World Health Organization Corporate news releases, statements, and notes for media issued by the World Health Organization.

  • WHO issues its first emergency use validation for a COVID-19 vaccine and emphasizes need for equitable global access
    on Dec 31 2020 at 19:35

    The World Health Organization (WHO) today listed the Comirnaty, COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for emergency use, making the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the first to receive emergency validation from WHO since the outbreak began a year ago.

  • COVID-19: One year later – WHO Director-General’s new year message
    on Dec 30 2020 at 14:20

    In his end of year message for 2020, WHO Director-General says there is light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against COVID-19. But going into 2021, he urges countries and communities to work together, in solidarity, to overcome this and future health challenges.

  • Mobilizing youth to End TB
    on Dec 23 2020 at 15:20

    Since the global youth movement, 1+1 youth Initiative was launched on World TB Day 2019, followed by the  adoption of the Youth Declaration to End TB at the first-ever Global Youth Townhall on ending TB, there has been significant progress over the past year. The 1+1 Initiative has expanded to include thousands of youth across the world in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Philippines,  and Vietnam.The social media platforms set up as part of the 1+1 youth initiative are joined and followed by more than 15000 young people including WHO End TB forum. Similarly, Global TB Programme has established #Youth2EndTB Global Youth Network where more than 1800 youths from 95+ countries have already joined.  Besides, in order to recognise the youth efforts and encourage youth engagement on ending TB, youth story series was conducted.Moreover, 50 and more different youth-led activities and virtual events on ending TB have been conducted worldwide. This includes  sensitizing young people, peer education trainings in schools and universities,and encouraging them to become TB advocates, and supporting TB patients in the community with resources, advice, and encouragement. In addition, we are enthusiastic about cross country youth dialogue series that have been started where youths from different countries can participate and learn from each other.For instance, one of the inspiring examples is that of Nepal, young people in this country have established national and provincial youth networks to help young people, through capacity building and in ensuring their participation in policy making and community level awareness building programmes. Likewise, in March 2020, Vietnam National Tuberculosis program launched National Youth Movement against TB which aims on reaching 10 million young people as well as educating all primary school students with TB knowledge and good practices on combating TB and lung diseases.Another exciting example is from Indonesia. Their national youth movement against TB has been conducting Art exhibitions as well as creating TB awareness through social media campaign.Furthermore, WHO Global TB Program is currently developing training manual targeting End TB youth leaders, young survivors, and young health professionals. It will be available at End TB channel of Open WHO platform after completing it's six regional youth consultations.

  • Behavioural considerations for acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines
    on Dec 21 2020 at 18:34

    The Behavioural Insights Unit of the WHO released a meeting report of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the special session on acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, held on 15 October 2020. The meeting report outlines the factors that drive people’s behaviour in relation to vaccine acceptance and uptake: an enabling environment, social influences and motivation. The image above is a visual narration that captures highlights of the meeting on 15 October 2020, during which the TAG on Behavioural Insights and Sciences for Health discussed behavioural considerations in relation to COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake. The discussion was structured around three key questions. Download the graphic   

  • Joint statement calling for urgent country scale-up of access to optimal HIV treatment for infants and children living with HIV
    on Dec 21 2020 at 18:16

    Global partners that are committed to ending paediatric AIDS have come together to call on countries to rapidly scale up access to optimal, child-friendly HIV treatment for infants and children.

  • Meet the 100+ outstanding Nurses and Midwives
    on Dec 19 2020 at 10:49

    To mark the end of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we are honored to unveil the 2020 List of 100+ Outstanding Women Nurses and Midwives. This partnership of the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Nursing Now, International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), and Women in Global Health (WGH),  features the achievements and contributions of nurses and midwives from 43 countries and across 6 global regions, to recognize these women and the millions of nurses and midwives around the world. Midwives and nurses—the overwhelming majority of whom are women—are the backbone of primary health systems. Their care during this monumental year has had an impact far beyond the facilities in which they work. However, the dedication that midwives and nurses have epitomized throughout the onslaught of the pandemic often goes unrecognized and merits much more than applause: more investment, more support, safe and decent work, equal pay, more resources, and an equal say in leadership. Despite shortages of Physical Protective Equipment (PPE), a lack of support, and crippling uncertainty, these women represent millions more nurses and midwives on the frontlines of patient care, providing solutions, every day, to people around the globe. Let us use the stories of their everyday heroism and service to call for all countries to invest in decent work and a new social contract for all women health workers, particularly, nurses and midwives as part of their commitment to health for all. Above all, we want nurses and midwives to have an equal say in decision making on the health systems they know best.

  • COVAX Announces additional deals to access promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates; plans global rollout starting Q1 2021
    on Dec 18 2020 at 13:43

