Tag Archives: WHO

UN health agency spotlights role of health in sustainable development as governing body begins session

Director-General of the WHO Margaret Chan addresses the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva23 May 2016 – Health holds a prominent and central role that benefits the entire sustainable development agenda, because the ultimate objective of all development activities is to sustain human lives in good health, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, calling for greater efforts to combat the major challenges of antimicrobial resistance, the world drug problem and the high costs of non-communicable diseases on the road to strengthening health systems.

“WHO, together with its multiple partners, is poised to save many more millions of lives. I ask you to remember this purpose as we go through an agenda that can mean so much for the future,” she added.

Dr. Chan noted that public health constantly struggles to hold infectious diseases at bay, to change lifestyle behaviours, and to find enough money to do these and many other jobs, but sometimes the world needs to “step back and celebrate.”

“Commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) brought focus, energy, creative innovation, and above all money to bear on some of the biggest health challenges that marred the start of this century,” she said.

As such, the world can celebrate the 19,000 fewer children dying every day, a 44 per cent drop in maternal mortality, and the 85 per cent of tuberculosis cases that are successfully cured. Africa, in particular, can celebrate the 60 per cent decline in malaria mortality, while as the result of the fastest scale-up of a life-saving treatment in history, more than 15 million people living with HIV are now receiving antiretroviral therapy, up from just 690,000 in 2000, the Director-General stressed.

An interconnected world leads to global health threats

Highlighting some of the main global health concerns, the Director-General underscored that air pollution is a transboundary hazard that affects the global atmosphere and contributes to climate change, while drug-resistant pathogens, including the growing number of “superbugs,” travel well internationally in people, animals and food. In addition, the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, especially to children, is now a global phenomenon, while safeguarding the quality of pharmaceutical products has become much harder, with complex manufacturing procedures and supply chains spanning multiple companies and countries, she said.ick kiln production is responsible for air pollution in many cities of the world. Credit: UNEP

Moreover, she noted that ensuring the quality of the food supply is also much harder when a single meal can contain ingredients from all around the world, including some potentially contaminated with exotic pathogens. Furthermore, the Ebola outbreak in three small countries had paralyzed the world with fear and travel constraints, while the rapidly evolving outbreak of Zika warns us that an old disease in Africa and Asia can suddenly wake up on a new continent to cause a global health emergency.

‘Slow-motion disasters’ shaping the global health landscape

In addition, the Director-General highlighted that as the international community enters the era of sustainable development, the global health landscape is being shaped by three “slow-motion disasters”: a changing climate, the failure of more and more mainstay antimicrobials, and the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases as the leading killers worldwide.

For its part, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is attempting to ensure that these and many other disasters are averted, the Director-General said.

“The agenda aims to do nothing less than transform the way the world, and the international systems that govern it, work,” Dr. Chan said.

UN General Assembly proclaims Decade of Action on Nutrition

UN General Assembly proclaims Decade of Action on NutritionThe United Nations General Assembly today proclaimed a UN Decade of Action on Nutrition that will run from 2016 to 2025. FAO welcomed the decision, calling it a major step towards mobilising action around reducing hunger and improving nutrition around the world.

Today, nearly 800 million people remain chronically undernourished and over two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Meanwhile some 159 million children under 5 years of age are stunted – meaning they are too short for their age. Approximately 50 million children in the same age bracket are wasted – meaning they have low weight for their height. Another 1.9 billion people are overweight — 600 million of these are obese. And prevalence of people who are overweight or obese is increasing in nearly all countries.

Today’s resolution recognises the need to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition worldwide. The Decade of Action on Nutrition will provide an umbrella for a wide group of actors to work together to address these and other pressing nutrition issues.

The resolution calls upon FAO and WHO to lead the implementation of the Decade of Action on Nutrition in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and involving coordination mechanisms such as the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) and multi-stakeholder platforms such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

It also invites national governments and other stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector and academia to actively participate.

