Medical Product Alert N°4/2020

2 months 3 weeks ago

This Medical Product Alert relates to a number of confirmed falsified chloroquine products circulating in the WHO region of Africa. Please note that this Medical Product Alert n°4/2020 will be updated as new reports of falsified chloroquine are received and validated by WHO.

Between 31 March and 2 April 2020, the WHO global surveillance and monitoring system on substandard and falsified (SF) medical products received nine reports of confirmed falsified chloroquine products from three countries. All reported products were identified at patient level and all have been confirmed as falsified.

This WHO medical product alert N°4/2020 refers to nine different falsified chloroquine products, with different presentations (see Table 1). It is important to note that widespread vigilance is required from all countries, regardless of where the product was originally identified.

Table 1: List of identified falsified chloroquine products, subject of WHO Alert N°4/2020

All the products listed in Table 1 are confirmed as falsified, on the basis that they deliberately/fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition or source. Indeed, it can be noted that:

  • either: the products do not contain the correct amount of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, based on the results of preliminary or full compendial analysis;
  • and/or: the products were not produced by the manufacturer whose name is stated on the product labels, and the variable data (batch number and dates) of the above products do not correspond to genuine manufacturing records;
  • and/or: the manufacturer whose name is stated on the product labels does not exist.
Chloroquine phosphate or sulfate is referenced on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax infection (malaria). Large clinical trials are under way to generate the robust data needed to establish the efficacy and safety of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. These medicines are currently authorized for malaria and certain autoimmune diseases and it is important that patients do not face shortages caused by stockpiling or use outside the authorized indications. 
Both chloroquine and  hydroxychloroquine can have serious side effects, especially at high doses or when combined with other medicines.

The SOLIDARITY trial, led by WHO, is reviewing potential treatments for COVID-19. Please refer to  WHO medical product alert n°3/2020 for general information on falsified medical products in relation to the management 
of COVID-19.

For photographs of products listed in Table 1, please refer to the WHO Medical Product Alert website, and 
to the annex of this medical product alert n°4/2020 (see pages 3-7).

WHO requests increased vigilance within the supply chains of countries likely to be affected by these falsified products. Increased vigilance should include hospitals, clinics, health centres, wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies and any other suppliers of medical products.

If you are in possession of the above products, please do not use. If you have used these falsified products, or if you suffer an adverse reaction/event having used these products, you are advised to seek immediate medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional, and to report the incident to the National Regulatory Authorities/National Pharmacovigilance Centre.

All medical products must be obtained from licensed, authentic and reliable sources. Their authenticity and condition should be carefully checked. Seek advice from a healthcare professional in case of doubt.

National regulatory/health authorities are advised to immediately notify WHO if these falsified products are discovered in their country. If you have any information concerning the manufacture, distribution, or supply of these products, please contact: [email protected]

WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products
For more information, please visit: 

Annex: Photographs of falsified chloroquine products circulating in the WHO region of Africa, Medical Product Alert N°4/2020


Photographs of confirmed falsified Chloroquine Phosphate (100mg)

Photographs of confirmed falsified Chloroquine Phosphate (250mg)

Photographs of confirmed falsified Chloroquine Phosphate 250mg
ChloroquinePhosphate250mg-Cameroon 3


Photographs of confirmed falsified CLOROQUINE 250MG

Photographs of confirmed falsified Chloroquine Phosphate 250mg


Photographs of confirmed falsified Samquine 100 (100mg)

Samquine100-100mgNiger 1

Photographs of confirmed falsified Chloroquine phosphate tablets B.P 100mg


Photographs of confirmed falsified Niruquine (100mg)


New Ebola case confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2 months 4 weeks ago

A new case of Ebola virus disease was confirmed today in the city of Beni in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“While not welcome news, this is an event we anticipated. We kept response teams in Beni and other high risk areas for precisely this reason,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.  

As part of the active Ebola surveillance system in place to respond to this ongoing outbreak in DRC, thousands of alerts are still being investigated every day. An alert is a person who has symptoms that could be due to Ebola, or any death in a high risk area that could have been as result of Ebola.

As with all confirmed cases, efforts are already underway to find everyone who may have been in contact with the person in order to offer them the vaccine and monitor their health status.

“WHO has worked side by side with health responders from the DRC for over 18 months and our teams are right now supporting the investigation into this latest case,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adds challenges, we will continue this joint effort until we can declare the end of this Ebola outbreak together.”

The news of the confirmed case came minutes after the conclusion of a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola in DRC. The Emergency Committee will reconvene next week in order to re-evaluate their recommendations in light of this new information.

Prior to this, the last person who was confirmed to have Ebola in DRC tested negative twice and was discharged from a treatment centre on 3 March 2020.

As of 10 April 2020, 3456 confirmed and probable cases and 2276 deaths have occurred as a result of the outbreak.

#BeActive for the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

2 months 4 weeks ago

FIFA has joined forces with the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in supporting the #BeActive campaign launched on the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace to encourage people to be #HealthyAtHome as the world comes together in the fight against COVID-19, today and every day.

WHO recommends all healthy adults do at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity and children at least 60 minutes per day. As part of this, #BeActive and remain #HealthyAtHome include the following suggestions along with any other form of recreation to stay healthy at home:

  1. Taking some online exercise classes,
  2. Dancing,
  3. Playing active video games,
  4. Jumping rope, and
  5. Practising muscle strength and balance training.

