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People with Developmental Disabilities

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Mar, 03/02/2021 - 07:00
People with developmental and behavioral disorders and those who care for them can take steps to prevent illness and stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

World Pharmacopoeias support public health during COVID-19 pandemic

WHO news - Lun, 03/01/2021 - 19:04

Scientists and health professionals worldwide have rarely been under as much pressure as they have been these past few months. This has led to unprecedented collaborative efforts using exceptional means on a global scale, including amongst world pharmacopoeias.

A pharmacopoeia is a legally-binding collection of standards and quality specifications for medical products. The World Health Organization (WHO) organizes official meetings entitled International Meeting of World Pharmacopoeias for participation of all WHO Member States' pharmacopoeias worldwide, be they national, regional or international. During these meetings, the pharmacopoeias share important news and strengthen their co-operation to improve public health outcomes for patients.

The 12th International Meeting of World Pharmacopoeias (IMWP) was hosted by WHO and met virtually from 22-24 February 2021.  Sixty-one participants attended from 18 pharmacopoeias, representing 51 pharmacopoeias and pharmacopoeial authorities globally (out of the 60 listed in the Index of world pharmacopoeias and pharmacopoeial authorities compiled by WHO (Index of World Pharmacopoeias and Pharmacopoeial authorities). These pharmacopoeias work together to support the global public health response to the pandemic, providing support to manufacturers, regulators and stakeholders on medicines, all critical to the COVID-19 response. The availability and use of well-conceived international norms and standards - for performing clinical trials, producing a vaccine, a therapeutic, a medical device or diagnostics test or testing of their quality - are essential to ensure a successful outcome for a patient. 

A major outcome of the collaboration is the global pharmacopoeial alert system initiated by  the Brazilian, British, Chinese, European, Indian, International, Japanese, Mexican, United States and Vietnamese pharmacopoeias and other global pharmacopoeial partners. This has resulted in a dashboard listing of COVID-19 investigated medicines mapped to available monographs published in the various world pharmacopoeias. This listing is now available to allow easy identification of quality control specifications for therapeutics under consideration for COVID-19 treatment.  Link: Health product and policy standard.

In addition, a number of world pharmacopoeias have increased the accessibility of supportive pharmacopoeial texts by making these freely available via their websites (these website addresses are included within the list).

The collaborative efforts of this group of world pharmacopoeias have brought forth the development of a new type of test specification under the umbrella of this IMWP. The pilot (the first specifications of this type) will be the IMWP monographs for Favipiravir. All related information will be made available on the WHO IMWP website. This will be an excellent initiative, making sure that test specifications are available and free of charge for those who need them during an emergency situation, such as the current pandemic. It will allow for quality checks and will be a tool to help prevent substandard and falsified products circulating.   

In conclusion, the IMWP has again proven to be an invaluable forum and platform for world pharmacopoeias in their response to public health needs. 

 

First COVID-19 COVAX vaccine doses administered in Africa

WHO news - Lun, 03/01/2021 - 16:55

  • Today, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana began COVID-19 vaccination campaigns aimed at protecting healthcare workers
  • This week’s first vaccinations happen as a further 11 million COVAX doses are expected to be delivered over the next seven days
  • Publication of the allocation of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to 142 of COVAX’s participating economies, to be delivered between now and the end of May, is anticipated tomorrow

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As the global rollout of COVAX vaccines accelerates, the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa using COVAX doses began today in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. These campaigns are the among the first to use doses provided by the COVAX Facility’s Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC). 

The AMC is the COVAX Facility’s mechanism to provide donor-funded vaccines to lower-income countries.

The campaigns in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire follow deliveries to both countries last week with Ghana taking delivery of 600,000 doses on February 24 and Côte d’Ivoire 504,000 doses two days later. Both countries received the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The vaccine, branded COVISHIELD, was granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization on 15 February.

