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Director-General’s Award for Global Health go to Prime Minister of Barbados and developers of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19

WHO news - Mon, 05/27/2024 - 14:43
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus presented his Award for Global Health to the Prime Minister of Barbados and two scientists for their contributions to advancing global health at the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly.

WHO launches its first Investment Round to sustainably finance its Health for All mandate

WHO news - Sun, 05/26/2024 - 22:26

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched its first-ever Investment Round on Sunday as part of a broader plan to transform the way the Organization is funded heading into an era of climate change, mass migration, pandemic threats, an ageing world population, and turbulent geopolitics.

The launch, on the eve of the Seventy-Seventh World Health Assembly, marks the start of a year-long series of engagements and events, co-hosted by countries, where Member States and other donors will be invited to contribute funds to WHO’s strategy for 2025 through 2028 and show high-level political commitment to WHO and global health.

The Investment Round will culminate in November with a major pledging event to be hosted by Brazil around the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

“It’s about ensuring WHO is fully funded and improving the quality of the funding we receive. Much of the funding we receive is unpredictable, reactive, and tightly defined,” Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, opening the high-level event on the eve of the Health Assembly. “The Investment Round aims to change that, by generating funding that is more flexible, predictable, and resilient.”

WHO’s third investment case, to be launched at the Health Assembly on Tuesday 28 May, estimates that full funding of the strategy, the Fourteenth General Programme of Work (GPW 14), will contribute to saving 40 million lives from 2025-2028.

High-level support for Investment Round

During Sunday’s high-level event, the Government of Brazil announced that as part of its G20 presidency, the country will host high-level events including at the Leaders’ Summit in November to support the Investment Round and rally countries to join the initiative.

“Global problems need global solutions, and no other organization has turned out to be in a better position to provide us a chance to come to global solutions,” Brazil’s Minister of Health Nísia Trindade said in a video address. “We will use the convening power of G20 to help mobilize efforts to make the Investment Round a success.”

Qatar Minister of Health Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari announced a contribution of US$ 4 million in fully flexible funds to the Investment Round, and an intention to contribute further.

“Health care is a fundamental human right and we must continue to invest in the World Health Organization to safeguard our health. Unity is the key to our success,” Dr Mohamed Al Kuwari said.

France, Germany, and Norway announced that they would serve as co-hosts for the Investment Round.

“The WHO must be the guardian of scientific rigour, the whistleblower, and above all, the orchestra conductor, in Geneva and in each of its Member States, of the actions of all those involved in global health,” said Frédéric Valletoux, Minister Delegate in charge of Health and Prevention, France.

“We as Member States need to deliver more predictable, more flexible, and sufficient funding of the WHO,” Norway’s Health Minister Jan Christian Vestre said. “Norway is committed to co-host the Investment Round, which will be an important step in securing the Organization more sustainable financing.”

Further statements of support for the Investment Round came from Dr Gabriel Leung representing the Institute of Philanthropy, and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is WHO’s Ambassador for Global Health Financing.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley accepted a Global Health Leaders Award for lifetime achievement from WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and gave a statement supporting the WHO Investment Round and noting how important it was for Small Island Developing States.

“We live in a world where we ought to know better, and I say so on the launch of this Investment Round largely because what is being asked for is miniscule in proportion to where money is being spent elsewhere,” Ms Mottley said.

As part of Sunday’s event, prizes were awarded to winners of the 5th edition of WHO’s Health for All Film Festival by Indian actor, filmmaker and social advocate Nandita Das, a member of the distinguished international festival jury.

The launch event featured performances by internationally-acclaimed Egyptian opera singer Farrah El-Dibany and Franco-American pianist Jeff Cohen.

A post-event reception was hosted by Germany at WHO headquarters, opened by Karl Lauterbach, Federal Minister of Health. The reception also featured remarks from basketball star and childhood obesity control champion Pau Gasol, and a performance by Sherrie Silver, choreographer, dancer, actor, UN development advocate and philanthropist, and a troupe of young dancers.

