Tobacco responsible for 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease

14 hours 50 minutes ago

Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released today by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September.

This equates to one in five of all deaths from heart disease, warn the report’s authors, who urge all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers  are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.

Just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease. But if tobacco users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease will decrease by 50% after one year of not smoking.

“Given the current level of evidence on tobacco and cardiovascular health and the health benefits of quitting smoking, failing to offer cessation services to patients with heart disease could be considered clinical malpractice or negligence. Cardiology societies should train their members in smoking cessation, as well as to promote and even drive tobacco control advocacy efforts,” said Dr Eduardo Bianco, Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group.

The brief also shows that smokeless tobacco is responsible for around 200 000 deaths from coronary heart disease per year. E-cigarettes also raise blood pressure increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Moreover, high blood pressure and heart disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19. A recent WHO survey found that among people dying of COVID-19 in Italy, 67% had high blood pressure and in Spain, 43% of people who developed COVID-19 were living with heart disease.

Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic. Making our communities smoke-free reduces the number of tobacco-related hospital admissions, which is more important than ever in the context of the current pandemic,” said Dr Vinayak Prasad, Unit Lead of the WHO No Tobacco Unit.

Tobacco control is a key element for reducing heart disease. Governments can help tobacco users quit by increasing tax on tobacco products, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and offering services to help people give up tobacco.

 

FAO, OIE, and WHO launch new online training on navigating the Tripartite Zoonoses Guide (TZG)

17 hours 41 minutes ago

Zoonotic diseases can have reaching impacts on the health of people, animals, environments, economies and health systems globally. Countries must be prepared to detect, prevent and respond to these emerging and endemic diseases.

The Tripartite organisations (FAO, OIE and WHO) have launched a guide entitled ‘Taking a Multisectoral, One Health Approach: A Tripartite Guide to Addressing Zoonotic Diseases in Countries’, the TZG, to support countries in addressing zoonotic diseases. It provides principles, best practices and options to assist countries in achieving sustainable and functional collaboration at the human-animal-environment interface.

Today, a new online training is available for free to help you navigate and implement the TZG.
Watch this video to know more about the training:

 

What are the benefits for your country?

After completing this training, you will:

  • Understand the purpose of the TZG
  • Recognize the tools that can be used to understand national context and priorities for One Health
  • Explore the seven technical chapters of the TZG
  • Learn from country examples about the application of key principles of the TZG
  • Identify operational tools available to support the use of the TZG at a country level
Start the online training now by clicking here

 

 

 

Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation

1 day 14 hours ago
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected. At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic.

WHO and UNICEF recommit to accelerating health and well-being at all ages

2 days 16 hours ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF today signed a new collaborative framework which will accelerate joint public health efforts that put the most marginalized and vulnerable populations first.

The new Strategic Collaboration Framework builds on a robust 70-year collaboration between the two organizations, and prioritizes four strategic areas for immediate attention and action at all levels of the organizations: universal health coverage, through a primary health care and health systems approach; mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and development; public health emergencies; and maternal and child nutrition.

Additionally, the two organizations signed a new Joint Programme on Mental Health and Psychosocial Well-being and Development of Children and Adolescents. This 10-year collaborative effort will promote mental health and psychosocial well-being and development, increase access to care for mental health conditions, reduce suffering and enhance quality of life among children and adolescents, and their caregivers

Both organizations are particularly concerned about the urgent need to better tackle issues affecting adolescents. Depression is is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed huge gaps in accessing health, well-being and nutrition services among children and vulnerable populations,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “There has never been a more urgent need to work together. This new framework will help us strengthen health and food systems, and invest in mental health and psychosocial support in every country in the world.” 

For more than 70 years, WHO and UNICEF have worked together worldwide to ensure children survive and thrive, and benefit from a safe and clean environment. The two organizations collaborated to provide high-impact health, immunization, nutrition, HIV and early child development interventions, as well as safe water and sanitation services in every region of the world, including in fragile and conflict settings.

"At the heart of our work with UNICEF is seeing that every child not only survives but ultimately thrives and transforms their communities and future generations," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "With great appreciation and respect for our unique and complementary roles, we stand together in our commitment to achieve health for all. As this pandemic demonstrates, no-one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Today, WHO and UNICEF continue to work together to stop the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that every woman and every child have access to the essential health services they need, including immunizations and health check-ups.

