Countries act on noncommunicable diseases, but more effort needed

18 July 2016 – A new WHO report highlights the need to intensify national action to meet global targets on noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and lung diseases, which collectively represent the largest cause of death in people aged under 70 years. A number of countries have put in place measures to prevent tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, but progress is insufficient and uneven.

Global immunization coverage sustained in past 5 years

15 July 2016 – Recent data from WHO and UNICEF indicate that 86% of the world’s children received the required 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines (DTP3) in 2015, a coverage level that has been sustained above 85% since 2010. The number of children who did not receive routine vaccinations has dropped from 33.8 million in 2000 to an estimated 19.4 million in 2015 as a result.

Key challenges flagged for International AIDS Conference

15 July 2016 – Four key challenges have been flagged by WHO as the international community meets at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, from 18–22 July. These challenges include the need to renew attention to HIV prevention while maintaining momentum on scaling up access to HIV treatment, the growing emergence of antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance, and the need for sustainable financing of the global response.

India eliminates yaws, maternal and neonatal tetanus

14 July 2016 – WHO today presented certificates declaring elimination of yaws and maternal and neonatal tetanus to the Health and Family Welfare Minister of India. Accounting for approximately one-sixth of the world’s population, India is the first country under the 2012 WHO neglected tropical diseases roadmap to eliminate yaws, a disease known to affect the most underserved population.

Yellow fever vaccination in Democratic Republic of the Congo

14 July 2016 – Democratic Republic of the Congo faces challenges in responding to the yellow fever outbreak, such as lack of access and resources. WHO is working with the government and partners to organize a mass vaccination campaign of approximately 3 million people along the border with Angola.

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Highlights

  • Tropical Data helps countries collect and leverage data
    July 2016 − A new WHO initiative called Tropical Data provides an end-to-end epidemiological survey support service, covering planning and protocol development, training, data processing, and application of the survey outputs. The initiative will initially focus on supporting trachoma prevalence surveys.
  • Antibiotics needed for maternal and congenital syphilis
    July 2016 – New evidence shows that shortages of benzathine penicillin are prevalent in countries with high numbers of pregnant women and infants who are infected with syphilis. Shortages of this antibiotic may lead to a lack of treatment for pregnant women, and ultimately to adverse birth and health outcomes.
  • Response to internally displaced persons in South Sudan
    July 2016 -- In response to the growing humanitarian crisis and the displacement of thousands of people fleeing Juba City, South Sudan, WHO has donated accident and emergency unit trauma kits sufficient to conduct 500 surgeries to Juba Teaching Hospital in order to save the lives of the increasing number of injured patients.

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

Better estimates for hepatitis elimination

Why does viral hepatitis receive so little funding and attention from health policy makers and donors? Ahead of World Hepatitis Day, WHO’s team lead for hepatitis describes the new momentum building to better address hepatitis.


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