H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana said: "COVID-19 has changed the world. It has cost lives, battered health systems, and damaged livelihoods. But, through these challenges, we have seen the best of humanity exemplified through strong multilateral cooperation. Ghana welcomes the arrival of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX AMC as a pathway to ending the acute phase of the pandemic. To maximise the public health benefit of the vaccine, the first doses will be prioritized for health and essential workers, and other at-risk groups. This important milestone will allow Ghana to get back to business, and build back our economy even stronger than before." 

The deliveries mark the start of what will be the largest, most rapid and complex global rollout of vaccines in history. In total, COVAX aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion to the 92 economies eligible for support through the COVAX AMC.

Confirmation of first-round allocations, covering the majority of the COVAX Facility participants, will be published 2 March 2021. COVAX doses to date have been delivered by SII to India, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, while Pfizer-BioNTech has delivered doses to the Republic of Korea. More deliveries by these two manufacturers are planned in the coming days, with 11 million doses in total planned to be delivered over the next seven days. In addition, AstraZeneca is set to commence shipments this week.

COVAX, the overarching effort to accelerate development and access to COVID vaccines, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, manufacturers and civil society organizations, and others.

"This is a day many of us have been dreaming of and working for more than 12 months," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "It's gratifying to see the fruit of that labour. But success is still to come. This is only the beginning of what COVAX was set up to achieve. We have a lot left to do to realize our vision to start vaccination in all countries within the first 100 days of the year. There are just 40 days left."

“As vaccination begins in Côte D’Ivoire, less than a year after COVID-19 was characterized as a global pandemic, I am filled with confidence, and I am sure that through COVAX and international solidarity we will be able to reach the most at-risk everywhere. Global equitable access to life-saving vaccines is the surest way to save lives and rebuild economies. I would like to thank all donors and also the leadership of the G7 group of nations. Nowadays vaccine policy is the best economic policy,” said José Manuel Barroso, Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  

“The last year has been a dark one for families all over the world, but the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines provided a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel. Today, the COVAX Facility begins to make good on its promise to make sure that light shines for all,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “This unprecedented global effort has rallied the international community behind identifying acceptable vaccines, raising funds to procure them, and laying the groundwork for the world’s largest immunization campaign in history. Now, these vaccines are quickly reaching people in low and middle-income countries, many of which would have been left behind without the Facility’s work. This proves what we can accomplish when we all – the private sector, UN and development agencies, governments, donors, and other partners – work as one.”

“This is a historic day in the global fight against COVID-19. Today’s vaccinations in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana are among the first to be delivered through COVAX, which will protect many hundreds of millions of those most at risk from COVID-19, wherever they are in the world.” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “In the coming days and weeks, COVAX will begin to redress the global imbalance in vaccine deployment, but there is still much to do. The spread of new COVID-19 variants means global access to vaccines is more important than ever before, and the global community must remain firmly focused on this goal if we are to bring the pandemic to an end.”

The start of Africa’s biggest immunization drive in history through the COVAX Facility marks a step forward in the continent’s fight against COVID-19. It is a welcome shift towards bringing African countries off the sidelines and back into the vaccination race, correcting the glaring inequity which has been an unfortunate hallmark of the global vaccine rollout to date. For months WHO teams in the region and partners have been supporting countries to plan and prepare for the complex challenges of such a massive vaccination campaign. We now look forward to seeing these plans put into action with an effective and efficient vaccine rollout,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“The first COVAX vaccine deliveries in West and Central Africa were a huge first step towards equity and a demonstration of global solidarity,” said UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Marie-Pierre Poirier. “A few days after the vaccine doses landed, we are already celebrating the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, starting today in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, aimed at protecting the most vulnerable. We are proud that countries in West and Central Africa were ready from the get-go. UNICEF is active on the ground, together with WHO and other partners, to support the roll-out of the vaccination campaigns until everyone is safe.“

 

Quotes from partners and donors

President Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission said:  “To overcome coronavirus, vaccines must reach all corners of the planet, as soon as possible. I am delighted that we now have tangible results on the ground. I want to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of our partners, Gavi, CEPI, WHO and UNICEF. Team Europe is a proud supporter of COVAX and will continue to stand by the people of Africa."

Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, Government of Canada and Gavi COVAX AMC co-chair said: “Today is yet again proof of what can be achieved through international collaboration. We have reached another milestone in the global vaccination effort, with the first COVAX vaccines being administered in Cote d’Ivoire. Canada is committed to helping everyone, everywhere recover from the pandemic, and also, to strengthening health systems.”

Norwegian Minister of International Development and co-chair of ACT-A facilitation council Dag-Inge Ulstein said: “The progress on vaccines is impressive and, as a major funder to the ACT Accelerator, we believe in the need for the multilateral approach which is clearly working. As co-chair of the ACT Accelerator Facilitation Council, we urgently need to see the same traction in tests, treatments and health systems. Funding is needed to support this now; we have a small window of opportunity with the evolving context of the pandemic -new variants, limited vaccine supply, and underinvestment in global solutions means we cannot be complacent.”

HE Minister of Health in Saudi Arabia, Dr Tawfig AlRabiah said: “Saudi Arabia’s contribution to this historic moment reaffirms our commitment to the principles of ACT-A; equitable access to various pandemic tools, leaving no one behind.”

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India (SII) said: "We are delighted to play a part in vaccinating the world through COVAX. We will continue to work towards providing equitable access to vaccines."

Sai D. Prasad, President, Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturer’s Network (DCVMN) said: “Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturer’s Network has strongly stood with all stakeholders during this unprecedented time of COVID-19 pandemic and has strived hard to develop, manufacture and roll out COVID-19 vaccines in a record time span of 10-12 months as a part of global collaboration and solidarity. We stand together shoulder to shoulder in this endeavour.”

Thomas Cueni, Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said: “Since the beginning of this pandemic, vaccine makers have spared no efforts to speed up development, production, registration, and equitable access to of high-quality vaccines. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are committed founding partners of ACT-Accelerator and COVAX, and we are excited that for the first time in the history of pandemics vaccines are rolled out in a coordinated manner quickly around the world. Another momentous effort, is the scaling up of the vaccine manufacturing from zero to millions in a matter of months. As producing vaccines is a complex process, so with such a scale up, there are inevitably going to be challenges ahead; we will continue working collaboratively to find solutions and join hands in making history.”

 

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Notes to Editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC is available here. 

About COVAX  

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.  

CEPI is focused on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio: investing in R&D across a variety of promising candidates, with the goal to support development of three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. As part of this work, CEPI has secured first right of refusal to potentially over one billion doses for the COVAX Facility to a number of candidates, and made strategic investments in vaccine manufacturing, which includes reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVAX vaccines at a network of facilities, and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of vaccine. CEPI is also investing in the ‘next generation’ of vaccine candidates, which will give the world additional options to control COVID-19 in the future.   

Gavi is focused on procurement and delivery for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. The COVAX Facility is the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines through which COVAX will ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by WHO. The COVAX Facility will do this by pooling buying power from participating economies and providing volume guarantees across a range of promising vaccine candidates. The Gavi COVAX AMC is the financing mechanism that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income countries in the Facility, enabling access to donor-funded doses of safe and effective vaccines. Gavi is fundraising for the COVAX AMC, and funding UNICEF procurement of vaccines as well as partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery, including support cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) will be acting as procurement coordinators for the COVAX Facility, helping deliver vaccines to COVAX AMC participants and others. 

WHO has multiple roles within COVAX: It provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. Its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations. Its Emergency Use Listing (EUL) / prequalification programmes ensure harmonized review and authorization across member states. It provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. It developed the target product profiles for COVID-19 vaccines and provides R&D technical coordination. WHO leads, together with UNICEF, the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream, which provides support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. Along with Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level, the CRD workstream provides tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines. Along with COVAX partners, WHO has developed a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments. 

UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world. 

About CEPI 

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated ten partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes are leveraging rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships.  

Before the emergence of COVID-19, CEPI’s priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X). 

About Gavi 

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 822 million children – and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing 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, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more 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 Twitter
 
The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here

About WHO 

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.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube 

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 . Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.  

