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ECDC: On Air - Episode 47 - Ines Steffens - Eurosurveillance

ECDC - News - 18 min 59 sec ago
On today's episode, we sit down with Ines Steffens, editor-in-chief of Eurosurveillance. Eurosurveillance is an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to the epidemiology, surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Workshop highlights importance of social and behavioural sciences for Ukrainians living in Ukraine and neighbouring EU countries

ECDC - News - 12 hours 43 min ago
A comprehensive two-day workshop held from 27 to 28 February in Krakow, Poland, shed light on the significance of social and behavioural sciences in combatting infectious diseases across Ukraine and adjacent EU countries.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

ECDC concludes technical visit to Albania to enhance surveillance of communicable diseases

ECDC - News - Thu, 02/29/2024 - 01:45
ECDC completed a technical visit to Albania as part of its efforts to bolster the surveillance of communicable diseases in the country.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Continued efforts needed to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans and animals

ECDC - News - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 13:44
Resistance of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria to commonly used antimicrobials continues to be observed frequently in humans and animals, according to a report issued today by EFSA and ECDC.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Robert Koch Institute hosts Multivariable Analysis Module

ECDC - News - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 01:00
The Multivariable Analysis Module, held from 19-23 February 2024, strengthened public health practitioners’ epidemiological data analysis skills.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Call for expression of interest – NGO representatives for ECDC’s Advisory Forum

ECDC - News - Mon, 02/26/2024 - 23:26
The European Commission has launched a call for expression of interest aiming at the selection of the ECDC Advisory Forum members.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Multi-agency report highlights importance of reducing antibiotic use

ECDC - News - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 16:46
Countries that have decreased their consumption of antibiotics in both animals and humans have seen a reduction in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Dr Pamela Rendi-Wagner nominated new Director of ECDC

ECDC - News - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 16:46
On 20 February 2024, the Management Board of ECDC nominated Dr Pamela Rendi-Wagner to be the next Director of ECDC for a five-year period (2024-2029).
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

WHO transfers critical patients out of Nasser Medical Complex, fears for safety of remaining patients

WHO news - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 16:48
WHO led two life-saving missions to transfer 32 critical patients, including two children, from Nasser Medical Complex in southern Gaza on 18 and 19 February, amid ongoing hostilities and access restrictions.

Epidemiological update: West Nile virus transmission season in Europe, 2023

ECDC - News - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 16:19
During the 2023 West Nile virus transmission season, and as of 4 January 2024, 709 locally acquired human cases of West Nile virus infection, including 67 deaths, were reported by nine European Union countries.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Children’s lives threatened by rising malnutrition in the Gaza Strip

WHO news - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 20:06

A steep rise in malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in the Gaza strip poses grave threats to their health, according to a comprehensive new analysis released by the Global Nutrition Cluster.

As the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip enters its 20th week, food and safe water have become incredibly scarce and diseases are rife, compromising women and children’s nutrition and immunity and resulting in a surge of acute malnutrition.

The report “Nutrition Vulnerability and Situation Analysis - Gaza” – finds that the situation is particularly extreme in the Northern Gaza Strip, which has been almost completely cut off from aid for weeks. Nutrition screenings conducted at shelters and health centres in the north found that 15.6 per cent – or 1 in 6 children under 2 years of age – are acutely malnourished. Of these, almost 3 per cent suffer from severe wasting, the most life-threatening form of malnutrition, which puts young children at highest risk of medical complications and death unless they receive urgent treatment. As the data were collected in January, the situation is likely to be even graver today.

Similar screenings in the Southern Gaza Strip, in Rafah, where aid has been more available, found 5 per cent of children under 2 years are acutely malnourished. This is clear evidence that access to humanitarian aid is needed and can help prevent the worst outcomes. It also reinforces agencies’ calls to protect Rafah from the threat of intensified military operations.

“The Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations, Ted Chaiban. “We’ve been warning for weeks that the Gaza Strip is on the brink of a nutrition crisis. If the conflict doesn’t end now, children’s nutrition will continue to plummet, leading to preventable deaths or health issues which will affect the children of Gaza for the rest of their lives and have potential intergenerational consequences.”

Before the recent months’ hostilities, wasting in the Gaza Strip was rare with just 0.8 per cent of children under 5 years of age acutely malnourished. The rate of 15.6 percent of wasting among children under 2 in Northern Gaza suggests a serious and rapid decline. Such a decline in a population’s nutritional status in three months is unprecedented globally.