    COVAX now has agreements in place to access nearly two billion doses of several promising vaccine candidates, and laid the groundwork for further doses to be secured through contributions from donorsThese agreements mean that all COVAX’s 190 participating and eligible economies will be able to access doses to protect vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021. At least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses will be made available to 92 economies eligible for the Gavi COVAX AMC, targeting up to 20% population coverage by the end of the year.Funding raised in 2020 and early pledges toward 2021 targets, alongside these agreements, offer clearest pathway yet to ending the acute phase of the pandemic globally by the end of 2021 Geneva/Oslo, 18 December 2020 – COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level, today announced that it had arrangements in place to access nearly two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, on behalf of 190 participating economies. For the vast majority of these deals, COVAX has guaranteed access to a portion of the first wave of production, followed by volume scales as further supply becomes available. The arrangements announced today will enable all participating economies to have access to doses in the first half of 2021, with first deliveries anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2021 – contingent upon regulatory approvals and countries’ readiness for delivery.Given these are arrangements for 2 billion doses of vaccine candidates which are still under development, COVAX will continue developing its portfolio: this will be critical to achieve its goal of securing access to 2 billion doses of safe and effective, approved vaccines that are suitable for all participants’ contexts, and available by the end of 2021. However, today’s announcements offer the clearest pathway yet to end the acute phase of the pandemic by protecting the most vulnerable populations around the world. This includes delivering at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses of approved vaccines in 2021 to the 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible for the COVAX AMC.The new deals announced today include the signing of an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca for 170 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate, and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Johnson & Johnson for 500 million doses of the Janssen candidate, which is currently being investigated as a single dose vaccine.. These deals are in addition to existing agreements COVAX has with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for 200 million doses – with options for up to 900 million doses more – of either the AstraZeneca/Oxford or Novavax candidates, as well as a statement of intent for 200 million doses of the Sanofi/GSK vaccine candidate.In addition to this, COVAX also has – through R&D partnership agreements – first right of refusal in 2021 to access potentially more than one billion doses (based on current estimates from the manufacturing processes under development) that will be produced, subject to technical success and regulatory approval, by candidates in the COVAX R&D Portfolio.“This commitment is evidence that the world learned an important lesson from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Our research and development efforts have begun to pay off. We now have safe and effective vaccines that can protect against COVID-19 and a clear pathway to securing 2 billion doses for the populations at greatest risk all around the world,” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).  “Securing the right of first refusal of successful vaccine production as part of R&D arrangements has helped guarantee equitable access to vaccines, a founding principle of CEPI.   The challenge of delivering the vaccines that have demonstrated success, of completing the development of other promising vaccine candidates to further increase supply, and of ending the acute phase of the pandemic, lies ahead of us.”Alongside boosting its pathway to two billion doses of approved vaccines through direct agreements with manufacturers, the COVAX Facility has also opened another potential source of vaccines. Published today, the Principles for Dose-Sharing provide a framework for higher-income economies to make additional volumes secured via bilateral deals available through the Facility primarily to AMC participants, on an equitable basis. These principles outline that such doses must be safe and effective, available as early as possible and should be available in substantive volumes as early as possible in 2021 to enable rapid and flexible deployment by the Facility – supporting the overall goal of equitable access.First deliveries in Q1 2021Today’s announcements on deals and dose-sharing mean COVAX can plan for the first deliveries of vaccines in the first quarter of 2021, with the first tranche of doses – enough to protect health and social care workers – delivered in the first half of 2021 to all participating economies who have requested doses in this timeframe. This would be followed by further delivery of doses to all participants in the second half of the year – targeting supply of doses equalling up to 20% of participants’ populations (or a lower amount if requested by the participant) by the end of the year. Additional doses to reach higher coverage levels will then be available in 2022. All deliveries are contingent upon several factors, such as regulatory approvals and country readiness.“The arrival of vaccines is giving all of us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). “But we will only truly end the pandemic if we end it everywhere at the same time, which means it’s essential to vaccinate some people in all countries, rather than all people in some countries. And we must remember that vaccines will complement, but not replace, the many other tools we have in our toolbox to stop transmission and save lives. We must continue to use all of them."The COVAX Facility currently has 190 participating economies. This includes 98 higher-income economies and 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible to have their participation in the Facility supported via the financing mechanism known as the Gavi COVAX AMC. Of the 92 economies eligible to be supported by the COVAX AMC, 86 have now submitted detailed vaccine requests, offering the clearest picture yet on actual global demand for COVID-19 vaccines.In addition to gathering detailed information on participating economies’ vaccine requests, COVAX, through Gavi, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, and other partners has been working closely with all countries in the Facility, particularly AMC-eligible participants, to help plan and prepare for the widespread roll out of vaccines. Conditions that determine country readiness include regulatory preparedness as well as the availability of infrastructure, appropriate legal frameworks, training, and capacity, among other factors.“Securing access to doses of a new vaccine for both higher-income and lower-income countries, at roughly the same time and during a pandemic, is a feat the world has never achieved before – let alone at such unprecedented speed and scale,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery for COVAX. “COVAX has now built a platform that offers the world the prospect, for the first time, of being able to defeat the pandemic on a global basis, but the work is not done: it’s critical that both governments and industry continue to support our efforts to achieve this goal”.Early pledges towards 2021 fundraising targetsTo achieve this ambitious goal, COVAX currently estimates it needs to raise an additional US$ 6.8 billion in 2021 – US$ 800 million for research and development, at least US$ 4.6 billion for the COVAX AMC and US$ 1.4 billion for delivery support. Support for the COVAX AMC will be critical to ensuring ability to pay is not a barrier to access. Thanks to the generous support of sovereign, private sector, and philanthropic donors, the AMC has met its urgent 2020 fundraising target of US$ 2 billion, but at least US$ 4.6 billion more is needed in 2021 to procure doses of successful candidates as they come through the portfolio. The last two weeks have seen a number of pledges made to Gavi for the COVAX AMC, bringing the overall amount raised to US$ 2.4 billion:Norway has signed a new commitment of NOK 1 billion to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), to be paid from 2021 to 2030. This funding will support the Gavi COVAX AMC and comes on top of earlier commitments of NOK 164.1 million in direct funding and $6.25 million in funding transferred from the PCV AMC to support the Gavi COVAX AMC.Canada pledged CAD 75 million in funding to support the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in lower income economies as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC. This includes a CAD 5 million investment in the development of a mechanism to equitably reallocate vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility, either by donation or exchange.Kuwait has confirmed a pledge of US$ 10 million to the Gavi COVAX AMC.Denmark has announced, subject to parliamentary approval, a commitment of DKK 50 million to Gavi COVAX AMC.New Zealand has pledged NZ$ 10 million to the Gavi COVAX AMC, in addition to NZ$ 7 million pledged earlier this year for the AMC.Netherlands has signed and paid a commitment of EUR 5 million to the Gavi COVAX AMCSingapore has pledged US$ 5 million to the Gavi COVAX AMCThe King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) / Gamers Without Borders have confirmed a pledge of US$ 1.3 million to the Gavi COVAX AMCEstonia has signed a commitment of EUR 70,000 to the Gavi COVAX AMCIn addition to these pledges, Team Europe confirmed financial support of EUR 500 million, through EUR 400 million European Investment Bank loan and EUR100 million grant to Gavi, in support of equitable access through COVAX. The goal of COVAX is to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approval and/or WHO prequalification by the end of 2021. These vaccines will be offered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritising healthcare workers then expanding to cover vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Further doses will then be made available based on country need, vulnerability and COVID-19 threat. The COVAX Facility will also maintain a buffer of doses for emergency and humanitarian use.Quotes from partnersKarina Gould, Minister of International Development, Government of Canada said: “We know that as long as one country is at risk, we are all at risk. The COVAX Facility is the key to ending this pandemic and will only work if we all come together. Now is the time to make our commitment to equitable access a reality, so that everyone, everywhere has access to a life-saving vaccine.”Dr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister of Health for Ghana said: The nearly 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses announced today by COVAX is a welcome first step, but our journey is not yet over. As we’ve learned with routine immunisation vaccines don’t save lives, vaccination does. This means we need the health infrastructure in place - from supply chain and logistics to well- trained health workers - to ensure the effective and streamlined distribution of vaccines. For this we call on governments, manufacturers and the private sector to make urgent and necessary investments in COVAX so that no one is left behind; because ultimately no one is safe until everyone is safe.Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norway’s Minister of International Development and Co-chair of the ACT-A Facilitation Council, said: “The good news is that many countries, foundations and some private companies have already provided support to this important collective effort. The bad news is that more is needed. We need to look beyond the health sector and the international development sector if we are to find the political and financial resources required to combat the pandemic and its many different impacts.”Wendy Morton, Minister for Global Health at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom, which also hosted the Global Vaccine Summit in June, said: “The United Kingdom has played the leading role in championing global access to coronavirus vaccines, including by being the largest donor to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. No one is safe until we are all safe. Along with our international partners, the United Kingdom is working hard to ensure vaccines get to everyone who needs them.”Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said: “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa CDC has established several trusted partnerships across the globe. The COVAX partnership is one of such very critical alliances that will allow Africa to secure early access to COVID-19 vaccine needed to start vaccinating our populations across the continent.”Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF said: “This is an unprecedented undertaking — addressing a global pandemic while ensuring we do not leave the world’s poorest behind. UNICEF is bringing the full weight of our experience as the world’s largest single procurer of vaccines to help secure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines, and help countries prepare to receive and administer them.”Dr Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala, co-chair of the COVAX Coordination Meeting and Gavi Board Chair said: “Nine months ago, it was hard to imagine that we would have more than one promising vaccine candidate and be in a position to make them available to both high-income countries and lower-income countries simultaneously. The global community has rallied, and we now have a platform, COVAX, that will do this. It’s time to stop questioning it and give it the support it needs to bring the pandemic to an end as swiftly as possible.” Jane Halton, co-chair of the COVAX Coordination Meeting and Chair of CEPI said: “Science will give us the tools to fight this pandemic, but equitable access will allow us to beat it. Today marks a significant moment towards our goal of fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for those most at risk around the world. We now have a clear pathway to our goal of delivering 2 billion doses of vaccine in 2021 - enabled by COVAX R&D investments and deals with manufacturers - which can bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic globally. In addition, governments can now demonstrate their continued commitment to this goal by contributing doses to COVAX of vaccines secured through bilateral deals. Equitable access to vaccines is in all of our interests, and we’re now a significant step closer to making this a reality.”Mesfin Teklu Tessema, civil society representative of the COVAX Coordination Meeting and Senior Director, Head of Health Unit, International Rescue Committee said: "The COVAX Facility is our best hope to ending this pandemic as quickly as possible with equity as its grounding force. This announcement today is an important milestone and proof that doses are forthcoming to those most in need everywhere."Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII) said: "We are delighted to announce that we have signed for a 100mn doses of Novavax and another 100mn doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines with COVAX, with an option of extending it by 900mn doses. The advance purchase commitments under COVAX initiative is encouraging as it will further bolster our fight and ensure equitable access at the most affordable price from Serum Institute of India.”Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said: “Today’s Agreement is a significant milestone for global access to the AZD1222 vaccine. Our collaboration with COVAX is testament to AstraZeneca’s commitment to broad, equitable access at no profit during the pandemic period. We now look forward to progressing our work with COVAX partners to ensure that as many people as possible around the world can access a safe, effective vaccine – wherever they live.”Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson said: “Since we initiated development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Johnson & Johnson has remained committed to ensuring access to vaccines on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use. Equitable global access, inclusive of lower income countries, is critical to helping end the COVID-19 pandemic.”Thomas B. Cueni, Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA) said: The reason why we can mark today as a milestone for COVAX securing 2 billion doses of promising vaccines is because the vaccine makers have pulled out all the stops and have delivered beyond all expectations.  So let’s indeed mark this important milestone in ensuring fair and equitable access to vaccines which we have committed to from the outset of the pandemic. But let us also remember, that we would not be where we are if science and the innovation ecosystem that allows the biopharmaceutical to develop and manufacture life saving treatments had not risen to the challenge, so that there are different types of vaccines that will be manufactured in historic quantities. Looking to 2021, it is essential that all COVAX partners and governments focus on getting things done and secure the funds need.Notes to editorsThe full list of deals that have so far been secured by COVAX on behalf of the Facility is as follows:170 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate, via an advance purchase agreement between Gavi and AstraZeneca, and enabled by a partnership agreement with CEPI to fund scale-out of manufacturing200 million doses (and options for up to 900 million more) of the AstraZeneca/Oxford or Novavax candidates, via an agreement between Gavi, the Serum Institute of India, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation500 million doses of the Janssen candidate, via a memorandum of understanding with Johnson & Johnson200 million doses of the Sanofi/GSK vaccine candidate, via a statement of intent between Gavi, Sanofi and GSKFirst right of refusal for a potential combined total of over 1 billion doses in 2021 (based on current estimates from the manufacturing processes under development) of promising vaccine candidates, via R&D partnership agreements with CEPI - that will be produced, subject to technical success and regulatory approval, by candidates in the COVAX R&D Portfolio. As part of the COVAX R&D portfolio, CEPI has invested in 10 vaccine candidates. 9 of these candidates are still in development, and 7 are in clinical trials.AstraZeneca/ University of Oxford (Phase 3)Clover Biopharmaceuticals, China (Phase 1)CureVac, Germany (Phase 2B/3)Inovio, United States (Phase 2)Institut Pasteur/Merck/Themis, France/United States/Austria (Phase 1)Moderna, United States (Phase 3)Novavax, United States (Phase 3)SK bioscience, South Korea (Preclinical)University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Preclinical)University of Queensland/ CSL, Australia (Phase 1, programme discontinued) CEPI is also evaluating additional candidates for support, including ‘next generation’ vaccine candidates to provide additional options for the future.The latest list of participants in the COVAX Facility (both self-financing and AMC-eligible) is available here, and the latest pledging table of donor contributions to the COVAX AMC is available here.The official list of WHO-certified Stringent Regulatory Authorities is available here.About COVAXCOVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and 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 leading 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 leading on procurement and delivery for COVAX, coordinating the design and implementation of the COVAX Facility and the COVAX AMC and working with 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. UNICEF and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) will be acting as procurement coordinators for the COVAX Facility, helping deliver vaccines to all participants.WHO has multiple roles within the COVAX: among other things it supports countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines and does so in partnership with UNICEF. 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. Along with COVAX partners, it is developing a no-fault compensation scheme for indemnification and liability issues. COVAX is part of the Act accelerator which WHO launched with partners in 2020.About Gavi, the Vaccine AllianceGavi, 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 Twitter and Instagram.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 CEPICEPI 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 WHOThe 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 Twitter,  Facebook,  Instagram,  LinkedIn,  TikTok,  Pinterest,  Snapchat,  YouTube About ACT-AcceleratorThe 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.

