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WHO calls for comprehensive, equitable access to healthcare for every Chagas disease patient

WHO news - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 10:00
Today on World Chagas Disease Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for comprehensive and equitable access to health care and services to everyone affected by Chagas disease. An estimated 6 to 7 million people worldwide are infected by Trypanosoma cruzi - the parasite that causes the disease.

Safety Precautions When Using Electrostatic Sprayers, Foggers, Misters, or Vaporizers for Surface Disinfection During the COVID-19 Pandemic

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 07:00
Carefully select cleaners and disinfectants and application methods for use in facilities, businesses, and public indoor spaces to ensure that you can clean and disinfect safely and effectively.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Recommendation to Pause Use of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 07:00
CDC recommends pausing use of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine following a rare and severe type of blood clot in 6 people who received the vaccine. (147 characters)
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Health Equity

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 07:00
Systemic health and social inequities have put people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk from COVID-19. Take steps to reduce health disparities.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

WHO and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF) sign Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen access to health in Francophone countries

WHO news - Tue, 04/13/2021 - 19:59

The World Health Organization and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF) today signed a memorandum of understanding to scale up collaboration and boost access to health services in Francophone countries. 

The agreement, finalized at a ceremony held at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, focuses on advancing universal health coverage, fighting malaria and collaborating on the development of the WHO Academy, which aims to train millions of health workers worldwide. It will also support COVID-19 response efforts, including on promoting equitable access to vaccines.

"Our actions, supported by this memorandum of understanding, must contribute to the development of social protection and universal access to public health services in the French-speaking countries,” said Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo, IOF Secretary General. “This is a fundamental right for individuals and an essential condition for the socio-economic progress of our countries.”

Ms Mushikiwabo added: “This memorandum of understanding aims to bring IOF political and diplomatic support to some of WHO’s priorities.”

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the MoU signing further bolstered an already strong partnership with IOF, and would play a vital role in promoting and protecting people’s health, including in the response to COVID-19.

“Strengthening the relationship between WHO and the IOF comes at a crucial time, when the world needs even closer collaboration to fight COVID-19 and address existing health challenges, from malaria to inequitable access to health services,” said Dr Tedros. “Expanding universal health coverage and equipping current and future health systems with highly trained health workers are essential steps that WHO and IOF will continue working on together.”

Under the MoU, the IOF will work through advocacy actions, to promote and protect people’s access to the fundamental human right to health, in doing so supporting WHO’s work with national, regional and global authorities to advance access to universal health coverage. The MoU will, in particular, promote multilingualism, including use of the French language, in health promotion and training materials. Another key focus is promoting health education for young women and girls, including on sexual and reproductive health.

With 88 Member States and governments, the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) counts among its missions the promotion and protection of fundamental rights, among which the right to Health. Several Resolutions on this subject were adopted at the Francophonie by its governing bodies, the latest of which was approved by the Francophonie Ministerial Conference in November 2020, on "Living together during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the post-COVID world.”


Benefits of continuing to provide life-saving HIV services outweigh the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 100 to 1

WHO news - Tue, 04/13/2021 - 14:07
Disruption to HIV services as high as 75% has been reported in some countries—to prevent increased AIDS-related deaths, HIV services must continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Tue, 04/13/2021 - 07:00
Viral vector vaccines are a type of vaccine likely to be approved for use for COVID-19 that work differently from the initially approved mRNA vaccines.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Postcard from the field: A ‘Field Mission’ from my living room - supporting the WHO epidemiology team during the 11th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

ECDC - News - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 15:00
By September 2020 there was no more denying that we, the fellows of 2019, would be the ‘pandemic cohort’ - or at least one of them for all we knew.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Call for expression of interest: EU for health security in Africa: ECDC 4 Africa CDC

ECDC - News - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 15:00
ECDC invites experts to express their interest to contribute to strengthening Africa CDC capacities in preparedness, surveillance, and response to health threats posed by communicable diseases.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Health Equity in Action

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 07:00
Health Equity in Action
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Health Equity News & Resources

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 07:00
Health Equity News & Resources
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Sat, 04/10/2021 - 07:00
View a map showing the number of confirmed cases in each state of the new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.7) in the United States.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

US$ 1.4 trillion lost every year to tobacco use - New tobacco tax manual shows ways to save lives, money and build back better after COVID-19

WHO news - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 16:34

WHO’s new technical manual on tobacco tax policy and administration shows countries ways to cut down on over US$1.4 trillion in health expenditures and lost productivity due to tobacco use worldwide.

