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World Health Assembly gives WHO green light to reform emergency and response progamme

WHO Press Releases - 23. May 2015 - 3:00
Delegates at the World Health Assembly made a series of decisions stemming from the 2014 Ebola virus disease outbreak. These give the WHO Secretariat the go-ahead to carry out structural reforms so it can prepare for and respond rapidly, flexibly and effectively to emergencies and disease outbreaks.

Delegates at the 68th World Health Assembly welcomed WHO’s commitment to deep reforms of its emergency work, in particular by setting out clear and effective command and control mechanisms across all 3 levels of the Organization – headquarters, regional and country offices.
Categories: Fora

WHA reaches agreement on polio, International Health Regulations and strengthening surgical care

WHO Press Releases - 22. May 2015 - 3:00
The World Health Assembly continued progress Friday, reaching agreements on polio eradication; further implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005); surgical care and medical products.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly today agreed on a resolution in which Member States recommit to stopping polio and to preparing for the phased withdrawal of oral polio vaccines.
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WHO Director-General and WHA President present annual public health awards

WHO Press Releases - 21. May 2015 - 3:00
Director-General Dr Margaret Chan and the President of the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly, Dr Jagat Prakash Nadda, today led the World Health Assembly’s annual awards ceremony, presenting four prizes to leaders in public health.

The Sasakawa Health Prize was given to the Childbirth with Dignity Foundation, which has helped transform the field of obstetrics in Poland. Women are now able to be accompanied by their partner during childbirth. They may also have visitors following delivery and are no longer separated from their babies. The Foundation proposes to use the prize money to continue, and further develop, its web-portal “GdzieRodzic.info” (“WhereToGiveBirth.info”), which includes a database of hospitals and maternity wards in Poland and provides information to expecting parents, and to maintain the Foundation’s database of hospitals.
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Negotiators Adopt Geneva Act of Lisbon Agreement at Diplomatic Conference

WIPO Press Release - 20. May 2015 - 11:45
Negotiators approved a revision of an international registration system providing protection for names that identify the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, fruits, wine, pottery, glass and cloth.
Categories: Fora

World Health Assembly agrees Global Malaria Strategy and Programme Budget 2016-17

WHO Press Releases - 20. May 2015 - 3:00
WHO Member States today agreed a new global malaria strategy for 2016-2030 and approved the Organization's proposed programme budget for 2016-2017.

The strategy aims to reduce the global disease burden by 40% by 2020, and by at least 90% by 2030. It also aims to eliminate malaria in at least 35 new countries by 2030.
Categories: Fora

Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly opens in Geneva

WHO Press Releases - 18. May 2015 - 3:00
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany addressed delegates on the first morning of the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly. "The WHO is the only international organization that has universal political legitimacy on global health issues,” she said.

Chancellor Merkel called for a new plan to deal with “catastrophes” like the recent Ebola outbreak. The outbreak highlighted the critical need for urgent, collaborative action in emergencies, and the importance of having efficient structures in place. Chancellor Merkel paid tribute to all those working to safeguard human health worldwide, urging them to “work together”.
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Rapidly growing outbreak of meningococcal disease in Niger

WHO Press Releases - 15. May 2015 - 11:47
From 1 January to 10 May 2015, Niger’s Ministry of Public Health notified WHO of 5,855 suspected cases of meningococcal meningitis, including 406 deaths. This is a rapidly growing outbreak with some unprecedented features.

Suspected cases have been increasing very quickly, tripling over the last 2 weeks (see previous notification from 29 April 2015: http://www.who.int/csr/don/29-april-2015-niger/en/ ). This is the first large-scale meningitis outbreak caused by Neisseria meningitides serogroup C to hit any country in Africa’s meningitis belt.
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Emergency preparedness pays off as Kathmandu hospitals respond to earthquakes

WHO Press Releases - 13. May 2015 - 8:18
The earthquakes and the continuing aftershocks in Nepal highlight the importance of the efforts the Ministry of Health and Population and WHO have had in place for more than a decade to ensure key hospitals, health facilities and health workers would be ready and able to function well in an emergency or natural disaster.

The first earthquake on 25 April measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale and the second on 12 May measuring 7.3 failed to disrupt services at Kathmandu’s largest public hospitals, including Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), Patan Hospital, Civil Service Hospital, Birendra Army Hospital and the trauma centre at Bir Hospital.
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World Health Statistics reports on global health goals for 194 countries

WHO Press Releases - 13. May 2015 - 3:17
2015 is the final year for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – goals set by governments in 2000 to guide global efforts to end poverty. This year’s "World Health Statistics" – published today by WHO – assesses progress towards the health-related goals in each of the 194 countries for which data are available. The results are mixed.

By the end of this year if current trends continue, the world will have met global targets for turning around the epidemics of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis and increasing access to safe drinking water. It will also have made substantial progress in reducing child undernutrition, maternal and child deaths, and increasing access to basic sanitation.
Categories: Fora

Negotiators Open Diplomatic Conference on Lisbon System

WIPO Press Release - 11. May 2015 - 6:48
High-level negotiations opened on a proposed adjustment to an international registration system providing international protection for names that identify the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, fruits, wine, pottery, glass and cloth.
Categories: Fora

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia is over

WHO Press Releases - 9. May 2015 - 2:00
Today, 9 May 2015, WHO declares Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission. Forty-two days have passed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was buried on 28 March 2015. The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over.