  • New study highlights cost-effectiveness of bans on pesticides as a suicide prevention strategy
    on Dec 18 2020 at 04:51

    National bans on highly hazardous pesticides can be a cost-effective and affordable intervention for reducing suicide deaths in countries with a high burden of suicides attributable to pesticides, according to a new study published in The Lancet Global Health today.

  • New PSA campaign from WHO and YouTube is a playbook for a safe holiday season
    on Dec 17 2020 at 16:04

    The World Health Organization and YouTube have partnered on an inviting and humorous public service announcement (PSA) to help battle COVID-19 fatigue as we head into the holiday season. After nine months of physical distancing, lockdowns and other preventative measures, the video reminds viewers to stay vigilant and continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus as people in many parts of the world head into the holiday season.Voiced by actor and comedian Jon Glaser (Parks and Rec, Bob’s Burgers, Girls) the short animated video reinforces the WHO’s recommendations that viewers should stay home when possible, wear a mask if they need to go out, wash their hands and stay away from others when in public. The PSA also gives advice for how to tackle some of the common holiday activities that could lead to further spread of COVID-19, including travel (think twice!), large gatherings (turn around and head home!) and visiting with high-risk relatives (try a video call!).The PSA is available on YouTube starting today and will be promoted through early January as a pre-roll ad, in features on the YouTube homepage, and in posts from YouTube’s social media handles. 

  • A parasitic infection that can turn fatal with administration of corticosteroids
    on Dec 17 2020 at 11:28

    Healthcare workers in tropical and sub-tropical settings where strongyloidiasis is prevalent or caring for patients who have travelled to such areas, need to maintain a high level of awareness about the use of corticosteroids, including when this class of anti-inflammatories is given to patients suspected of infection with SARS-CoV-2.

  • Launch of the Tripartite Joint Risk Assessment Operational Tool
    on Dec 17 2020 at 09:07

    The Operational Tool on Joint Risk Assessment (JRA OT) has been developed by the Tripartite organisations (FAO, OIE and WHO) and technical experts to provide guidance on how to set up a joint risk assessment process at national level. While it describes step-by-step how to conduct each component of the process, it also provides model documents and templates to support its implementation by staff from national ministries responsible for management of zoonotic diseases.

  • Joint Risk Assessment Operational Tool in the time of COVID-19
    on Dec 17 2020 at 09:00

    Despite the successful use of the JRA OT in country pilots, the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the ability to provide facilitation support for in-country engagement. But ironically, the zoonotic nature of COVID-19 has made JRA OT more relevant and needed than ever. The JRA OT tripartite secretariat mobilized to identify opportunities for virtual facilitation and hybrid models – i.e. combining on-site participation and remote online support – for conducting JRA in country. This process led to the development of a freely available JRA OT online facilitators training, pre-recorded video presentations, and the use of communication platforms like Whatsapp, Zoom, and Jamboard for working group activities.

  • WHO launches Baseline report for Decade of Healthy Ageing
    on Dec 17 2020 at 08:41

    17 December 2020 –  At least 14% of all people aged 60 years and over  ̶-  more than 142 million people  ̶- are currently unable to meet all their basic daily needs according to the Baseline report for the Decade of Healthy Ageing, released by the World Health Organization today.  The Baseline report brings together data available for measuring healthy ageing, defined by WHO as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.” Optimizing “functional ability” is the goal of the Decade of Healthy Ageing, which begins in 2021 and addresses five interrelated abilities that all older people should enjoy:  the ability to meet basic needs; to continue to learn and make decisions; to be mobile; to build and maintain relationships; and to contribute to society. The Baseline report presents the experience of countries which have been successful in starting healthy ageing initiatives in each of these areas, such as Ireland, Mexico and Viet Nam.  It also stresses that older adults must be engaged throughout. The report is intended for people working in government, academia, civil society and the private sector who make decisions that impact people’s ability to live well in older age.   “Humans now live longer than at any time in history. But adding more years to life can be a mixed blessing if it is not accompanied by adding more life to years,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The Baseline Report for the Decade of Healthy Ageing has the potential to transform the way policy-makers and multiple service-providers engage with older adults. We have to work together, to foster the abilities and well-being of our older generations, who continue to give us so much.” The report also discusses what is needed to promote collaboration and better measure progress towards healthy ageing. “Evidence and case studies from around the world give practical examples of what can be done in countries and communities with older people,” points out Dr Anshu Banerjee, Director of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing at WHO. According to the report, only one-quarter of countries around the world are compiling comparable data which can be used to monitor global progress towards healthy ageing. Some countries that are collecting and using data to improve policies and programmes for and with older persons are presented in the report. These countries are Chile, China, Finland, Ghana, India, Qatar, Singapore and Thailand. A number of indicators to be reported on by countries as a demonstration of commitment towards healthy ageing were agreed on by WHO Member States as part of the Global Strategy on Ageing and Health 2016-2020 and endorsed in 2020 within the context of the Decade for Healthy Ageing 2021-2030. Examples are the establishment of a national committee or forum on ageing; comprehensive assessments of the health and social care needs of older people; and a policy on strengthening  long-term care. The Baseline report notes improvements in all 10 indicators between 2018 (when initial data collection took place) and 2020. The most progress had been made in establishing national policies relating to healthy ageing, and the least, in  introducing and enforcing legislation against age-based discrimination. “This report will serve as a useful reference against which we can promote learning across countries and measure progress towards healthy ageing during the next decade,” said Dr Ritu Sadana, the lead author of the report and Head of WHO’s Ageing and Health Unit. “We  will continue working with governments, other UN organizations, civil society and world experts, to improve evidence and information on all aspects of healthy ageing and support impact in countries. More comparable data will enable us to determine clearly the level of progress being made and identify areas where additional attention is needed.” The context for the Report is the commitment of WHO and the wider UN system to implement efforts to improve the lives of older people through the newly designated UN Decade of Healthy Ageing, 2021-2030.  WHO will compile progress reports in 2023, 2026 and 2029. 