The two organizations are also working together to support countries to introduce and deliver COVID-19 vaccines under the vaccines pillar of the “Access to COVID-19 Tools – Accelerator” (ACT-A) initiative, along with Gavi, CEPI and global immunization partners.

Additionally, the organizations are strengthening health systems through primary health care, as agreed in the Declaration of Astana, and the UN High-level declaration on UHC, in order to accelerate achievement of universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets by 2030.

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube

UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus.  Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.


Boost for global response to COVID-19 as economies worldwide formally sign up to COVAX facility

3 days 13 hours ago
  • 64 higher income economies have now joined the COVAX Facility, with a further 38 economies expected to sign in the coming days
  • These self-financing economies, which include 29 from ‘Team Europe’ participating as part of an agreement with the European Commission, join 92 lower income economies eligible for financial support through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment
  • This means a total of 156 economies, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population, are now committed to or eligible to receive vaccines through the Facility Click here for the list of economies

64 higher income economies have joined the COVAX Facility, a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure eventual COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live. These 64 economies include commitments from 35 economies as well as the European Commission which will procure doses on behalf of 27 EU member states plus Norway and Iceland

By pooling financial and scientific resources, these participating economies will be able to insure themselves against the failure of any individual vaccine candidate and secure successful vaccines in a cost-effective, targeted way. 

The 64 members of the Facility will be joined by 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible for support for the procurement of vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), a financing instrument aimed at supporting the procurement of vaccines for these countries. This means that 156 economies, representing roughly 64% of the global population in total, are now either committed to or eligible for the COVAX Facility, with more to follow.

With the Commitment Agreements secured, the COVAX Facility will now start signing formal agreements with vaccine manufacturers and developers, which are partners in the COVAX effort, to secure the doses needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021. This is in addition to an ongoing effort to raise funding for both R&D and for the procurement of vaccines for lower-income countries via the Gavi COVAX AMC.

“COVAX is now in business: governments from every continent have chosen to work together, not only to secure vaccines for their own populations, but also to help ensure that vaccines are available to the most vulnerable everywhere,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is coordinating the COVAX Facility. “With the commitments we’re announcing today for the COVAX Facility, as well as the historic partnership we are forging with industry, we now stand a far better chance of ending the acute phase of this pandemic once safe, effective vaccines become available.”

The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, Civil Society Organisations and others. 

The allocation of vaccines, once licensed and approved, will be guided by an Allocation Framework released today by WHO following the principle of fair and equitable access, ensuring no participating economy will be left behind. Policies determining the prioritization of vaccine rollout within economies will be guided by recommendations from the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which has recently released a Values Framework laying the groundwork for subsequent guidance on target populations and policies on vaccine use.  

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis that demands an unprecedented global response,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate the disease and prolong the global recovery. Working together through the COVAX Facility is not charity, it’s in every country’s own best interests to control the pandemic and accelerate the global economic recovery.”

The commitment of fully self-financing economies will now unlock vital funding and the security of demand needed to scale up manufacturing and secure the doses needed for the Facility. CEPI is leading COVAX vaccine research and development work, which aims to develop at least three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to economies participating in the COVAX Facility. Nine candidate vaccines are currently being supported by CEPI; eight of which are currently in clinical trials.

“This is a landmark moment in the history of public health with the international community coming together to tackle this pandemic. The global spread of COVID-19 means that it is only through equitable and simultaneous access to new lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines that we can hope to end this pandemic”, said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “Countries coming together in this way shows a unity of purpose and resolve to end the acute phase of this pandemic, and we must now work closely with vaccine manufacturers—who play an integral part in the global response—to put in place the agreements needed to fulfil COVAX’s core aim: to have two billion vaccine doses available by the end of 2021. Today, we have taken a great leap towards that goal, for the benefit of all.”

The success of COVAX hinges not only on economies signing up to the COVAX Facility and commitments from vaccine manufacturers, but also filling key funding gaps for both COVAX research and development (R&D) work and the Gavi COVAX AMC to support participation of lower income economies in the COVAX Facility.

Governments, vaccine manufacturers (in addition to their own R&D), organisations and individuals have committed US$ 1.4 billion towards vaccine R&D so far, but a further US$ 700-800 million is urgently needed to continue to move the portfolio forward in addition to US$ 300 million to fund WHO’s SOLIDARITY trial.

The Gavi COVAX AMC has raised around US$ 700 million from sovereign donors as well as philanthropy and the private sector, against an initial target of US$ 2 billion in seed funding needed by the end of 2020. Funding the Gavi COVAX AMC will be critical to ensuring ability to pay is not a barrier to accessing COVID-19 vaccines, a situation which would leave the majority of the world unprotected, with the pandemic and its impact continuing unabated.

