It is not quite time to declare it the ‘best of times and worst of times’ for the global effort to eradicate polio, but two new outbreaks of the infectious disease definitely puts a damper on the celebration regarding renewed international financial commitments.
Monsoon season has begun in India, and with it, health officials are bracing for an increase in mosquito-transmitted diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya. But concerns are circulating that Zika may join their ranks after three cases were recently confirmed – and allegedly concealed by officials – in the state of Gujarat.
The new head of WHO says his top priority is achieving universal health coverage – guaranteeing everyone access to basic healthcare regardless of location or economic status. The idea is hardly new, and has its opponents, but there appears new momentum worldwide to finally achieving it.
The U.N. hosted a humanitarian pep rally in Geneva today, and raised $1.1 billion for Yemen. “Yemen today is experiencing a tragedy of immense proportions. Two years of conflict have devastated the lives of ordinary Yemenis,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the event. “We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation. We must act now, to save lives.”
While the number of polio cases is at a historic low, new obstacles are delaying global eradication. The three remaining endemic countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – are hampered by insecurity that makes it difficult to vaccinate all children against the disease.
Universal access to safe water and sanitation is achievable by 2030, but only if countries drastically step up their funding to fill the “gap between aspiration and reality,” the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.N.-Water warned in a new report today that analyzed data from 75 countries and 25 external support agencies.
Nigeria launched a vaccination campaign to stop the meningitis outbreak responsible for killing more than 300 people. Health workers will administer some 500,000 vaccinations in the northwest part of the country to protect people against the deadly disease. Another 800,000 vaccine doses are expected to arrive from the U.K. to be distributed throughout the country.
The World Health Organization released what is a essentially a ‘most wanted list’ of the 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to our health. WHO officials hope that this list we will spur research and development of new antibiotics. Many of the bacteria listed are already resistant to multiple antibiotics.
More children around the world are getting the measles vaccine. As a result, fewer are dying. Some 20.3 million lives were saved between 2000 and 2015 thanks to the vaccine, according to a new report from UNICEF.
Amid hunger, cholera and daily attacks in Yemen, the U.N. humanitarian chief warned, an entire generation has nearly lost its formative years, underscoring the need for peace.