World Health Organization (WHO)

World Health Organization

75th World Health Assembly will run from the 22-28 May

75th World Health Assembly to focus on “Health for Peace, Peace for Health” for recovery and renewal Geneva/ New Delhi 18th May 2022: In a world threatened by conflict, inequities, the climate crisis and pandemics, the Seventy-fifth session of the World Health Assembly will stress the importance of building a healthy and peaceful planet by harnessing science, data, technology and innovation. The theme of the 75th World Health Assembly This year’s session of the Health Assembly will focus on the theme of “Health for Peace, Peace for Health” and will run from 22-28 May at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It will include the appointment of the next WHO Director-General. “The pandemic has undermined progress towards the health-related targets in Sustainable Development Goals and laid bare inequities within and between countries,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Sustained recovery will require more than ‘getting back on track’ and reinvesting in existing services and systems. We need a new approach, which means shifting priorities and focusing on the highest-impact interventions.” The Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly will kick off with a high-level segment on 22 May with speeches from the elected Health Assembly President, Heads of State, special guests, an address by the WHO Director-General and the presentation of the Director-General’s Health Awards. The Director-General’s speech will set out WHO’s five priorities going forward, expanding from the vision delivered at the Executive Board meeting held in January 2022. World Health Statistics will be published by WHO Ahead of the Health Assembly, on 20 May, WHO will publish the latest set of World Health Statistics, its annual compilation of health statistics for WHO’s 194 Member States. The latest edition summarizes trends in life expectancy and causes of death and reports on progress towards global health/development goals for 2020. The 2020-2021 Results Report, also published before WHA, summarizes the Organization’s achievements and challenges in implementing the programme budget. Key issues for the 75th World Health Assembly The Health Assembly will discuss global strategies on food safety, oral health, and tuberculosis research and innovation. It will also discuss the report of the Working…

COVID-19 News

WHO recommended two new drugs to treat COVID-19

The drugs add to an expanding toolbox for COVID-19 treatment COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines: In its latest COVID guidelines, WHO ‘strongly recommends’ the Baricitinib antibody treatment for critical patients. New Delhi/ Geneva 14 January 2021 | The world Health Organization (WHO) has recommended two new drugs for COVID-19, providing yet more options for treating the disease.  The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be. WHO ‘Strongly’ Recommends Baricitinib for COVID-19 Patients: What Is It? The first drug, baricitinib, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical COVID-19.  It is part of a class of drugs called Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors that suppress the overstimulation of the immune system.  WHO recommends that it is given with corticosteroids. Baricitinib dose for COVID Baricitinib is an oral drug, used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  It provides an alternative to other arthritis drugs called Interleukin-6 receptor blockers, recommended by WHO in July 2021. Sotrovimab covid treatment WHO has also conditionally recommended the use of a monoclonal antibody drug, sotrovimab, for treating mild or moderate COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk of hospitalization. This includes patients who are older, immunocompromised, having underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, and those unvaccinated. Sotrovimab: What to Know About the WHO Recommended COVID Treatment WHO has also clarified that it is not certain about Sotrovimab’s effect on Omicron variant infected COVID patients. Sotrovimab is an alternative to casirivimab-imdevimab, a monoclonal antibody cocktail recommended by WHO in September 2021. WHO has also clarified that studies are ongoing on the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies against Omicron but early laboratory studies show that sotrovimab retains its activity. The panel of experts developing the guidelines also looked at two other drugs for severe and critical COVID-19: ruxolitinib and tofacitinib.  Given their uncertain effects, WHO made a conditional recommendation against their use. According to WHO, the two newly recommended drugs – baricitinib and sotrovimab – have been invited for WHO Prequalification, which assesses the quality, efficacy and safety of priority health products to increase access in lower income countries….

Antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotic resistance: A safe and easy process to produce antimicrobial agents

 New Delhi, Dec 14: A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)-Bhopal, has developed a safe and easy procedure to produce silver nanomaterials that can be used as antimicrobial agents. What is Antibiotic resistance? Antibiotic resistance is a serious condition in which bacteria and other microbes that invade the human body become resistant to the antibiotics/antimicrobials that are meant to kill them. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared bacterial antibiotic resistance as one of the most important crises facing humanity. The problem is particularly serious in India due to the rampant and indiscriminate use of antibiotics in humans, livestock, and agriculture. There is a dire need for antibiotic substitutes and Nano-technological solutions. The study by the IISER Bhopal team promises to fill the gap. Silver, the common ornamental metal, when present as Nano-sized particles – one hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a single human hair – has good antimicrobial properties. Medical practitioners have used silver in various forms to prevent infections and promote healing from ancient times. Generally, silver nanomaterials are produced using toxic precursors that often generate harmful by-products inside the system. The procedure developed by the IISER team has overcome this problem. The researchers used an amino acid called Tyrosine, which is present in many food items, including meat, dairy, nuts, and beans. They treated silver nitrate, the main component of the ‘election ink’ used to stain nails after voting in India, with tyrosine in the presence of caustic soda. Tyrosine functioned as a reducing agent and capping agent to produce silver nanomaterials. On examining the product under high-resolution microscopes they found two forms of silver nanostructures – nanoclusters and nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were found to kill microbes such as S. cerevisiae (associated with pneumonia, peritonitis, UTI etc.), C. Albicans (oral and genital infections), and E. coli (stomach infection), in about four hours. The smaller-sized nanoclusters, in turn, were luminescent and had the potential to be used as bioimaging probes.  The group also elucidated the mechanism by which the nanoparticles kill microbes. They found that the nanoparticles generate…

World Health Organization

More than half a billion people pushed or pushed further into extreme poverty due to health care costs

Monitoring universal health coverage – WHO COVID-19 pandemic disrupts health services worldwide DUBAI/GENEVA/WASHINGTON DC — 12 December 2021 — New evidence compiled by the World Health Organization and the World Bank shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to halt two decades of global progress towards Universal Health Coverage. The organizations also reveal that more than half a billion people are being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets. 2 reports launched Universal Health Coverage Day 2021 The findings are contained in two complementary reports, launched on Universal Health Coverage Day, highlighting the devastating impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to obtain health care and pay for it. In 2020, the pandemic disrupted health services and stretched countries’ health systems beyond their limits as they struggled to deal with the impact of COVID-19. As a result, for example, immunization coverage dropped for the first time in ten years, and deaths from TB and malaria increased. Know about universal health coverage (UHC) Universal health coverage (UHC) is a priority goal for many countries and has also emerged as a possible goal in the post-2015 development agenda. Monitoring progress towards UHC is critical globally and especially in countries, including intervention coverage, financial risk protection, both with an equity dimension. Covid-19 pandemic triggered the worst economic crisis The pandemic also triggered the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, making it increasingly difficult for people to pay for care. Even before the pandemic, half a billion people were being pushed (or pushed still further) into extreme poverty because of payments they made for health care. The organizations expect that that number is now considerably higher. “There is no time to spare,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “All governments must immediately resume and accelerate efforts to ensure every one of their citizens can access health services without fear of the financial consequences. This means strengthening public spending on health and social support, and increasing their focus on primary health care systems that can provide essential care close to home.” He added: “Prior to…

COVID-19 News

WHO calls for equitable access to casirivimab and imdevimab for COVID-19

WHO welcomed the addition of another therapeutic to the world’s arsenal against COVID-19, but… Geneva, 24 September 2021 – The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the addition of another therapeutic to the world’s arsenal against COVID-19 but urges producing companies and governments to address the high price and limited production of the Regeneron antibody combination and ensure safe and appropriate handling of the medicine. Given the high cost and low availability of the combination therapy, UNITAID is negotiating with Roche Pharmaceutical, which is currently manufacturing the drug for lower prices and equitable distribution across all regions, especially in low- and middle-income countries. WHO is also in discussions with the company for a donation and distribution of the drug through UNICEF, following allocation criteria set by WHO. WHO launched a call to manufacturers In parallel, WHO has launched a call to manufacturers who may wish to submit their products for pre-qualification, which would allow for a ramping up of production and therefore greater availability of the treatment and expanded access. ACT-A partners are also working with WHO on an equitable access framework for recommended COVID-19 therapeutics. WHO also calls for the sharing of technology to allow for the manufacturing of biosimilar versions so all patients who may need this treatment have access to it. In addition, there are feasibility challenges linked to the antibodies, such as in intravenous administration; based on the trials with non-severe and severe/critical patients. In the outpatient setting, this may be a challenge; and thus subcutaneous administration may be an option at the lowest dose. Administration requires specialized clinics and will need adequate amounts of the antibodies, as well as trained staff to ensure safe and effective administration of the drug. WHO cautions that in order not to exacerbate health inequity and limited availability of the therapy, patients who are non-severe and at higher risk for hospitalization be treated and those that are severe or critical with seronegative status (those who have not developed natural antibodies against COVID-19 determined through accurate rapid tests) be treated; as these two patient groups are the patients that stand to benefit…

