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UN reveals major gaps in water and sanitation – especially in rural areas

WHO Press Releases - 18. November 2014 - 23:01
Global efforts to provide improved water and sanitation for all are gaining momentum, but serious gaps in funding continue to hamper progress, according to a new report from WHO on behalf of UN-Water.

The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS 2014), published biannually, presents data from 94 countries and 23 external support agencies. It offers a comprehensive analysis of strengths and challenges in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) provision within and across countries.
Categories: Fora

Urgently needed: rapid, sensitive, safe and simple Ebola diagnostic tests

WHO Press Releases - 17. November 2014 - 18:27
The goal of interrupting chains of Ebola virus transmission depends heavily on laboratory support. This support is needed to confirm or discard suspected cases, guide triage and clinical decisions, aid contact tracing, and facilitate the early detection of cases in people with an exposure history. The WHO goal of aggressive case detection and isolation likewise depends on laboratory support.

Efforts to contain the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa are currently hampered by cumbersome, slow and complex diagnostic tests that impose a number of additional logistical challenges, including requirements for a high level of laboratory biosafety and staff expertise in using sophisticated machines.
Categories: Fora

WHO highlights devastating global impact of drowning

WHO Press Releases - 17. November 2014 - 8:01
WHO’s first "Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer" reveals that drowning claims the lives of 372 000 people each year and is among the 10 leading causes of death for children and young people in every region.

Other stark findings from the report include:
Categories: Fora

WHO statement on the third meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus

WHO Press Releases - 14. November 2014 - 6:01
The third meeting of the Emergency Committee under the IHR (2005) regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 was convened by the Director-General through electronic correspondence from 2 through 7 November 2014.1 The following IHR States Parties submitted an update on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on 31 July 2014: Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Committee noted that the international spread of wild poliovirus has continued since 31 July 2014, with at least 3 new exportations from Pakistan into neighbouring Afghanistan. There has been no other documented international spread of wild poliovirus since March 2014.
Categories: Fora

WHO warns that progress towards eliminating measles has stalled

WHO Press Releases - 13. November 2014 - 12:01
WHO warned today that progress towards the elimination of measles has stalled. The number of deaths from measles increased from an estimated 122 000 in 2012 to 145 700 in 2013, according to new data published in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Report and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The estimated number of measles deaths in 2013 represents a 75% decline in mortality since 2000, significantly below the target of a 95% reduction in deaths between 2000 and 2015.

“Poor progress in increasing measles vaccination coverage has resulted in large outbreaks of this highly contagious disease, throwing the 2015 elimination targets off-track,” said Dr Peter Strebel from the WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals.
Categories: Fora

WHO sets benchmarks to reduce health damage from indoor air pollution

WHO Press Releases - 12. November 2014 - 3:01
WHO recommendations, released today, highlight the dangers of burning fuels like unprocessed coal and kerosene in the home, and set targets for reducing emissions of health-damaging pollutants from domestic cookstoves, space heaters and fuel-based lamps.

The new "WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion" stress the need to improve access to cleaner home energy sources such as liquefied petroleum gas, biogas, natural gas and ethanol, or electricity, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
Categories: Fora

Mali confirms its second fatal case of Ebola virus disease

WHO Press Releases - 11. November 2014 - 19:27
Mali’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the country’s second fatal case of Ebola virus disease. The case occurred in a nurse who worked at a privately-run clinic in the capital city, Bamako.

The nurse, who was showing Ebola-like symptoms, was isolated on the evening of 10 November following suspicions of Ebola infection in a patient from Guinea who was treated at the clinic in late October. These suspicions were raised by an alert from health authorities in Guinea. The nurse died during the night of 11 November.
Categories: Fora

Mali case, Ebola imported from Guinea

WHO Press Releases - 9. November 2014 - 19:27
Investigations undertaken by Ministries of Health in Mali and Guinea, assisted by WHO, have clarified the early exposure history of Mali’s first Ebola case.

The index case in Mali, a 2-year-old girl who resided with her family in the urban commune of Beyla, Guinea, was diagnosed with Ebola, in Kayes, Mali, on 23 October and died on the following day.
Categories: Fora

New WHO safe and dignified burial protocol - key to reducing Ebola transmission

WHO Press Releases - 7. November 2014 - 6:00
A new WHO protocol for safe and dignified burial of people who die from Ebola virus disease emphasizes inclusion of family members and encouraging religious rites as an essential part of safe burials.

“At least 20% of new Ebola infections occur during burials of deceased Ebola patients. By building trust and respect between burial teams, bereaved families and religious groups, we are building trust and safety in the response itself.” says Dr Pierre Formenty, one of WHO’s top Ebola experts. “Introducing components such as inviting the family to be involved in digging the grave and offering options for dry ablution and shrouding will make a significant difference in curbing Ebola transmission.”
Categories: Fora

Statement from the Travel and Transport Task Force on Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa

WHO Press Releases - 7. November 2014 - 2:00
Leading international organizations and associations from the transport, trade and tourism sector stand firmly with WHO against general bans on travel and trade, as well as restrictions that include general quarantine of travellers from Ebola-affected countries.