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.  

About the ACT-Accelerator 

The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020. 

The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organisation, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organisations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organisations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it. 

The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation. 

 

CDC's Response to Support State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Health Departments

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Lun, 03/01/2021 - 07:00
COVID Response Corps is a new, nationwide community-focused initiative to provide surge staffing and resources to support state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Frequently Asked Questions: Funeral and Burial Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Lun, 03/01/2021 - 07:00
This information is meant to help guide tribes with funeral and burial health and safety. This information also helps tribes plan for an increase in deaths within a community.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

COVID-19 Staffing Guidance for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Health Departments

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 07:00
This web page contains COVID-19 staffing guidance for state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Independent Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test Performance

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 07:00
In collaboration with the NCI, CDC, and BARDA, the FDA has developed a comprehensive dataset to compare the performance characteristics of different serological tests that were independently evaluated using well-characterized sample panels of positive and negative specimens for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Independent Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test Performance

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 07:00
In collaboration with the NCI, CDC, and BARDA, the FDA has developed a comprehensive dataset to compare the performance characteristics of different serological tests that were independently evaluated using well-characterized sample panels of positive and negative specimens for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Ventilation in Schools and Child Care Programs

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 07:00
Ventilation is one component of maintaining healthy environments, and is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy for schools and child care programs.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

COVID-19 Overview and Infection Prevention and Control Priorities in Non-US Healthcare Settings

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 07:00
Infection prevention and control information for non-US healthcare settings and non-US national government officials working on COVID-19 response.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Homelessness and COVID-19 FAQs

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 07:00
Provides questions and answers about homelessness and COVID-19.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Human infection with avian influenza A (H5N8) – the Russian Federation

Disease outbreak news - Vin, 02/26/2021 - 02:00
On 18 February 2021, the National IHR Focal Point for the Russian Federation notified WHO of detection of avian influenza A(H5N8) in seven human clinical specimens. These are the first reported detection of avian influenza A(H5N8) in humans. Positive clinical specimens were collected from poultry farm workers who participated in a response operation to contain an avian influenza A(H5N8) outbreak detected in a poultry farm in Astrakhan Oblast in the Russian Federation. The laboratory confirmation of the seven specimens were performed by the State Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (WHO H5 Reference Laboratory). The age of seven positive cases ranged between 29 to 60 years and five were female.

Between 3 and 11 December, a total of 101 000 of 900 000 egg laying hens on the farm died. This high mortality rate prompted an investigation. Samples were collected from these birds and an initial detection of avian influenza A(H5N8) was performed by the Russian regional veterinary laboratory. On 11 December, the outbreak was confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Reference laboratory, and the Federal Centre for Animal Health (FGBI-ARRIAH), in Vladimir, the Russian Federation. Outbreak containment operations started immediately and continued for several days due to the large size of the poultry farm.

WHO: 1 in 4 people projected to have hearing problems by 2050

WHO news - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 20:17

Nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide ─ or 1 in 4 people ─ will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050, warns the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first World Report on Hearing, released today. At least 700 million of these people will require access to ear and hearing care and other rehabilitation services unless action is taken.

"Our ability to hear is precious. Untreated hearing loss can have a devastating impact on people’s ability to communicate, to study and to earn a living. It can also impact on people’s mental health and their ability to sustain relationships," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This new report outlines the scale of the problem, but also offers solutions in the form of evidence-based interventions that we encourage all countries to integrate into their health systems as part of their journey towards universal health coverage.”

The report, launched ahead of World Hearing Day on 3 March, underlines the need to rapidly step up efforts to prevent and address hearing loss by investing and expanding access to ear and hearing care services. Investment in ear and hearing care has been shown to be cost-effective: WHO calculates that governments can expect a return of nearly US$ 16 for every US$ 1 invested.

Main findings of the report

Lack of accurate information and stigmatizing attitudes to ear diseases and hearing loss often limit people from accessing care for these conditions. Even among health-care providers, there’s often a shortage of knowledge about prevention, early identification and management of hearing loss and ear diseases, hampering their ability to provide the care required.