Interruption of transmission is a monumental achievement for a country that reported the highest number of deaths in the largest, longest, and most complex outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976. At the peak of transmission, which occurred during August and September 2014, the country was reporting from 300 to 400 new cases every week.
Categories: Fora

WHO moves to improve access to lifesaving medicines for hepatitis C, drug-resistant TB and cancers

WHO Press Releases - 8. May 2015 - 4:08
WHO today published the new edition of its Model List of Essential Medicines which includes ground-breaking new treatments for hepatitis C, a variety of cancers (including breast cancer and leukaemia) and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB), among others. The move opens the way to improve access to innovative medicines that show clear clinical benefits and could have enormous public health impact globally.

“When new effective medicines emerge to safely treat serious and widespread diseases, it is vital to ensure that everyone who needs them can obtain them,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “Placing them on the WHO Essential Medicines List is a first step in that direction.”
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WHO issues best practices for naming new human infectious diseases

WHO Press Releases - 7. May 2015 - 18:52
WHO today called on scientists, national authorities and the media to follow best practices in naming new human infectious diseases to minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people.

“In recent years, several new human infectious diseases have emerged. The use of names such as ‘swine flu’ and ‘Middle East Respiratory Syndrome’ has had unintended negative impacts by stigmatizing certain communities or economic sectors,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security, WHO. “This may seem like a trivial issue to some, but disease names really do matter to the people who are directly affected. We’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and trigger needless slaughtering of food animals. This can have serious consequences for peoples’ lives and livelihoods.”
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A commitment to improve global health information

WHO Press Releases - 6. May 2015 - 10:18
WHO and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding defining areas where they will work together to improve the quality and use of global health estimates to measure the world’s health challenges.

WHO welcomes this agreement that aims to increase transparency, accessibility and consistency of health estimates to help policymakers make informed decisions about what public health programmes should be prioritized and the research that is needed.
Categories: Fora

Statement on the 5th IHR Emergency Committee meeting regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus

WHO Press Releases - 5. May 2015 - 6:01
The fifth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 - 15 was convened via teleconference by the Director-General on 24 April 2015. The following IHR States Parties submitted an update on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on 17 February 2015: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Committee noted that after nearly one year since the declaration that the international spread of polio constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), strong progress has been made by countries in response to the Temporary Recommendations issued by the Director-General, and that this was a commendable achievement. No cases of wild poliovirus have been reported in Africa for eight months; in 2015, Pakistan and Afghanistan have reported less than half the number of cases that were reported during the same period in 2014; there has been no exportation from Pakistan since October 2014; and the number of persistently missed and inaccessible children is declining in Pakistan. The number of inaccessible children has declined from an estimated 300,000 to 50,000 in Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Pakistan continued to implement the Temporary Recommendations; since November, an average of 370,000 international travellers per month were vaccinated pre-departure at health facilities and points of exit.
Categories: Fora

WHO/UNHCR issue new guide on mental health in humanitarian emergencies

WHO Press Releases - 4. May 2015 - 18:00
Worldwide close to 80 million people are currently impacted by humanitarian emergencies arising from natural disasters and armed conflicts, such as those in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, and more recently, Nepal. WHO estimates 5% to 10% of these people suffer from a mental health condition such as depression as a result of the emergency.

People with mental health disorders rarely have access to specialized health workers trained in assessing and managing their conditions. WHO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have therefore produced a Mental health Gap Action Programme Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG), so non-specialist health workers can better identify, assess and manage mental health needs.
Categories: Fora

Negotiators to Attend Diplomatic Conference on Lisbon System

WIPO Press Release - 4. May 2015 - 3:45
Negotiators will gather next week to discuss a proposed adjustment to an international registration system providing international protection for names that identify the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, fruits, wine, pottery, glass and cloth.
Categories: Fora

WHO mobilizes funds for long-term spinal cord treatment after Nepal earthquake

WHO Press Releases - 2. May 2015 - 10:18
When Nepal’s devastating April 25 earthquake hit, Nanda Thami was safe.

The forty-two-year-old resident of Phopa Chaku, a small village in Dolakha district east of Kathmandu, was in an open space, away from the mud-brick structures dotted throughout his village.
Categories: Fora

WHO issues rapid health assessment on impact of Nepal earthquake

WHO Press Releases - 1. May 2015 - 9:35
A rapid assessment of health-care facilities by WHO and the Ministry of Health and Population in the earthquake-stricken areas has found that hospitals in 4 of the worst-affected districts are completely destroyed or too badly damaged to function. Five other major hospitals, providing important health care in the districts, were found to be functioning but urgently in need of further medical supplies.

Preliminary findings from the assessment, found that while there was a shortage of supplies, sufficient health personnel were available to treat patients arriving in the functioning hospitals.

“WHO staff have been working round the clock to gather this snapshot of the damage inflicted on Nepal’s hospitals and clinics by the earthquake,” according to WHO’s Country Representative for Nepal, Dr Lin Aung. “This information will be a vital tool in guiding the short- to medium-term response by national and international healthcare providers, determining where to move health teams and supplies in the country.”

Teams visited 21 hospitals in 12 of the districts most severely-impacted by the 25 April earthquake to gather information and found that a total of 17 hospitals were still operational.

Shortage of supplies
Categories: Fora

Nepal: WHO works with partners to prevent diarrhoeal diseases

WHO Press Releases - 30. April 2015 - 18:40
WHO and partner organizations in Nepal have mobilized further resources including medicine and medical equipment to prevent the possible spread of diarrhoeal diseases among populations affected by the country’s devastating earthquake.

“After an earthquake of this magnitude, the water supply is often damaged and contaminated, increasing the risk that people drinking it could develop diarrhoeal diseases,” says Dr Lin Aung, WHO’s Representative to Nepal. “The crowded living conditions in temporary shelters increase the chance that these types of diseases could spread.”
Categories: Fora
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