The Travel and Transport Task Force, established in August 2014, calls for international cooperation of governments and the transport sector in following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola, convened by WHO.
Categories: Fora

WHO welcomes approval of a second Ebola vaccine trial in Switzerland

WHO Press Releases - 6. November 2014 - 2:00
WHO welcomes approval by Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory authority for therapeutic products, of a second Swiss trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine. The trial will be led by the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG). If judged safe, larger scale trials will be taken to African countries as early as January 2015.

This trial approval means that the vaccine will be tested on approximately 115 volunteers in Geneva. The trial, which is receiving support from WHO, is the latest in a series of trials involving 2 different candidate Ebola vaccines that are ongoing in Switzerland, Mali, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Categories: Fora

WHO welcomes strong commitment from Australia to beating Ebola

WHO Press Releases - 6. November 2014 - 2:00
The World Health Organization welcomes the Government of Australia’s commitment to providing health professionals and more funding to boost the fight against Ebola virus disease.

Australia joins a growing band of countries now providing health care workers as well as other desperately needed resources - funding, medical equipment and supplies - to boost efforts to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Categories: Fora

New study sheds light on the importance of supportive care for Ebola patients

WHO Press Releases - 5. November 2014 - 18:27
Evidence is mounting that earlier messages about Ebola virus disease having no treatment, cure, or vaccines are no longer entirely accurate.

A number of candidate vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials, with their manufacturers expressing determination to pursue work on all vaccines until they fail or one succeeds. Manufacturers have also expressed their willingness to include vaccines from competitor companies in their own clinical trials.
Categories: Fora

“Ageing well” must be a global priority

WHO Press Releases - 5. November 2014 - 18:01
A major new Series on health and ageing, published in "The Lancet", warns that unless health systems find effective strategies to address the problems faced by an ageing world population, the growing burden of chronic disease will greatly affect the quality of life of older people. As people across the world live longer, soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished wellbeing are poised to become a major global public health challenge.

Worldwide, life expectancy of older people continues to rise. By 2020, for the first time in history, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. By 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion, up from 841 million today. Eighty per cent of these older people will be living in low-income and middle-income countries.
Categories: Fora

Date and Venue Set for Diplomatic Conference on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications

WIPO Press Release - 31. October 2014 - 9:49
The Preparatory Committee of the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a New Act of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration concluded a two-day meeting today with a decision to hold the diplomatic conference from May 11 to 21, 2015, at WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva.
Categories: Fora

WHO updates personal protective equipment guidelines for Ebola response

WHO Press Releases - 31. October 2014 - 3:00
As part of WHO’s commitment to safety and protection of healthcare workers and patients from transmission of Ebola virus disease, WHO has conducted a formal review of personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines for healthcare workers and is updating its guidelines in context of the current outbreak.

These updated guidelines aim to clarify and standardize safe and effective PPE options to protect health care workers and patients, as well as provide information for procurement of PPE stock in the current Ebola outbreak. The guidelines are based on a review of evidence of PPE use during care of suspected and confirmed Ebola virus disease patients.
Categories: Fora

WHO welcomes Swissmedic approval of Ebola vaccine trial at Lausanne University Hospital

WHO Press Releases - 28. October 2014 - 2:00
The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the approval by Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory authority for therapeutic products, for a trial with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV). This marks the latest step towards bringing safe and effective Ebola vaccines for testing and implementation as quickly as possible.

Approval means that the vaccine can be used on approximately 120 individuals in Lausanne. The trial, which is receiving support from WHO, is the latest in a series of trials that are ongoing in Mali, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Categories: Fora

WHO convenes industry leaders and key partners to discuss trials and production of Ebola vaccine

WHO Press Releases - 24. October 2014 - 3:00
WHO convened a meeting with high-ranking government representatives from Ebola-affected countries and development partners, civil society, regulatory agencies, vaccine manufacturers and funding agencies yesterday to discuss and agree on how to fast track testing and deployment of vaccines in sufficient numbers to impact the Ebola epidemic.

WHO was called upon by all parties to ensure coordination between the various actors.
Categories: Fora

Mali confirms its first case of Ebola

WHO Press Releases - 23. October 2014 - 19:27
Mali’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola virus disease. The Ministry received positive laboratory results, from PCR testing, on Thursday and informed WHO immediately. In line with standard procedures, samples are being sent to a WHO-approved laboratory for further testing and diagnostic work.

In telephone conversation on Thursday night, health officials gave WHO the following details about the case, which is currently undergoing intense investigation.
Categories: Fora

Statement on the 3rd meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa

WHO Press Releases - 23. October 2014 - 2:18
The third meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the IHR 2005 regarding the 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee on Wednesday, 22 October 2014, from 13:00 to 17:10 CET.

This meeting was convened in advance of the 3-month date of the expiration of the temporary recommendations issued on 8 August 2014 and their extension on 22 September 2014, owing to the increase in numbers of cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and the new exportation of cases resulting in limited transmission in Spain and United States of America.
Categories: Fora
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