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Health partners unite to build stronger systems for health in Ebola-affected countries

WHO News - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 16:00
On 10-11 December 2014, Ministers of Health and Finance of Ebola-affected countries, international organizations and development partners assembled for a high-level meeting on how to strengthen systems of health in Ebola-affected countries and agreed on what needs to be done to rebuild and strengthen essential health services in these countries.

“People in Ebola-affected countries are dying – not only from Ebola but also from other causes – because the majority of health facilities in these countries are either not functional or people are not using them for fear of contracting Ebola,” says Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General of Health Systems and Innovation, World Health Organization. “A health system has to be able to both absorb the shock of an emergency like Ebola, and continue to provide regular health services such as immunization and maternal and child care.”

New study highlights need to scale up violence prevention efforts globally

WHO News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 18:01
The "Global status report on violence prevention 2014" reveals that 475 000 people were murdered in 2012, and homicide is the third leading cause of death globally for males aged 15–44 years, highlighting the urgent need for more decisive action to prevent violence.

Despite indications that homicide rates decreased by 16% globally between 2000 and 2012, violence remains widespread. Non-fatal acts of violence take a particular toll on women and children. One in four children has been physically abused; one in five girls has been sexually abused; and one in three women has been a victim of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence at some point in her lifetime.

WHO Director-General opens meeting on building resilient health systems in Ebola-affected countries

WHO Director-General Speeches - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 15:00
Excellences, honourable ministers, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to this high-level meeting on building resilient health systems. I thank you for your time and your expertise.

Scale-up in effective malaria control dramatically reduces deaths

WHO News - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 07:01
The number people dying from malaria has fallen dramatically since 2000 and malaria cases are also steadily declining, according to the World malaria report 2014. Between 2000 and 2013, the malaria mortality rate decreased by 47% worldwide and by 54% in the WHO African Region - where about 90% of malaria deaths occur.

New analysis across sub-Saharan Africa reveals that despite a 43% population increase, fewer people are infected or carry asymptomatic malaria infections every year: the number of people infected fell from 173 million in 2000 to 128 million in 2013.

WHO Director-General addresses the UN Economic and Social Council on the Ebola threat

WHO Director-General Speeches - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 15:00
Excellencies, distinguished representatives of missions, fellow UN agencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the President of ECOSOC for convening this important meeting.

New WHO guide to prevent and control cervical cancer

WHO News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 07:01
New guidance from WHO aims to help countries better prevent and control cervical cancer. The disease is one of the world’s deadliest – but most easily preventable – forms of cancer for women, responsible for more than 270 000 deaths annually, 85% of which occur in developing countries.

The new "Comprehensive cervical cancer control: a guide to essential practice" will be launched at the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Melbourne, Australia on 3 December 2014.

WHO congratulates Spain on ending Ebola transmission

WHO News - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 15:00
Today the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Spain over and commends the country on its diligence to end transmission of the virus.

On 6 October 2014, the Spanish National Reference Laboratory confirmed the first human-to-human transmission of Ebola virus disease outside Africa in a healthcare worker. The healthcare worker had been part of a team at La Paz-Carlos III Hospital providing medical care for a person with Ebola virus disease repatriated from Sierra Leone on 22 September.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 07:15
Between 3 and 19 November 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) notified WHO of 18 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 4 deaths.

1. A 99-year-old male from Alkharj city who developed symptoms on 10 November. He was admitted to hospital on 14 November. The patient had contact with camels but had no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. He was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) but passed away on 19 November.

Mali confirms 2 new cases of Ebola virus disease

WHO News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 08:27
Mali’s Ministry of Health has confirmed an additional 2 new cases of Ebola virus disease. The first, confirmed on 22 November, occurred in the 23-year-old fiancée of the 25-year-old nurse who attended the Grand Imam from Guinea (the index case in this outbreak) and died of Ebola on 11 November.

The young woman developed symptoms on 19 November and, on 20 November, was hospitalized in isolation at Bamako’s Ebola treatment centre, a new facility which opened last week.

Plague – Madagascar

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 17:12
On 4 November 2014, WHO was notified by the Ministry of Health of Madagascar of an outbreak of plague. The first case, a male from Soamahatamana village in the district of Tsiroanomandidy, was identified on 31 August. The patient died on 3 September.

As of 16 November, a total of 119 cases of plague have been confirmed, including 40 deaths. Only 2% of reported cases are of the pneumonic form.

Worldwide action needed to address hidden crisis of violence against women and girls

WHO News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 16:01
Current efforts to prevent violence against women and girls are inadequate, according to a new Series published in The Lancet. Estimates suggest that globally, 1 in 3 women has experienced either physical or sexual violence from their partner, and that 7% of women will experience sexual assault by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

Yet, despite increased global attention to violence perpetrated against women and girls, and recent advances in knowledge about how to tackle these abuses, levels of violence against women – including intimate partner violence, rape, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and forced marriages – remain unacceptably high, with serious consequences for victims’ physical and mental health. Conflict and other humanitarian crises may exacerbate ongoing violence.

WHO declares end of Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

WHO News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 15:00
On 24 August, WHO was notified by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Jeera County, Equateur Province. This outbreak, which is unrelated to that affecting West Africa, caused a total of 66 cases of EVD including 8 among health care workers.

By 20 November, 42 days had passed since the last case tested negative twice and was discharged from hospital. According to WHO recommendations, the end of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in a country can be declared once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola (21 days).

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 07:15
Between 12 and 16 October 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) notified WHO of 5 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 2 deaths.

1. A 42-year-old female nurse, non-national, from Taif city who developed symptoms on 13 October. She was admitted to a hospital on 14 October. The patient was exposed to a laboratory-confirmed case of MERS-CoV. She has comorbidities but no history of contact with camels or raw camel products consumption. Also, she has no history of travel in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. Currently, the patient is in stable condition and under isolation.

Mali: Details of the additional cases of Ebola virus disease

WHO News - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:27
As of today, Mali has officially reported a cumulative total of 6 cases of Ebola virus disease, with 5 deaths. Of the 6 cases, 5 are laboratory confirmed and one remains probable as no samples were available for testing.

These numbers include the 2-year-old girl who initially imported the virus into Mali and died of the disease on 24 October.

Countries vow to combat malnutrition through firm policies and actions

WHO News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:01
In a major step towards eradicating malnutrition worldwide, over 170 countries today made a number of concrete commitments and adopted a series of recommendations on policies and investments aimed at ensuring that all people have access to healthier and more sustainable diets.

Ministers and senior officials responsible for health, food or agriculture and other aspects of nutrition adopted the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, and a Framework for Action, which set out recommendations for policies and programmes to address nutrition across multiple sectors. The move came at the opening, in Rome, of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO.

WHO Director-General addresses the Second International Conference on Nutrition

WHO Director-General Speeches - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 17:15
Good morning to all of you, your Royal Majesty, your Highness, your Excellencies, honourable ministers, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me thank the government of Italy and the city of Rome for hosting this event. WHO is privileged to be working closely with FAO

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

WHO News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:01
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.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:03
On 15 November 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 3 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including 1 death.

WHO continues to closely monitor the H7N9 situation and conduct risk assessment. So far, the overall risk associated with the H7N9 virus has not changed.

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

WHO News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 07:27
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.

WHO highlights devastating global impact of drowning

WHO News - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 21:01
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:

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