“We are delighted that football is strongly supporting the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by asking everyone to #BeActive and to remain healthy at home during this difficult time,” said António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations. “FIFA has asked the football community, from member associations and clubs, to players and fans, to show their support, to put their rivalries aside and to show a new solidarity so we can overcome the coronavirus. This is an important lesson not only for today, but for every day.”

“More than ever, especially now, one thing must be clear to everyone, health comes first,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “FIFA is delighted to support both the United Nations and the World Health Organization in amplifying the #BeActive campaign today, and we are encouraged that the football community is also playing an active role in ensuring the message understood globally. For the first time ever, we are all on the same team and together, with team spirit and positive energy, we will win.” 

“WHO is proud to collaborate as part of the UN family with FIFA and football lovers worldwide to promote the importance of being active for both physical and mental health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “The #BeActive campaign supports WHO’s drive to help people be healthy at home.”

The campaign kicks off with Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC asking football fans to set aside their rivalries and to come together to #BeActive in order to defeat the coronavirus. Other clubs, including Club América, CD Guadalajara, Beijing Guoan FC, Shanghai Shenhua FC, Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal FC, Melbourne City FC, Sydney FC, Auckland City FC, Team Wellington FC, CA River Plate, Olympique de Marseille, TP Mazembe, CR Flamengo and SE Palmeiras will also join the initiative in the coming days.

As part of the campaign, world-famous players share the following message: “At this time, even rivals need to stick together. We have to keep our distance, but we do not lose our focus. We can show solidarity by being active, and active means following the guidelines from the WHO.”

The video campaign will be published on various FIFA digital channels, with regular subsequent updates from clubs and players across the world during subsequent days. #BeActive is also being supported with graphics toolkits for the 211 FIFA member associations and various media agencies to facilitate additional localisation and to further amplify the message.

WHO, the UN’s specialized health agency, and FIFA, football’s world governing body, collaborate closely to promote healthy lifestyles through football globally and launched the “ Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign last month to share advice effective measures to protect people from COVID-19.

The video campaign can also be downloaded here for editorial purposes.



World Chagas Disease Day: bringing a forgotten disease to the fore of global attention

2 months 4 weeks ago
Today is World Chagas Disease Day. Although discovered more than a century ago, Chagas disease continues to remain ignored. Once confined to rural regions of some Latin American countries where it affected mostly the poor, Chagas disease has today spread to continents due to population movement, migration and travel patterns. To stop its spread, better diagnostics, improved awareness about the disease as well as health-seeking behaviours need to be promoted.

Public statement for collaboration on COVID-19 vaccine development

2 months 4 weeks ago
Under WHO’s coordination, a group of experts with diverse backgrounds is working towards the development of vaccines against COVID-19. As part of WHO’s response to the outbreak, a Research and Development (R&D) Blueprint has been activated to accelerate the development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus.

WHO public consultation on draft Target Product Profiles for Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment

3 months ago

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major yet preventable global health problem, with an estimated 10 million new cases worldwide in 2018, resulting in more than 1.5 million deaths, making it the leading infectious disease cause of death worldwide. An estimated one fourth of the world’s population is infected with the TB bacterium, of whom 5–10% advance to active TB disease in their lifetime.

Prevention of TB is a crucial component of the World Health Organization (WHO) End TB Strategy that calls for 90% coverage of TB preventive treatment (TPT) among persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and household contacts of infectious TB cases by 2035. The UN high-level meeting on TB, in September 2018, further emphasized the need to strengthen implementation of TPT and called for 30 million people, including 4 million children under 5 years of age to receive TPT by 2022.

However, uptake and scale-up of TPT have been slow, mainly due to the limitations of both diagnostic assays and available regimens (long duration, cost, toxicity, adherence issues, and operational aspects), indicating the need for new short, safe, efficacious and easy-to-take regimens for the treatment of TB infection and prevention of TB disease. The WHO has developed draft Target Product Profiles (TPPs) for TPT to align developers’ performance and operational targets for new TPT regimens with the needs of end-users.

The draft TPPs are now available online for comment.

WHO invites comments or feedback from all stakeholders by 27 April 2020 via this link:

Based on the comments received on this draft, WHO will prepare the final non-draft TPP (version 1.0), which will be posted on WHO’s website and uploaded into the (WHO) Product Profile Directory by October 2020.

A meeting on digital innovations, TB and implementation research organised by WHO and the European Respiratory Society

3 months ago

Group of people posing after a meeting on TB, in Geneva

WHO's Global Tuberculosis Programme (WHO/GTB) and the European Respiratory Society convened a technical meeting on digital innovations, TB and implementation research, in Geneva on 7 February 2020. This meeting brought together funders, partners, representatives of national TB programmes, civil society and scientists to discuss the challenges and opportunities when evaluating, integrating and scaling up digital technologies under programmatic settings.  Specifically, this meeting sought to receive input on the elements of a toolkit on implementation research that is currently being developed by WHO/GTB and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) to support evidence-informed use of digital technologies under programmatic settings. Th etoolkit will be launched in mid-2020. Considering that several countries are updating their national TB strategic plans and preparing funding proposals for submission to the Global Fund, this meeting also sought to create mutual understanding on the importance of resourcing implementation science to bridge the divide between research and practice.

This present meeting, is the latest in a series of efforts by WHO/GTB to facilitate the meaningful use of digital technologies for TB prevention and care. It was preceded by a one-day workshop on 6 February held at the same venue for partner agencies of the ASCENT project. ASCENT is a UNITAID-funded project that started in 2019 with the aim of increasing demand and adoption of affordable digital technologies for TB medication adherence. The project is led by KNCV in partnership with Aurum Institute for Health Research, PATH and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Activities are running in Ethiopia, the Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine and Tanzania UR. This was the first in a series of annual meetings that will be coordinated by the WHO/GTB to assess progress in implementation of country activities and results from the interventions.