  • Responding to a yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria amidst a global pandemic
    on Dec 16 2020 at 08:43

    You can access the original press release by clicking here.

  • Neglected tropical diseases: WHO and Sanofi renew decades-long collaboration to sustain elimination efforts
    on Dec 15 2020 at 14:02

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and Sanofi – one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies – have signed a new agreement for donations of medicines to sustain specific efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

  • WHO Information Notice for IVD Users
    on Dec 14 2020 at 18:04

    Purpose of this notice: To ensure users of certain nucleic acid testing (NAT) technologies are aware of certain aspects of the instructions for use (IFU) for all products. Description of the problem: WHO has received user feedback on an elevated risk for false SARS-CoV-2 results when testing specimens using RT-PCR reagents on open system

  • The Decade of Healthy Ageing: a new UN-wide initiative
    on Dec 14 2020 at 16:43

    The United Nations General Assembly today declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Healthy Ageing. The UN Resolution, which follows recent endorsement of the Decade by the World Health Assembly, expresses concern that, despite the predictability of population ageing and its accelerating pace, the world is not sufficiently prepared to respond to the rights and needs of older people. It acknowledges that the ageing of the population impacts our health systems but also many other aspects of society, including labour and financial markets and the demand for goods and services, such as education, housing, long-term care, social protection and information. It thus requires a whole-of-society approach.

  • Monitoring childbirth in a new era for maternal health
    on Dec 14 2020 at 14:54

    WHO and HRP launch the Labour Care Guide to improve every woman’s experience of childbirth, and to help ensure the health and well-being of women and their babies.The philosophy of labour and delivery care, and the recommended World Health Organization (WHO) approach, have developed significantly in the last decades. The recognition that every birth is unique is now a cornerstone of the 2018 WHO recommendations on intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience. Over one third of maternal deaths, half of stillbirths and a quarter of neonatal deaths result from complications during labour and childbirth. The majority of these deaths occur in low-resource settings and are preventable through timely interventions. Knowing when to wait - and when to take life-saving action - is critical.What is the new Labour Care Guide?The WHO Labour Care Guide is a new tool, which puts the WHO recommendations on intrapartum care into practice. It helps skilled health personnel to provide woman-centred, safe and effective care and to optimize the outcome and experience of childbirth for every woman and baby. Launched alongside the WHO Labour Care Guide User’s Manual, the tool promotes a person-centred approach to monitoring a woman’s and her baby’s health and well-being from active first stage of labour to end of second stage of labour.This creates a positive feedback and decision-making loop, as health personnel are encouraged to regularly:assess the well-being of the woman and her baby record their observationscheck for signs that breach thresholds for health and well-being as labour progressesplan what care may be required, in consultation with the woman.The Guide and Manual recognize that every birth is unique - from a woman’s personal experience of care, to the speed at which her labour progresses. “The new WHO Labour Care Guide strengthens the relationship between women and their healthcare providers during labour and childbirth, improving both individual experience and clinical outcome. It is a practical tool for a new era of maternal health, where women’s values and preferences are at the centre of their own care,” says Mercedes Bonet, Medical Officer in the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, including HRP,  UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction.Beyond the partographThe Labour Care Guide revises and replaces the traditional WHO partograph, a labour monitoring tool which is now inconsistent with the latest evidence about labour duration, triggers for clinical interventions and the importance of respectful maternity care. Many women do not experience a labour that fits the expected rate of the original WHO partograph. For instance, there is no evidence supporting the use of a cervical dilatation rate of 1 cm/hour as a screening tool to trigger medical interventions or referral.  Instead, the Labour Care Guide includes updated, evidence-based reference ranges of labour progress. By recording and reviewing their observations against these references, health personnel are encouraged to think critically, avoid unnecessary interventions and act on warning signs.They can also include each woman in decision-making about her own labour, part of the Labour Care Guide’s emphasis on the importance of a woman and her baby’s experiences of childbirth. A revolution in maternal health quality of careThe Labour Care Guide has been evaluated in six countries, using a mixed-methods study recently published in BIRTH. It was found to be feasible and acceptable for use across different clinical settings, promoting woman‐centered care and improving outcomes.“Using the Labour Care Guide, we show more care to our patients than before, we provided them what they needed. So we had less complications and less interventions [due to] early detection and decision making,” explained a midwife, who evaluated the tool in Nigeria. Achieving the best possible physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes for every woman and child requires health systems to support a model of person-centred care which both empowers the user and enables health personnel. In this way, the Labour Care Guide is much more than a technical tool for monitoring labour progress. It represents revolutionary steps towards evidence-based, individualized labour care.

