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Recurrence of Ebola transmission in Liberia

WHO Press Releases - 2. July 2015 - 19:27
On 9 May 2015, Liberia marked an important milestone in the management of their Ebola outbreak. On that day, the country was declared free of Ebola transmission because no new cases had been identified for 42 days after the safe burial of the last person confirmed to have been infected with Ebola virus disease.

Although transmission of the virus had ceased, Liberia remained at high risk of a recurrence of Ebola due to ongoing transmission in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. For this reason Liberia then entered a 90-day period of vigilance involving testing anyone with features of Ebola virus disease and testing post-mortem swabs for Ebola virus.
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Managing contacts in the MERS-CoV outbreak in the republic of Korea

WHO Press Releases - 1. July 2015 - 13:58
In June 2015, WHO and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Public Health and Welfare presented the results of their joint assessment of the MERS outbreak. The assessment led to a series of recommendations, which incorporated specific actions to halt the spread of the virus, including early and complete identification and investigation of all contacts; and robust quarantine/isolation and monitoring of all contacts and suspected cases.

To date, a total of 182 MERS-CoV cases, including 33 deaths, have been reported. One of the 182 cases is the case that was confirmed in China. In order to quickly identify and isolate any new cases, contacts for identified cases are monitored for a 14-day period (the incubation period of the virus). Currently, about 2 400 people are being monitored. The vast majority of these are monitored in their homes, while about 700, who were in close contact with a confirmed case, are monitored in a health care facility.
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Lack of sanitation for 2.4 billion people is undermining health improvements

WHO Press Releases - 30. June 2015 - 12:30
Lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water, warn WHO and UNICEF in a report tracking access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals.

The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment, says worldwide, 1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open.
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WHO validates elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Cuba

WHO Press Releases - 29. June 2015 - 18:42
Cuba today became the first country in the world to receive validation from WHO that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation” she added.
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MERS-CoV infographics

WHO Press Releases - 26. June 2015 - 11:02

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Emergency Committee – 9th meeting summary

WHO Press Releases - 22. June 2015 - 13:58
On16 June 2015 the Emergency Committee held its ninth meeting to review the situation related to MERS-CoV. The Committee concluded that the conditions to declare this a public health emergency of international concern have not been met. The description below provides additional information to help understand the rationale behind this decision.

The Emergency Committee stressed that this is a very significant outbreak and that a robust response is needed to control it. However, the Committee concluded this is not a public health emergency of international concern for two main reasons.
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WHO statement on the ninth meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding MERS-CoV

WHO Press Releases - 17. June 2015 - 3:00
The ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) regarding Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee by teleconference on 16 June 2015, from 12:00 to 15:00 Central European Summer Time (UTC +2). WHO convened the meeting in regards to the outbreak in the Republic of Korea.

The WHO Secretariat updated the Committee on epidemiological and scientific developments, including recent cases and transmission patterns in the Republic of Korea and China, related risk assessments, and control and prevention measures. These countries provided updates and assessments on the MERS-CoV situation and developments in their countries.
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MERS-CoV joint mission findings discussion

WHO Press Releases - 15. June 2015 - 7:28
On 13 June, WHO and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Public Health and Welfare presented the results of their joint assessment of the MERS outbreak. The assessment led to a series of recommendations. These include further strengthening of measures to control the current outbreak, such as continuing to strengthen contact tracing, and enhanced precautions in hospitals to prevent transmission, as well as increased communication with the public and better preparation for future outbreaks.

As of 15 June 2015, the Republic of Korea has reported 150 laboratory-confirmed cases and 15 deaths. The outbreak, which started with the introduction of MERS-CoV infection into the country by a single infected traveler, was amplified by infection in hospitals and movement of cases within and among hospitals.
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New report shows that 400 million do not have access to essential health services

WHO Press Releases - 11. June 2015 - 18:42
A WHO and World Bank Group report launched today shows that 400 million people do not have access to essential health services and 6% of people in low- and middle-income countries are tipped into or pushed further into extreme poverty because of health spending.