World Health Organization

WHO’s World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021 promote safe maternal and newborn practices

Why is Patient Safety important? World patient safety day theme 2021. World safety day 2021 date. Geneva, 16 September 2021 – The World Health Organization is calling on healthcare facility managers, leaders and health workers around the world to adopt a set of 5 World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021 to improve maternal and newborn safety at the points of care, particularly around childbirth. The goals will be launched at a Virtual Global Conference “Together for safe and respectful maternal and newborn care” on World Patient Safety Day on 17 September, with this year’s theme – Safe maternal and newborn care. Every day, approximately 800 women and 6 700 babies lose their lives around the time of childbirth. In addition, nearly 5 400 babies are stillborn daily, with 40% of these deaths occurring in relation to labour and childbirth. Most stillbirths, maternal and newborn deaths and harm are avoidable through the provision of safe, respectful and quality care during pregnancy, childbirth and in the first days of life. What are 5 World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021? The 5 World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021 aim to improve maternal and newborn safety at the point of care and to accelerate action towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reducing maternal mortality and ending avoidable deaths of newborns by 2030. The goals are to: –    Reduce unnecessary and harmful practices to women and newborns during childbirth –    Strengthen the capacity of and support to health workers for safe maternal and newborn care –    Promote respectful care for safe childbirth –    Improve safe use of medication and blood transfusion during childbirth –    Report and analyze safety incidents in childbirth. WHO is urging health care facility leaders, managers and health workers to sign up to these goals on an online platform recently created by WHO. History of World Patient Safety Day 2021 World Patient Safety Day, established by the World Health Assembly in 2019, aims to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and work towards global solidarity and action by countries and partners to promote safety in health care. This year’s…

World Health Organization

Call for experts to join Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens

Deadline extended to 17 September (from 10 September) New Delhi/Geneva 11th September 2021: The World Health Organization (WHO) extended today to 17th September (previously set for 10th September) an open call for experts to serve as members of the new WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). The SAGO will advise WHO on technical and scientific considerations regarding the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, and will be composed of a wide range of experts acting in their personal capacity. SAGO will also guide WHO on next steps for understanding the SARS-CoV-2 origins. There have been an increasing number of high threat pathogens emerging and re-emerging in recent years with, for example, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Nipah, avian influenza, the latest being SARS-CoV-2. There is a clear need for robust surveillance and early actions for rapid detection and mitigation efforts, as well as systematic processes to study the emergence of these pathogens and routes of transmission from their natural reservoirs to humans. This is critical to helping WHO, Member States and partner institutions to prepare for future spillover threats and to minimize the risk of a disease outbreak growing into a pandemic. From SARS-CoV-2, which continues to wreak havoc around the world, to the next “Disease X”, this global framework to study the emergence of new and known high threat pathogens needs to be comprehensive and coordinated based on a One Health approach. It should also encompass biosafety and biosecurity. And it needs to be scientific, transparent, comprehensive, rapid and inclusive. Functions of SAGO In its capacity as an advisory body to WHO, the SAGO will have the following functions: To advise WHO on the development of a WHO global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential; To advise WHO on prioritizing studies and field investigations into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, in accordance with the WHO global framework described in point (1) above; To provide information and views to assist…

World Health Organization

COVID-19 booster strategy as Delta multiplies, highlights ‘disappointing inequality’: WHO

Geneva 12th July 2021. The COVID-19 Delta variant is travelling around the world at a “scorching pace” driving a new spike in cases and deaths, but it’s exposing a ‘hugely uneven and inequitable’ global gap in vaccine supply, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Who DG Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus said, “We don’t know whether booster vaccines will be needed to maintain protection against COVID-19 until additional data is collected, but the question is under consideration by researchers.”  He said, “Clinical trials on these vaccines only began a year ago, and roll-out across populations even more recently. There is, therefore limited data available on how long the protection from current doses lasts and whether an additional booster dose would be beneficial and for whom.” 