Strengthening accountability to end TB

3 months ago

WHO today released a Checklist to enable Member States and their partners to assess the status of work at the national level to strengthen accountability to End TB, principally: national commitments made, actions taken on those commitments, monitoring & reporting approaches, and the nature of any high-level review mechanisms. The Checklist has been developed in response to requests from Member States, regions, civil society and partners as a tool to support the adaptation and implementation of the WHO Multisectoral Accountability Framework (MAF-TB) released in 2019. It responds also to the UN General Assembly request to WHO to ensure implementation of the Framework.

There are four components of the MAF-TB that form a cycle for strengthening accountability: Commitments, Actions, Monitoring and Reporting, and Review, that were released during the World Health Assembly in May, 2019. In the political declaration of the first UN high-level meeting on TB, world leaders called for WHO to finalize the framework and ensure its implementation in 2019.

After its publication in May, 2019, WHO began work with pathfinding country counterparts who were seeking to move ahead on key elements including, among others: formal adoption of country-specific targets for 2022 for increased TB case detection and treatment in line with the global targets in the political declaration; updating or development of new national TB strategic plans based on 2022 and 2030 targets and other new commitments; coordination platforms across sectors and stakeholders; formalizing engagement with civil society across End TB efforts;  producing robust performance reports; and, using those reports to inform high-level review bodies that will assess and drive faster progress.  Based on the MAF-TB document, relevant country experiences, and specific requests from countries and partners, WHO developed the MAF-TB Checklist. The Checklist is especially relevant for high TB burden countries, but has content relevant to all countries.  The appropriateness of different approaches may vary, according to national constitutional, legal and/or regulatory frameworks or other relevant factors.

The MAF-TB Checklist has three annexes on:

  1. engagement across government ministries and bodies;
  2. engagement of civil society and affected communities; and,
  3. adoption  and implementation of WHO TB guidance.

In releasing this MAF-TB Checklist today, Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme noted,  “At this enormously difficult time, all countries and partners are focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.  Lessons learnt from ongoing TB programmes are helping the response. Likewise, TB efforts will benefit from learning underway on collaboration, innovation and accountability in confronting the virus.”

WHO will be helping Ministries of Health and partners to use the Checklist, hold related consultations and move forward with more effective collaboration and review mechanisms.  The WHO Civil Society Task Force on TB also will support countries and civil society partners, using the Checklist. Progress in strengthening accountability will be assessed in the 2020 Report of the UN Secretary-General on progress since the 2018 TB UN high-level meeting, as well as in the WHO Global TB Report 2020.

The WHO TB Civil Society Task Force, National TB  Programme Managers and other country officials, WHO staff at all levels, consultants working with WHO and The Global Fund, and staff of partner agencies, contributed content to, and/or provided feedback on, the MAF-TB Checklist during its development.   Access the Checklist and 3 annexes.  

An online form of the checklist will be available shortly here, along with additional information.  

Translations of the Checklist and annexes, as soon as available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish, will be posted at the above link as well.   Kindly contact gtb[email protected] if you have questions regarding the MAF-TB Checklist or to request versions in MS Word format if needed.


Children’s story book released to help children and young people cope with COVID-19

3 months ago
A new story book that aims to help children understand and come to terms with COVID-19 has been produced by a collaboration of more than 50 organizations working in the humanitarian sector. With the help of a fantasy creature, Ario, “My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19!” explains how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus.

WHO Timeline - COVID-19

3 months ago

Last updated 27 April

31 Dec 2019

Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

1 January 2020

WHO had set up the IMST (Incident Management Support Team) across the three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters and country level, putting the organization on an emergency footing for dealing with the outbreak.

4  January 2020

WHO reported on social media that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei province. 

5 January 2020

WHO published our first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus. This is a flagship technical publication to the scientific and public health community as well as global media. It contained a risk assessment and advice, and reported on what China had told the organization about the status of patients and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

10 January 2020

WHO issued a comprehensive package of technical guidance online with advice to all countries on how to detect, test and manage potential cases, based on what was known about the virus at the time. This guidance was shared with WHO's regional emergency directors to share with WHO representatives in countries. 

Based on experience with SARS and MERS and known modes of transmission of respiratory viruses, infection and prevention control guidance were published to protect health workers recommending droplet and contact precautions when caring for patients, and airborne precautions for aerosol generating procedures conducted by health workers.

12 January 2020

China publicly shared the genetic sequence of COVID-19. 

13 January 2020

Officials confirm a case of COVID-19 in Thailand, the first recorded case outside of China.  

14 January 2020

WHO's technical lead for the response noted in a press briefing there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus (in the 41 confirmed cases), mainly through family members, and that there was a risk of a possible wider outbreak. The lead also said that human-to-human transmission would not be surprising given our experience with SARS, MERS and other respiratory pathogens.  

20-21 January 2020

WHO experts from its China and Western Pacific regional offices conducted a brief field visit to Wuhan.

22 January 2020

WHO mission to China issued a statement saying that there was evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan but more investigation was needed to understand the full extent of transmission.

22- 23 January 2020

The WHO Director- General convened an Emergency Committee (EC) under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) to assess whether the outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern. The independent members from around the world could not reach a consensus based on the evidence available at the time. They asked to be reconvened within 10 days after receiving more information.

