While real progress has been made on a number of serious health issues, half of the world’s citizens lack access to essential health services. 
Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WHO signed a five year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help support countries to achieve the health-related targets across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the agenda’s commitment to leave no-one behind.

"Universal health coverage is a powerful tool not only for better health, but for reducing poverty, creating jobs, fueling inclusive economic growth and promoting gender equality," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "But achieving a healthier world is not a job for the health sector alone. By working with partners like UNDP, we can better address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health and make progress towards a fairer, safer and more prosperous future for everyone."

In line with WHO’s leadership on universal health coverage, UNDP and WHO will support countries to strengthen the capacity of their health systems, including by addressing the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. The partnership will also address emerging issues such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. It is estimated that the annual death toll due to AMR could climb to 10 million deaths and result in US$ 100 trillion in losses by 2050 if nothing is done. Other priority areas include acting decisively on health emergencies, ensuring delivery of essential health services in fragile, vulnerable and conflict-affected settings and addressing health challenges arising from climate change and environmental problems.

"Health plays a central role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and is both a precondition and an outcome of sustainable development," said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator.  "In recognition of this critical role, the health and development agencies of the United Nations are taking this deliberate step to join forces and combine our expertise to address the social, environmental, and economic factors affecting the health of all."

The 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reinforce the strong linkages between health and development. The partnership between WHO and UNDP illustrates how the core competencies of the UN health and development agencies can come together to support multi-sectoral responses for health and deliver shared gains across the 2030 Agenda.

Published in Global initiatives

The Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo has declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the remote health zone of Bikoro, Equateur Province.

WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health and partners in the activation of an Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate the response and in deployment of rapid response teams to investigate cases and deaths.

US$1 million have been released from the WHO contingency fund for emergencies to support a rapid response.   

Published in Announcements
Tuesday, 27 March 2018 10:11

What is disease X?

Since 2015 the World Health Organisation has released an annual list of up to 10 “blueprint priority diseases” requiring immediate attention based on their epidemic potential or lack of sufficient countermeasures. The list has consistently contained now-well-known deadly viruses such as Ebola, Zika and SARS, as well as less-known diseases such as Lassa fever and Marburg virus disease. The difference this year is that included among the regulars is something called Disease X.  What exactly is this mysterious disease and why has it been included?

The WHO’s selection, known as the 2018 R&D Blueprint, was started as a response to the Ebola crisis in 2014, which has since infected nearly 29,000 people and killed more than 11,000. The list serves as a warning to governments that research and development needs to be an integral part of the response to epidemics. No one was ready for Ebola when it hit West Africa at that time. By listing Disease X, an undetermined disease, the WHO is acknowledging that outbreaks do not always come from an identified source and that, as it admits,  “a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease.” Experts now recognise that moving fast to find a vaccine involves creating so-called “platform technologies” in advance. These  involve scientists developing recipes for vaccines that can be customised. When an outbreak happens, scientists can sequence the unique genetics of the particular virus and enter the correct sequence into the platform to create a new vaccine. 

Published in Service delivery  

Shantha Biotechnics, an affiliate of Sanofi Pasteur, has received approval of World Health Organisation (WHO), permitting a change in the storage label of its oral cholera vaccine Shanchol.

The vaccine may now be kept for single period of time of upto 14 days at temperature of upto 40° C prior to administration. The approval thus eliminates challenges of maintaining the vaccine cold chain (between +2° C and +8° C to maintain vaccine potency) during transport.

The approval is of great significance to regions where the vaccine is used, including India, a release from Sanofi on Monday said. The WHO approval for use of Shanchol in controlled temperature chain (CTC) was granted after a review of its stability data.

Monday, 05 February 2018 06:36

WHO scores Kano low on routine immunisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday scored the performance of Kano State Government on Routine Immunisation (RI) against polio and other diseases related vaccination below 40%.

WHO assessment came when records from the state ministry of health for the update of first quarter of 2018 RI on Polio indicated 61 percent of the targeted children were not captured.

Published in Service delivery  

Bharat Biotech today announced that the World Health Organization (WHO Geneva) has awarded prequalification to the developing world’s first rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC®. This vaccine to prevent infant deaths and hospitalizations due to rotavirus diarrhea was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi in March 2015 and is one of the first novel vaccines to be developed completely from a developing world country. WHO Prequalification is necessary for UN agencies and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to purchase the vaccine in partnership with developing countries and will help accelerate availability of the ROTAVAC® to the developing countries with the highest burden of disease. India has introduced ROTAVAC® into its national immunization program during 2016, with ~ 35 million doses delivered till date. “We are honored and delighted to become the first rotavirus vaccine from the developing world and India to be WHO Prequalified. We feel proud to dedicate this innovated in India and Made in India vaccine to the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is expanding on its partners’ engagement mechanisms to address critical barriers in reaching vulnerable persons including women and children with life-saving interventions in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, where access and restrictions on movement severely hinder the ability of populations to get health services.

Since 2015, an estimated 456 000 people in south-eastern Upper Nile area have not been reached with life-saving health interventions leaving critical gaps and the derailment of vaccine preventable and communicable disease control achievements. Besides, surveillance indicators have remained very sub-optimal for vaccine preventable diseases.

Published in Global initiatives

The World Health Organization reports the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen’s sea ports is hampering efforts to contain a diphtheria outbreak that, so far, has caused 197 cases of the disease, including 22 deaths.

Diphtheria has spread to 13 of Yemen’s 22 governorates, including the capital Sana’a, since the first case was detected less than two weeks ago. World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier, says the Saudi blockade is hindering WHO’s ability to import the vaccines needed to keep the disease in check.

“There is still not even one dose of Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccine in the country for children above five years and young adults," said Lindmeier. "Around 8.5 million doses are needed for three rounds of the vaccination campaign.”

Published in Service delivery  

The International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision for yellow fever has provided 1.4 million vaccine doses for an immunization campaign that starts on Saturday (2 December) to help control an ongoing yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria.

The Government of Nigeria, supported by World Health Organization and partners, is expected to vaccinate 1.3 million people to contain the outbreak in affected areas. The vaccines, funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will be administered in parts of Zamfara state where cases of the deadly disease have been confirmed.

“WHO is working with the Government of Nigeria to address the low immunity among affected populations that is giving rise to cases of yellow fever,” said Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative in Nigeria.

Published in Global initiatives