  • World’s largest youth organizations, representing 250 million members, and WHO launch global mobilization to respond to disruptive impacts of COVID-19 on young people
    on Dec 14 2020 at 13:51

    Funding for community programmes, engaging youth in solutions to address COVID-19, and convening Global Youth Summit are key features of this new mobilizationA new ground-breaking global youth mobilization was launched today to invest in and scale up youth-led solutions and engagements in response to COVID-19. The initiative was launched by an alliance of the world’s largest youth movements and organizations, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Foundation.The “Global Youth Mobilization for Generation Disrupted” is being led by the Big 6 Youth Organizations (Young Men’s Christian Association, YMCA; World Young Women’s Christian Association, YWCA; World Organization of the Scout Movement; World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC; and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award), which together actively involve more than 250 million young people, and aims to support young people to engage in and design efforts to turn around the impact of the pandemic.The Global Youth Mobilization will feature the convening of a Global Youth Summit in April 2021, and a fund of US $5 million to support local and national youth organizations, including grants for youth-led solutions and an accelerator programme to scale up existing response efforts. The leadership of the WHO, Big 6 and youth organizations around the world are calling on governments, businesses and policy makers to back the Global Youth Mobilization effort and commit to investing in the future of young people. These measures will directly support young people engaged at the grassroots level to tackle some of the most pressing health and societal challenges resulting from the pandemic. “WHO is honoured to join this truly exciting and powerful global movement to mobilize and empower youth worldwide to be the driving force of the recovery to COVID-19,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Joining forces with the Big 6 and the United Nations Foundation provides WHO and the world a unique opportunity to learn from hundreds of millions of young people and be guided by their sustainable solutions to help communities build back better from the pandemic.”While the direct health impacts of the pandemic on young people have been generally less severe, they are disproportionately affected by the long-lasting consequences of the pandemic. Such effects include disruptions to education, economic uncertainty, loss or lack of employment opportunities, impacts on physical and mental health, and trauma from domestic violence. For example, mental anxiety brought on by COVID-19 has been identified in nearly 90 per cent of young people; more than 1 billion students in almost every country have been impacted by school closures; and 1 in 6 young people worldwide have lost their jobs during the pandemic.At the same time, young people are also driving change and implementing solutions in response to COVID-19 by taking action through community-based interventions and voluntary service, such as acting as first responders and delivering food and supplies to those in need. The Global Youth Mobilization will draw attention to the urgent need for solutions to support young people, and to highlight the critical leadership role young people are playing in their communities to counter the effects of the pandemic.“We are proud to team up with the WHO to provide opportunities and funding to help millions of young people across the globe to respond to local challenges related to COVID-19 in their communities,” said the leadership of the Big 6 in a joint statement. “The mobilization will provide direct financial and programmatic support to youth organizations at the national and international level. We believe that young people have the solutions to solve their own problems, and by providing a global youth platform, combined with national activation for youth projects, we can unleash the skills, enthusiasm and desire for young people to be a force for good in their communities.”Supported by the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO and powered by the United Nations Foundation, the Global Youth Mobilization features a strategic partnership with the WHO and its newly launched Youth Council. It will involve other United Nations agencies, as well as a number of high-profile global partners, brands, and advocates, from FIFA to YOUNGA by BridgingTheGap Ventures, and the creation of a youth council of social media influencers, including the Influential platform. The initiative, developed in consultation with young people from across the globe, will be youth-led, community-driven, evidence-based, and inclusive of diverse communities rooted in meaningful youth participation and engagement.   -----------------------------About the Big 6 Youth OrganizationsFormed in 1996, the Big 6 Youth Organizations are an alliance of leading international youth-serving organizations. The ‘Big 6’ comprises the five largest youth movements in the world: Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and a leading programme for youth development, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (The Award). Together, the Big 6 actively involve in excess of 250 million young people, contributing to the empowerment of more than 1 billion young people during the last century. For more information visit www.bigsix.org In response to the unique challenges facing young people today, and to coincide with the launch of the Global Youth Mobilization, the Big 6 have also published a new policy paper: ‘Young People Championing Post-Pandemic Futures’. The paper is a joint call to action on behalf of 250 million children and young people that make up the Big 6 Youth Organizations and includes recommendations concerning education, employment, mental health and digital inclusion. Read the full report and calls to action at bigsix.org. About the World Health OrganizationThe 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 149 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 Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitch.About the United Nations FoundationThe United Nations Foundation brings together ideas, people, and resources to help the United Nations drive global progress and tackle urgent problems. Our hallmark is to collaborate for lasting change and innovate to address humanity’s greatest challenges. Learn more at www.unfoundation.orgAbout the COVID-19 Solidarity Response FundTo support the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners in their global response to COVID-19, the United Nations Foundation helped launch the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which has raised more than $238 million for lifesaving work around the world to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19.  Learn more about the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the United Nations Foundation at www.covid19responsefund.org. 

  • New WHO tool to help countries advance towards universal health coverage
    on Dec 14 2020 at 09:27

    One of WHO’s 3 strategic goals is to ensure that an additional 1 billion people in the world are protected by universal health coverage (UHC) by 2023 – able to access the services they need to keep healthy, without falling into poverty as a result.A key step in making this a reality is for countries to be able to work out what services their people need and how to provide them.WHO’s new UHC Compendium, the product of a wide-ranging multi-year collaboration across WHO programmes and partners, is designed to help them do just this.Basically a toolbox for countries to build packages of essential services, the Compendium offers national health authorities and decision-makers a database  of over 3500 health actions across all health areas from which they can choose when planning and budgeting their health programmes.The Compendium brings together evidence, guidance, resource inputs and cost analysis into one go-to platform. In addition, it gives tips and options for choosing among the most cost-effective actions to develop a comprehensive package suited to national context.The database provides a global reference point for how to organize and present information on health interventions for UHC across the full life course and for all diseases, and includes a diverse set of actions spanning prevention, rehabilitation, and treatment, as well as inter-sectoral interventions.Version 1.0 of the Compendium focuses on clinical health services that can be grouped dynamically into categories such as health programmes, life-course stage, and sustainable development goals.For example, the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) can filter health actions related to immunization to see the relevant health actions in a table.So country users can refer to the UHC Compendium as a one-stop shop to inform decisions around which services to consider for provision within their system. In forthcoming versions, users will be able to view resource needs, costs and other information to guide their prioritization process. -------------------------------*A public webinar will be held on Monday, 14 December, at 13:00, to explain and illustrate how and why all countries can benefit from this new, vital tool to achieve universal health coverage.  To register in advance for this webinar:https://who.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__XV99Hl8SgWu_MQQrJFGMA