28 January 2020

A senior WHO delegation led by the Director-General travelled to Beijing to meet China’s leadership, learn more about China’s response, and to offer any technical assistance. 

While in Beijing, Dr. Tedros agreed with Chinese government leaders that an international team of leading scientists would travel to China on a mission to better understand the context, the overall response, and exchange information and experience.

30 January 2020

The WHO Director-General reconvened the Emergency Committee (EC). This was earlier than the 10-day period and only two days after the first reports of limited human-to-human transmission were reported outside China. This time, the EC reached consensus and advised the Director-General that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Director-General accepted the recommendation and declared the novel coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV) a PHEIC. This is the 6th time WHO has declared a PHEIC since the International Health Regulations (IHR) came into force in 2005.

WHO’s situation report for 30 January reported 7818 total confirmed cases worldwide, with the majority of these in China, and 82 cases reported in 18 countries outside China. WHO gave a risk assessment of very high for China, and high at the global level.

3 February 2020 

WHO releases the international community's Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to help protect states with weaker health systems. 

11-12 February 2020

WHO convened a Research and Innovation Forum on COVID-19, attended by more than 400 experts and funders from around the world, which included presentations by George Gao, Director General of China CDC, and Zunyou Wu, China CDC's chief epidemiologist. 

16-24 February 2020

The WHO-China Joint mission, which included experts from Canada, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the US (CDC, NIH) spent time in Beijing and also travelled to Wuhan and two other cities. They spoke with health officials, scientists and health workers in health facilities (maintaining physical distancing). The report of the joint mission can be found here:

11 March 2020

Deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction, WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

13 March 2020

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund launched to receive donations from private individuals, corporations and institutions. 

18 March 2020

WHO and partners launch the Solidarity Trial, an international clinical trial that aims to generate robust data from around the world to find the most effective treatments for COVID-19. 


Statement of the Twenty-Fourth IHR Emergency Committee

3 months ago

The Twenty-fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) on the international spread of poliovirus was convened by the Director General on 26 March 2020 with committee members only attending via teleconference, supported by the WHO Secretariat.  In order to ease the burden on affected State Parties in the exceptional situation following the determination of the COVID-19 outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020, characterized as a pandemic on 11 March 2020, the invited State Parties were asked to present their reports electronically only instead of attending via teleconference.  Reports were received from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, and Philippines.

The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (cVDPV).  The WHO Secretariat presented a report of progress for affected IHR States Parties subject to Temporary Recommendations.

Wild poliovirus

The Committee remains gravely concerned by the significant increase in WPV1 cases globally in 2019 and 2020, with 175 cases in 2019 compared to 33 in 2018, and already 32 cases as at 17 March 2020, compared to six for the same period in 2019, with no significant success yet in reversing this trend.

In Pakistan transmission continues to be widespread, as indicated by both acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and environmental sampling. While the issues of vaccine hesitancy and refusals by individuals and communities and problems with management of the national polio program are being addressed, these are yet to have impact on the current worrying epidemiology.  The added pressure on the program due to detection of cVDPV2 and ongoing spread in several provinces (see below) has continued into 2020.

In Afghanistan, the security situation remains very challenging.  Inaccessibility and missed children particularly in the Southern Region have led to a large cohort of susceptible children in this part of Afghanistan.  The risk of a major upsurge of cases is growing, with other parts of the country that have been free of WPV1 for some time now at risk of outbreaks. This would again increase the risk of international spread. 

The  Committee noted that based on sequencing of viruses, there were recent instances of international spread of viruses from Pakistan to Afghanistan and also from Afghanistan to Pakistan.  The recent increased frequency of WPV1 international spread between the two countries suggests that rising transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan correlates with increasing risk of WPV1 exportation beyond the single epidemiological block formed by the two countries. 

The Committee noted the continued cooperation and coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly in reaching high risk mobile populations that frequently cross the international border and welcomed the all-age vaccination now being taken at key border points between the two countries. 

Vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV)

The multiple cirulating VDPV (cVDPV) outbreaks in four WHO regions (African, Eastern Mediterranean, South-east Asian and Western Pacific Regions) are very concerning, with two new countries reporting outbreaks since the last meeting (Malaysia and Burkina Faso).  Unlike historical experience, cross border spread of cVDPV2 has become quite common, with recent spread from Angola to DR Congo and Zambia, and from Chad and CAR to Cameroon, and from Ghana to Burkina Faso.  In addition, local emergences attributable to mOPV2 use have recently occurred in Togo, Chad and Ethiopia.

The Committee noted that the GPEI has published a strategy to address cVDPV2 outbreaks but was extremely concerned that the monovalent OPV2 stockpile was still depleted.  The Committee strongly supports the development and proposed Emergency Use Listing of the novel OPV2 vaccine which should become available mid-2020, and which it is hoped will result in no or very little seeding of further outbreaks. 

Impact of COVID-19

The Committee noted the very recent policy guidance of the GPEI:

  • GPEI recommendations for countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document summarizes the recommendations from the Polio Oversight Board meeting on 24 March 2020 which calls for postponement of both preventive and outbreak response campaigns, while ensuring surveillance and nOPV2 development and roll out plans continue in full.
  • The COVID-19 Polio programme continuity plan. The operational guide was developed in collaboration with the regional polio eradication teams and the GPEI Partners to ensure essential GPEI functions continue, polio programme personnel and staff are kept safe, and to plan for a fast and effective resumption of polio eradication activities including supplementary immunization activities as soon as the public health situation with COVID-19 allows. 

