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Women and children will pay for this pandemic – unless we act

Maternal, newborn and child health - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:20
By H.E. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia; Rt Hon. Helen Clark, PMNCH Board Chair, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; H.E. Jorge Alcocer Varela, Secretary of Health of Mexico; and Hon. Graça Machel, PMNCH former Board Chair and Founder of the Graça Machel Trust.

First published on news.trust.org here: https://news.trust.org/item/20200526130612-rofbs

Wherever COVID-19 strikes, it magnifies unfairness and inequality. In every nation and every community touched by the virus, hard-won progress for women, newborns and young people is being reversed.

Guidance for Direct Service Providers, Caregivers, Parents, and People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:00
This guidance is intended to inform Direct Service Providers, caregivers, parents, and people with developmental and behavioral disorders on accommodations, modifications, and assistance related to COVID-19 preparation and response.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:00
People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Guidance for Direct Service Providers

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:00
CDC has published guidance to support Direct Service Providers (DSPs), including personal care attendants, direct support professionals, paraprofessionals, therapists, and others as they support people with disabilities for COVID-19.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Guidance for Group Homes for Individuals with Disabilities

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:00
CDC has guidance for administrators of group homes (GHs) for people with disabilities. GH administrators may consider implementing several strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

COVID-19 Forecasts: New Hospitalizations

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:00
COVID-19 Forecasts: New Hospitalizations
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 07:00
COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Countries failing to stop harmful marketing of breast-milk substitutes, warn WHO and UNICEF

WHO news - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 03:01

A new report by WHO, UNICEF, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) reveals that despite efforts to stop the harmful promotion of breast-milk substitutes, countries are still falling short in protecting parents from misleading information.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for stronger legislation to protect families from false claims about the safety of breast-milk substitutes or aggressive marketing practices. Breastmilk saves children’s lives as it provides antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protect them against many childhood illnesses.

WHO and UNICEF encourage women to continue to breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. While researchers continue to test breastmilk from mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, current evidence indicate that it is unlikely that COVID-19 would be transmitted through breastfeeding or by giving breastmilk that has been expressed by a mother who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.  The numerous benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of illness associated with the virus. It is not safer to give infant formula milk.

Of the 194 countries analysed in the report, 136 have in place some form of legal measure related to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly (the Code). Attention to the Code is growing, as 44 countries have strengthened their regulations on marketing over the past two years.

However, the legal restrictions in most counties do not fully cover marketing that occurs in health facilities. Only 79 countries prohibit the promotion of breast-milk substitutes in health facilities , and only 51 have provisions that prohibit the distribution of free or low-cost supplies within the health care system.

Only 19 countries have prohibited the sponsorship of scientific and health professional association meetings by manufacturers of breast-milk substitutes, which include infant formula, follow-up formula, and growing up milks marketed for use by infants and children up to 36-months old.

“The aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes, especially through health professionals that parents trust for nutrition and health advice, is a major barrier to improving newborn and child health worldwide,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety. “Health care systems must act to boost parent’s confidence in breastfeeding without industry influence so that children don’t miss out on its lifesaving benefits.”

WHO and UNICEF recommend that babies be fed nothing but breast milk for their first 6 months, after which they should continue breastfeeding – as well as eating other nutritious and safe foods – until 2 years of age or beyond.

Breastfeeding under threat as health systems stretched thin

Babies who are exclusively breastfed are 14 times less likely to die than babies who are not breastfed. However, today, only 41% of infants 0–6 months old are exclusively breastfed, a rate WHO Member States have committed to increasing to at least 50% by 2025. Inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes continues to undermine efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and the COVID-19 crisis is intensifying the threat.

Health care services aimed at supporting mothers to breastfeed, including counselling and skilled lactation support are strained as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Infection prevention measures, such as physical distancing make it difficult for community counselling and mother-to-mother support services to continue, leaving an opening for the breast-milk substitute industry to capitalize on the crisis, and diminish confidence in breastfeeding.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, health workers are being diverted to the response and health systems are overstretched. At such time, breastfeeding can protect the lives of millions of children, but new mothers cannot do it without the support of health providers,” said Dr. Victor Aguayo, UNICEF’s Chief of Nutrition. “We must, more than ever, step up efforts to ensure that every mother and family receive the guidance and support they need from a trained health care worker to breastfeed their children, right from birth, everywhere.”

The Code bans all forms of promotion of breast-milk substitutes, including advertising, gifts to health workers and distribution of free samples. Labels cannot make nutritional and health claims or include images that idealize infant formula. Instead, labels must carry messages about the superiority of breastfeeding over formula and the risks of not breastfeeding.

WHO and UNICEF call on governments to urgently strengthen legislation on the Code during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments and civil society organizations should also not seek or accept donations of breast-milk substitutes in emergency situations.

 “The fear of COVID-19 transmission is eclipsing the importance of breastfeeding – and in too many countries mothers and babies are being separated at birth – making breastfeeding and skin to skin contact difficult if not impossible. All on the basis of no evidence. Meanwhile the baby food industry is exploiting fears of infection, promoting and distributing free formula and misleading advice –  claiming that the donations are humanitarian and that they are trustworthy partners,” says Patti Rundall, of IBFAN’s Global Council. 