The Commitment Agreements also commit higher income governments to provide an upfront payment to reserve doses by 9 October 2020. These funds will be used to accelerate the scale-up of vaccine manufacturing to secure two billion doses of vaccine, enough to vaccinate one billion people assuming the vaccine requires a two-dose regimen. Further details on these upfront payments are available in Gavi’s COVAX Facility Explainer

As well as procuring doses for participating economies, the COVAX Facility will also maintain a buffer of doses for emergency and humanitarian use.

Participating country comments

“COVID-19 poses serious health concerns to people everywhere, and that’s why Canada is committed to working with partners around the world to end the pandemic,” said the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. “Equitable, timely, and affordable access to a safe and effective COVID vaccine will be critical to help protect people’s health. Canada supports the objectives and principles of the COVAX Facility as the only global pooled procurement mechanism for countries to collaborate on this monumental undertaking. Our country is a part of this important global response.” 

“New Zealand’s commitment to the COVAX Facility supports access to vaccines against COVID-19 for other countries too,” said Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand. 

“COVAX and the idea of equal access to a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of ability to pay, is not just a moral imperative, it is the only practical solution to this pandemic. Protecting everyone is the only way we can return our world – our trade, tourism, travel, business – to normal,” said the Honourable Dr Edwin G. Dikoloti, Minister of Health and Wellness for Botswana. “We urge those countries who have not yet signed up to do so. Let us work together to protect each other.” 

“Immunisation saves lives. Investing in immunisation infrastructure helps strengthen health systems. We have seen this time and again through our work with Gavi and Alliance partners,” said Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health for Ethiopia. “By being a part of the COVAX Facility and the AMC we can continue this work and protect our citizens - and the world - against the impact of COVID-19.” 

“With COVAX, the world is joining forces and proving that together, we are stronger – and together, we can defeat this pandemic,” said Ekaterine Tikaradze, Minister of Health for Georgia. “Georgia will be joining the COVAX Facility to give our citizens the best chance at having access to safe vaccines. By doing this, we also make sure health care workers and other high risk persons all over the world have access to these life-saving tools, helping to bring the pandemic under control – and we can all recover and rebuild.”

“Joining the COVAX Facility was not a difficult decision – not only will this give Kuwaiti citizens access to COVID-19 vaccines as they become available, it will also mean our friends and partners outside our borders also get access,” said His Excellency Sheikh Dr Basel Humoud Al-Sabah, Minister of Health of the State of Kuwait. “We need a global solution to this global pandemic: we believe COVAX is that solution.”

“We believe international cooperation – a global effort – is key,” said Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development for Norway. “We must continue to work for equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments. To defeat the coronavirus pandemic, well-off countries need to act swiftly and boldly to make vaccines and treatments available to those who cannot afford to pay themselves. With the commitments to the COVAX facility we are heading in the right direction.”

“This is a hugely important initiative, which could offer us a path out of the acute phase of this pandemic and a return to normality,” said His Excellency Dr Ahmed Mohammed Obaid Al Saidi, Minister of Health of the Sultanate of Oman. “I would urge every country that has not yet done so to sign up, for all our sakes. It is far better for us to work together than apart.”

Partner comments

“The history of vaccines will be defined by our response to COVID-19; the COVAX facility is at the epicenter of this response. Industry is at the forefront in vaccines development and manufacturing leading to supplies of several billion doses within the next few years”, said Mr. Sai D. Prasad, President of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers’ Network (DCVMN). “The COVAX facility will have a major impact on lives, livelihoods and accelerate the return to normalcy for countries. The DCVMN is fully engaged with its partners to enhance its mission of global public health and to leave no one behind.”       

“It is very encouraging to see so many countries move from talk to full commitment,” said Thomas Cueni, Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA). “The Facility can only work, and equitable access can only be achieved, if there is solidarity between rich and poorer countries. Today vaccine makers who have the unique skills and expertise to scale up manufacturing to levels never seen before, stand ready, together, to take up the challenge of providing two billion doses of yet unknown COVID-19 vaccines. This is no mean feat, as it requires doubling existing capacity in record time. Today, marks a significant step forward, and is a historic mark of solidarity which has the power to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end; and we are proud to be part of this unique endeavour to leave no one behind.”