In most countries, ear and hearing care is still not integrated into national health systems and accessing care services is challenging for those with ear diseases and hearing loss. Moreover, access to ear and hearing care is poorly measured and documented, and relevant indicators are lacking in the health information system.

But the most glaring gap in health system capacity is in human resources. Among low-income countries, about 78% have fewer than one ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist per million population; 93% have fewer than one audiologist per million; only 17% have one or more speech therapist per million; and 50% have one or more teacher for the deaf per million. This gap can be closed through integration of ear and hearing care into primary health care through strategies such as task sharing and training, outlined in the report.

Even in countries with relatively high proportions of ear and hearing care professionals, there is unequal distribution of specialists. This not only poses challenges for people in need of care, but also places unreasonable demands on the cadres providing these services.

Main causes of hearing loss

In children, almost 60% of hearing loss can be prevented through measures such as immunization for prevention of rubella and meningitis, improved maternal and neonatal care, and screening for, and early management of, otitis media - inflammatory diseases of the middle ear. In adults, noise control, safe listening and surveillance of ototoxic medicines together with good ear hygiene can help maintain good hearing and reduce the potential for hearing loss.

Identification is the first step in addressing hearing loss and related ear diseases. Clinical screening at strategic points in life ensure that any loss of hearing and ear diseases can be identified as early as possible.

Recent technological advances, including accurate and easy-to-use tools, can identify ear disease and hearing loss at any age, in clinical or community settings, and with limited training and resources. Screening can even take place in challenging situations such as those encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic and those living in underserved and remote areas of the world.

Access to timely and appropriate care

Once diagnosed, early intervention is key. Medical and surgical treatment can cure most ear diseases, potentially reversing the associated hearing loss. However, where hearing loss is irreversible, rehabilitation can ensure that those affected avoid the adverse consequences of hearing loss. A range of effective options are available.

Hearing technology, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, when accompanied by appropriate support services and rehabilitative therapy are effective and cost-effective and can benefit children and adults alike.

The report notes that the use of sign language and other means of sensory substitution such as speech reading are important options for many deaf people; hearing assistive technology and services such as captioning and sign language interpretation can further improve access to communication and education for those with hearing loss.

 “To ensure that the benefit of these technological advances and solutions is equitably accessible to all, countries must adopt an integrated people-centered approach,” said Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of the WHO Department of Noncommunicable Diseases. “Integrating ear and hearing care interventions within national health plans and delivering these through strengthened health systems, as part of universal health coverage, is essential to meet the needs of those at risk of or living with hearing loss.”

 

Note to Editors

 

WHO and ITU launch new guide on introduction of dementia risk reduction and carer support programmes using mobile technology

WHO news - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 16:17
WHO’s new mDementia handbook[SF1] [BAR2] , launched today, will help countries to introduce and scale up dementia mHealth programmes (delivered through mobile devices, such as phones and tablets). The handbook and accompanying mHealth programme content includes a module on reducing the risk of dementia and another on support for carers of people with dementia. The handbook was developed by the WHO Mental Health and Substance Use Department and Be He@lthy Be Mobile (BHBM), a joint initiative between the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunications Union.

Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis sequence type (ST)11 infections linked to poultry products in the EU/EEA and the United Kingdom

ECDC - Risk assessments - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 14:00
Between May 2018 and December 2020, 193 human cases of Salmonella Enteritidis sequence type (ST)11 were reported in Denmark (2), Finland (4), France (33), Germany (6), Ireland (12), the Netherlands (3), Poland (5), Sweden (6), and the United Kingdom (UK) (122). One in five cases was hospitalised. One death was reported. Fifty percent of the cases were children ≤ 18 years. The most recent case was reported by the UK in December 2020.
Categorii: C.D.C. (Europe)

Campylobacter and Salmonella cases stable in the EU

ECDC - News - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 14:00
The number of reported human cases of illness caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria across Europe appears to have stabilised over the past five years, according to the latest report on zoonotic diseases by EFSA and ECDC.
Categorii: C.D.C. (Europe)

