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Vaccination must be scaled up in Ebola-affected countries

WHO Press Releases - 20. March 2015 - 3:00
A growing risk of outbreaks of measles, pertussis, and other vaccine-preventable diseases in countries affected by Ebola must be countered by urgent scaling up of routine immunization activities, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We are calling for the intensification of routine immunization services in all areas, and for mass measles vaccination campaigns in areas that are free of Ebola transmission,” says Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO.
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WHO calls on the world to “Gear up to End TB”

WHO Press Releases - 19. March 2015 - 6:45
As countries mark World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, WHO is calling for “global solidarity and action” to support a new 20-year strategy, which aims to end the global tuberculosis epidemic.

Recent years have seen tremendous progress in the fight against TB, with over 37 million lives saved, but much more needs to be done. In 2013, 9 million people fell ill with TB, almost half a million of whom have a multi-drug resistant disease which is far harder to treat. An estimated 1.5 million people still die of tuberculosis each year.
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Telecoms Firms Lead WIPO International Patent Filings

WIPO Press Release - 18. March 2015 - 21:45
Three telecoms giants from China and the United States led international patent filing activity via WIPO in 2014, a fifth consecutive record-breaking year amid overall growth in the Organization’s global intellectual property services.
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Tobacco use declining but major intensification needed in reduction and control efforts

WHO Press Releases - 18. March 2015 - 2:45
New data show a declining rate of tobacco use and an increase in numbers of non-smokers. But governments must intensify action to combat the tobacco industry and dramatically reduce consumption of tobacco products to, in turn, protect public health, according to WHO.

Non-smoking is becoming the new norm worldwide, according to a new online WHO Global Report on Trends in Tobacco Smoking, launched today during the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) which opened yesterday in Abu Dhabi and ends on 21 March. The conference is focussing on tobacco control and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), namely lung and heart diseases, cancers and diabetes.
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Governments commit to advancements in dementia research and care

WHO Press Releases - 17. March 2015 - 3:00
At the WHO-hosted Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland today announced that over US$ 100 million will be invested in a pioneering new global Dementia Discovery Fund. Major pharmaceutical companies have committed in principle to investing in promising research efforts for dementia through the project, along with the nongovernmental organization Alzheimer’s Research UK and the United Kingdom Government. The announcement was welcomed as the type of innovative mechanism that could bring about a breakthrough in treatment.

At this WHO Conference, supported by the Department of Health of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 80 countries joined experts from the research, clinical and advocacy communities to discuss how, collectively, they could move forward action on dementia at the global level.
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People’s health at the centre of new global blueprint to reduce disaster risks

WHO Press Releases - 15. March 2015 - 3:00
Ten years since adopting the Hyogo Framework for Action shortly after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, government representatives have gathered in Sendai to negotiate a new framework for global action to reduce the risks of disasters. For the first time, protecting people's health is at the centre of such a framework.

“In the 10 years since Hyogo, governments have increasingly recognized that healthy people are resilient people, and that resilient people recover much more quickly from emergencies and disasters," says Dr Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General for Emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO). "Recent and ongoing disasters – from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to the Ebola crisis in West Africa – highlight the centrality of human health to our collective goals in disaster risk reduction by all sectors."
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WHO issues its first hepatitis B treatment guidelines

WHO Press Releases - 12. March 2015 - 3:00
WHO today issued its first-ever guidance for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, a viral infection which is spread through blood and body fluids, attacking the liver and resulting in an estimated 650 000 deaths each year – most of them in low- and middle-income countries.

Worldwide, some 240 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus with the highest rates of infection in Africa and Asia. People with chronic hepatitis B infection are at increased risk of dying from cirrhosis and liver cancer.
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WHO and World Food Programme join forces to reach zero Ebola cases

WHO Press Releases - 11. March 2015 - 3:00
WHO and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are combining their forces in a new partnership in the Ebola-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The arrangement combines the logistics strength of WFP with WHO’s public health expertise to help get the current Ebola outbreak down to zero cases in West Africa. The platform also establishes an alert and response infrastructure for future crises.

“This partnership increases both agencies’ abilities to reach, monitor and respond to the needs of all people touched by Ebola,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “It helps us deploy and maintain technical teams with expertise in infection prevention and control, epidemiology, and contact tracing, enabling dedicated health workers in the deep field to do their best work. The partnership is also a learning opportunity for the future, informing our capacities to launch joint operations during large scale emergencies.”
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United Kingdom is declared free of Ebola virus disease

WHO Press Releases - 10. March 2015 - 2:00
WHO commends the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on its diligence in containing the transmission of Ebola virus disease. According to WHO guidelines, the United Kingdom is now free of Ebola virus disease.

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Ebola vaccine efficacy trial ready to launch in Guinea

WHO Press Releases - 5. March 2015 - 3:00
Based on promising data from initial clinical trials in late 2014, WHO with the Health Ministry of Guinea, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Epicentre and The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), will launch a Phase III trial in Guinea on 7 March to test the VSV-EBOV vaccine for efficacy and effectiveness to prevent Ebola. The vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. A second vaccine will be tested in a sequential study, as supply becomes available.

