dr Gwendoline Ramokgopa, a Municipal Health Official.

At the epicentre of the worldwide AIDS pandemic, South Africa now boasts the largest treatment program in the world, with million people receiving the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that allow those living with HIV to lead normal lives.

Alexandra is highly populated and public health facilities are overly burdened medics say.

Twenty five-year-old Bathandwa Mbele, who is HIV positive welcomed the ATM pharmacy, saying she worried that as she searches for a job access to medication would interfere with her prospects.

“This has really changed my life because I’m no longer worried about collecting my pills late. I have to be sure that when I start working I have to be there by 8 in the morning and knowing that I have to fetch my tablets. I would worry that I have to skip work and at the same time, I’m thinking that I have to go to the clinic and they will swear at me,” she said.

Fear and stigma still surround the disease here and in many other parts of the world, meaning people are afraid of getting tested and from accessing life prolonging ARVmedication.

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Health & Lifestyle

Effects of Hot baths on inflammation, glucose metabolism

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According to new research, a hot bath could have effects that extend way beyond mental relaxation. According to the authors, regular hot baths might reduce inflammation and improve metabolism.

Over recent years, hot baths, saunas, and other so-called passive heating therapies have received growing attention from scientists.

Scientists now believe they offer some potential benefits, including improved vascular function and sleep.

Because hot baths are low cost and unlikely to cause significant side effects, understanding any benefits that a hot bath might have could be a quick win for medical science.



Recently, researchers set out to understand whether hot bath immersion could have an impact on metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.

 Almost 20 years ago, a paper concluded that hot water immersion of individuals with type 2 diabetes enhanced insulin sensitivity. However, it is still unclear how this might occur.

In the most recent study, the researchers dug a little deeper into the mechanisms at work. They theorized that the influence of a hot bath over glucose metabolism might revolve around the inflammatory response.

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Inflammation and insulin resistance

There is some evidence that chronic, low-level inflammation increases insulin resistance. In other words, inflammation reduces a cell’s ability to respond to insulin, potentially contributing to the development of diabetes.

Conversely, exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity — meaning that the body has better control over glucose levels.

Although doctors often recommend exercise to reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders, not everyone can exercise — perhaps due to health conditions or physical capacity. It is, therefore, essential to find alternative ways to improve insulin sensitivity for these people.

Exercise, as with other physical stressors, sparks a brief inflammatory response, followed by a more extended anti-inflammatory response. The researchers wanted to see if a different type of physical stressor — a hot bath — might have a similar effect on the immune system.

For this study, the researchers investigated the impact of a hot bath on overweight, mostly sedentary men. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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Hot bath intervention

Each participant immersed themselves in a water bath set at 102°F (39°C) for 1 hour. Scientists took blood just before and after the bath, and then 2 hours later.

Also, the researchers charted the participants’ blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate every 15 minutes.

 Over the following 2 weeks, the participants had a further 10 hot water immersions.

The researchers found that a single hot water immersion caused a spike of interleukin — a marker of inflammation. Similarly, there was an increase in nitric oxide (NO) production.

The spike in NO is important because it causes blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure. NO also improves glucose intake into tissues, and scientists think it has anti-inflammatory properties.



As expected, the 2-week intervention saw a reduction in fasting blood sugar and inflammation. In the same way that exercise influences inflammation, the researchers saw an initial increase followed by a long-term decrease in inflammation.

The researchers also write that it “might have implications for improving metabolic health in populations unable to meet the current physical activity recommendations.”

It is important to note that the people who took part in the study did report some discomfort. This was either due to the length of time that they were required to stay in the bath or the high temperature. Future research might investigate whether shorter periods or lower temperatures might have similar benefits.

Of course, hot baths alone cannot treat metabolic disorders, but they may be a simple, cost-effective intervention that can run alongside other treatments.

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Health & Lifestyle

Experts recommend natural remedies to Diabetes.

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Medical practitioners have recommended some natural remedies that could curb the increasing rate of diabetes in the country.

The practitioners offered the remedies in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

They spoke against the backdrop of this year’s World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated globally on November 14.



The practitioners said the awareness had become imperative because diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose.

“Diabetes usually is prevalent in middle aged and older adults but now becoming common in children. Adults are still at the highest risk than children,’’ Dr. Iorwuese Charles told NAN on phone.

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He said that diabetes has to do with an increase sugar level in the blood caused by an absolute deficiency of insulin that affects one out of three adults.

Charles, a medical practitioner at Police Hospital Ado, Ekiti State, said that diabetes is a group of diseases that usually ends up in too much amount of sugar in the blood.

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He advised families to always maintain good lifestyle habits to curb diabetes in their homes.

Charles said the symptoms in diabetes include increased frequency of urination, increase thirst, dry mouth, increase in eating with weight loss.

Other signs, he said, are: “Blurring of vision, tiredness, fatigue, mood swings, irritability, frequent urination at night and headaches.”

According to him, the symptoms of diabetes are endless with no permanent cure but with proper maintenance one could live a healthy life.

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