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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Human Rights 

Syrian conflict has ‘erased’ children’s dreams: new UN report

The findings come in the latest report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, released on Thursday.  “I am appalled by the flagrant disregard for the laws of war and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all parties involved in the conflict”, said Commission chair Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro.   “While the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has the primary responsibility for the protection of boys and girls in the country, all of the actors in this conflict must do more to protect children and preserve the country’s future generation.”   Dreams erased  The three-member Commission…

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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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Human Rights 

Colombia: ‘Staggering number’ of human rights defenders killed in 2019

“The single most targeted group was human rights defenders advocating on behalf of community-based and specific ethnic groups such as indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians”, Marta Hurtado told reporters in Geneva, adding that the number of women human rights defenders killed increased “by almost 50 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018”. According to OHCHR, 107 activists were killed last year.  And staff in the country are still in the process of verifying 13 additional cases reported during 2019 which, if confirmed, would raise the annual total to 120 killings. Attacks…

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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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Human Rights 

Killings and violence targeting ethnic group in DR Congo ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’

An investigation carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the DRC, found that at least 701 people have been killed and 168 injured following attacks involving the Hema and Lendu communities in the country’s northeast province of Ituri, between December 2017 and September last year.  “In addition, at least 142 people have been subjected to acts of sexual violence” the report said, “most of them members of the Hema community.”  Since September 2018, Lendu armed groups have become increasingly organized in carrying out attacks against the Hema and members of other ethnic…

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Human Rights 

New El Salvador law, a victory for forced displacement victims: UN refugee agency  

The legislation, which was passed by a resounding majority in El Salvador’s National Assembly on Thursday, also protects, aids and offers durable solutions to people who may be either at risk or who have already been internally displaced, due to violence perpetrated criminal gangs.  And for the first time ever, the law also provides for the establishment of a comprehensive national system of State institutions to prevent and respond to forced displacement.  ‘Lasting positive impact’ Once the new law is signed by President Nayib Bukele, it can have “a lasting positive impact on the lives of the 71,500…

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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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