Latest homepage stories

Below are the most recent top stories from the WHO homepage.

Up to 650 000 people die of respiratory diseases due to seasonal flu yearly

14 December 2017 – According to new calculations, this marks an increase on the previous global estimate of 250 000 – 500 000, which dates from over ten years ago and covered all influenza-related deaths, including cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The new figures of 290 000 – 650 000 deaths are based on more recent data from a larger, more diverse group of countries, including lower middle income countries, and exclude deaths from non-respiratory diseases.

Half the world lacks access to essential health services

13 December 2017 – 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. Currently, 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family member.

Universal Health Coverage Day

12 December 2017 – Health is a human right.
But we have a long way to go until everyone – no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have – can get the quality health care they need and deserve.

For this year’s Universal Health Coverage Day there will be a historic forum in Tokyo, Japan, from 12–15 December to galvanize action toward #HealthforAll.

Health is a fundamental human right

10 December 2017 – “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”.  

Almost 70 years after these words were adopted in WHO's constitution, they are more powerful and relevant than ever.  Since day one, the right to health has been central to WHO’s identity and mandate.

Marburg virus disease: Uganda ends outbreak

8 December 2017 – Uganda has successfully controlled an outbreak of Marburg virus disease and prevented its spread only weeks after it was first detected.

Within 24 hours of being informed by Ugandan health authorities in early October, WHO deployed a rapid response team to the remote mountainous area. The Organization also released US$ 623 000 from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to finance immediate support and scale up of the response.

Dementia: number of people affected to triple in next 30 years

7 December 2017 – As the global population ages, the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050. The estimated annual global cost of dementia is US$ 818 billion, equivalent to more than 1% of global gross domestic product. By 2030, the cost is expected to have more than doubled, to US$ 2 trillion, a cost that could undermine social and economic development and overwhelm health and social services, including long-term care systems.

Diphtheria is spreading fast in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

6 December 2017 – 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).

A visit to Gornali is no holiday

6 December 2017 – In a world where record numbers of people need humanitarian assistance and disease outbreaks are a continual global threat, the systems needed to respond are under unprecedented strain. In response to this growing need, WHO created a tailor-made training within its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) programme designed to prepare specialists by simulating the conditions of a real emergency deployment.

Data: Improving the lives of people with disability

3 December 2017 – Gloria Cerón knows disability is an important issue all over the world, particularly in her own country of Chile. But through a WHO-backed initiative, she and her colleagues at Chile’s National Disability Service have developed up-to-date information on disability in her country, and are using this information to strengthen services for people who need them.

World AIDS Day: Everybody counts

1 December 2017 – "Everybody counts" is the slogan for this year's World AIDS Day. WHO is advocating for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable HIV services, medicines, diagnostics other health commodities for all people who need them. Universal health coverage means that all people receive the health services they need without experiencing financial hardship, including access to the full range of HIV services.

World AIDS Day, 1 December 2017

01 December 2017 – "Everybody counts", is the slogan for this year's World AIDS Day. WHO is advocating for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable HIV services, medicines, diagnostics other health commodities for all people who need them. UHC means that all people receive the health services they need without experiencing financial hardship, including access to the full range of HIV services.

Encounters with plague: tracing and preventing infection

30 November 2017 – In Madagascar, where a severe plague epidemic has unfolded since August 2017, the number of new infections is finally in decline. WHO is supporting health authorities to respond to the outbreak, from setting up specialized plague treatment units in health centres, to distributing medicines across the country.

United Arab Emirates is promoting health by beating NCDs

29 November 2017 – Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) pose a critical health threat to the United Arab Emirates, with three-quarters of all deaths due to one of these conditions. But the government has stepped up action to promote public health, using high taxes to reduce consumption of products like tobacco and sugary drinks, and investing in dedicated NCD services throughout its primary health care system.

Global malaria control at crossroads

29 November 2017 – After unprecedented global success in malaria control, progress has stalled, according to the World malaria report 2017. There were an estimated 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 than in 2015. Malaria deaths stood at around 445 000, a similar number to the previous year. A major problem is insufficient funding at both domestic and international levels, resulting in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines, and other life-saving tools.

1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is substandard or falsified

28 November 2017 – New research from WHO estimates that 1 in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries is either substandard or falsified, meaning that people are taking medicines that fail to treat or prevent disease.

Globalization is making regulation more difficult, and substandard or falsified medical products are split almost evenly between generic and patented products, ranging from cancer treatment to contraception.

Madagascar's plague epidemic slowing, but response must continue

27 November 2017 – An unprecedented outbreak of pneumonic plague that started in August in Madagascar and killed more than 200 people is declining – but WHO cautions that the response must be sustained.

Measures taken to contain the outbreak have been effective, but more infections of both bubonic and pneumonic plague are expected until the end of the plague season in April 2018.

Uganda steps up to support women subjected to violence

24 November 2017 – Violence against women is a global public health problem. In Uganda more than half of all women have experienced violence at least once in their life, most likely from an intimate partner.

In response Uganda has developed the National Action Plan on the Elimination of Gender-based Violence. To date more than 400 health workers have been trained, helping to address violence against women.

The paradox of migrant women care workers

21 November 2017 – Migrating in the same numbers as men, many migrant women take on personal care work in informal and home-based settings – often without social protection, labour rights, or health care. A new WHO report shows an emerging paradox: that migrant women carers support health and social systems, while their own health care and other needs may be unfulfilled.

YoungVoicesCount – for the World We Want in 2030

20 November 2017 – YoungVoicesCount is a community and global conversation led by young people about health and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are over 3 billion young people under the age of 24 years, which is 42% of the world's population. To start the conversation, young people born around 2005 in different parts of the world discussed what the SDGs mean to them.

New global commitment to end tuberculosis

17 November 2017 – Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end tuberculosis. The Moscow Declaration to End Tuberculosis, agreed to by 75 ministers of health, is a promise to increase multisectoral action, track progress, and build accountability – signalling a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.