Development Health Advice 

Cases drop for first time as Africa’s fourth COVID-19 wave ebbs

Newly reported cases fell by 20 per cent in the week that ended on 16 January, while deaths dropped by 8 per cent. South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first sequenced, and which has accounted for the bulk of cases and deaths, has now recorded a downward trend for the past four weeks. Cases also fell across the rest of the continent, with only North Africa reporting an increase in cases, with a 55 per cent spike. The Omicron variant has now been reported in 36 African countries, and 169…

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Development Health Advice 

Americas: ‘Smart’ use of rapid tests critical amid COVID surge

Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), highlighted the critical need for countries to scale-up testing and, in particular, to leverage “smart” use of rapid antigen tests.  📢 “Although omicron 🦠 infections appear to be milder, we continue to urge caution because the virus is spreading more actively than ever before. Vaccines 💉 shield us from the worst #COVID19 symptoms and reduce our chances of needing hospitalized care”, @DirOPSPAHO pic.twitter.com/JSFdmF81WH — PAHO/WHO (@pahowho) January 19, 2022 Over the past week, COVID-19 cases in the region reached…

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Development Health Advice 

COVID-19: WHO expresses hope worst of Omicron wave is over

Briefing journalists in Geneva, Tedros Ghebreyesus said that more than 18 million cases were reported last week, and the pandemic itself is far from over, so no country is out of the woods yet. The number of deaths remains stable, but the agency is concerned about the impact the variant is having on already exhausted health workers and overburdened health systems. “I remain particularly concerned about many countries that have low vaccination rates, as people are many times more at risk of severe illness and death if they’re unvaccinated”, Tedros said.  Omicron may be less severe, but for…

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Health Advice Lifestyle 

No excuse not to end the acute stage of pandemic globally

Is it not shocking that after more than two years into the pandemic (when we know how to protect ourselves from getting infected, and have had vaccines for more than a year now), by far the highest-ever number of corona virus infections in a single week were reported in the second week of January 2022? This is an unacceptable failure to save lives and unnecessary human suffering. More than 15 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported globally in the second week of January 2022. And even this high number…

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Health Advice Lifestyle 

WHO accelerates work on nutrition targets with new commitments

COVID-19 and climate change have exacerbated malnutrition in all its forms and threatened the sustainability and resilience of food systems around the world. At the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo on 7 – 8 December 2021, the World Health Organization has announced six new commitments to accelerate progress on the 2025 nutrition targets which have been pushed even further off course during the pandemic. These include: Expand initiatives to prevent and manage overweight and obesity; Step up activities to create food environments that promote safe and healthy diets; Support…

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Health Advice Lifestyle 

WHO holds dialogue with contributors of flexible voluntary funding

7 December 2021 – WHO held a virtual dialogue today with donors currently providing flexible voluntary contributions to WHO. The objective of the exchange was to provide donors with information on how their flexible contributions to WHO are being used, to exchange views and seek ideas around reporting and donor visibility for these contributions, among other issues. Flexible funds are a lifeline to the work of WHO. These are the catalytic funds that enable all aspects of WHO’s work, and therefore its impact in countries and on people everywhere. In…

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Health Advice Lifestyle 

WHO psychological intervention effective in preventing mental disorders among Syrian refugees in Turkey

A self-help psychological intervention developed by the World Health Organization, Self-Help Plus, was effective in preventing the onset of mental disorders among Syrian refugees in Turkey, according to a study published in World Psychiatry today. The study, the first randomized controlled trial on prevention of mental disorders conducted among Syrian refugees experiencing psychological distress but without a diagnosis of a mental disorder, found that the likelihood of having a mental disorder six months after the intervention was approximately half for participants receiving Self-Help Plus as compared with those in the…

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Development Health Advice 

UN-backed COVAX mechanism delivers its 1 billionth COVID-19 vaccine dose

Along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Vaccine Alliance GAVI, and partners, WHO has led the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history with deliveries to 144 countries to date. According to a press release published on Sunday, as of 13 January 2022, out of 194 countries members of WHO, 36 have vaccinated less than 10% of their population, and 88 less than 40%. “COVAX’s ambition was compromised by hoarding/stockpiling in rich countries, catastrophic outbreaks leading to borders and supply being locked. And a lack of…

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Health Advice Lifestyle 

Message for World Leprosy Day 2022

From Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination              The social and economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been particularly hard on persons affected by leprosy and their families, many of whom were in a vulnerable position to begin with. Lockdowns implemented by governments have made it harder for them to access treatment and care, deprived them of income-generating opportunities, and exacerbated the deprivations their marginalized communities already faced. With this in mind, in August 2021 I launched an awareness campaign called “Don’t…

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Health Advice Lifestyle 

WHO recommends two new drugs to treat COVID-19

WHO has recommended two new drugs for COVID-19, providing yet more options for treating the disease. The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be. The first drug, baricitinib, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical COVID-19. It is part of a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors that suppress the overstimulation of the immune system. WHO recommends that it is given with corticosteroids. Baricitinib is an oral drug, used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.…

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