The Committee is extremely concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the risk of heightened transmission of polio and consequently the potential for international spread and significant reversal of polio eradication.     


The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.  However noting that some if not many international borders are closed to prevent  international spread of COVID-19, State Parties may not currently be able to enforce the Temporary Recommendations in all places. The Committee strongly urges countries subject to these recommendations to maintain a high state of readiness to implement them as soon as possible ensuring the continued safety of travelers as well as health professionals .  The Committee recognizes the concerns regarding the lengthy duration of the polio PHEIC, but concludes that the current situation is extraordinary, with clear ongoing risk of international spread and ongoing need for coordinated international response. The Committee considered the following factors in reaching this conclusion:

  • Rising risk of WPV1 international spread: The progress made in recent years appears to have reversed, with the Committee’s assessment that the risk of international spread is at the highest point since 2014 when the PHEIC was declared. This risk assessment is based on the following:
    • the WPV1 exportation in 2019 from Pakistan to Iran and to Afghanistan, and more recently spread from Afghanistan to Pakistan;
    • ongoing rise in the number of WPV1 cases and positive environmental samples in Pakistan, and to a lesser extent Afghanistan;
    • the quickly increasing cohort of unvaccinated children in Afghanistan, with the risk of a major outbreak imminent if nothing is done to access these children;
    • the urgent need to overhaul the leadership and strategy of the program in Pakistan, which although already commenced, is likely take some time to lead to more effective control of transmission and ultimately eradication;
    • increasing community and individual resistance to the polio program.
  • Rising risk of cVDPV international spread: The clearly documented increased spread in recent months of cVDPV2 demonstrate the unusual nature of the current situation, as international spread of cVDPV in the past has been very infrequent.  The number of new emergences of cVDPV2 in Africa raises further concern.  The risk of new outbreaks in new countries is considered extremely high, even probable. 
  • COVID-19:  This new and unprecedented pandemic is likely to substantially negatively impact the polio eradication program and outbreak control efforts.  There is a risk of exportation of both WPV1 and cVDPV to known high risk countries, to which it may take a lot of time and effort to adequately respond.
  • Falling PV2 immunity:  Global population mucosal immunity to type 2 polioviruses (PV2) continues to fall, as the cohort of children born after OPV2 withdrawal grows, exacerbated by poor coverage with IPV particularly in some of the cVDPV infected countries.
  • Multiple outbreaks: The evolving and unusual epidemiology resulting in rapid emergence and evolution of cVDPV2 strains is extraordinary and not yet fully understood and represents an additional risk that is yet to be quantified.
  • Weak routine immunization: Many countries have weak immunization systems that can be further impacted by various humanitarian emergencies including COVID19, and the number of countries in which immunization systems have been weakened or disrupted by conflict and complex emergencies poses a growing risk, leaving populations in these fragile states vulnerable to outbreaks of polio.
  • Surveillance gaps: The appearance of highly diverged VDPVs in the Philippines, Somalia and Indonesia are examples of inadequate polio surveillance, heightening concerns that transmission could be missed in various countries.  Furthermore, the missed transmission in China for a year illustrates that even countries with generally good surveillance can miss VDPV transmission.  COVID-19 is likely to have a negative impact on polio surveillance also.
  • Lack of access: Inaccessibility continues to be a major risk, particularly in several countries currently infected with WPV or cVDPV, i.e. Afghanistan, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia and Myanmar, which all have sizable populations that have been unreached with polio vaccine for prolonged periods.
  • Population movement: The risk is amplified by population movement, whether for family, social, economic or cultural reasons, or in the context of populations displaced by insecurity and returning refugees. There is a need for international coordination to address these risks.  A regional approach and strong cross­border cooperation is required to respond to these risks, as much international spread of polio occurs over land borders.

Risk categories

The Committee provided the Director-General with the following advice aimed at reducing the risk of international spread of WPV1 and cVDPVs, based on the risk stratification as follows:

  • States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3, with potential risk of international spread.
  • States infected with cVDPV2, with potential risk of international spread.
  • States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV.

Criteria to assess States as no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV:

  • Poliovirus Case: 12 months after the onset date of the most recent case PLUS one month to account for case detection, investigation, laboratory testing and reporting period OR when all reported AFP cases with onset within 12 months of last case have been tested for polio and excluded for WPV1 or cVDPV, and environmental or other samples collected within 12 months of the last case have also tested negative, whichever is the longer.
  • Environmental or other isolation of WPV1 or cVDPV (no poliovirus case): 12 months after collection of the most recent positive environmental or other sample (such as from a healthy child) PLUS one month to account for the laboratory testing and reporting period
  • These criteria may be varied for the endemic countries, where more rigorous assessment is needed in reference to surveillance gaps (e.g. Borno State, Nigeria)

Once a country meets these criteria as no longer infected, the country will be considered vulnerable for a further 12 months.  After this period, the country will no longer be subject to Temporary Recommendations, unless the Committee has concerns based on the final report. 