“Uniting our efforts through COVAX must guarantee fair allocation and equitable delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to those who need it most, and not just those who can afford it,” said Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “We all have a moral and public health imperative to protect the poor in rural communities as the affluent in cities, the old in care homes as the young in refugee camps. The power of our humanity and the success of COVAX will be measured by how we collectively protect the most vulnerable among us."

"Global cooperation must be the cornerstone of our global response to COVID-19,” said Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive of Save the Children. “The COVAX Facility has the potential to help ensure universal and equitable access to future COVID vaccines. For this to happen, we need to ensure people in low- and middle-income countries get their fair share and can access the vaccines they need to help overcome the biggest public health and child rights crisis of our generation."

“Seeing such unity in the face of the COVID-19 crisis gives us confidence that, together, we can ensure the equitable delivery of COVID vaccines globally,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “With our globe-spanning supply chain and on-the-ground presence across 190 countries, UNICEF is proud to support this historic effort.”

 

Notes to editors

A COVAX Facility Explainer document is available on the Gavi website here:, as well as a Q&A from Gavi CEO Seth Berkley here.

The full list of fully self-financing economies that have submitted both binding Commitment Agreements and non-binding Confirmations of Intent to Participate, as well as the 92 low- and middle-income countries eligible for the Gavi COVAX AMC, is available here.

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 760 million children – and prevented more than 13 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines.  After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.

About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated nine partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes are leveraging rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships.

Before the emergence of COVID-19, CEPI’s priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube

About ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.

The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organisation, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organisations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organisations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.

The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation. More information on the ACT Accelerator is available here.

“Let’s Talk About Dementia” campaign for the Americas - one year on

3 days 19 hours ago
In September 2019, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in partnership with Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), launched the “Let’s Talk About Dementia” campaign in the Americas. The campaign aimed to encourage people to talk more openly about dementia. Campaign materials, including posters and social media cards, were made available in Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. They not only highlighted the importance of talking about dementia, but also communicated the signs that can be an indication of dementia and ways to reduce risk factors for the disease.

Keep health workers safe to keep patients safe: WHO

1 week ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on governments and health care leaders to address persistent threats to the health and safety of health workers and patients.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “No country, hospital or clinic can keep its patients safe unless it keeps its health workers safe. WHO’s Health Worker Safety Charter is a step towards ensuring that health workers have the safe working conditions, the training, the pay and the respect they deserve.”

The pandemic has also highlighted the extent to which protecting health workers is key to ensuring a functioning health system and a functioning society.

The Charter, released today for World Patient Safety Day, calls on governments and those running health services at local levels to take five actions to better protect health workers. These include steps to protect health workers from violence; to improve their mental health; to protect them from physical and biological hazards; to advance national programmes for health worker safety, and to connect health worker safety policies to existing patient safety policies.

Mounting reports of infections, illness and attacks among health workers fighting COVID-19

COVID-19 has exposed health workers and their families to unprecedented levels of risk. Although not representative, data from many countries across WHO regions indicate that COVID-19 infections among health workers are far greater than those in the general population.

While health workers represent less than 3% of the population in the large majority of countries and less than 2% in almost all low- and middle-income countries, around 14% of COVID-19 cases reported to WHO are among health workers. In some countries, the proportion can be as high as 35%.  However, data availability and quality are limited, and it is not possible to establish whether health workers were infected in the work place or in community settings. Thousands of health workers infected with COVID-19 have lost their lives worldwide.

In addition to physical risks, the pandemic has placed extraordinary levels of psychological stress on health workers exposed to high-demand settings for long hours, living in constant fear of disease exposure while separated from family and facing social stigmatization. Before COVID-19 hit, medical professionals were already at higher risk of suicide in all parts of the world. A recent review of health care professionals found one in four reported depression and anxiety, and one in three suffered insomnia during COVID-19[1].  WHO recently highlighted an alarming rise in reports of verbal harassment, discrimination and physical violence among health workers in the wake of COVID-19.

5 steps to improve health worker safety and patient safety

On World Patient Safety Day, WHO reminds governments that they have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of health workers. The Organization’s health worker charter  calls on all Member States and relevant stakeholders to take steps to:

Establish synergies between health worker safety and patient safety policies and strategies:

  • Develop linkages between occupational health and safety, patient safety, quality improvement, and infection prevention and control programmes.
  • Include health and safety skills in personal and patient safety into education and training programmes for health workers at all levels.
  • Incorporate requirements for health worker and patient safety in health care licensing and accreditation standards.
  • Integrate staff safety and patient safety incident reporting and learning systems.
  • Develop integrated metrics of patient safety, health worker safety and quality of care indicators, and integrate with health information system.  

