Development Health Advice 

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

Members of the WHO Emergency Committee deliberated until late on Wednesday evening, as they continue to study an outbreak of the new respiratory virus first identified in China, as cases continue to rise.   “There was an excellent discussion during the committee today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in statement.  “The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence.”  Novel coronavirus was first identified in the Chinese…

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Development Health Advice 

Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos

In a press release issued as the World Economic Forum gets fully underway in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said that the right to health “is eluding the poor and people trying to lift themselves out of poverty are being crushed by the unacceptably high costs of health care”, with at least half the world’s population unable to access essential health services. “The richest one per cent benefit from cutting-edge science while the poor struggle to get even basic health care,” she added. The independent international…

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Development Health Advice 

UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans

In a message released on social media, WHO said that the agency’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, will “convene an Emergency Committee on the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) under the International Health Regulations”, with the aim of ascertaining “whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it”. The Chinese National Health Commission confirmed on Monday that two people in Guangdong province had been infected via human-to-human transmission, raising the potential of the virus spreading more widely. A colour-enhanced image shows cells infected…

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Development Health Advice 

Smokers who quit one month before surgery reap benefits: UN health agency

While tobacco smokers face a significantly higher risk of post-surgical complications, including impaired heart and lung functions, infections and delayed wound healing, evidence from a new joint study by the World Health Organization (WHO), the University of Newcastle, Australia and the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists reveals that patients who quit smoking are less likely to experience complications with anesthesia than those who do not.  [embedded content] New data shows that after four weeks, every tobacco-free week improves blood flow throughout the body to essential organs and improves health…

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Development Health Advice 

Urgent need for ‘immediate’ solutions to combat drug-resistant infections, warns WHO  

Two new WHO reports reveal that while some 50 new antibiotics and 10 biologics are under development, only 32 of the total target WHO-priority pathogens and the majority have very limited benefits when compared to existing antibiotics. “Never has the threat of antimicrobial resistance been more immediate and the need for solutions more urgent”, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The reports also found that antibiotics research and development is primarily driven by small or medium-sized enterprises, as large pharmaceutical companies continue to exit the field. “Numerous initiatives are underway…

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Development Health Advice 

Sudan: Lives of traumatized, displaced women in West Darfur under threat

Since 28 December, intercommunal disputes in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) have left more than 40,000 civilians displaced, of whom an estimated 10,800, are women of reproductive age. More than 50 were killed and 60 others injured, the UN has reported, and thousands of civilians in recent weeks crossed the border into Chad, seeking refuge. Citing two flash reports this year, the UN agency shone a light on a serious lack of adequate reproductive health services and protection. “Following the recent attack on the camps in West Darfur, women…

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Development Health Advice 

‘No shortcuts to a healthier world’: WHO chief sets out health priorities for the decade

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote that the list of challenges is a response to concern that leaders are not committing sufficient resources to health, and are putting “lives, livelihoods and economies in jeopardy”. Comparing health concerns with peace and security, Mr Ghebreyesus pointed out that many countries are willing to invest in protection against terrorist attacks, but not to allocate money to halting the spread of a virus, even though a pandemic may be far more deadly, and more economically damaging.  From climate to conflict: 13 challenges for the 2020s  A…

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Development Health Advice 

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Syria, polio, DR Congo, Sudan updates, and – celebrating stolen art

Syria: Civilians face ‘daily nightmare’ in Idlib, says top UN official Following a sharp escalation of hostilities in southern Idlib, “at least 300,000 civilians have fled their homes” since mid-December, the UN Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria crisis said on Tuesday, voicing concern for their well-being. “I am alarmed at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Idlib, northwest Syria, where over three million civilians remain trapped in a war zone – the vast majority of them women and children”, Mark Cutts said in a statement. Read what else he had…

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Development Health Advice 

Spread of polio still an international public health concern

The opinion comes in a statement released on Tuesday following the latest meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) that provides technical advice on international public health emergencies.    “The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months”, it said.  “Significant increase” in wild poliovirus 1 cases    The Emergency Committee, which met in December, expressed concern over “the significant increase” in cases of wild poliovirus 1 (WPVI), the last of three strains to…

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Development Health Advice 

World Braille Day marks key communication tool for millions

It is estimated that approximately 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment or blindness, according to the Worth Health Organization (WHO), a billion of whom have either not had their condition addressed, or whose impairment could have been prevented. People with vision impairment are more likely than those without, to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantage. Not meeting their needs, or fulfilling their rights, has wide-reaching consequences: vision loss often represents a lifetime of inequality, poorer health, and barriers to education and employment. Braille brings written language to the…

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