States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3 with potential risk of international spread


Afghanistan                               (most recent detection 25 February 2020)  

Pakistan                                                (most recent detection 2 March 2020)

Nigeria                                      (most recent detection 27 Sept 2016)           


Malaysia                                     (most recent detection 26 October 2019)

Myanmar                                   (most recent detection 9 August 2019)

Philippines                                 (most recent detection 28 October 2019)

These countries should:

  • Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency and implement all required measures to support polio eradication; where such declaration has already been made, this emergency status should be maintained as long as the response is required.
  • Ensure that all residents and long­term visitors (i.e. > four weeks) of all ages, receive a dose of bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between four weeks and 12 months prior to international travel.
  • Ensure that those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within four weeks), who have not received a dose of bOPV or IPV in the previous four weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure as this will still provide benefit, particularly for frequent travelers.
  • Ensure that such travelers are provided with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the form specified in Annex 6 of the IHR to record their polio vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination.
  • Restrict at the point of departure the international travel of any resident lacking documentation of appropriate polio vaccination. These recommendations apply to international travelers from all points of departure, irrespective of the means of conveyance (e.g. road, air, sea).
  • Further intensify cross­border efforts by significantly improving coordination at the national, regional and local levels to substantially increase vaccination coverage of travelers crossing the border and of high risk cross­border populations. Improved coordination of cross­border efforts should include closer supervision and monitoring of the quality of vaccination at border transit points, as well as tracking of the proportion of travelers that are identified as unvaccinated after they have crossed the border.
  • Further intensify efforts to increase routine immunization coverage, including sharing coverage data, as high routine immunization coverage is an essential element of the polio eradication strategy, particularly as the world moves closer to eradication.
  • Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least six months have passed without new infections and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until the state meets the above assessment criteria for being no longer infected.
  • Provide to the Director-General a regular report on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations on international travel.

States infected with cVDPV2s, with potential or demonstrated risk of international spread

Afghanistan           (most recent detection 8 January 2020)

Angola                      (most recent detection 9 February 2020)

Benin                        (most recent detection 9 December 2020)

Burkina Faso          (most recent detection 11 January 2020)

Cameroon              (most recent detection 30 January 2020)

CAR                           (most recent detection 5 February 2020)

Chad                         (most recent detection 5 February 2020)

Cote d’Ivoire          (most recent detection 11 February 2020)

China                        (most recent detection 25 April 2019)

DR Congo                 (most recent detection 22 January 2020)

Ethiopia                (most recent detection 21 February 2020)

Ghana                      (most recent detection 28 January 2020)

Malaysia                  (most recent detection 18 January 2020)

Niger                         (most recent detection 3 April 2019)

Nigeria                  (most recent detection1 January 2020)

Pakistan                   (most recent detection 12 February 2020)

Philippines              (most recent detection 16 January 2020)

Somalia                    (most recent detection 4 February 2020)

Togo                          (most recent detection 10 January 2020)

Zambia                     (most recent detection 25 November 2019)

These countries should:

  • Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency and implement all required measures to support polio eradication; where such declaration has already been made, this emergency status should be maintained.
  • Noting the existence of a separate mechanism for responding to type 2 poliovirus infections, consider requesting vaccines from the global mOPV2 stockpile based on the recommendations of the Advisory Group on mOPV2.
  • Encourage residents and long­term visitors to receive a dose of IPV four weeks to 12 months prior to international travel; those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within four weeks) should be encouraged to receive a dose at least by the time of departure.
  • Ensure that travelers who receive such vaccination have access to an appropriate document to record their polio vaccination status.
  • Intensify regional cooperation and cross­border coordination to enhance surveillance for prompt detection of poliovirus, and vaccinate refugees, travelers and cross­border populations, according to the advice of the Advisory Group.
  • Further intensify efforts to increase routine immunization coverage, including sharing coverage data, as high routine immunization coverage is an essential element of the polio eradication strategy, particularly as the world moves closer to eradication.
  • Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least six months have passed without the detection of circulation of VDPV2 in the country from any source, and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until the state meets the criteria of a ‘state no longer infected’.
  • At the end of 12 months without evidence of transmission, provide a report to the Director-General on measures taken to implement the Temporary Recommendations.

States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV


  • none                             


    • Kenya cVDPV2 (last env positive specimen 21 March 2018)
    • Mozambique cVDPV2 (last virus detected 17 December 2018)
    • PNG cVDPV1 (last environmental positive specimen 6 November 2018)
    • Indonesia cVDPV1 (last virus detected 13 February 2019)

These countries should:

  • Urgently strengthen routine immunization to boost population immunity.
  • Enhance surveillance quality, including considering introducing supplementary methods such as environmental surveillance, to reduce the risk of undetected WPV1 and cVDPV transmission, particularly among high risk mobile and vulnerable populations.
  • Intensify efforts to ensure vaccination of mobile and cross­border populations, Internally Displaced Persons, refugees and other vulnerable groups.
  • Enhance regional cooperation and cross border coordination to ensure prompt detection of WPV1 and cVDPV, and vaccination of high risk population groups.
  • Maintain these measures with documentation of full application of high quality surveillance and vaccination activities.
  • At the end of 12 months without evidence of reintroduction of WPV1 or new emergence and circulation of cVDPV, provide a report to the Director-General on measures taken to implement the Temporary Recommendations.

Additional considerations

Impact of COVID-19 on the polio program:

  • The committee urges all countries, but particularly those at high risk of polio, to maintain a high level of polio surveillance throughout the pandemic period, noting that the postponement of polio immunization campaigns whether preventive or in response to outbreaks may lead to an increase in polio transmission including international spread.  Maintainenance of access to laboratory diagnosis in the face of widespread transport and shipping disruption is critical.
  • Secondly, countries affected by campaign postponement should strive to maintain a high degree of operational readiness in order that immunization activities, including border vaccination, can resume quickly adhering to principles of good hygiene and safety for the vaccinee as well as for the health professionals to prevent  COVID-19 spread.  This includes ensuring teams have access to appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Given the risk of international spread, countries need to ensure that they are ready to use appropriate vaccines, as recommended by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization,  in response to new outbreaks.
  • The committee urged countries to maximize the use of polio assets to synergistically address the COVID19 pandemic, noting that polio affected countries may be vulnerable to poorer outcomes in the pandemic due to health care system fragility and poorer health status of the population generally. 
  • Lastly the pandemic should serve as a reminder to high risk countries with poor immunization coverage that infectious disease outbreaks can lead to social and economic disruption as well as straining the health care system, and countries can increase their population resilience and recovery through prioiritising  robust immunization programmes. This is relevant not only to polio, but to all other vaccine preventable diseases particularly measles.