COVID-19 oxygen emergency impacting more than half a million people in low- and middle-income countries every day, as demand surges

WHO news - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 13:57
  • More than half a million COVID-19 patients in LMICs estimated to need oxygen treatment every day.
  • New assessments show US$90 million immediate funding required to meet urgent need in up to 20 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Unitaid and Wellcome will make an immediate contribution of up to US$20 million in total for the emergency response.
  • COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce brings together key organisations working on oxygen access under ACT-Accelerator Therapeutics pillar, as COVID-19 surges and preventable deaths occur
  • Taskforce partners will work together to measure oxygen demand, work with financing partners, and secure oxygen supplies and technical support for worst-affected countries

Since the start of the pandemic, affordable and sustainable access to oxygen has been a growing challenge in low- and middle-income countries. 

COVID-19 has put huge pressure on health systems, with hospitals in many LMICs running out of oxygen, resulting in preventable deaths and families of hospitalised patients paying a premium for scarce oxygen supplies.

Oxygen is an essential medicine, and despite being vital for the effective treatment of hospitalised COVID-19 patients, access in LMICs is limited due to cost, infrastructure and logistical barriers. Health facilities often cannot access the oxygen they require, resulting in the unnecessary loss of lives.

Recognising the central importance of sustainable oxygen supply – alongside therapeutic products such as dexamethasone – for the treatment of COVID-19, the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator Therapeutics pillar (co-led by Unitaid and Wellcome), is taking a new role to coordinate and advocate for increased supply of oxygen, and, in partnership with a WHO-led consortium[1], is today announcing the launch of a COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce.

It is estimated that more than half a million people in LMICs currently need 1.1 million cylinders of oxygen per day[2], with 25 countries currently reporting surges in demand, the majority in Africa. This supply was constrained prior to COVID-19 and has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “This is a global emergency that needs a truly global response, both from international organisations and donors. Many of the countries seeing this demand struggled before the pandemic to meet their daily oxygen needs. Now it’s more vital than ever that we come together to build on the work that has already been done, with a firm commitment to helping the worst-affected countries as quickly as possible.”

The taskforce has determined an immediate funding need of US$90 million to address key challenges in oxygen access and delivery in up to 20 countries, including Malawi, Nigeria and Afghanistan. This first set of countries has been identified based on assessments coordinated by WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, in order to match in-country need with potential financing, such as through the World Bank[3] and the Global Fund. Unitaid and Wellcome will make an immediate contribution of up to US$20 million in total for the emergency response. The urgent, short-term requirements of additional countries will be measured and costed in the coming weeks, with the overall funding need over the next 12 months estimated by ACT-A to be US$1.6 billion - a figure that will be regularly reviewed by the taskforce.

Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said: “Oxygen is life-saving and it is imperative to move faster to scale-up holistically with patient-centred, end-to-end solutions that improve clinical outcomes. WHO has been working through the Biomedical Consortium to bring the technical, clinical and procurement partners together with about US$80 million of biomedical equipment procured for low and middle-income countries. The Oxygen Taskforce will help drive oxygen scale-up through further innovation, financing and capacitation.”

Paul Schreier, Chief Operating Officer at Wellcome, said: “We have made critical advances in providing lifesaving clinical care and treatments to COVID-19 patients over the last year. The impact of the combination of oxygen and dexamethasone to treat severely ill patients has, in particular, been incredible. But global access to advances remains unequal. We need to urgently increase access to medical oxygen to ensure patients are benefiting regardless of where they live and ability to pay. International solidarity is the quickest - and only - way out of this pandemic. It is a public health, scientific, economic and moral imperative that all tools are made available globally.”

The taskforce brings together key organisations[4] that have been working to improve access to oxygen since the start of the pandemic including Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO, Unicef, the Global Fund, World Bank, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), PATH, the Every Breath Counts coalition and Save the Children. Building on these efforts, partners will focus on four key objectives as a part of an emergency response plan: measuring acute and longer-term oxygen needs in LMICs; connecting countries to financing partners for their assessed oxygen requirements; and supporting the procurement and supply of oxygen, along with related products and services. Other areas in the scope of the taskforce include addressing the need for innovative market-shaping interventions, as well as reinforcing advocacy efforts to highlight the importance of oxygen access in the COVID-19 response. 