There is a high risk that malnutrition will continue to rise across the Gaza Strip due to the alarming lack of food, water and health and nutrition services:

  • 90 per cent of children under the age of 2 and 95 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women face severe food poverty – meaning they have consumed two or less food groups in the previous day – and the food they do have access to is of the lowest nutritional value.
  • 95 per cent of households are limiting meals and portion sizes, with 64 per cent of households eating only one meal a day. 
  • Over 95 per cent of households said they had restricted the amount of food adults received in order to ensure small children had food to eat. 

“The steep rise in malnutrition that we are seeing in Gaza is dangerous and entirely preventable”, said WFP Assistant Executive Director for Programme Operations, Valerie Guarnieri. “Children and women, in particular, need continuous access to healthy foods, clean water and health and nutrition services. For that to happen, we need decisive improvements on security and humanitarian access, and additional entry points for aid to enter Gaza.”

Inadequate safe drinking water, as well as insufficient water for cooking and hygiene purposes, are compounding poor nutrition. On average, households surveyed had access to less than one litre of safe water per person per day. According to humanitarian standards, the minimum amount of safe water needed in an emergency is 3 litres per person per day, while the overall standard is 15 litres per person, which includes sufficient quantities for drinking, washing and cooking.

Hungry, thirsty and weak, more Gazans are falling sick. The report finds at least 90 per cent of children under 5 are affected by one or more infectious disease. Seventy per cent had diarrhoea in the past two weeks, a 23-fold increase compared with the 2022 baseline. 

“Hunger and disease are a deadly combination,” said Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme. ”Hungry, weakened and deeply traumatised children are more likely to get sick, and children who are sick, especially with diarrhea, cannot absorb nutrients well. It’s dangerous, and tragic, and happening before our eyes.”

Without more humanitarian assistance, the nutritional situation is likely to continue to deteriorate rapidly and at scale across the Gaza Strip. With the majority of health, water and sanitation services severely degraded, it is essential that those that remain functional are protected and reinforced to stem the spread of diseases and stop malnutrition from worsening.

UNICEF, WFP and WHO call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to urgently deliver multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance throughout the Gaza Strip. This includes nutritious foods, nutrition supplies and essential services for malnourished and at-risk children and women to safely access health and nutrition care and treatment services, particularly infants and young children under 5. Hospitals and health workers must be protected from attack so they can safely provide critical treatment and care. An immediate humanitarian ceasefire continues to provide the best chance to save lives and end suffering.

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Note to the editor

Due to security and access challenges throughout the Gaza Strip, it is nearly impossible to collect anthropometric data to measure rates of acute malnutrition. Collection of anthropometric data (MUAC) was only possible in two areas (North Gaza and Rafah) among children under 2 years of age. The report therefore used an innovative method of analysis to support this data and determine that acute malnutrition is rising throughout the Gaza Strip. This method analyzed data on the drivers of malnutrition – lack of food, rates of disease, lack of access to clean water and lack of available health services – which was collected through telephone and SMS questionnaires. From analyzing the key causes, we can conclude that acute malnutrition is rising throughout Gaza at speed.

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and our work for children, visit www.unicef.org

About WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

About WHO

Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for health that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. 

ECDC hosts training on Epidemic Intelligence and Rapid Risk Assessment

ECDC - News - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 15:15
In a move to bolster health preparedness in the EU`s neighbourhood regions and EU/EEA countries, ECDC organised a comprehensive training focusing on Epidemic Intelligence (EI) and Rapid Risk Assessment (RRA).
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Member States consider proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations with discussions on equity to continue

WHO news - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 11:12
WHO Member States have continued discussions on proposals to amend the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005), during which the importance of their work to future global security was highlighted.

EU Initiative on Health Security proposes comprehensive programme for 2024

ECDC - News - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 00:09
ECDC is gearing up for a dynamic year of training sessions, capacity-building, and collaboration with European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries through its annual work programme for 2024.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Threat assessment brief: Measles on the rise in the EU/EEA - Considerations for public health response

ECDC - Risk assessments - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 11:41
In 2023, significant increases in the number of measles cases and outbreaks were observed globally, including in 40 of the 53 countries of the European region, and in at least ten EU/EEA countries.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

High vaccination coverage key against expected increase of measles cases in the EU/EEA

ECDC - News - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 11:41
Measles cases are expected to continue increasing in the EU/EEA in the coming months due to sub-optimal vaccination coverage for measles-containing vaccines (MCV) in a number of EU/EEA countries.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