“This resolution places nutrition at the heart of sustainable development and recognizes improving food security and nutrition are essential to achieving the entire 2030 Agenda,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. “Children can’t fully reap the benefits of schooling if they don’t get the nutrients they need; and emerging economies won’t reach their full potential if their workers are chronically tired because their diets are unbalanced. That’s why we welcome the Decade of Action on Nutrition and look forward to helping make it a success,” he added.

Introducing the resolution, which was co-sponsored by 30 Members, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Brazil’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said: “We consider the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition a great opportunity to bring together initiatives and efforts to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition, crucial elements of the 2030 Agenda. We encourage UN agencies, Member States, civil society and private sector to join in this collective effort. We look forward to engage in this process, sharing information on our national policies and learning from other experiences.”

Today’s resolution also endorses the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action adopted during the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) co-hosted by FAO and WHO in November 2014.

Tashkent conference highlights modern HIV prevention and treatment methods

World-AIDS-Day 2015Over 200 national and international specialists from Denmark, India, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and the US have joined a conference in Tashkent to discuss modern approaches to the detection, prevention and treatment of HIV. The conference is being held in commemoration of World AIDS Day, marked annually on 1 December, and the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Service in Uzbekistan.

Keynote speakers at the start of the conference today, 1 December, included Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Sanitary Doctor of Uzbekistan, Saidmurod Saidaliyev, and UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, Stefan Priesner.

In his speech, Mr. Saidaliyev told those gathered about measures taken by the government to fight HIV/AIDS in Uzbekistan. Mr. Priesner, in his turn, highlighted the importance of joint efforts to address HIV/AIDS, research in this area, prevention of the virus, protection of vulnerable groups, increasing young people’s awareness of the risks of catching HIV as well as eliminating discrimination against people living with HIV.

During the two-day conference, experts and consultants will be working in three breakout sessions and focus on the following themes: “Epidemiology and prevention of HIV”, “Modern approaches to the detection, prevention and treatment of HIV”, and “The role of NGOs in implementing medico-psychosocial and HIV prevention programs”.

Conference participants are expected to develop new methods of boosting the effectiveness of efforts on early detection and prevention of the spread of HIV, improving treatment methods aimed at helping people living with HIV (PLHIV) regain working capacity and increasing life expectancy for PLHIV.

WHO urges improvement of food safety from farm to plate

World_Health_Day_2015_press_conferenceAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), food-borne diseases annually kill an estimated 2 million people, including children. The theme of this year’s World Health Day, marked every year on April 7, is food safety. To highlight the importance of food safety, officials and members of the UN office in Uzbekistan and the Ministries of Health, Public Education, and Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan held a press conference at Poytaht Business Center in Tashkent.

In his World Health Day message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers… WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) work together to set international standards for safe food.  They assess the safety of new food technologies, and help countries to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of food-borne disease… WHO is calling on countries and all actors to improve food safety from farm to plate and everywhere in between.”

Speakers at the press conference included Deputy Minister of Health Saidmurod Saidaliyev, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner, and WHO Representative in Uzbekistan Dr. Asmus Hammerich.

Priesner said that healthcare is one of the key areas of cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of Uzbekistan. In his turn, Dr. Hammerich noted that agriculture, food transportation companies, public catering services and the food industry play the primary role in ensuring food safety.

Saidaliyev said that the Ministry of Health is the primary body in the system of monitoring the quality and safety of food in Uzbekistan. Komiljon Muhamedov of the Ministry of Health did a presentation with detailed information on how Uzbekistan monitors food safety. In particular, he said that among the priorities in this area are improvement of the relevant legislation and the potential of laboratories as well as raising public awareness of healthy food and healthy eating.

To prevent food poisoning, WHO recommends five simple rules:

1. Keep clean
2. Separate raw and cooked
3. Cook thoroughly
4. Keep food at safe temperatures
5. Use safe water and raw materials