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: “Oxygen is a simple medical intervention that remains in short supply for far too many around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken this acute shortage and made it a full-blown emergency. But addressing the oxygen gap will not only help with COVID-19 treatment in countries that are losing far too many saveable lives. It will also help to improve health systems and health outcomes beyond COVID-19 in the long term, including for the many newborns and children who require oxygen to survive.”

 

Editor’s notes and background

Even before COVID-19, pneumonia was the world’s biggest infectious killer of adults and children, claiming the lives of 2.5 million people in 2019. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, particularly in ‘double-burden’ countries which are contending with high levels of pneumonia and COVID-19. As well as meeting the immediate needs of the pandemic, the taskforce would look to leverage gains in this area to help with long-term pneumonia control.

About Unitaid

Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities such as cervical cancer and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.

About Wellcome 

Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases. 

About WHO 

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 the ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a new global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 and launched by WHO, the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020. The ACT-Accelerator but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations to end the pandemic. It draws on the experience of leading global health organizations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, can unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it. The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector.


[1] As part of the UN COVID-19 Supply Chain System, a technical biomedical procurement consortium was set up under the coordination of WHO, including ALIMA, BMGF, IMC, MSF, UNDP, UNHCR, Unicef, UNOPS, USAID and WFP. Approximately US$150m of oxygen related biomedical products and consumables have been delivered to 149 countries over the last year.

[2]  https://www.path.org/programs/market-dynamics/covid-19-oxygen-needs-tracker/

[3] Governments can apply for financing through the World Bank’s COVID-19 emergency health response

[4] Partners joining the taskforce include Unitaid, Wellcome, WHO (and the broader biomedical consortium WHO coordinates), Unicef, The Global Fund, the World Bank, UNOPS, Save the Children, Every Breath Counts (coalition), CHAI and PATH.

 

El Salvador certified as malaria-free by WHO

WHO news - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 13:46

El Salvador is first Central American country to achieve this status, third in all of the Americas in recent years

El Salvador today became the first country in Central America to be awarded a certification of malaria elimination by the World Health Organization (WHO). The certification follows more than 50 years of commitment by the Salvadoran government and people to ending the disease in a country with dense population and geography hospitable to malaria.

“Malaria has afflicted humankind for millennia, but countries like El Salvador are living proof and inspiration for all countries that we can dare to dream of a malaria-free future,” said Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Certification of malaria elimination is granted by WHO when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the previous three consecutive years.

With the exception of one outbreak in 1996, El Salvador steadily reduced its malaria burden over the last three decades. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of malaria cases declined from more than 9000 to 26. The country has reported zero indigenous cases of the disease since 2017.

“For decades, El Salvador has worked hard to wipe out malaria and the human suffering that it generates,” said Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO’s regional office for the Americas. “Over the years, El Salvador has dedicated both the human and financial resources needed to succeed. This certification today is a life-saving achievement for the Americas.”

El Salvador is the third country to have achieved malaria-free status in recent years in the WHO Region of the Americas, following Argentina in 2019 and Paraguay in 2018. Seven countries in the region were certified from 1962 to 1973. Globally, a total of 38 countries and territories have reached this milestone.

El Salvador’s Minister of Health, Dr Francisco José Alabi Montoya, said: “The people and the government of El Salvador, together with its health workers, have fought for decades against malaria. Today we celebrate this historical achievement of having El Salvador certified malaria free.” 

El Salvador’s road to elimination

El Salvador’s anti-malaria efforts began in the 1940s with mechanical control of the malaria vector – the mosquito – through construction of the first permanent drains in swamps, followed by indoor spraying with the pesticide DDT. In the mid-1950s, El Salvador established a National Malaria Program (CNAP) and recruited a network of community health workers to detect and treat malaria across the country. The volunteers, known as “Col Vol,” registered malaria cases and interventions. The data, entered into health information systems by vector control personnel, allowed for strategic and targeted responses across the country.