“We have worked hard to reach this point,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “There has been massive mobilization on the part of the affected countries and all partners to accelerate the development and availability of proven interventions. If a vaccine is found effective, it will be the first preventive tool against Ebola in history.”
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WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children

WHO Press Releases - 3. March 2015 - 23:01
A new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
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Statement on the 4th IHR Emergency Committee meeting regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus

WHO Press Releases - 27. February 2015 - 6:01
The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 - 15 was convened via teleconference by the Director-General on 17 February 2015. The following IHR States Parties submitted an update on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on 13 November 2014: Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Committee noted that the international spread of wild poliovirus has continued with one new exportation from Pakistan into neighbouring Afghanistan documented after 13 November 2014. Although there is seasonal decline in the number of reported cases in Pakistan, transmission is ongoing in each of the four provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Committee assessed the risk of international spread from Pakistan to be sustained. The Committee appreciated that Pakistan has prepared a new robust ‘low season’ vaccination plan, established national and provincial emergency operations centres, and resumed campaigns in South and North Waziristan. Nonetheless, the principal factors underpinning the international spread of wild poliovirus from Pakistan have not yet changed sufficiently since the date of the third meeting of the Emergency Committee on 13 November 2014.
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1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss

WHO Press Releases - 26. February 2015 - 23:01
Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to WHO. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.

Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analysed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to in excess of 85 decibles (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.
Categories: Fora

WIPO Re:Search Gains Momentum in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases, Malaria and Tuberculosis

WIPO Press Release - 26. February 2015 - 4:20
WIPO Re:Search signed on more than a dozen new members in 2014, including two leading pharmaceutical firms, and nearly doubled the number of research agreements using shared intellectual property to promote the fight against neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis and malaria.
Categories: Fora

WHO calls for worldwide use of "smart" syringes

WHO Press Releases - 22. February 2015 - 23:01
Use of the same syringe or needle to give injections to more than one person is driving the spread of a number of deadly infectious diseases worldwide. Millions of people could be protected from infections acquired through unsafe injections if all healthcare programmes switched to syringes that cannot be used more than once. For these reasons, WHO is launching a new policy on injection safety to help all countries tackle the pervasive issue of unsafe injections.*

A 2014 study sponsored by WHO, which focused on the most recent available data, estimated that in 2010, up to 1.7 million people were infected with hepatitis B virus, up to 315 000 with hepatitis C virus and as many as 33 800 with HIV through an unsafe injection. New WHO injection safety guidelines and policy released today provide detailed recommendations highlighting the value of safety features for syringes, including devices that protect health workers against accidental needle injury and consequent exposure to infection.
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UN delivers 62 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine

WHO Press Releases - 19. February 2015 - 13:01
WHO today delivered 13 tons of medical supplies to the Donetsk region in Ukraine as part of the first UN humanitarian convoy, which brought a total of 62 tons of relief materials.

Supplies include HIV and tuberculosis medical products, 612 kg of HIV test systems and 3 tons of drugs to treat infections in people with weak immune defences.
Categories: Fora

WHO urges governments to increase investment to tackle neglected tropical diseases

WHO Press Releases - 18. February 2015 - 23:01
WHO urges affected countries to scale up their investment in tackling 17 neglected tropical diseases in order to improve the health and well-being of more than 1.5 billion people. This investment would represent as little as 0.1% of current domestic expenditure on health in affected low- and middle-income countries for the period 2015-2030.

Neglected tropical diseases cause blindness, disfigurement, permanent disability and death, particularly among the poor. WHO’s new report, "Investing to overcome the impact of neglected tropical diseases", outlines an investment case and essential package of interventions for these diseases.
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United States of America, Japan Join International Design System

WIPO Press Release - 8. February 2015 - 18:00
The United States of America and Japan have joined the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, adding two of the world’s biggest economies to a WIPO-administered registry that supports creators worldwide.
Categories: Fora

WHO statement on the Eighth Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding MERS-CoV

WHO Press Releases - 5. February 2015 - 10:18
The eighth meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) regarding the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee by teleconference on 4 February 2015, from 12:00 to 15:00 Central European Time.

The WHO Secretariat provided an update on and assessment of epidemiological and scientific developments, including a description of recent cases and transmission patterns. The following countries provided an update on and assessment of MERS-CoV in their countries: Austria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
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WHO Executive Board appoints Dr Matshidiso Moeti as new Regional Director for Africa

WHO Press Releases - 27. January 2015 - 6:00
The WHO Executive Board, currently holding its 136th session, has appointed Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti as the new Regional Director for WHO's Africa Region. Dr Moeti was nominated Regional Director by the health ministers of the 47 Member States of the WHO African Region at the annual Regional Committee for Africa in Cotonou, Benin, in November 2014. Dr Moeti will take up her appointment for a five-year term on 1 February 2015, succeeding Dr Luis Gomes Sambo who has served as Regional Director for the past 10 years.

Speaking after her appointment, Dr Moeti, who is from the Republic of Botswana, pledged to accord the highest priority to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa as she takes office. She will work with WHO colleagues and partners to help the affected countries halt the spread of the disease and reach zero cases, while starting on the recovery agenda, including the building of resilient health systems able to withstand similar shocks in the future. The new Regional Director noted that the outbreak, with its devastating impact on health, families, livelihoods and security in the worst-affected countries, had been a tragic reminder of the importance of investing in good quality, fair health services that reach all citizens in countries, and of building up preparedness and capacity to contain infectious diseases.
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