The seventh meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of poliovirus was convened via teleconference by the Director-General on 10 November 2015. The Director General of WHO had noted the concerns expressed by the Emergency Committee in its August 2015 report with respect to circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV). In response, she convened this meeting of the Emergency Committee with broader terms than was previously the case to also look at outbreaks of cVDPV. During the current polio endgame cVDPVs reflect serious gaps in immunity to poliovirus due to weaknesses in routine immunization coverage in otherwise polio-free countries.
Author Archives: WHO News
On 25 November, WHO joins partners in calling for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls to ensure their health, well-being and human rights. “WHO strongly condemns violence against women and girls and supports partners and countries’ efforts towards the de-normalization of this type of violence. Ensuring equality between women and men is a crucial part of these efforts,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
Climate change is the defining issue for the 21st century. According to WHO estimates, climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths every year – from shifting patterns of disease, from extreme weather events, such as heat-waves and floods, and from the degradation of air quality, food and water supplies, and sanitation.
As WHO ramps up its fight against antibiotic resistance, a new multi-country survey shows people are confused about this major threat to public health and do not understand how to prevent it from growing. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause. Over-use and misuse of antibiotics increase the development of resistant bacteria, and this survey points out some of the practices, gaps in understanding and misconceptions which contribute to this phenomenon.
The number of measles-related deaths has decreased 79% from 546 800 at the beginning of the century to 114 900 in 2014. New data released by WHO for the Measles & Rubella Initiative, estimates that 17.1 million lives have been saved since 2000, largely due to increased vaccination coverage against this highly contagious viral disease. Measles vaccination has played a key role in reducing child mortality and in progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4. However, the new data published in this week’s edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” and WHO’s “Weekly Epidemiological Record”, shows that overall progress towards increasing global immunization coverage has recently stagnated. While coverage with the first dose of the measles vaccine increased globally from 72% to 85% between 2000 and 2010, it has remained unchanged the past 4 years.
Today, the World Health Organization declares that Ebola virus transmission has been stopped in Sierra Leone. Forty-two days, that is two Ebola virus incubation cycles, have now passed since the last person confirmed to have Ebola virus disease had a second negative blood test.
In the last few months, a number of attacks against health-care workers, medical transports and facilities have taken place in several countries, like Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen to mention a few. These incidents are taking place in countries with fragile health-care systems that are already struggling to treat the numbers of people affected by the ongoing conflicts there. In some cases, the situation is made yet worse by the restrictions placed on aid workers, preventing them from getting to the people who need them. Both the attacks themselves and their consequences are of serious concern. These were attacks on medical personnel and facilities protected under international humanitarian law, leaving death and destruction in their wake and disrupting vital health-care services
WHO has received a number of queries, expressions of concern and requests for clarification following the publication of a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) relating to processed meat and colorectal cancer. IARC was established 50 years ago through a resolution of the World Health Assembly as a functionally independent cancer agency under the auspices of WHO. Its programme of work is approved and financed by its participating states.
WHO condemns the bombing of the Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) supported hospital in Saada province in northern Yemen. MSF estimates that this will leave 200 000 people with no access to lifesaving medical care. The attack violates International Humanitarian Law. It is the second attack on an MSF-run health facility in a month. On 3 October, 30 people were killed when the MSF-supported medical clinic in Kunduz, Afghanistan was bombed
The fight against tuberculosis is paying off, with this year’s death rate nearly half of what it was in 1990. Nevertheless, 1.5 million people died from TB in 2014. Most of these deaths could have been prevented, according to WHO’s Global tuberculosis report 2015, which was released today in Washington. To reduce TB’s overall burden, detection and treatment gaps need to be closed, funding shortfalls filled and new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines developed, according to the report.
New Global Standards for quality health-care services for adolescents developed by WHO and UNAIDS aim to help countries improve the quality of adolescent health care. Existing health services often fail the world’s adolescents (10-19-year-olds). Many adolescents who suffer from mental health disorders, substance use, poor nutrition, intentional injuries and chronic illness do not have access to critical prevention and care services. Meanwhile, many behaviours that have a lifelong impact on health begin in adolescence.
The World Health Organization deplores the bombing of a clinic run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and extends its sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of those killed and injured. This represents a major loss for MSF and the affected community, to whom WHO offers its sympathy and support – and a serious challenge to humanitarian work in Afghanistan. WHO once again urges all parties to conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers and health facilities. Tragedies like this can and should be avoided, by warring parties consistently observing International Humanitarian Law and taking all necessary precautionary measures.
The 7th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa took place by teleconference on Thursday, 1 October 2015, and by electronic correspondence from 1-3 October 2015. As in previous meetings, the Committee’s role was to advise the WHO Director-General as to: