Methadone programme gives hope to thousands in Dar es Salaam

24 August 2016 – In recent years, the city of Dar es Salaam in the United Republic of Tanzania has seen an increase in illicit drug use, particularly heroin. As a result, 2 hospitals in the city now make methadone available as a treatment for addiction. Methadone maintenance treatment is regarded by WHO as the most effective therapy for heroin users, and methadone was added to WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines 2005.

Ghanaian health workers use mobile phones to collect maternal health data

24 August 2016 – An estimated 2800 women in Ghana died during childbirth in 2015. In order to improve maternal care in health facilities, WHO and partners are seeking to first understand why these deaths are occurring through improved data collection. The use of mobile phones to record this data in countries such as Ghana is a key component of WHO’s work to implement Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR).

New report on public financing for health in Africa

23 August 2016 – Fifteen years ago, African leaders pledged to increase health spending to 15% of total government expenditure. Since then health spending has reached an average of 10%. Still, as economies have grown, a number of challenges are hampering progress towards universal health coverage. A new WHO report examines trends in public financing in Africa and the critical role played by public financial management systems.

Stillbirths and maternal and neonatal deaths underreported

16 August 2016 – The day of birth is potentially the most dangerous time for mothers and babies. Every year, worldwide, 303 000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth, 2.7 million babies die during the first 28 days of life and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. Today, WHO is launching 3 publications to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and maternal and neonatal deaths.

Mass vaccination campaign to protect millions against yellow fever

16 August 2016 – One of the largest emergency vaccination campaigns ever attempted in Africa will start in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo this week as WHO and partners work to curb a yellow fever outbreak that has killed more than 400 people and sickened thousands more. Working with Ministries of Health in the 2 countries, WHO is coordinating 56 global partners to vaccinate more than 14 million people against yellow fever in more than 8000 locations.

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Highlights

  • Improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes for young people
    August 2016 − New research evaluates interventions which can help to improve reproductive health outcomes in young people aged between 10–24 years. Effective strategies include addressing early unintended and repeat pregnancies, preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and ending child marriages.
  • South Sudan health crisis worsens as more partners pull out
    August 2016 − The recent escalation of the conflict in South Sudan has forced many people to flee, including those that were supporting the health response. Diseases that are already major causes of death in the country, such as malaria and acute watery diarrhoea, can become even more fatal with a lack of health workers.
  • Michael R. Bloomberg becomes WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases
    August 2016 − WHO has today named Mr Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and former three-term Mayor of the City of New York, as Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). In his new role, Mr Bloomberg will work with national and local political leaders to highlight the burden of NCDs and injuries.
  • Heightened response to cholera outbreak in Central African Republic
    August 2016 − Amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic, WHO and partners are working with the country’s Ministry of Health respond to a cholera outbreak declared on 10 August 2016 with 46 confirmed cases and 13 deaths from the cities of Djoujou, Damara and Bangui.

Zika virus and complications

After a spike in cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with Zika virus, WHO declared a public health emergency.

Commentaries

Endemic infectious diseases: the next 15 years

"More than anything, the next 5 years should be about creating solid foundations for ending the infectious disease epidemics everywhere... These diseases are known for returning with a vengeance, if we ever slow down."

Dr Ren Minghui,
WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases


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