Improved tobacco taxation policies can also be a key component of building back better after COVID-19, where countries need additional resources to respond and to finance health system recovery.

“We launched this new manual to provide updated, clear, and practical guidance for policymakers, finance officials, tax authorities, customs officials and others involved in tobacco tax policy to create and implement the strongest tobacco taxation policies for their specific countries,” said Jeremias N. Paul Jr, Unit Head for the Fiscal Policies for Health team in the Health Promotion Department at WHO.

“We hope this document sheds light on the significant advantages to raising tobacco taxation. The data and insights provided here should be an eye opener for policymakers worldwide,” he said.

The ‘best buy’ highlighted in the manual not only saves money, but saves lives. The human and economic costs of tobacco are on the rise - 8 million people died because of tobacco last year.

Only 14% of the world has enough tax on tobacco

In 2018 only 38 countries, covering 14% of the global population had sufficiently high tobacco taxes - which means taxing at least 75% of the price of these health-harming products. By implementing proven policies like tobacco taxes, the costs created by the tobacco industry to local communities and nations can be avoidable.  It is a win for population health, revenue and for development and equity.

Raising tobacco taxes is SMART

Tobacco taxes Save lives, Mobilize resources, Address health inequities, Reduce health system burdens and costs, and Target noncommunicable risk factors for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Meeting of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG) for the update and consolidation of guidelines for safe abortion care

WHO news - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 11:56

WHO has released new details regarding membership of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG) for the update and consolidation of the following guidelines: 

Safe Abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems, 2012

Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception, 2015) and

Medical Management of Abortion, 2019

The meeting of the GDG will be held on 27-30 April 2021 and will focus on reviewing the latest evidence relating to the epidemiological, clinical, service delivery, legal and human rights aspects of providing safe abortion care. The purpose of the meeting is to review the evidence, then provide recommendations and guidance on safe abortion care.

List of experts with biographies

See list of experts

NOTE: The GDG members are participating in the meeting on their individual capacity. Affiliations are presented only as a reference. The participation of experts in a WHO meeting does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the WHO nor does it create a binding relationship between the experts and WHO. The biographies have been provided by the experts themselves and are the sole responsibility of the individuals concerned. WHO is not responsible for the accuracy, veracity and completeness of the information provided. In accordance with WHO conflict of interest assessment policy, expert’s biographies are published for transparency purposes. Comments and perceptions are brought to the knowledge of WHO through the public notice and comment process. Comments sent to WHO are treated confidentially and their receipt will be acknowledged through a generic email notification to the sender.

Please send any comments to the following email: srhpua@who.int. WHO reserves the right to discuss information received through this process with the relevant expert with no attribution to the provider of such information. Upon review and assessment of the information received through this process, WHO, in its sole discretion, may take appropriate management of conflicts of interests in accordance with its policies.

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 07:00
List of public service announcements related to coronavirus.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Summary for Healthcare Facilities: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators during the COVID-19 Response

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 07:00
Checklist for Healthcare Facilities: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators during the COVID-19 Response
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 07:00
Ventilation interventions, like upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) can help reduce the number of infectious viral particles (e.g., SARS-CoV-2) in the air.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)


2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 07:00
With extensive participation from US clinical and public health laboratories, academic institutions, and the private sector, the SPHERES consortium aims to generate information about the virus that will strengthen COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Guidance for Reporting SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Results

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 04/09/2021 - 07:00
It is critically important for the nation's COVID-19 pandemic response to understand the genetic diversity, spread, and evolution of SARS-CoV-2, including variant viruses. This guidance for reporting SARS-CoV-2 sequencing will improve that understanding.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Global shortage of innovative antibiotics fuels emergence and spread of drug-resistance

WHO news - Thu, 04/08/2021 - 19:18

The world is still failing to develop desperately needed antibacterial treatments, despite growing awareness of the urgent threat of antibiotic resistance, according to report by the World Health Organization. WHO reveals that none of the 43 antibiotics that are currently in clinical development sufficiently address the problem of drug resistance in the world’s most dangerous bacteria.

