News and top stories

WHO welcomes decision to establish United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response

19 September 2014 --Nearly 6 months after the first case of Ebola in West Africa was reported to WHO, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and the Security Council have approved resolutions creating the United Nations mission for Ebola emergency response to contain the ongoing outbreak which has sickened more than 5 500 people and killed over 2 500. This is the first time in history that the UN has created a mission for a public health emergency. The Mission will bring together the vast resources of the UN agencies, funds and programmes, to reinforce WHO’s technical expertise and experience in disease outbreaks.

WHO Director-General addresses UN Security Council on Ebola

18 September 2014 -- Dr Margaret Chan welcomed the White House announcement of a major ramp-up in support of containing the Ebola outbreak in parts of west Africa. In the hardest-hit countries, the outbreak threatens to push governments to the brink of state failure. She announced a joint WHO/UN initiative to address the crisis, which has unprecedented humanitarian, political, economic, and security dimensions.

WHO’s humanitarian response to health crises in Iraq

18 September 2014 -- Intensified conflict has sparked a massive displacement of people across Iraq, especially in the north, posing a wide range of health threats. As part of the humanitarian response, WHO and partners are responding by controlling disease outbreaks, supplying medicines and strengthening hospitals, clinics and the health workforce.

Child mortality rates falling faster than ever

16 September 2014 -- New data released show that under 5 mortality rates have dropped by 49% between 1990 and 2013. But overall progress is still short of meeting the global target of a two-thirds decrease in under 5 mortality by 2015. In 2013, 2.8 million babies died within the first month of life, which represents about 44% of all under 5 deaths. This year WHO, UNICEF and partners issued the first-ever global plan to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths by 2035.

Protecting children from the harmful effects of food and drink marketing

18 September 2014 -- Food and drink marketing is vast and increasingly sophisticated, and children are among its prime targets. Food advertising and other forms of marketing influence children’s food preferences, purchasing behaviour and overall dietary behaviour. This feature story from the UK highlights how marketing restrictions have had a significant impact.



Highlights

  • Zimbabwe medicines quality lab gets WHO approval
    Zimbabweans stand to gain access to better medicines after the WHO’s approval, this week, of a medicines quality control laboratory in Harare. The approval, which follows a thorough assessment by WHO, means that the laboratory operates in compliance with international standards.
  • Statement regarding deaths of children in northern Syria
    UNICEF and WHO have been shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of at least 15 young children in Idlib, Syria. Establishing the precise cause of the children’s deaths is vital and WHO is sending a team of experts to provide assistance in investigating this event.
  • Prioritizing mHealth strategies for universal health coverage
    A new article on mobile health (mHealth) provides a framework to help prioritize investments and opportunities for collaboration. mHealth is seen as a potential tool to help achieve universal health coverage.

Commentary

Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE)

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