Matching WHO’s funding to its obligations

The WHO Executive Board approved the Investment Round in January, noting that funding had not kept pace with the Organization’s mandate to promote well-being, prevent disease, expand access to health care, and coordinate the world’s response to a growing number of health emergencies brought on by war, disease outbreaks, and natural disasters.

By 2022-23, Member States’ assessed contributions (membership dues) covered only 13% of WHO’s budget, which left the Organization reliant on voluntary, often earmarked and unpredictable contributions to fund its work, a dynamic that created uncertainty and inefficiency across the Organization and left areas where approved activities went unfunded.

Holding an Investment Round was one of the key recommendations put forward by the Member State-led WHO Working Group on Sustainable Financing and approved by Member States to make WHO a predictably, sustainably, flexibly funded organization. Member States have also approved an increase in their assessed contributions, on the pathway to providing 50% of WHO’s base budget by 2030. With the Investment Round, WHO is seeking to expand its donor base by mobilizing new contributions from the WHO Member States that have not yet provided voluntary contributions and by tapping into new private sector donors through the WHO Foundation.

WHO announces winners of the 5th Health for All Film Festival

WHO news - Sun, 05/26/2024 - 11:33
The World Health Organization has announced the official selection of this year’s winning films of its 5th Health for All Film Festival. The awards were announced today at a special event launching WHO’s Investment Round on the eve of the Seventy-Seventh World Health Assembly in Geneva.

WHO Member States agree to share outcomes of historic IHR, pandemic agreement processes to World Health Assembly

WHO news - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 22:33

WHO Member States have ended intensive negotiations aimed at strengthening global capacities to respond to future pandemics and outbreaks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and agreed to submit outcomes of their work for consideration by the upcoming World Health Assembly, starting Monday.

Two parallel negotiation processes were undertaken to make a series of amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) and to develop a first-ever pandemic agreement, convention or other legal instrument.

Delegations to the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly, running from 27 May–1 June, will consider the outcomes of both processes, and the next steps for the two.

“Over the past two years, WHO Member States have dedicated enormous effort to rise to this challenge posted by COVID-19 and respond to the losses it caused, including at least 7 million lives lost,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “COVID-19 affected everybody, in many ways, and that is why Member States started a process to develop a pandemic agreement to make the world better prepared for the next pandemic. While great progress was made during these negotiations, there are challenges still to overcome. We need to use the World Health Assembly to re-energize us and finish the job at hand, which is to present the world with a generational pandemic agreement.”

Countries today ended their resumed 9th meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) comprising WHO’s 194 Member States. Initial agreement was reached by the INB on multiple elements of the draft agreement, and convergence on others. There were also areas of non-convergence and divergent views.

The INB Bureau, which has been guiding the process, will present a report outlining the two-plus years of work of the process, and the outcome of that work, which is the draft text that has been negotiated to date. Options for next steps to conclude the agreement process will also be put to the WHA for consideration.

Bureau co-Chair Mr Roland Driece, of the Netherlands, said WHO Member States remain committed to completing the pandemic agreement process and looked forward to the World Health Assembly to consider the progress made on this landmark initiative.

“Clearly there is agreement among governments that the world must forge a new approach to combatting pandemics,” Mr Driece said. “The next steps in this essential process will now be guided by the World Health Assembly.”

Fellow co-Chair Ms Precious Matsoso, of South Africa, added that the quest for building a generational, equitable agreement to prepare for, prevent and respond to pandemics remains. “The world must not take its focus off the job at hand, which is to ensure the world is better protected from the next pandemic. This will require continuous commitment and action from all parties to build the world’s collective defenses.”

The Working Group on the IHR (WGIHR) amendments will also be presenting its outcome to the WHA for consideration, including some provisions for which agreement in principle was reached and others that the WGIHR Bureau updated its proposed text for consideration by Member States.

The IHR, which were first adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1969 and last revised in 2005, were conceived to maximize collective efforts to manage public health events while at the same time minimizing their disruption to travel and trade. They have 196 State Parties, comprising all 194 WHO Member States plus Liechtenstein and the Holy See. These Parties have led the process to amend the IHR through the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) (WGIHR). Today marked the end of the resumed session of the eighth meeting of the WGIHR.  

