Today’s Good News bulletin looks at five stories that will send you off into the weekend with a smile.
- A new malaria treatment that promises a radical cure for children.
- A historic achievement for women lawyers in Egypt.
- How the pandemic has saved hundreds of thousands of people from dengue, a mosquito-borne disease.
- A solar farm challenging the odds of powering an entire hospital through winter.
- How visiting Spanish-speaking countries could be good for your mental health.
Watch the video above for more on each story or read on below...
1. New malaria drug promises a radical cure for children
A new treatment for malaria for children aged two to 16 that comes in the form of a single, tiny tablet has been given the go-ahead in Australia. The drug has the potential to save thousands of lives, and Australia’s approval will likely encourage other countries to follow suit.
The newly approved drug, Tafenoquine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, has been called a “radical remedy” for a strain of malaria called Plasmodium vivax_._
P. Vivax is the dominant strain outside sub-Saharan Africa, and the most dangerous type of malaria. It is estimated to cause between 4 and 5 million infections each year and claims thousands of lives, notably children, who are four times as likely as adults to be infected.
2. Egypt makes history with its first female judge to sit on the bench of a top court in Cairo
The woman making the headlines is Radwa Helmi. She is one of 98 women who were appointed last year to the State Council, one of Egypt’s main judicial bodies, and has become the first to take a seat on the bench as an acting judge.
Reem Mousa, one of the judges appointed last year to the State Council, said it was a historic day for “all Egyptian women and for the Egyptian judiciary in general".
Find out more here, including what Judge Yasmine Helmi has to say about the debate around women assuming judicial positions.
3. The Covid-19 pandemic saved hundreds of thousands of people from dengue, a mosquito-borne tropical disease
Dengue could have spread to hundreds of thousands of people across South America and Southeast Asia in 2020, were it not for strict quarantine rules, according to research published in medical journal The Lancet.
Oliver Brady, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and senior author of the study, told Euronews: "Although Covid had a lot of negative impacts, one of the positives was that it gave us [scientists] new insights into how dengue was transmitted and how we might be able to change how we change the disease in the future.”
The pandemic has given researchers a unique opportunity to understand how the environment and human movement contribute to the transmission of dengue. For example, the study has helped researchers understand that mosquito bites mainly occur at school or in workplaces, suggesting mosquito control should be concentrated in public places, whereas currently most dengue prevention programmes focus on the home.
4. The UK’s first hospital-owned solar farm shows how renewables could be a way out of reliance on fossil fuels
The Morriston Hospital, located in south-east Wales, has surpassed expectations by providing enough electricity to cover 100 per cent of its demands, after 50 straight hours. The hospital is one of the largest in the country, with around 720 beds.
The original idea was that the solar farm would supply the hospital with 20 per cent of its energy each year. But it turns out the farm has been providing enough energy to meet 100 per cent of the hospital's demand, even during the shortest days of the year.
It is estimated that the solar farm, which started operating in November 2021, has already saved around €150,000 in electricity bills.
Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: "The Morriston Hospital – which depends not only on the powers of their staff but also on energy-hungry machines to keep their patients alive and well – have blazed the trail in their switch to renewables, which makes sense both financially and for the health of the people of Wales.”
Wales has bold ambitions to de-carbonise the public sector by 2030.
5. A new report suggests that speaking Spanish could be good for your mental health
This fascinating insight comes from the Mental State of the World Report 2021, which is the largest study of its kind. The study tracks mental health levels across 34 countries where either English, French or Spanish are spoken.
More than 200,000 people were surveyed and the eye-opening results found that Latin American and other Spanish-speaking countries had some of the highest levels of mental wellbeing.
Six Spanish-speaking countries were in the top ten, with Venezuela coming out on top overall and Spain second, followed by Puerto Rico.
Of the five European countries featured, three made it into the top ten – Spain at number two, Switzerland at five and Belgium at number eight.
Thanks for reading and watching the Good News round-up.
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