"This report is a wakeup call: It shows that we’re a long way from achieving universal health coverage. We must expand access to health and protect the poorest from health expenses that are causing them severe financial hardship," says Dr Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group.
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WHO calls for increase in voluntary blood donors to save millions of lives

WHO Press Releases - 11. June 2015 - 3:30
On World Blood Donor Day, 14 June, the WHO is calling for increased regular blood donations from voluntary, unpaid donors in order to save millions of lives globally each year.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Thank you for saving my life”. It encourages donors all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”
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WHO and partners align on new way forward to measure impact of country health programs

WHO Press Releases - 8. June 2015 - 18:42
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Bank Group, WHO, and countries and partners are coming together today at the World Bank Group for a high-level summit, Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health, to examine and advance a common agenda for health measurement as we move into the post-2015 development era.

"Accurate and timely health data are the foundation to improving public health. Without reliable information to set priorities and measure results, countries and their development partners are working in the dark,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "Investing in measurement is an investment in health and countries that build and strengthen local capacity are better positioned to achieve greater long-term success and better health outcomes.
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WHO and the Republic of Korea to carry out joint mission for the MERS-CoV outbreak

WHO Press Releases - 5. June 2015 - 2:52
In light of the recent outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), WHO and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare will conduct a joint mission in the Republic of Korea. The mission comes after close consultation between WHO and the Government.

The WHO team will be led by Assistant Director-General for Health Security, Dr Keiji Fukuda. The team will be comprised of experts in epidemiology, virology, clinical management, infection prevention and control, as well as public health officers who have previously handled other MERS-CoV outbreaks in the Middle East.
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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Republic of Korea

WHO Press Releases - 2. June 2015 - 16:00
The outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, in the Republic of Korea continues to evolve. WHO is in close contact with the country’s government and Ministry of Health, and is receiving information as soon as facts are confirmed.

The quality of reporting has allowed almost real-time insight into the dynamics of the outbreak. Aggressive contact tracing and testing for infection may help explain the rapid expansion of the outbreak. Human-to-human transmission has been documented. At this stage, WHO has no evidence of sustained transmission in the community.
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WHO calls for action against illicit tobacco trade on World No Tobacco Day

WHO Press Releases - 27. May 2015 - 18:42
Eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco would generate an annual tax windfall of US$ 31 billion for governments, improve public health, help cut crime and curb an important revenue source for the tobacco industry. Those are the key themes of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May when WHO will urge Member States to sign the "Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products".

“The Protocol offers the world a unique legal instrument to counter and eventually eliminate a sophisticated criminal activity,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Fully implemented, it will replenish government revenues and allow more spending on health.”
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Statement on the situation in Yemen

WHO Press Releases - 27. May 2015 - 5:24
The conflict in Yemen is entering its 10th week and the numbers of dead and injured continue to grow. As always in conflict, it is innocent civilians that pay the highest price. Almost 2000 people have been killed and 8000 injured so far, including hundreds of women and children.

The shelters housing internally displaced persons are full of stories of loss and survival. For example, 6-year-old Malak lost her mother and saw others around her die as her family fled the fighting and 65-year-old Fathiya lost 13 members of her family and is now the sole guardian of 3 grandchildren who survived.
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World Health Assembly closes, passing resolutions on air pollution and epilepsy

WHO Press Releases - 26. May 2015 - 11:42
The World Health Assembly closed today, with Director-General Dr Margaret Chan noting that it had passed several “landmark resolutions and decisions”. Three new resolutions were passed today: one on air pollution, one on epilepsy and one laying out the next steps in finalizing a framework of engagement with non-State actors.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to address the health impacts of air pollution – the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Every year 4.3 million deaths occur from exposure to indoor air pollution and 3.7 million deaths are attributable to outdoor air pollution. This was the first time the Health Assembly had debated the topic.
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World Health Assembly addresses antimicrobial resistance, immunization gaps and malnutrition

WHO Press Releases - 25. May 2015 - 12:42
The World Health Assembly today agreed resolutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance; improve access to affordable vaccines and address over- and under-nutrition.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly endorsed a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance - including antibiotic resistance, the most urgent drug resistance trend. Antimicrobial resistance is occurring everywhere in the world, compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases, as well as undermining many other advances in health and medicine.
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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.
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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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