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HEALTH

Passengers held on plane in France over cholera fears

Some 147 Passengers on a flight from Algeria were held on a plane after it landed in southern France over fears that a child on-board was suffering from cholera.

Passengers held on plane in France over cholera fears
Illustration photo: AFP
The passengers were held on the plane at Perpignan airport in the south of France for over an hour, waiting for health authorities and paramedics to arrive. 
 
“It is likely the child is carrying cholera and they will be evacuated to the hospital for examination,” said firefighters.
 
The plane had travelled from Oran in Algeria, where a recent cholera epidemic has left three dead and over 70 people contaminated.
 
The other passengers – 147 in total – and members of the flight crew were let off the plan shortly after 3.15 pm after being held on-board for just over an hour, according to reports in the French press.
 
They were eventually allowed off after disinfecting their hands.
 
French authorities kept contact details of all passengers on the flight in order to monitor their health in the event that a case of cholera was confirmed.
 
Cholera is transmitted through infected faecal matter, often via contaminated water or food.
 
It causes acute diarrhoea and vomiting, inducing dehydration that if left untreated can lead to death.
 
Airlines travelling to and from Algeria have been told that if a passenger who was vomiting or had diarrhea that “it was their responsibility to disinfect the aircraft”.
 
 

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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