Develop and implement national programmes for occupational health and safety of health workers:

  • Develop and implement national programmes for occupational health for health workers in line with national occupational health and safety policies.
  • Review and upgrade, where necessary, national regulations and laws for occupational health and safety to ensure that all health workers have regulatory protection of their health and safety at work.
  • Appoint responsible officers with authority for occupational health and safety for health workers at both the national and facility levels.
  • Develop standards, guidelines, and codes of practice on occupational health and safety.
  • Strengthen intersectoral collaboration on health worker and patient safety, with appropriate worker and management representation, including gender, diversity and all occupational groups.

Protect health workers from violence in the workplace

  • Adopt and implement in accordance with national law, relevant policies and mechanisms to prevent and eliminate violence in the health sector.
  • Promote a culture of zero tolerance to violence against health workers
  • Review labour laws and other legislation, and where appropriate the introduction of specific legislation, to prevent violence against health workers.
  • Ensure that policies and regulations are implemented effectively to prevent violence and protect health workers.
  • Establish relevant implementation mechanisms, such ombudspersons and helplines to enable free and confidential reporting and support for any health worker facing violence.

Improve mental health and psychological well-being

  • Establish policies to ensure appropriate and fair duration of deployments, working hours, rest break and minimizing the administrative burden on health workers.
  • Define and maintain appropriate safe staffing levels within health care facilities.
  • Provide insurance coverage for work-related risk, especially those working in high-risk areas.
  • Establish a ‘blame-free’ and just working culture through open communication and including legal and administrative protection from punitive action on reporting adverse safety events.
  • Provide access to mental well-being and social support services for health workers, including advice on work-life balance and risk assessment and mitigation.

Protect health workers from physical and biological hazards

  • Ensure the implementation of minimum patient safety, infection prevention and control, and occupational safety standards in all health care facilities across the health system.
  • Ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, as relevant to the roles and tasks performed, in adequate quantity and appropriate fit and of acceptable quality. Ensure an adequate, locally held, buffer stock of PPE. Ensure adequate training on the appropriate use of PPE and safety precautions.
  • Ensure adequate environmental services such as water, sanitation and hygiene, disinfection and adequate ventilation at all health care facilities.
  • Ensure vaccination of all health workers at risk against all vaccine-preventable infections, including Hepatitis B and seasonal influenza, in accordance with the national immunization policy, and in the context of emergency response, priority access for health workers to newly licenced and available vaccines.
  • Provide adequate resources to prevent health workers from injuries, and harmful exposure to chemicals and radiations; provide functioning and ergonomically designed equipment and work stations to minimize musculoskeletal injuries and falls.

In addition to the Health Worker Safety Charter, WHO has also outlined specific World Patient Safety Day 2020 Goals for health care leaders to invest in, measure, and improve health worker safety over the next year. The goals are intended for health care facilities to address five areas:  preventing sharps injuries; reducing work-related stress and burnout; improving the use of personal protective equipment; promoting zero tolerance to violence against health workers, and reporting and analyzing serious safety related incidents.  

For more information on World Patient Safety Day Campaign

 

[1] Pappa, S., Ntella, V., Giannakas, T., Giannakoulis, V. G., Papoutsi, E., & Katsaounou, P. (2020). Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain, behavior, and immunity, S0889-1591(20)30845-X. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.05.026

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launch of the 2020 Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All progress report

1 week ago

Twenty-five speakers, including Ministers and senior officials from Member States, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Principals of the signatory agencies, participated in an online launch event to release the first progress report of Stronger Collaboration, Better Health: The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (GAP), following the launch of the GAP at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.

This marks a strong engagement towards the implementation of GAP and an important step towards accelerating country progress on the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following the opening remarks by the WHO Director-General, key statements were made by the principals of signatory agencies at the event including:

  • Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF
  • Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund
  • Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS
  • Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Dr Muhammad Pate, Director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents and Senior Director of Health and Nutrition at the World Bank
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
  • Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director a.i. of Unitaid
  • Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director of World Food Programme
In the face of the many challenges that countries face from the COVID-19 pandemic, our shared vision of coherent and coordinated support from the multilateral system is more important than ever. Strong, sustained leadership and the support of Member States and partners are critical to achieving this ambitious goal.- Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
WHO Director-General

The SDG3 GAP progress report presents early evidence of progress achieved and challenges faced during “learning-by-doing-approach” and covers the first 8 months of implementation since its launch and outlines progress made by partner agencies in moving from the key commitments made in the GAP – Engage, Accelerate, Align, Account – to action.