COVID-19 News

Interleukin-6 antagonists improve outcomes in hospitalised COVID-19 patients

New Delhi, 07th July 2021: Findings from a study published on 6 July 2021 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have prompted new World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations to use interleukin-6 antagonists in patients with severe or critical COVID-19 along with corticosteroids. A trial done on 11,000 people A new analysis of 27 randomised trials involving nearly 11,000 patients found that treating hospitalised COVID-19 patients with drugs that block the effects of interleukin-6 (the interleukin-6 antagonists tocilizumab and sarilumab) reduces the risk of death and the need for mechanical ventilation. The study, which was coordinated by WHO in partnership with King’s College London, University of Bristol, University College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, found that interleukin-6 antagonists were most effective when administered with corticosteroids. In hospitalised patients, administering one of these drugs in addition to corticosteroids reduces the risk of death by 17%, compared to the use of corticosteroids alone. In patients not on mechanical ventilation, the risk of mechanical ventilation or death is reduced by 21%, compared to the use of corticosteroids alone. About NIHR Bristol BRC NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre’s (NIHR Bristol BRC) innovative biomedical research takes science from the laboratory bench or computer and develops it into new drugs, treatments or health advice. About the University of Bristol The University is ranked within the top 10 universities in the UK and top 60 in the world (QS World University Rankings 2021); it is also ranked among the top five institutions in the UK for its research, according to the analysis of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014; and is the 7th most targeted university by top UK employers. In severely ill COVID-19 patients, the immune system overreacts, generating cytokines such as interleukin-6. Clinical trials have been testing whether drugs that inhibit the effects of interleukin-6, such as tocilizumab and sarilumab, benefit hospitalised patients with COVID-19. These trials have variously reported benefits, no effects and harm. This prompted researchers from WHO’s Rapid Evidence Appraisal for COVID-19 Therapies [REACT] Working Group, to examine the clinical benefit of treating hospitalised COVID-19 patients…

Yoga day-Narendra-Modi

PM launches M-Yoga App on 7th International Day of Yoga 2021

Govt. of India in collaboration with WHO has developed M-Yoga Mobile App PM Modi launched ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App New Delhi 21 JUN 2021: The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi launched the ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App while addressing the occasion of the 7thInternational Day of Yoga. M-Yoga app will provide many videos of Yoga training and practice based on common Yoga protocol in many languages. Terming this as a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that the M-Yoga app will help in spreading the Yoga the world over and will contribute to the efforts of ‘One World, One Health’. The PM said: “When India proposed the International Day of Yoga in the United Nations, the spirit behind it was to make this Yoga science accessible to the entire world. Today, India has taken another important step in this direction along with the United Nations and WHO. Now the world is going to get the power of the m-Yoga app. In this app, many videos of Yoga training will be available in different languages of the world based on the common Yogaprotocol. It is also a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science. I am sure the m-Yoga app will play a big role in expanding Yoga across the globe and making the efforts of One World, One Health a success.” Features of ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App This mobile app will be immensely helpful in the promotion of Yoga and wellness among people around the world, especially during the ongoing pandemic. It will play an instrumental role in the re-rehabilitation of the health of the Covid patients who have recovered from Covid-19, the Prime Minister said. Background of ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App: The Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization (WHO) had jointly undertaken a project in mid-2019, focussing on mobile-Yoga. It envisaged the concept of the ‘Be Healthy, Be Mobile’ (BHBM) under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030. Be Healthy, Be Mobile (BHBM) initiative is a global partnership led by…

