At least half of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services, according to a new report from the World Bank and WHO. And each year, large numbers of households are being pushed into poverty because they must pay for health care out of their own pockets.
There is some good news: The report shows that the 21st century has seen an increase in the number of people able to obtain some key health services such as immunization. Progress, however, is very uneven.
The Government of Bangladesh, with the support of UNICEF, WHO and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, today launched a vaccination campaign against diphtheria and other preventable diseases for all Rohingya children aged 6 weeks to 6 years living in 12 camps and temporary settlements near the Myanmar border.
The Serum Institute of India has donated 300 000 doses of pentavalent vaccines for use in the response.
Diphtheria is rapidly spreading among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, WHO warned today. More than 110 suspected cases, including 6 deaths, have been clinically diagnosed by health partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).
WHO has delivered medicines to tackle an outbreak of diphtheria in Yemen, warning that sustained humanitarian access is critical to stopping its spread. "It is shocking that in 2017, there are children dying of an ancient disease that is vaccine-preventable and can be easily treated," said Dr Nevio Zagaria, WHO Country Representative in Yemen.
The anti-toxins can help stop the spread of the bacterium to vital organs in patients already infected with diphtheria. But no supplies were available before the arrival of the WHO shipment of 1000 vials of anti-toxins and 17 tonnes of medical supplies in Sanaa yesterday. Antibiotics and vaccines are also critical to treating and preventing the highly infectious respiratory disease – both of which are in short supply in Yemen.