Building on existing collaborations, the agencies are committed to leveraging the Global Action Plan to fill in gaps and add value to existing global, regional and national coordination mechanisms in the response to help countries protect health gains achieved so far, recover from COVID-19 pandemic with more resilient health systems and continue efforts towards achieving of the SDGs.

The report also captures and highlights case studies from five countries and some of the challenges encountered to date, such as the need to further institutionalize the GAP approach to collaboration among the agencies.

Interventions from Member StatesMinister of Public Health of Afghanistan, Hon. Dr Ahmad Jawad Osmani 

Afghanistan in the last 2 decades has witnessed significant gains in health outcomes by improving access to health services. Equity and social justice were the guiding principles. In today’s Afghanistan, we are facing an increasing burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. A majority of women are dying from both maternal and non-maternal related causes. Although more children now are celebrating their 5th birthday, many are critically malnourished. And this year, Afghanistan has the highest number of polio cases. My team and I are working to increase the resilience of our health system and incorporate lessons learned from the pandemic response to meet the needs of the people. Primary health care is the backbone of an essential, responsive and resilient health system and my team is working to improving the implementation of primary healthcare services.

Federal Minister of Health of Germany, Hon. Mr Jens Spahn

Germany very much appreciates the leading role of the WHO within the Global Action Plan and throughout its first implementation phase. This plan is a remarkable example of multilateral cooperation. However, the current pandemic is threatening hard-won improvements towards reaching SDG 3 and could set us back by years. Thus, the Global Action Plan is more important than ever in order to bundle our efforts and face this challenge together. Lessons learned from the first phase of the Global Action Plan can be used to adjust and further support its objectives. The progress report reflects the strong collaboration and coordination of the 12 signatory agencies to support short, medium- and long-term actions in response to COVID-19. Germany is convinced that the Global Action Plan will play an important role in achieving progress towards the health-related SDGs. It also signals strong support of the WHO and other Global Action Plan partners in this joint commitment.

Minister of Health of Ghana, Hon. Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu

Ghana is strongly committed to universal health coverage as evidence in the ambitious UHC roadmap that we have prepared to guide our journey towards our UHC goals. Expanding our positive approach to primary health care and strengthening our national health insurance scheme are key pullers of these efforts. Funding is key to our success, hence the need to mobilize new resources for health. The GAP play a key role as we look to operationalize, fund our UHC roadmap and update our health finances strategy. The GAP brings in the coherence, coordination and collaboration that we need and expect from the multilateral system. As we tackle the immediate crisis of COVID-19, the Global Action Plan is critical to ensuring that we do not lose track of our journey towards health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

Minister of Health of Norway, Hon. Mr Bent Høie

With today’s launch of the progress report, we are reminded that the deadline for the SDGs is only ten years away. The Global Action Plan is more important than ever.  The message today is clear: we must step up action on the targets where we are furthest behind. We must remain focused on this important instrument for working together to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all. Building strong primary health care systems that include everyone, is absolutely crucial. Not only for the individual person or a country's preparedness, but also for the world's security. Because no-one is safe until everyone is safe. Norway remains a consistent partner for our common future. We are determined to continue working with others to ensure health for all by 2030. The Global Action Plan is the much-needed tool that will help us get there. We will leave no one behind.

Minister of Health and Social Protection of Somalia, Hon. Ms Fawziya Abikar Nur

I am representing Somalia today, a country which has suffered and is continuing to suffer from protracted crises and complex humanitarian emergencies. The profound effects of these crises have weakened and fragmented our health systems, creating a huge loss of human capital and these have been reflected in our health indicators such as high maternal and child deaths, low immunization coverage and depleted access to healthcare. As we recover from COVID-19 and rebuilt our system, I urge our development partners especially the GAP signatories to understand more than ever our local context, health priorities, and the value of having a strong collaborative and cohesive partnership that’s led by the government. And the shared responsibility and commitment to monitor and evaluate the result of financing in the health sector. More than ever, we need to act together and push for universal health coverage using evidence and data on what works in fragile and vulnerable settings and what are the low cost but high impact interventions. We need to rebuild our systems and ensure services are accessible, affordable and equitable to all. 

