Health Highlights: Jan. 6, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U.S. Docs Provide Facial Surgery for African Boy Mauled by Chimps

An 8-year-old African boy who suffered severe facial injuries when he was attacked by wild chimpanzees is undergoing facial reconstruction surgery in the United States.

Dunia Sibomana was mauled two years ago while playing near a nature preserve in the Congo. His lips were ripped off and one cheek was torn apart, the Associated Press reported.

On Monday, Dunia underwent an eight-hour procedure at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital in Long Island, N.Y. Doctors grafted skin from his arm to help create lips and implanted muscle.

It was the first of three procedures the youngster will undergo in the next eight months, the AP reported.


Oregon First State to Allow Birth Control Without Prescription

Oregon has become the first state to allow women to get birth control without a doctor’s prescription.

The new law was signed into law last July by Gov. Kate Brown and took effect Jan. 1. California plans to do the same and U.S. senators in Colorado and Washington have both introduced version’s of Oregon’s new law, according to KOIN TV station in Portland.

In Oregon, women 18 and older can go into a pharmacy and complete a special health questionnaire. If everything is in order, the pharmacists will give them a prescription for birth control. Women younger than 18 still require a doctor’s prescription, but that requirement will be removed within a few years, according to the news report.

A pharmacist can refuse to prescribe birth control for religious reasons, but must refer the patient somewhere else.

“Just having birth control accessible through a pharmacist doesn’t mean preventative health care isn’t important. That’s not what this law is saying,” said Dr. Alison Edelman, Oregon Health & Science University, KOIN reported.

The new law allows “increased access to women for something that’s incredibly safe and a really big need for women,” she added.

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