Shipment of newest malaria vaccine, R21, to Central African Republic marks latest milestone for child survival

WHO news - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 22:00

UNICEF delivered over 43 000 doses of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine by air to Bangui, Central African Republic, today, with more than 120 000 doses to follow in the next days. It is the first country to receive the R21 malaria vaccine for use in routine childhood immunization, marking another step forward in preventing the disease and saving children’s lives.  

R21 is the second malaria vaccine to be recommended by WHO for children living in endemic areas. Along with the earlier WHO recommendation of the RTS,S vaccine, there is now sufficient vaccine supply to scale up malaria vaccination in Africa. The rollout of both vaccines is funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“With two products now available to countries, expanded supply of malaria vaccines is a game changer for child survival and health,” said Director of UNICEF Supply Division Leila Pakkala. “Previous concerns about supply meeting demand are firmly behind us. Now our priority is for the vaccines to reach every child at risk.”

The R21 and RTS,S vaccines are proven safe and effective in preventing malaria in children. The RTS,S vaccine was delivered to more than 2 million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi in a four-year pilot programme that demonstrated a 13% reduction in all-cause mortality.

Malaria is one of the world’s most lethal diseases, killing nearly half a million children under 5 years of age each year in Africa.

The Central African Republic has one of the highest rates of malaria incidence globally. In 2022, an estimated 1 733 000 malaria cases were reported in the country, averaging about 4747 cases a day. The disease also claimed around 5180 lives over the year, or 14 deaths each day.

“Having two safe and effective vaccines means we have greater supply security and can be more confident about meeting countries’ needs,” said Dr Sania Nishtar, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “That is what matters most – that countries where our vaccines can be most impactful are able to access them, saving thousands of lives each year and offering relief to families, communities and entire health systems.”

Central African Republic, along with Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Uganda, are preparing to receive R21 shipments.

Around 4.33 million doses of RTS,S have been delivered to 8 countries so far – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone – that are offering the vaccine in their routine child immunization programmes as part of national malaria control plans. Burundi and Niger are next on the list for RTS,S shipments.

Vaccine deliveries to countries that are funded through the Vaccine Alliance depend on government requests and readiness to include the vaccine in routine immunization programmes.

Gavi, UNICEF, WHO, and partners are supporting governments as they prepare to receive and introduce the vaccines. This involves supporting countries to develop vaccine implementation plans and communication strategies, conducting health worker trainings and community engagement, and ensuring sufficient cold chain capacity.

“Malaria vaccines, introduced as part of the tools available in comprehensive national malaria control plans, will substantially reduce early childhood deaths and can help revitalize the fight against malaria. With the R21 vaccine now joining RTS,S vaccine for use in country immunization programmes, scale up of malaria vaccine across parts of Africa, where malaria remains a major cause of childhood death will continue. The high community demand for malaria vaccines also provides an opportunity for children to receive other childhood vaccines that may be due, resulting in even more lives saved,” said Dr Kate O’Brien, Director of WHO's Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.

Malaria vaccines are an important addition to the fight against the disease. Careful planning is essential to ensure the successful introduction of the malaria vaccines and to combine them with other interventions including insecticide-treated bed nets or targeted indoor residual spraying, chemoprevention, diagnosis and prompt treatments to maximize the impact on public health.

 

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Notes to editors:

Download photos and videos here (content will be added post-shipment arrival).

Follow this link for the UNICEF vaccine market dashboard, which provides the latest market developments, including deliveries and a global overview of prices.

 

For more information, please contact:

Sara Alhattab, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 957 6536, salhattab@unicef.org

Meghana Sharafudeen, Gavi, Tel: +41 79 711 55 54, msharafudeen@gavi.org

Matt Grek, Gavi, mgrek@gavi.org

WHO Press Office, mediainquiries@who.int

 

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 its work, visit: www.unicef.org

Follow UNICEF on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube

 

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate more than half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunize a whole generation – over 1 billion children – and prevented more than 17.3 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 78 lower-income countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningococcal and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation, above all the zero-dose children who have not received even a single vaccine shot. The Vaccine Alliance employs innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency.

Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and X (Twitter).

 

About WHO

Dedicated to the health and 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. www.who.int

WHO releases a strategic framework for enhancing prevention and control of mpox

WHO news - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 19:38

Mpox continues to affect people around the world. A new framework released today by WHO will guide health authorities, communities and other stakeholders in preventing and controlling mpox outbreaks, eliminating human-to-human transmission of the disease, and reducing spillover of the virus from animals to humans.

Mpox is a viral illness caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV). It can cause a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes and fever. Most people fully recover, but some get very sick. The virus transmits from person to person through close, including sexual, contact. It also has animal reservoirs in east, central and west Africa, where spillovers from animals to humans can occasionally occur, sparking further outbreaks.

There are two different clades of the virus: clade I and clade II. Clade I outbreaks are deadlier than clade II outbreaks.

A major emergence of mpox linked to clade II began in 2017, and since 2022, has spread to all regions of the world. Between July 2022 and May 2023, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. While that outbreak has largely subsided, cases and deaths continue to be reported today, illustrating that low-level transmission continues around the world.

Currently, there is also a major outbreak of clade I virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where cases have been on the rise for decades. Since the beginning of the year, over 6500 cases and 345 deaths have been reported in the DRC. Almost half of these are among children under the age of 15 years.

The Strategic framework for enhancing prevention and control of mpox (2024–2027) provides a roadmap for health authorities, communities, and stakeholders worldwide to control mpox outbreaks in every context, advance mpox research and access to countermeasures, and to minimize zoonotic transmission.

Country visit to Kosovo* to discuss the One Health country roadmap on antimicrobial resistance

ECDC - News - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 15:40
From 22-23 May a team of experts from ECDC, the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety and the European Food Safety Authority completed a visit to Kosovo to support the country’s efforts to develop the One Health Country Roadmap on antimicrobial resistance.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

ECDC Summer School 2024: Assessing and anticipating threats in public health

ECDC - News - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 12:58
Delegates from the Western Balkans and Turkey, alongside representatives from the Africa CDC and MediPIET, were active participants in this year's ECDC Summer School, held from 22 – 24 May in Stockholm, Sweden.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

ECDC visit to the MediPIET Training Site in Moldova

ECDC - News - Fri, 05/24/2024 - 10:31
On 15 and 16 May 2024, staff from the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) visited the National Agency for Public Health (ANSP) in Moldova to assess its capacity as a training site for the MediPIET programme.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

COVID-19 eliminated a decade of progress in global level of life expectancy

WHO news - Thu, 05/23/2024 - 16:00

The latest edition of the World Health Statistics released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic reversed the trend of steady gain in life expectancy at birth and healthy life expectancy at birth (HALE).

The pandemic wiped out nearly a decade of progress in improving life expectancy within just two years. Between 2019 and 2021, global life expectancy dropped by 1.8 years to 71.4 years (back to the level of 2012). Similarly, global healthy life expectancy dropped by 1.5 years to 61.9 years in 2021 (back to the level of 2012).

The 2024 report also highlights how the effects have been felt unequally across the world. The WHO regions for the Americas and South-East Asia were hit hardest, with life expectancy dropping by approximately 3 years and healthy life expectancy by 2.5 years between 2019 and 2021. In contrast, the Western Pacific Region was minimally affected during the first two years of the pandemic, with losses of less than 0.1 years in life expectancy and 0.2 years in healthy life expectancy.

“There continues to be major progress in global health, with billions of people who are enjoying better health, better access to services, and better protection from health emergencies,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “But we must remember how fragile progress can be. In just two years, the COVID-19 pandemic erased a decade of gains in life expectancy. That's why the new Pandemic Agreement is so important: not only to strengthen global health security, but to protect long-term investments in health and promote equity within and between countries.”