By the late 1960s, progress had slowed as mosquitoes developed resistance to DDT. An expansion in the country’s cotton industry is thought to have fueled a further rise in malaria cases. Throughout the 1970s, there was a surge of migrant laborers on cotton estates in coastal areas near mosquito breeding sites, in addition to discontinued use of DDT. El Salvador experienced a resurgence of malaria, reaching a peak of nearly 96 000 cases in 1980.

With the support of PAHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), El Salvador successfully reoriented its malaria program, which led to improved targeting of resources and interventions based on geographic distribution of cases. The government also decentralized its network of diagnostic laboratories in 1987, allowing for cases to be detected and treated more rapidly. These factors and the collapse of the cotton industry led to a rapid decline of cases in the 1980s.

The 2009 health reform, which included important improvements on budget and coverage of primary health care, as well as maintenance of the vector control program as the technical leader in malaria interventions, contributed to El Salvador’s success.

Country leadership and consistent funding

El Salvador’s government recognized early on that consistent and adequate domestic financing would be crucial to achieve and maintain its health-related goals, including for malaria. This commitment has been reflected for more than 50 years in national budget lines.

Despite reporting its last malaria-related death in 1984, El Salvador has maintained its domestic investments for malaria. In 2020, the country continued to rely on 276 vector control personnel, 247 laboratories, nurses and doctors involved in case detection, epidemiologists, management teams and personnel, and more than 3000 community health workers. As part of El Salvador’s commitment to maintain zero cases, national budgeting for malaria has been and will be preserved, even through the pandemic. 

Global and regional initiatives

El Salvador is a member of the WHO global “E-2020” initiative – a group of 21 countries identified in 2016 as having potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. With support from WHO and PAHO, national program staff from El Salvador have participated in global meetings that bring together malaria-eliminating countries to share innovations and best practices.

Although the majority of financing for malaria has come from domestic resources, El Salvador’s elimination effort benefited from external grants provided by the Global Fund.

In 2019, El Salvador joined the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI), which was organized by the Inter-American Development Bank with technical leadership from PAHO and the participation of the Council of Health Ministers of Central America (COMISCA).The initiative supports Central American countries, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia in a collaborative effort to eliminate malaria.

PAHO has provided technical support throughout El Salvador’s anti-malaria campaign, from control to elimination to prevention of reestablishment of the disease. El Salvador’s success is an important contribution to the PAHO Elimination Initiative, a collaborative effort between governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and communities to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in the Americas, including malaria, by 2030.

 

Note to the editor

Global and regional trends

Contracted through the bites of infected mosquitos, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, with more than 200 million cases and 400 000 malaria-related deaths reported each year. Approximately two-thirds of fatalities are among children under the age of five.

As of 2019, the Americas reported 723 000 confirmed cases of malaria, compared to almost 1.2 million cases in 2000. The total number of malaria deaths fell by 52% in the same period of time – from 410 to 197. Since 2015, the Region has seen a 66% rise in cases largely due to increased malaria transmission in some countries. Despite the increase, advances against malaria continue. In 2020, Belize completed two years without indigenous malaria transmission and, by the end of 2020, 10 countries and territories reported fewer than 2000 cases in 2019.

Facebook Live

Experts from El Salvador’s Ministry of Health, PAHO, and WHO experts will comment on El Salvador’s path to certification during a Facebook Live session on Friday, Feb. 26 at 11 EST. Simultaneous translation in English will be provided. To participate, go to Facebook   

 

Consultation on discussion paper on Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders

WHO news - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 13:23
Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability-adjusted-life-years and the second leading cause of death globally. Despite the global burden that neurological conditions impose, access to both services and support for such conditions is insufficient, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Allergies

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Joi, 02/25/2021 - 07:00
If you've had an allergic to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you shouldn't get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
Categorii: C.D.C. (U.S.)

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