Monitoring and enforcement of the Code is inadequate in most countries. The report, "Marketing of breast-milk substitutes: National implementation of the International Code – Status report 2020", provides updated information on the status of country implementation, including which measures have and have not been enacted into law.

Given the important role of health workers in protecting pregnant women, mothers and their infants from inappropriate promotion of breast-milk substitutes, the 2020 report provides an extensive analysis of legal measures taken to prohibit promotion of breast-milk substitutes to health workers and in health facilities.

Breastfeeding and COVID-19

Active COVID-19 virus has not, to date, been detected in the breastmilk of any mother with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. It appears unlikely, therefore, that COVID-19 would be transmitted through breastfeeding or by giving breastmilk that has been expressed by a mother who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.

Women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can therefore breastfeed if they wish to do so. They should:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub and especially before touching the baby;
  • Wear a medical mask during any contact with the baby, including while feeding;
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue. Then dispose of it immediately and wash hands again;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces after touching them.


Even if mothers do not have a medical mask, they should follow all the other infection prevention measures listed, and continue breastfeeding.

Notes to editors

Download photos and b-roll from UNICEF  and WHO.   Download the report here.

Related links:

FAQs on Breastfeeding and COVID-19

About the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

FIFA, European Commission and World Health Organization launch #SafeHome campaign to support those at risk from domestic violence

WHO news - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 18:53
FIFA, WHO, and the European Commission have joined forces, to launch the #SafeHome campaign to support women and children at risk of domestic violence. The campaign is a joint response from the three institutions to the recent spikes in reports of domestic violence as stay-at-home measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have put women and children experiencing abuse at greater risk.

VIB-single-cell-software-supported-by-a-Chan-Zuckerberg-Initiative-grant

VIB research institute - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 17:38
Title: VIB single-cell software supported by a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grant Page Content Zone 1: Today, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced $3.8 million in funding for 23 grants to support open-source software projects essential to biomedical research, enabling software maintenance, growth, development, and community engagement.  Software by the lab of Prof. Yvan Saeys (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) for the analysis and visualization of single-cell data is one of the projects that will receive funding as part of CZI’s Essential Open Source Software for Science (EOSS) program. 
Open and transparent Open-source software is crucial to modern scientific research, advancing biology and medicine while providing reproducibility and transparency. Yet even the most widely used research software often lacks dedicated funding. The EOSS program enables scientists to hire additional developers, improve documentation, address usability, improve compatibility, attract contributors, convene communities, and more. 
One of the selected projects was the dynverse project developed by the Saeys lab. Prof. Yvan Saeys (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) explains: “The dynverse project provides an ecosystem of open-source software for analyzing and interpreting dynamic cellular processes measured at single-cell resolution. The project is spearheaded by postdocs Robrecht Cannoodt and Wouter Saelens, whose work in developing and benchmarking single-cell software has greatly impacted the field.”
Visualizing single-cell data Dr. Robrecht Cannoodt recalls the first steps of the project: “During our extensive review of software tools for analyzing cellular dynamics we developed a large library of internal tools to visualize single-cell data. We strongly believe in open-sourcing research projects from the get-go. Indeed, already long before the publication of our research in Nature Biotechnology, we received interest from other researchers in using the dynverse packages to enhance their analyses.”
Dr. Wouter Saelens adds: “Good software is one of the driving forces behind current biomedical research. More than ever, biological researchers need tools that are open, freely available, and trustworthy. Classical funding channels are often hesitant with software development projects because of the low research component. But in the long run, these tools will push the biomedical field even further. I'm really happy that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has recognized this, as their support will allow us to further refine our software and start new collaborations with research groups.” 
Related publication Saelens, W., Cannoodt, R., Todorov, H., Saeys, Y. (2019) A comparison of single-cell trajectory inference methods.  Nat. Biotechnol. 37(5):547-554  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41587-019-0071-9 Software packages: https://dynverse.org   ​

News Date: 27/05/2020

ECDC marks 15 year anniversary

ECDC - News - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 15:00
This week marks ECDC’s 15-year anniversary. ECDC, Europe’s agency for public health, became operational in May 2015, and has been working since to strengthen Europe’s defences against communicable diseases. As ECDC reflects on the progress and developments of the past 15 years, the COVID-19 pandemic is a constant reminder of how important it is for all countries in the EU/EEA to work together in response to public health threats.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Investigating a COVID-19 Case

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Investigating a COVID-19 Case
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Appendices

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Appendices
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Building Community Support

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Building Community Support
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Data Management for Assigning and Managing Investigations

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Data Management for Assigning and Managing Investigations
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Evaluating Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Success

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Evaluating Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Success
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Confidentiality and Consent

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Confidentiality and Consent
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Support Services

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Support Services
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Digital Contact Tracing Tools

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Digital Contact Tracing Tools
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation & Contact Tracing Plan: Overview

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 07:00
Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation & Contact Tracing Plan: Overview
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

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