ECDC: On Air - Episode 46 - Five Scientists - One Health

ECDC - News - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 23:15
This special episode is hosted by James Ramsey, Head of the Communication Unit at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). He is joined by experts from ECDC, EFSA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to discuss the One Health perspective.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Risk Assessment: Emergence of hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 carrying carbapenemase genes in EU/EEA countries - first update

ECDC - Risk assessments - Wed, 02/14/2024 - 22:27
This document assesses the risk associated with the dissemination of carbapenemase-producing hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp) of sequence type (ST) 23 and other STs in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA).
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Increase of hypervirulent carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in the EU/EEA

ECDC - News - Wed, 02/14/2024 - 22:27
Since the most recent ECDC rapid risk assessment in 2021, the number of EU/EEA countries reporting hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp) sequence type (ST) 23 has increased from four to ten and the number of cases reported to ECDC by the countries, increased from 12 to 143.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Digital payments to health workers boost retention, motivation, and impact

WHO news - Fri, 02/09/2024 - 13:34

An immunization worker gets set up to receive her wages on her mobile wallet in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Credit: WHO

Campaigns in Africa to stop polio and other diseases have a more stable, better-motivated workforce thanks to WHO’s collaboration with countries and partners to pay frontline health workers through their mobile phones instead of in cash.

“Over 80 percent of workers are saying they prefer the digital payments,” said Ahmed Hamani Djibo, head of WHO’s Digital Finance Team.

WHO has been leading among international organizations in moving away from the unwieldy, less-secure practice of disbursing salaries in cash. Over the past few years, the Organization launched its Digital Finance Team and joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, an 80-member United Nations partnership with a mandate to develop the digitization of payments and expand financial inclusion – activities that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Since it was established in 2020, WHO’s Digital Finance Team has designed and implemented digital payment solutions in 24 countries in Africa, including, last year, in Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo and Zimbabwe.

“WHO has successfully digitized payments for more than two million health workers across Africa,” said Tidhar Wald, Managing Director, a.i., at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “With these inspiring results, WHO is taking a clear leadership role in accelerating the digital transformation in the provision of health outcomes globally.”

A polio immunization team on the job in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Credit: WHO

“A really big difference in speed”

Workers surveyed in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Tanzania said they appreciated the security of not carrying cash, the convenience of no longer having to travel to a disbursement site to receive their wages, and above all, the speed of payment – as short as half an hour after finishing work compared to waits of weeks or even months.

The surveys, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, linked timely compensation to better morale and worker retention.

“There is really a big difference in speed,” said Jean-Luc, a health worker interviewed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the end of a polio immunization campaign. “We finished the campaign mop-up yesterday and received a text notification the next evening. I’m going to pay my child’s school fees. Now we can relax.”

Digital payments also save time and money for health campaign organizers, including the burden and expense of transporting large sums of cash and completing documentation.

“When you have 300 to 500 volunteers to pay, doing accounts and signing receipts takes a lot of time,” said Saïdi, a polio team leader in DRC.

WHO first used the new digital payments in polio immunization campaigns in Côte d’Ivoire. Although outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio were on the rise, vaccination campaigns were having trouble getting off the ground. In the first quarter of 2020, almost half the polio campaigns in WHO’s African Region were postponed, saw workers drop out, or suffered other detrimental effects stemming from delays in cash disbursements.

As WHO and partners worked to develop the nuts-and-bolts aspects of a digital payment ecosystem (registering workers into a database, verifying their profiles with the mobile network operator and more) the benefits of a cashless approach became more apparent.

"There is substantial evidence that digitizing payments can support people, especially women, to gain access to financial services and increase control over their earnings,” said Maria May, Senior Program Officer, Inclusive Financial Systems, at the Gates Foundation. “Over the past four years, the World Health Organization has utilized the growing presence of mobile money across Africa to ensure that the courageous frontline vaccinators in polio outbreak campaigns are paid completely, quickly, and securely.”

Alain Labrique, director of WHO’s Department of Digital Health and Innovation, said that “digital payments are one of the key pillars of Digital Health Public Infrastructure currently strongly encouraged within WHO’s guidance to member-states on Digital Transformation.” WHO views digital payments as a foundation for many more digital development activities, together with Data Exchange and Digital ID Infrastructure. He added “we are delighted to work with partners in the digital space and add our voice to this celebration of WHO's joining the Better Than Cash Alliance”.

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