  • Almost 2 billion people depend on health care facilities without basic water services – WHO, UNICEF
    on Dec 11 2020 at 14:22

    Lack of water puts health care workers and patients at higher risk of COVID-19 infectionAround 1.8 billion people are at heightened risk of COVID-19 and other diseases because they use or work in health care facilities without basic water services, warn WHO and UNICEF. “Working in a health care facility without water, sanitation and hygiene is akin to sending nurses and doctors to work without personal protective equipment” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Water supply, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities are fundamental to stopping COVID-19. But there are still major gaps to overcome, particularly in least developed countries.” The report, Fundamentals first: Universal water, sanitation, and hygiene services in health care facilities for safe, quality care, comes as COVID-19 is exposing key vulnerabilities within  health systems, including inadequate infection prevention and control.Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are vital to the safety of health workers and patients yet provision of  these  services is not prioritized. Worldwide, 1 in 4 health care facilities has no water services, 1 in 3 does not have access to hand hygiene where care is provided, 1 in 10 has no sanitation services*, and 1 in 3 does not segregate waste safely. “Sending healthcare workers and people in need of treatment to facilities without clean water, safe toilets, or even soap puts their lives at risk,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “This was certainly true before the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year has made these disparities impossible to ignore. As we reimagine and shape a post-COVID world, making sure we are sending children and mothers to places of care equipped with adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services is not merely something we can and should do. It is an absolute must.”The situation is worst of all in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs): 1 in 2 health care facilities does not have basic drinking water, 1 in 4 health care facilities has no hand hygiene facilities at points of care; and 3 in 5 lack basic sanitation services. But this can be fixed. The report’s preliminary estimates indicate that it would cost roughly USD 1 per capita to enable all 47 LDCs to establish basic water service in health facilities. On average, USD 0.20 per capita is needed each year to operate and maintain services.According to the report, immediate, incremental investments in WASH have big returns: improving hygiene in health care facilities is a “best buy” for tackling antimicrobial resistance. It  reduces health care costs because it reduces health-care associated infections (which are costly to treat). It saves time as health workers do not have to search for water for hand hygiene. Better hygiene also increases uptake of services. This all adds up to a return of USD 1.5 for every dollar invested. These services are especially critical for vulnerable populations, including pregnant mothers, newborns and children. Improving WASH services in health care facilities is particularly important around childbirth when far too many mothers and newborns suffer and die, including from preventable conditions like sepsis. Better WASH services could save a million pregnant women and newborns’ lives and reduce still-births. The report provides four main recommendations:Implement costed national roadmaps with appropriate financing;Monitor and regularly review progress in improving WASH services, practices and the enabling environment;Develop capacities of health workforce to sustain WASH services and promote and practice good hygiene;Integrate WASH into regular health sector planning, budgeting, and programming, including COVID-19 response and recovery efforts to deliver quality services.Global WASH and health partners have shown their support for meeting global and country WASH in health care facility targets. By 2020, over 130 partners have committed resources, of which 34 have made dedicated financial commitments totalling USD125 million. Nevertheless, implementation of the 2019 World Health Assembly Resolution on WASH in health care facilities is uneven. Of the nearly 50 countries for which WHO and UNICEF have data, 86 per cent have updated standards and 70 per cent have conducted initial assessments which show that these areas are generally on track. Yet just a third of countries have costed national WASH in health care facility roadmaps and only 10 per cent have included WASH indicators in national health systems monitoring.More catalytic global funding, technical support, and domestic resourcing is needed to keep health care workers and patients safe and protected. Now, an opportunity exists to build on existing efforts and commitments and integrate WASH in health care facilities in all national COVID-19 plans, vaccine distribution and economic recovery packages.“For millions of healthcare workers across the world, water is PPE”, said Jennifer Sara, Global Director for Water at the World Bank Group. “It is essential that financing keeps flowing to bring water and sanitation services to those battling the COVID crisis on the frontlines. Funding WASH in healthcare facilities is among the most cost-effective investments that governments can make.”Data published by WHO in October indicates that COVID-19 infections among health care workers are far greater than those in the general population: Health care workers represent less than 3 per cent of the population, but account for 14 per cent of global COVID-19 cases reported to WHO. Ensuring health care workers have the basic WASH necessities to keep themselves,  their patients, their families and children safe - is imperative.“Millions have no option but to seek care from the 50% of health care facilities in the developing world which don’t have clean water on the premises. This cannot continue. Every day both healthcare workers’ and patients’ lives are being put at risk,” saidTim Wainwright, Chief Executive at international charity WaterAid. “Without frontline health workers being able to wash their hands; provide their patients with clean water; or have somewhere decent to go to the toilet, a hospital is not a hospital at all - it’s a breeding ground for disease.” Note to Editors:The data in this year’s report include statistics for 165 countries, from surveys representing 760,000 facilities. Compared to last year’s baseline report, estimates were available for 125 countries with data from surveys representing 560,000 facilities.  The data on county progress in implementing the World Health Assembly Resolution represent 47 countries. It is the first time these data have been compiled and analyzed.Sanitation services are measures taken to ensure the hygienic management of excreta along all stages of the sanitation chain: capture, containment, emptying, transport, treatment and safe disposal.About the World Health Organization The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.  For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus. Visit www.who.int and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube.About UNICEFUNICEF 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.Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook 