Noncommunicable diseases remain the top killer

COVID-19 rapidly emerged as a leading cause of death, ranking as the third highest cause of mortality globally in 2020 and the second in 2021. Nearly 13 million lives were lost during this period. The latest estimates reveal that except in the African and Western Pacific regions, COVID-19 was among the top five causes of deaths, notably becoming the leading cause of death in the Americas for both years.

The WHO report also highlights that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as ischemic heart disease and stroke, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and diabetes were the biggest killers before the pandemic, responsible for 74% of all deaths in 2019. Even during the pandemic, NCDs continued to account for 78% of non-COVID deaths.

Increasing obesity and malnutrition

The world faces a massive and complex problem of a double burden of malnutrition, where undernutrition coexists with overweight and obesity. In 2022, over one billion people aged five years and older were living with obesity, while more than half a billion were underweight. Malnutrition in children was also striking, with 148 million children under five years old affected by stunting (too short for age), 45 million suffering from wasting (too thin for height), and 37 million overweight.

The report further highlights the significant health challenges faced by persons with disabilities, refugees and migrants. In 2021, about 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the global population, had disability. This group is disproportionately affected by health inequities resulting from avoidable, unjust and unfair conditions.

Access to healthcare for refugees and migrants remains limited, with only half of the 84 countries surveyed between 2018 and 2021 providing government-funded health services to these groups at levels comparable to their citizens. This highlights the urgent need for health systems to adapt and address the persisting inequities and changing demographic needs of global populations.

Progress towards the Triple Billion targets and SDGs

Despite setbacks caused by the pandemic, the world has made some progress towards achieving the Triple Billion targets and health-related indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Since 2018, an additional 1.5 billion people achieved better health and well-being. Despite gains, rising obesity, high tobacco use and persistent air pollution hinder progress.

Universal Health Coverage expanded to 585 million more people, falling short of the goal for one billion. Additionally, only 777 million more people are likely to be adequately protected during health emergencies by 2025, falling short of the one billion target set in WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work. This protection is increasingly important as the effects of climate change and other global crises increasingly threaten health security.

“While we have made progress towards the Triple Billion targets since 2018, a lot still needs to be done. Data is WHO’s superpower. We need to use it better to deliver more impact in countries,” said Dr Samira Asma, WHO Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact. “Without accelerating progress, it is unlikely that any of the health SDGs will be met by 2030.”

Editors’ note:

The World Health Statistics report is WHO’s annual compilation of the most recent available data on health and health-related indicators. For inquiries, contact healthstat@who.int

 

Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) supports the implementation of WHO's extended 13th General Programme of Work with flexible funding

WHO news - Thu, 05/23/2024 - 15:12

Ahead of the World Health Assembly 77, Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed Core Contribution Agreement to support the implementation of the extended 13th WHO Programme of Work.

The agreement entails a contribution of $4 million from the State of Qatar to WHO, through QFFD, aimed at enhancing the Organization's efforts in addressing global health challenges. This partnership underscores the State of Qatar and QFFD's unwavering commitment to improving health outcomes and promoting sustainable development goals worldwide.

"Our partnership with WHO is a testament to our dedication to leaving no one behind in the pursuit of health equity worldwide. By supporting WHO, we aim to empower communities, enhance healthcare access, and contribute to a healthier future for all." Said Mr Sultan Ahmed Al-Aseeri, Acting Director-General of QFFD.

“Flexible funds are critical for WHO’s life-saving work. With thanks to long-standing partners like the Qatar Fund for Development, WHO can use these funds to swiftly respond to global health needs as they arise. I am grateful to the State of Qatar for their support and for allowing us the flexibility we need to carry out our mission and mandate,‘’ said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The extended 13th WHO Programme of Work (GWP13) focuses on a comprehensive approach to health, addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases, strengthening health systems, and promoting health through the life course. This collaboration will particularly emphasize supporting countries in crisis and post-crisis contexts, aligning with the State of Qatar and QFFD's mission to provide crucial aid where it is needed most.

As the world continues to navigate complex health challenges, the partnership between QFFD and WHO represents a beacon of hope and a model for international cooperation in the realm of global health. This agreement is a significant step towards achieving the shared goal of a healthier, more resilient world.