“The persistent failure to develop, manufacture, and distribute effective new antibiotics is further fueling the impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and threatens our ability to successfully treat bacterial infections,” says Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director General on AMR.

Almost all the new antibiotics that have been brought to market in recent decades are variations of antibiotic drugs classes that had been discovered by the 1980s.

The impact of AMR is most severe in resource-constrained settings and among vulnerable groups such as new-borns and young children. Bacterial pneumonia and bloodstream infections are among the major causes of childhood mortality under the age of 5. Approximately 30% of neonates with sepsis die due to bacterial infections resistant to multiple first-line antibiotics. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(17)30362-5

Report findings:

WHO’s annual Antibacterial Pipeline Report, reviews antibiotics that are in the clinical stages of testing as well as those in early product development. The aim is to assess progress and identify gaps in relation to urgent threats of drug resistance, and to encourage action to fill those gaps.

The report evaluates the potential of the candidates to address the most threatening drug-resistant bacteria outlined in the WHO Bacterial Priority Pathogens List (WHO PPL). This list, which includes 13 priority drug-resistant bacteria, has informed and guided priority areas for research and development since its first publication in 2017.

The 2020 report reveals a near static pipeline with only few antibiotics being approved by regulatory agencies in recent years.  Most of these agents in development offer limited clinical benefit over existing treatments, with 82% of the recently approved antibiotics being derivatives of existing antibiotic classes with well-established drug-resistance. Therefore, rapid emergence of drug-resistance to these new agents is expected.

The review concludes that “overall, the clinical pipeline and recently approved antibiotics are insufficient to tackle the challenge of increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance”.

Novel solutions outside the traditional development pathway:

The lack of progress on antibiotic development highlights the need to explore innovative approaches to treat bacterial infections. The 2020 WHO pipeline report for the first time includes a comprehensive overview of non-traditional antibacterial medicines.  It highlights 27 non-traditional antibacterial agents in the pipeline ranging from antibodies to bacteriophages and therapies that support the patient’s immune response and weaken the effect of the bacteria.

High failure rates and impact on market dynamics: 

The report notes that there are some promising products in different stages of development. However, only a fraction of these will ever make it to the market due to the economic and inherent scientific challenges in the drug development process. This, along with the small return on investment from successful antibiotic products, has limited the interest of major private investors and most large pharmaceutical companies.

The report confirms that the preclinical and clinical pipeline continue to be driven by small- and medium-sized companies. These enterprises often struggle to finance their products to the late stages of clinical development or until regulatory approval is obtained.

The COVID-19 opportunity:

The COVID-19 crisis has deepened the global understanding of the health and economic implications of an uncontrolled pandemic. It also accentuated the gaps in sustainable funding to address these risks, including investments in R&D of antimicrobial medicines and vaccines, whilst revealing what rapid progress can be made when there is enough political will and enterprise.

“Opportunities emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic must be seized to bring to the forefront the needs for sustainable investments in R&D of new and effective antibiotics,” said Haileyesus Getahun, Director of AMR Global Coordination at WHO.  “Antibiotics present the Achilles heel for universal health coverage and our global health security.  We need a global sustained effort including mechanisms for pooled funding and new and additional investments to meet the magnitude of the AMR threat.”

Global Initiatives:

To address gaps in funding and drive sustainable investments in antibiotics development, WHO and its partner Drugs fro Neglected Diseases intitive (DNDi) have set up the Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership (GARDP) to develop some of the innovative treatments that are included in the report. In addition, the WHO has been working closely with other non-profit funding partners such as the CARB-X to “push” and accelerate antibacterial research.

Another important new initiative is the AMR Action Fund, a partnership that was set up by a coalition of pharmaceutical companies, philanthropies, the European Investment Bank, with the support of the WHO, that aims to strengthen and accelerate antibiotic development through global pooled funding. The Fund is expected to play an important role in ensuring that the most innovative and promising products receive the required funding.





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