  • Call for Action: Managing the Infodemic
    on Dec 11 2020 at 00:05

    Please join us by signing the Call for Action—a global movement to promote access to health information and to mitigate harm from health misinformation among online and offline communities. Sign the Call for Action Since the beginning of the outbreak over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has gravely affected our societies and economies. Likewise, it has deeply disrupted the lives of billions of people across the globe, including the way we consume, produce, and react to information. Thanks to new technologies, we have been able to widely disseminate knowledge and evidence on this new disease. However, social media platforms have also been the carriers of falsehoods and distortions.Underlining that the world is facing a rapid amplification and circulation of accurate but also false information, the UN Secretary-General and the Director-General of the World Health Organization both declared that we are currently fighting an infodemic in the same way as we are fighting a pandemic. An infodemic is defined as a tsunami of information—some accurate, some not—that spreads alongside an epidemic. If it is not managed accordingly, an infodemic can have direct negative impacts on the health of populations and the public health response by undermining the trust in science and interventions. We are also seeing that infodemics hinder the cohesiveness of societies by increasing existing social inequities, stigma, gender disparity and generational rift.Although infodemics are not a new phenomenon, the volume and rapid scale-up of facts, but also misinformation and disinformation, surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak are unprecedented. Owing to the opportunities and challenges brought by new technologies and social media platforms, the infodemic that accompanies the first pandemic of the digital age is more visible and challenging than ever before. Practicing information hygiene, just as we are practicing hand and cough hygiene, is thus becoming vital to prevent the spread of the virus.This overflow of information knows no boundaries and affects our physical as well as our digital spaces. By acting together to improve infodemic management online and offline and advocating for continued solidarity, we believe that we can help our communities and those most vulnerable adopt healthy behaviors. As outlined in the Resolution on COVID-19[1] adopted by consensus at the 73rd World Health Assembly and the G20 Health Ministers’ Declaration at the Riyadh Summit, we need to provide populations with reliable and comprehensive information on COVID-19 and take measures to counter misinformation and disinformation.The response to this infodemic demands the support, development, and application of efficient solutions that equip individuals and their communities with the knowledge and tools to promote accurate health information (upstream) and mitigate the harm that misinformation and disinformation causes (downstream). Fully aware of the limits of top-down approaches, we call upon the implementation of interventions that engage with, listen to, inform, and empower people so that they can make decisions to protect themselves and others.Deeply concerned with the undermining consequences of the current infodemic to the COVID-19 response and acknowledging the great potential for improved risk communication through new tools, we hereby call on key stakeholders and the global community to commit to undertaking the following actions:Recognize that an infodemic is a tsunami of information—some accurate, some not—that spreads alongside an epidemic and note that it cannot be eliminated but it can be managed.Acknowledge that infodemic management can reduce the direct and indirect negative impacts on the health of populations, as well as growing mistrust towards governments, science, and health personnel which has fueled the polarization of societies.Emphasize that everyone has a role to play in addressing the infodemic.Support a whole-of-society approach and engage with communities in the production, verification, and dissemination of information that leads to healthy behaviors during epidemics and pandemics.Commit to finding solutions and tools, consistent with the freedom of expression, to manage the infodemic embedding the use of digital technologies and data science.Strive to make science more accessible, transparent, and understandable, maintain trusted sources of information and promote evidence-informed policies thereby fostering people’s trust in them. Learn from the COVID-19 infodemic management practices and share experience on value-added partnerships. We encourage other organizations and individuals to join the World Health Organization in making these commitments and holding ourselves accountable to them by signing this statement of commitment.[1] Resolution WHA73.1 COVID-19 response

  • Chemical background documents for the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality
    on Dec 10 2020 at 09:08

    Revised background documents for asbestos and manganese are available for public review.

  • WHO guideline on ensuring balanced national policies for access and safe use of controlled medicines
    on Aug 21 2020 at 09:26

    In June 2019, WHO announced the revision of two pain management guidelines. A full web statement on this revision can be found here.This page is dedicated to the revision of the document “Ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances: Guidance for availability and accessibility of controlled medicines (2011).” This guideline is being revised in accordance to the methods and procedures outlined in WHO Handbook for Guideline Development.Further information and regular updates on the guideline can be found on this page.WHO guideline on ensuring balanced national policies for access and safe use of controlled medicines (Policy guideline)Scope: The proposed scope for this guideline has been developed and is available here.Public hearing: A public hearing regarding the scope of the guideline took place on 19 February 2020. The written statements submitted on the guideline have been consolidated and can be found here.Synthesis of evidence: WHO Procurement issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from specialist technical experts. A systematic review team has been selected.GDG members: The list of Guideline Development Group members has been confirmed and is available here. Public comments on the proposed list were accepted until 9th February 2020. The first GDG meeting was held in June 2020 to finalise the scope of the guideline. A second GDG meeting took place on 15th December 2020 to prioritise outcomes. Further GDG meetings are planned for 2021 to review the outcomes of the systematic review and evidence synthesis.External review group: The composition of an external review group (ERG) for the revision of this guideline has been constituted.TimelinesThe guideline is expected to be published in 2021.Interim guidance: Whilst this document is being updated, countries in need of guidance on pain management can:use the list of resources for advice concerning access to appropriate medicines for pain and palliative care, and/orcontact WHO to request technical support at controlled.medicines@who.int Contact usQueries specifically relating to the Ensuring Balance revision may be emailed to the Secretariat: controlled.medicines@who.int 

  • Updated WHO Information Note: Ensuring continuity of TB services during the COVID-19 pandemic
    on Apr 7 2020 at 11:53

     As the world comes together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that essential health services and operations are continued to protect the lives of people with TB and other diseases or health conditions. Health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained.  In the lead- up to World TB Day, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General emphasized in a news release, “COVID-19 is highlighting just how vulnerable people with lung diseases and weakened immune systems can be. The world committed to end TB by 2030; improving prevention is key to making this happen.”  WHO Global TB Programme, along with WHO regional and country offices, has developed an information note, in collaboration with stakeholders. This note is intended to assist national TB programmes and health personnel to urgently maintain continuity of essential services for people affected with TB during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by innovative people-centred approaches, as well as maximizing joint support to tackle both diseases.  “We stand in solidarity with those affected by COVID-19 and those at the frontlines of the fight to combat the disease,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. “We need to act with urgency to ensure that in line with our vision of Health for All, no one with TB, COVID-19 or any health condition will miss out on the prevention and care they need. It’s time for action.”This information note was originally published on 20 March 2020 and later updated on 4 April, 12 May and 15 December. 



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