Based on the current situation regarding WPV1 and cVDPV, and the reports provided by affected countries, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 7 April 2020 determined that the situation relating to poliovirus continues to constitute a PHEIC, with respect to WPV1 and cVDPV.  The Director-General endorsed the Committee’s recommendations for countries meeting the definition for ‘States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3 with potential risk for international spread’, ‘States infected with cVDPV2 with potential risk for international spread’ and for ‘States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV’ and extended the Temporary Recommendations under the IHR to reduce the risk of the international spread of poliovirus, effective 7 April 2020. 




Joint Leaders' statement - Violence against children: A hidden crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic

3 months ago


The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact across the world. Efforts to contain the coronavirus are vital to the health of the world’s population, but they are also exposing children to increased risk of violence – including maltreatment, gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.

As leaders of organisations committed to ending violence against children, we come together in solidarity to share our deep concern, call for action and pledge our support to protect children from violence and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on children in every country and community.

A third of the global population is on COVID-19 lockdown, and school closures have impacted more than 1.5 billion children. Movement restrictions, loss of income, isolation, overcrowding and high levels of stress and anxiety are increasing the likelihood that children experience and observe physical, psychological and sexual abuse at home – particularly those children already living in violent or dysfunctional family situations. And while online communities have become central to maintain many children’s learning, support and play, it is also increasing their exposure to cyberbullying, risky online behavior and sexual exploitation.

The situation is aggravated by children’s lack of access to schoolfriends, teachers, social workers and the safe space and services that schools provide. The most vulnerable children – including refugees, migrants, and children who are internally displaced, deprived of liberty, living without parental care, living on the street and in urban slums, with disabilities, and living in conflict-affected areas – are a particular concern. For many, growing economic vulnerability will increase the threat of child labour, child marriage and child trafficking.

We must act now. Together, we call on governments, the international community and leaders in every sector to urgently respond with a united effort to protect children from the heightened risk of violence, exploitation and abuse as part of the broader response to COVID-19.

Governments have a central role to play. They must ensure that COVID-19 prevention and response plans integrate age appropriate and gender sensitive measures to protect all children from violence, neglect and abuse. Child protection services and workers must be designated as essential and resourced accordingly.

Working with and supporting governments, our collective response must include: maintaining essential health and social welfare services, including mental health and psychosocial support; providing child protection case management and emergency alternative care arrangements; ensuring social protection for the most vulnerable children and households; continuing care and protection for children in institutions; and communicating with and engaging parents, caregivers and children themselves with evidence-based information and advice. National helplines, school counsellors and other child-friendly reporting mechanisms enable children in distress to reach out for help, and must be adapted to the challenges of COVID-19.

Given the heightened risks of online harms, technology companies and telecoms providers must do everything they can to keep children safe online. This includes providing access to cost-free child helplines, age-appropriate services and safe e-education platforms - and using their platforms to share child online safety advice. They must also do more to detect and stop harmful activity against children online, including grooming and the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse images and videos.

As global organisations working to end violence against children, we will continue to advocate for and invest in effective child protection solutions. We will collectively develop and share technical resources and guidance for policymakers, practitioners, parents, caregivers and children themselves. And we will support the courageous health, child protection and humanitarian professionals working around the clock to keep children safe during these unprecedented times.

In recent years, the global community has made significant gains in protecting children from violence. We must not allow those gains to be lost during the current turmoil. We must do all we can to keep children safe now. And we must plan ahead together, so that once the immediate health crisis is over, we can get back on track towards the goal of ending all forms of violence, abuse and neglect of children



#ThanksHealthHeros - World Health Day Message

3 months ago

Today is World Health Day! This day is especially poignant as the focus is on nurses and health workers, who are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response across the world. They are the real heroes risking their lives to save the millions affected by COVID-19 as well as other deadly diseases like tuberculosis (TB).  They play a major role in providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, and leading community dialogue to address fears and questions. It is imperative that we come together to invest more, empower and protect the nursing and health workforce.

Without nurses and health workers, we cannot achieve “Health for All” or end diseases like TB which claim millions of lives each year. The World Health Organization is calling for your support on World Health Day to ensure that the nursing and midwifery workforces are strong enough to ensure that everyone, everywhere gets the healthcare they need.

Today, we would like to salute and thank nurses, midwives and other health workers around the world who are battling difficult situations to save lives and we pay tribute to those who lost their lives protecting others.

Emily: A Day in the Life of a TB Nurse<div><small><a href="">youtubeembedcode pl</a></small></div><div><small><a href="">w://</a></small></div>

Watch this story of Emily, a nurse managing the TB programme of the City Health Office in Tuguegarao City, Philippines. Her dream for Tuguegarao is to one day see zero TB cases and that no one dies from this infectious disease.

Nurses and healthcare workers play a critical role in TB prevention and care. It’s time to invest in them to improve healthcare for all.