Countries failing to prevent violence against children, agencies warn

Countries failing to prevent violence against children, agencies warn

Global status report on preventing violence against children calls for more government action and warns of ‘dramatic impact’ of COVID-19 Geneva 18th June 2020. Half of the world’s children, or approximately 1 billion children each year are affected by physical, sexual or psychological violence, suffering injuries, disabilities and death, because countries have failed to follow established strategies to protect them. This is according to a new report published today by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNESCO, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the End Violence Partnership. “There is never any excuse for violence against children,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We have evidence-based tools to prevent it, which we urge all countries to implement. Protecting the health and well-being of children is central to protecting our collective health and well-being, now and for the future.” The report – Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020 – is the first of its kind, charting progress in 155 countries against the “INSPIRE” framework, a set of seven strategies for preventing and responding to violence against children. The report signals a clear need in all countries to scale up efforts to implement them. While nearly all countries (88%) have key laws in place to protect children against violence, less than half of countries (47%) said these were being strongly enforced. The report includes the first-ever global homicide estimates specifically for children under 18 years of age-previous estimates were based on data that included 18 to 19-year olds. It finds that, in 2017, around 40,000 children were victims of homicide. “Violence against children has always been pervasive, and now things could be getting much worse,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Lockdowns, school closures and movement restrictions have left far too many children stuck with their abusers, without the safe space that school would normally offer. It is urgent to scale up efforts to protect children during these times and beyond, including by designating social service workers as essential and strengthening child helplines.” Progress is generally uneven Of the INSPIRE strategies, only…

Corona virus COVID19, Corona virus COVID19 image

India’s S&T Institutions Raise their Game Against COVID-19

New Delhi,  5 April (Jyoti Sharma / S.K. Varshney): COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is making people all over the world go helter-skelter and clueless. As per ‘worldometer’, over one million people have already fallen prey to this virus as of writing this and the numbers are increasing thick and fast. Over 59,000 people have succumbed to death and still counting. In India, it has affected over 3000 people and has witnessed about 60 deaths so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) has pooled in resources and scientists from across the world in its search for a potential vaccine. India is also playing a big role in this at WHO. In addition, thousands of researchers around the world are offering their expertise, time and help through international platforms such as Crowdfight COVID-19 to fight against COVID-19. Researchers are also connecting through social media apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to provide their services voluntarily. With no vaccine in sight for at least the next 12-18 months, it seems the fight for rescuing humankind from this deadly virus has only just begun. With no real global consensus on the response mechanism, each nation is left to fend for itself when it comes protecting its own citizens. India’s quick response With over 1.3 billion people in Her bosom, the spread of coronavirus in India and India’s response mechanisms are being closely watched over by the rest of the world. Led by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, India is battling this virus with all its might. Invoking the Disaster Management Act of 2015, India announced a complete lockdown on 25 March for a period of 21 days. The early announcement of a lockdown, when the infected count was less than 400, was well appreciated by WHO. Setting up of a COVID-19 Task Force and announcement of a series of ‘social distancing’ and other serious measures followed suit. A few such important measures are listed below. Started tracing contacts of COVID-affected people. Suspended all existing visas (except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment, project visas). Suspended all international and domestic flights, trains…

Breaking news

WHO launchs first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

WHO, UN Foundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund GENEVA and Washington, D.C. 13 March 2020 – A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO. “We are at a critical point in the global response to COVID-19 – we need everyone to get involved in this massive effort to keep the world safe,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We are immensely grateful to the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation for coming forward to help us set up this fund. A lot of people and institutions have been saying they want to contribute to the fight against the novel coronavirus. Now they can.” The fund launches with major support already lined up, including from Facebook and Google who have instituted a matching scheme for funds raised through their platforms, while individual donors are also supporting the fund through “We can’t ignore the fact that this is a truly global problem – one that requires truly global solutions,” said Elizabeth Cousens, UN Foundation President and CEO. “The case for global cooperation could not be clearer – communities everywhere are affected, and people want to contribute. This new fund will create space for people everywhere, together, to fight this virus.” Funds will go towards actions outlined in the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to enable all countries – particularly those most vulnerable and at-risk, and with the weakest health systems – to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 crisis including rapidly detecting cases, stopping transmission of the virus, and caring for those affected. WHO and its partners are seeking financing for protective equipment for frontline health workers; to equip diagnostic laboratories; improve surveillance and…