ECDC and Egypt organise workshop addressing the impact of climate change on infectious diseases

ECDC - News - Thu, 05/23/2024 - 13:56
On 21–23 May 2024, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in collaboration with Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population organised a workshop addressing the intersection of climate change and infectious diseases.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Tobacco and nicotine industry tactics addict youth for life

WHO news - Thu, 05/23/2024 - 11:01

The World Health Organization (WHO) and STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, are launching today “Hooking the next generation,” a report highlighting how the tobacco and nicotine industry designs products, implements marketing campaigns and works to shape policy environments to help them addict the world’s youth.

This comes just ahead of World No Tobacco Day marked on 31 May, where WHO is amplifying the voices of young people who are calling on governments to protect them from being targets of the tobacco and nicotine industry.

The report shows that globally an estimated 37 million children aged 13–15 years use tobacco, and in many countries, the rate of e-cigarette use among adolescents exceeds that of adults. In the WHO European Region, 20% of 15-year-olds surveyed reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

Despite significant progress in reducing tobacco use, the emergence of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco and nicotine products present a grave threat to youth and tobacco control. Studies demonstrate that e-cigarette use increases conventional cigarette use, particularly among non-smoking youth, by nearly three times.

"History is repeating, as the tobacco industry tries to sell the same nicotine to our children in different packaging,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “These industries are actively targeting schools, children and young people with new products that are essentially a candy-flavoured trap. How can they talk about harm reduction when they are marketing these dangerous, highly-addictive products to children?”

These industries continue to market their products to young people with enticing flavours like candy and fruit. Research in the United States of America found that more than 70% of youth e-cigarette users would quit if the products were only available in tobacco flavour.

"These industries are intentionally designing products and utilizing marketing strategies that appeal directly to children," said Dr Ruediger Krech, Director, WHO Director of Health Promotion. "The use of child-friendly flavours like cotton candy and bubblegum, combined with sleek and colourful designs that resemble toys, is a blatant attempt to addict young people to these harmful products."

These deceptive tactics highlight the urgent need for strong regulations to protect young people from a lifetime of harmful dependence.

WHO urges governments to protect young people from the uptake of tobacco, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products by banning or tightly regulating these products. WHO recommendations include creating 100% smoke-free indoor public places, banning flavoured e-cigarettes, bans on marketing, advertising and promotion, higher taxes, increasing public awareness of the deceptive tactics used by the industry and supporting youth-led education and awareness initiatives.

“Addicted youth represent a lifetime of profits to the industry,” said Jorge Alday, Director, STOP at Vital Strategies. “That’s why the industry aggressively lobbies to create an environment that makes it cheap, attractive and easy for youth to get hooked. If policy makers don’t act, current and future generations may be facing a new wave of harms, characterized by addiction to and use of many tobacco and nicotine products, including cigarettes.”

Youth advocates around the world are taking a stand against the tobacco and nicotine industry’s destructive influence and manipulative marketing. They are exposing these deceptive practices and advocating for their own tobacco-free future. Youth organizations from around the world participated in the latest session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP10) to deliver a powerful message to policy makers: “Future generations will remember you as the ones who protected them or the ones who failed them and put them in danger.”

Dr Tedros recognized the following youth organizations among the 2024 World No Tobacco Day Awards:

  • Thailand Youth Institute, Kingdom of Thailand
  • Tobacco Abstinence Club, Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Argentine Republic

These inspiring young leaders are protecting their generation from an industry that sees them as profits, not people.

By working together, governments, public health organizations, civil society, and empowered youth can create a world where the next generation is free from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine addiction.

"All for Health, Health for All" sets the stage for the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly

WHO news - Wed, 05/22/2024 - 16:34

As the world continues to grapple with the aftermath of the most severe pandemic in a century, the Seventy-seventh session of the World Health Assembly will convene under the banner of "All for Health, Health for All." Scheduled to run from 27 May to 1 June, with the participation of ministers of health and other high-level country representatives, the Health Assembly serves as a critical platform for addressing existing global health challenges such as HIV, measles and polio, amidst the climate emergency and the rise of conditions like hypertension and obesity. 