We thank all the nurses and healthcare workers working to #EndTB!

WHO lists two COVID-19 tests for emergency use

3 months ago

WHO has listed the first two diagnostic tests for emergency use during the Covid-19 pandemic. The move should help increase access to quality-assured, accurate tests for the disease.  It also means that the tests can now be supplied by the United Nations and other procurement agencies supporting the COVID-19 response.

Both in vitro diagnostics, the tests are genesig Real-Time PCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) and cobas SARS-CoV-2 Qualitative assay for use on the cobas® 6800/8800 Systems

“The emergency use listing of these products will enable countries to increase testing with quality assured diagnostics,” says Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Medicines and Health Products. “Facilitating access to accurate tests is essential for countries to address the pandemic with the best tools possible.” 

The Emergency Use Listing procedure (EUL) was established to expedite the availability of diagnostics needed in public health emergency situations. It is intended to help procurement agencies and countries navigate the large presence of different devices on the market and, by assessing them, provides assurance of the products’ quality and performance.

The genesig Real-Time PCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Primerdesign, United Kingdom) is an open system more suitable for laboratories with moderate sample testing capacity, while the cobas® SARS-CoV-2 for use on the cobas® 6800/8800 Systems (Roche, United States of America) is a closed system assay for larger laboratories.


EUL listed products:

Roche test:

Primerdesign test:

Virtual Press Conference on COVID-19- 06 April 2020

3 months ago
The daily press briefing on coronavirus COVID-19, direct from WHO Headquarters, Geneva Switzerland with Dr Tedros WHO Director-General, Dr Micheal Ryan, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme, and Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme with special guests Lady Gaga and Hugh Evans, CEO and Co-founder of Global Citizen.

Updated WHO Information Note: Ensuring continuity of TB services during the COVID-19 pandemic

3 months ago

As the world comes together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that essential health services and operations are continued to protect the lives of people with TB and other diseases or health conditions. Health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained.  

In the lead- up to World TB Day, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General emphasized in a news release, “COVID-19 is highlighting just how vulnerable people with lung diseases and weakened immune systems can be. The world committed to end TB by 2030; improving prevention is key to making this happen.”  

WHO Global TB Programme, along with WHO regional and country offices, has developed an information note, in collaboration with stakeholders. This note is intended to assist national TB programmes and health personnel to urgently maintain continuity of essential services for people affected with TB during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by innovative people-centred approaches, as well as maximizing joint support to tackle both diseases.  

“We stand in solidarity with those affected by COVID-19 and those at the frontlines of the fight to combat the disease,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. “We need to act with urgency to ensure that in line with our vision of Health for All, no one with TB, COVID-19 or any health condition will miss out on the prevention and care they need. It’s time for action.”

This information note was originally published on 20 March 2020, and later updated on 4 April and 12 May.

WHO and partners call for urgent investment in nurses

3 months ago
A new report, The State of the World’s Nursing 2020, provides an in-depth look at the largest component of the health workforce. Findings identify important gaps in the nursing workforce and priority areas for investment in nursing education, jobs, and leadership to strengthen nursing around the world and improve health for all.

First ever State of the World’s Nursing report launched amid COVID19 pandemic

3 months ago

7 April 2020 - Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, providing vital services throughout the health system. Around the world they are demonstrating their compassion, bravery and courage as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and never before has their value been more clearly demonstrated.

A new report, by WHO in partnership with the International Council of Nurses and Nursing Now, released today, reveals that, there are just under 28 million nurses worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, nursing numbers increased by 4.7 million. But this still leaves a global shortfall of 5.9 million - with the greatest gaps found in countries in Africa, South East Asia and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region as well as some parts of Latin America.

The State of the World’s Nursing 2020, provides an in-depth look at the largest component of the health workforce. Findings identify important gaps in the nursing workforce and priority areas for investment in nursing education, jobs, and leadership to strengthen nursing around the world and improve health for all.


Nurses are the backbone of any health system. Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General

 Politicians understand the cost of educating and maintaining a professional nursing workforce, but only now are many of them recognising their true value. Every penny invested in nursing raises the wellbeing of people and families in tangible ways that are clear for everyone to see. This report highlights the nursing contribution and confirms that investment in the nursing profession is a benefit to society, not a cost.” Annette Kennedy, ICN President

 “This report places much-needed data and evidence behind calls to strengthen nursing leadership, advance nursing practice, and educate the nursing workforce for the future, said. The policy options reflect actions we believe all countries can take over the next ten years to ensure there are enough nurses in all countries, and that nurses use of the full extent of their education, training, and professional scope to enhance primary health care delivery and respond to health emergencies such as COVID-19.  This must start with broad and intersectoral dialogue which positions the nursing evidence in the context of a country’s health system, health workforce, and health priorities.” Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair of Nursing Now

WHO and Global Citizen announce: 'One World: Together at home' Global Special to support healthcare workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

3 months ago
‘One World: Together At Home’ Global Special to Air on Saturday, April 18 in Celebration and Support of Healthcare Workes, Broadcast to Feature Real Experiences from Doctors, Nurses and Families Around the World. Historic Broadcast to be Hosted by Jimmy Fallon of ‘The Tonight Show,’ Jimmy Kimmel of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ and Stephen Colbert of ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’ Friends from Sesame Street Also on Hand to Help Unify and Inspire People Around the World to Take Meaningful Actions that Increase Support for the Global COVID-19 Response Curated in Collaboration with Lady Gaga, Broadcast to Include Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder
Corporate news releases, statements, and notes for media issued by the World Health Organization.