News and top stories

Palliative care improves quality of life

05 October 2015 -- Palliative care is a core component health services, but only about 14% of people in need at the end of life are currently receiving it. WHO is working with governments to expand access to palliative care. Palliative care prevents and relieves suffering, whether physical, psychological or spiritual. Access to pain relief, including opiates, is a critical component. This feature story is about Godfrey, a South African boy whose quality of life improved because he received appropriate care.

WHO deplores bombing of MSF clinic in Kunduz

3 October 2015 -- WHO calls on all governments and military officers to observe their obligations under international law and to ensure the protection of health services in conflict – a time when they are most needed. Tragedies like this can and should be avoided, by warring parties consistently observing International Humanitarian Law and taking all necessary precautionary measures.

Patient advocates use past to change the future

02 October 2015-- Patient safety is a serious global public health issue. Estimates show that in developed countries as many as 1 in 10 patients is harmed while receiving care. In 2004, WHO launched a patient safety programme to develop policies and practices aimed at preventing harm to patients worldwide. This feature tells the story of a mother who lost her son because simple health measures were not taken and how she became one of WHO’s first 21 patient advocates.

Healthy ageing: major societal change needed

30 September 2015 -- By 2050, the number of people over the age of 60 is set to double. The "World report on ageing and health" highlights the need for major societal change, to ensure that people are not just living longer, but also healthier, lives. The report outlines key areas for action, in the organization of health systems, in our wider physical and social environments, and in the way society as a whole views older people.

Treat all people living with HIV and those at risk

30 September 2015 -- WHO’s new guideline recommends that antiretroviral therapy should be offered to everyone living with HIV or those at substantial risk for HIV. Daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended as a prevention choice for people at substantial risk of HIV infection as part of the approach to prevention. These new policies could help avert more than 21 million deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030.

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WHO fact sheets

Measles vaccination campaign, Liberia
WHO/M. Winkler


  • Ebola outbreak is still a public health emergency of international concern
    October 2015 -- The Emergency Committee on the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, met for the 7th time on 1 October. The committee advised that the EVD outbreak continues to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a series of new recommendations that supersede those issued previously.
  • Preventing and treating infections around childbirth
    October 2015 -- Bacterial infections around the time of childbirth (peripartum infections) account for about one tenth of maternal deaths globally. WHO's new recommendations help health professionals and policy makers reduce the global burden of maternal infections and their complications around the time of childbirth.

Emergency reform

WHO/V. Nguyen Hoan

WHO is reforming its work in outbreaks and emergencies with health and humanitarian consequences to ensure the Organization can respond rapidly to future crises.


Dr M. Chan, WHO Director-General

Ebola diaries

Tweets from WHO


- Annual rate of reduction 1990-2000: 1.8%
- Annual rate of reduction 2000-2015: 3.9%

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