One of the pivotal moments anticipated during the Health Assembly is the Pandemic prevention, preparedness and response accord and the amendments to the International Health Regulations, signaling a concerted effort by Member States to bolster global preparedness and response mechanisms.  

A pre-Health Assembly opening event on Sunday 26 May will kickstart the WHO Investment Round efforts, an engagement with current and potential donors aimed at ensuring sustainable funding for WHO. Additionally, the launch on Tuesday 28 May of WHO’s third Investment case will explain the value proposition, in terms of additional lives saved, if the Fourteenth General Programme of Work (GPW 14), WHO’s strategy for 2025–2028, is carried out in its entirety.  

"The cumulative effects of climate change, disease outbreaks and conflict mean ever more pressure on WHO to respond to the world's health needs,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "This Health Assembly presents our Member States with key opportunities to promote, provide and protect health and well-being for everyone, by adopting the Fourteenth General Programme of Work, the global health strategy for the next four years; by supporting WHO's continued transformation through the WHO Investment Round; and by making the world safer through the Pandemic Agreement and the amendments to the International Health Regulations.” 

Key highlights and decisions 
Key moments and outcomes expected during the Health Assembly include the approval on 28 May of WHO’s 2025–2028 strategy, GPW 14, to address health-related implications of such megatrends as climate change, ageing, migration, and advances in science and technology. The four-year period represents a window to get the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track. 

Crucial decisions are expected on a range of health priorities such as climate and health, WHO’s work in health emergencies, access to transformative tools, communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases, mental health, women's health and the reform of WHO itself.  

The Health Assembly will feature high-level participation from political leaders and ambassadors, and representatives from civil society and non-State actors, underscoring the global commitment to advancing the public health agenda. 

On Friday 31 May, the Health Assembly President will present six 2024 public health awards to eight laureates for outstanding contributions to public health.

Pre-Health Assembly opening events 

Some events will take place on Sunday 26 May, prior to the Health Assembly official opening on Monday morning. The fifth edition of the Walk the Talk: Health for All challenge will start at Place des Nations at 08:00 CEST to promote physical and mental health. Sports and entertainment leaders will be participating, including WHO Goodwill ambassador Didier Drogba; basketballer and childhood obesity control champion Pau Gasol; Olympic and World 800m champion David Rudisha; Swiss, world Paralympic wheelchair marathon champion Marcel Hug; and choreographer and development advocate Sherrie Silver.  

Later on Sunday, 26 May, from 17:00 to 20:00, the All for Health, Health for All event at WHO headquarters will launch WHO’s first Investment Round and host the Grand Prix awards for the Health for All Film Festival. Mezzo-soprano opera singer Farrah El Dibany will also perform. The event will be live-streamed.  

On Monday 27 May, the Health Assembly will open at 09:00 at the Palais des Nations. The high-level segment is expected to begin at 09:30 with the WHO Director-General presenting the Director-General's Global Health Leaders awards to laureates at about 10:00. (Note: one laureate will receive their award at the 26 May event.) Dr Tedros’ main address will starts at approximately 14:30.   

Strategic Roundtables 
Strategic Roundtables will take place throughout Health Assembly with the theme of “Invest in global health – Invest in WHO.” These events will host discussions among Health Assembly delegates, partner agencies, representatives of civil society and WHO experts on public health priorities. Sessions run from 28 May to 1 June 2024 at 13:00–14:15. A session will also take place on Tuesday evening, 28 May. All sessions can be followed online.  

As WHO’s highest decision-making body, the Health Assembly sets out the Organization’s policy and approves its budget. The Health Assembly is attended by delegations from all 194 WHO Member States. The Health Assembly’s agenda is preceded by the 40th meeting of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee of the Executive Board, meeting on 22–24 May 2024. After the Health Assembly, the 155th meeting of the Executive Board will take place on 3–4 June. 