 

Join Us: Official UN General Assembly Side Event on progress and multisectoral action to End TB

1 week 2 days ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Russian Federation are organizing an official UN General Assembly virtual side-event: PROGRESS AND MULTISECTORAL ACTION TOWARDS ACHIEVING GLOBAL TARGETS TO END TB on 23 September from 10:00H – 12:00H EDT (16:00H-18:00H CEST). 

The event will bring together Heads of State, Ministers of Health and other ministries, Heads of Agencies, partners and civil society, to discuss how we can collectively implement the recommendations outlined in the 2020 progress report of the UN Secretary General on reaching global TB targets and advancing multisectoral action to end TB. A spotlight will also be placed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on progress towards ending TB.

Background:
Despite progress over the last decades, TB remains the leading infectious killer worldwide, claiming nearly 4000 lives a day. To accelerate action to end TB, Heads of State came together at the first-ever UN high-level meeting on TB in September 2018. The meeting resulted in an action-oriented political declaration that included bold targets to close gaps in care, and a request to the UN Secretary General for a 2020 report on progress towards achieving targets and implementation of the UN political declaration on TB.

The 2020 progress report of the UN Secretary-General to the General Assembly has been developed with the support of the WHO Director-General and will be released at the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly. It incorporates inputs from partners and civil society and covers, progress towards global TB targets; progress in translating commitments into action; the impact and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the TB response and ten priority recommendations. The report will inform a comprehensive review at a high-level meeting on TB in 2023. Overall, the report shows that high-level commitments and targets have galvanized global and national progress towards ending TB, but that urgent and more ambitious investments and actions are required to put the world on track to reach targets, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO modelling and analysis highlights that the progress made in the fight against TB is at risk– COVID-19 disruptions to TB services will lead to an increase in 400,000 TB deaths worldwide in 2020 alone.

Join us for a special UN General Assembly virtual side event to
discuss how we can collectively implement the recommendations outlined in the 2020 progress report of the UN Secretary-General on reaching global TB targets and advancing multisectoral action to end TB.

Key speakers include Heads of State, Ministers of Health, WHO leadership, Heads of Agencies, partners and civil society representatives.

Register here

*Connection details to be provided on registration.

Download the flyer and promote on social media, here.

 

 

 

WHO calls for global action on sepsis - cause of 1 in 5 deaths worldwide

2 weeks ago

The World Health Organization’s first global report on sepsis finds that the effort to tackle millions of deaths and disabilities due to sepsis is hampered by serious gaps in knowledge, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. According to recent studies, sepsis kills 11 million people each year, many of them children. It disables millions more.

But there’s an urgent need for better data. Most published studies on sepsis have been conducted in hospitals and intensive care units in high-income countries, providing little evidence from the rest of the world. Furthermore, the use of different definitions of sepsis, diagnostic criteria and hospital discharge coding makes it difficult to develop a clear understanding of the true global burden of sepsis.

“The world must urgently step up efforts to improve data about sepsis so all countries can detect and treat this terrible condition in time,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This means strengthening health information systems and ensuring access torapid diagnostic tools, and quality care including safe and affordable medicines and vaccines.”

Sepsis occurs in response to an infection. When sepsis is not recognized early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death. Patients who are critically ill with severe COVID-19 and other infectious diseases are at higher risk of developing and dying from sepsis.

Even sepsis survivors are not out of danger: only half will completely recover, the rest will either die within 1 year or be burdened by long-term disabilities.

A serious complication of infection

Sepsis disproportionately affects vulnerable populations: newborns, pregnant women and people living in low-resource settings. Approximately 85.0% of sepsis cases and sepsis-related deaths occur in these settings.

Almost half of the 49 million cases of sepsis each year occur among children, resulting in 2.9 million deaths, most of which could be prevented through early diagnosis and appropriate clinical management. These deaths are often a consequence of diarrhoeal diseases or lower respiratory infections.

Obstetric infections, including complications following abortion or infections following caesarean section, are the third most common cause of maternal mortality. Globally, it is estimated that for every 1000 women giving birth, 11 women experience infection-related, severe organ dysfunction or death.

The report also finds that sepsis frequently results from infections acquired in health care settings. Around half (49%) of patients with sepsis in intensive care units acquired the infection in the hospital. An estimated 27% of people with sepsis in hospitals and 42% of people in intensive care units will die. 

Antimicrobial resistance is a major challenge in sepsis treatment as it complicates the ability to treat infections, especially in health-care associated infections.

Improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis

Improved sanitation, water quality and availability, and infection prevention and control measures, such as appropriate hand hygiene can prevent sepsis and save lives - but must be coupled with early diagnosis, appropriate clinical management, and access to safe and affordable medicines and vaccines. These interventions could prevent as many as 84% of newborn deaths due to sepsis.

So WHO calls on the global community to:

  • Improve robust study designs and high-quality data collection, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Scale-up global advocacy, funding and the research capacity for epidemiological evidence on the true burden of sepsis. 
  • Improve surveillance systems, starting at the primary care level, including the use of standardized and feasible definitions in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), and leveraging existing programmes and disease networks. 
  • Develop rapid, affordable and appropriate diagnostic tools, particularly for primary and secondary levels of care, to improve sepsis identification, surveillance, prevention and treatment.
  • Engage and better educate health workers and communities not to underestimate the risk of infections evolving to sepsis, and to seek care promptly in order to avoid clinical complications and the spread of epidemics.

 

More than 3 billion people protected from harmful trans fat in their food

2 weeks 1 day ago

Two years into the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ambitious effort to eliminate industrially produced trans fats from the global food supply, the Organization reports that 58 countries so far have introduced laws that will protect 3.2 billion people from the harmful substance by the end of 2021. But more than 100 countries still need to take actions to remove these harmful substances from their food supplies.

Consumption of industrially produced trans fats are estimated to cause around 500,000 deaths per year due to coronary heart disease.

“In a time when the whole world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we must make every effort to protect people’s health. That must include taking all steps possible to prevent noncommunicable diseases that can make them more susceptible to the coronavirus, and cause premature death,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Our goal of eliminating trans fats by 2023 must not be delayed.”

Fifteen countries account for approximately two thirds of the worldwide deaths linked to trans fat intake. Of these, four (Canada, Latvia, Slovenia, United States of America) have implemented WHO-recommended best-practice policies since 2017, either by setting mandatory limits for industrially produced trans fats to 2% of oils and fats in all foods or banning partially hydrogenated oils (PHO).

But the remaining 11 countries (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea) still need to take urgent action.

The report highlights two encouraging trends. First, when countries do act, they overwhelmingly adopt best-practice policies rather than less restrictive ones. New policy measures passed and/or introduced in the past year in Brazil, Turkey and Nigeria all meet WHO’s criteria for best-practice policies. Countries, such as India, that have previously implemented less restrictive measures, are now updating policies to align with best practice.

Second, regional regulations that set standards for multiple countries are becoming increasingly popular, emerging as a promising strategy for accelerating progress towards global elimination by 2023. In 2019, the European Union passed a best-practice policy, and all 35 countries that are part of the WHO American Region/Pan American Health Organization unanimously approved a regional plan of action to eliminate industrially produced trans fats by 2025. Together, these two regional initiatives have the potential to protect an additional 1 billion people in more than 50 countries who were not previously protected by trans fat regulations.

“With the global economic downturn, more than ever, countries are looking for best buys in public health,” said Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. “Making food trans fat-free, saves lives and saves money, and, by preventing heart attacks, reduces the burden on health care facilities.”

Despite the encouraging progress, important disparities persist in policy coverage by region and country income level. Most policy actions to date, including those passed in 2019 and 2020, have been in higher-income countries and in the WHO Regions of the Americas and Europe. Best-practice policies have been adopted by seven upper-middle-income countries and 33 high-income countries; no low-income or lower-middle-income countries have yet done so.

Note to editors:

Industrially produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers often use them as they have a longer shelf life and are cheaper than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that do not affect taste or cost of food.

WHO recommends that trans fat intake be limited to less than 1% of total energy intake, which translates to less than 2.2 g/day with a 2,000-calorie diet. To achieve a world free of industrially produced trans fats by 2023, WHO recommends that countries:

  • develop and implement best-practice policies to set mandatory limits for industrially produced trans fats to 2% of oils and fats in all foods or to ban partially hydrogenated oils (PHO);
  • invest in monitoring mechanisms, e.g. lab capacity to measure and monitor trans fats in foods; and
  • advocate for regional or sub-regional regulations to expand the benefits of trans fat policies.

This report launches during 2020 Global Week for Action on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) from 7 to 13 September. This year's theme is accountability to ensure that commitments made by governments, policy makers, industries, academia, and civil society become a reality.

Link to Report:

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/334170/9789240010178-eng.pdf

About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and by preventing epidemics. Resolve to Save Lives is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more, visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL and @DrTomFrieden

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

 

Corporate news releases, statements, and notes for media issued by the World Health Organization.