Challenges and approaches for effective communication around the benefit and risk balance of vaccination

ECDC - News - Wed, 05/22/2024 - 11:56
A recent ECDC study shows that communication around the benefit and risk balance of vaccination is a complex undertaking and therefore requires a mix of different communication approaches to ensure impact across multiple audiences.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

New research flags the urgent need for research and evidence on the impact of climate change on neglected tropical diseases and malaria

WHO news - Wed, 05/22/2024 - 10:54
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Task Team on Climate Change, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and Malaria, in partnership with Reaching the Last Mile (RLM), has released a major scoping review published in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Joint meeting of the EU/EEA and WHO European Region Surveillance Network for Tuberculosis 2024

ECDC - News - Tue, 05/21/2024 - 17:09
ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) recently concluded a crucial joint meeting focused on enhancing tuberculosis (TB) surveillance and monitoring across the WHO European Region.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

New report flags major increase in sexually transmitted infections, amidst challenges in HIV and hepatitis

WHO news - Tue, 05/21/2024 - 10:50
Global HIV, viral hepatitis epidemics and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to pose significant public health challenges, causing 2.5 million deaths each year, according to a new WHO report - Implementing the global health sector strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, 2022–2030.

Largest number of regulatory agencies for medical products approved as WHO Listed Authorities

WHO news - Mon, 05/20/2024 - 10:46
WHO has approved designation of 33 national and regional regulatory authorities as WHO Listed Authorities (WLAs) that can be relied on for fulfilling the highest level of regulatory standards and practices for quality, safety and efficacy of medicines and vaccines.

Ground-breaking progress made in Member State negotiations on amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR)

WHO news - Sat, 05/18/2024 - 19:27

In an historic milestone for global public health, State Parties today agreed in principle on a large, ground-breaking package of amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005). These amendments build on over 300 proposals made by countries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They set out to improve the ability of countries to prepare for, detect and respond to Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEICs), and will be part of a package to be put forward to the World Health Assembly (WHA). The WHA takes place from 27 May–1 June 2024. Negotiators will meet again next week to wrap up their work on the few remaining issues that need to be finalised.

The IHR, which were first adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1969 and last revised in 2005, were conceived to maximize collective efforts to manage public health events while at the same time minimizing their disruption to travel and trade. They have 196 State Parties, comprising all 194 WHO Member States plus Liechtenstein and the Holy See. These Parties have led the process to amend the IHR through the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) (WGIHR). Today marked the end of the resumed session of the eighth meeting of the WGIHR.  

This process has been running in parallel to an intergovernmental process to develop an international agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. The draft pandemic agreement, with its own Member State-led negotiating process which resumes on 20 May, is also due to go to the World Health Assembly.

“The International Health Regulations have served the world well for nearly 20 years but our collective experience in using this vital tool for the management of multiple public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, has demonstrated important areas in which they could be strengthened for the benefit of all 196 State Parties,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is historic. Countries have come together around improved international mechanisms to protect every person in the world and future generations from the impact of epidemics and pandemics, with a commitment to equity and solidarity. I thank all the Member States for their unswerving dedication.”

WGIHR Co-Chair Dr Ashley Bloomfield, of New Zealand, said: “It has been a long but very productive and gratifying process to achieve consensus on the majority of the proposed amendments. This shows the importance the world places on being able to prepare effectively for and respond better to epidemic and pandemic threats, and that there is strong international consensus on how to go about international public health protection.”

Fellow WGIHR Co-Chair, Dr Abdullah Assiri, of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “Amending the International Health Regulations reflects the critical need to bolster our collective defences against current and future public health risks, all whilst firmly adhering to the principle of national sovereignty and respecting equity. Today, we have coalesced around a robust set of amendments which will make international cooperation more effective and easier to implement.”

A potential new pandemic agreement and the amended IHRs would be complementary international instruments designed and negotiated by Member States to help countries protect their peoples better from future pandemic threats. The IHRs focus on building countries’ capacities to detect and respond to public health events which could take on international dimensions, whilst the draft pandemic accord focuses on a coordinated international response to pandemics, with equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics at the centre.

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