At World Health Organization, the future of health care is being decided, and contested

Peoples Dispatch | February 27, 2023

Jyotsna Singh of the People’s Health Movement talks about the recent Executive Board meeting of the World Health Organization. She talks about what happens during such meetings and the major issues on the table at the WHO. This is a key moment for the future of global health care as amendments to the International Health Regulations and the Pandemic Treaty are being discussed. Jyotsna describes the concerns raised by countries of the Global South and the ways in which the pandemic has influenced these discussions.

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Drought Pushes Millions in East Africa To Starvation

Countercurrents | August 19, 2022

In East Africa, millions of people are facing starvation due to drought.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday that millions of people in East Africa face the threat of starvation.

Speaking at a media briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that drought, climate change, rising prices and an ongoing civil war in northern Ethiopia are all contributing to worsening food insecurity.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

“Now to the Greater Horn of Africa, where millions of people are facing starvation and disease in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

“Drought, conflict, climate change and increasing prices for food, fuel and fertilizer are all contributing to lack of access to sufficient food.

“Hunger and malnutrition pose a direct threat to health, but they also weaken the body’s defenses, and open the door to diseases including pneumonia, measles and cholera.

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WHO Plan on COVID-19 Origin Tracing Is Politicized, China Says

teleSUR | August 02, 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus. | Photo: Twitter/ @zhang_heqing

The work plan continues to consider the hypothesis that the virus may have escaped from a Chinese laboratory. The WHO-China joint mission report, however, clearly concluded that a “lab leak is extremely unlikely.”

The work plan of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the second phase of investigation into the origins of COVID-19 is politicized and lacks a spirit of cooperation, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Britain said Sunday.

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It’s official: China has eliminated malaria

Dennis Normile

A lab worker holds up blood smears that will be examined for malaria parasites under a microscope at the Yunnan Institute for Parasitic Diseases in April 2019. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION/C. MCNAB

The World Health Organization (WHO) today is certifying China as free of malaria, after a decadeslong effort drove an estimated annual toll of 30 million cases in the 1940s, including 300,000 deaths, to zero in 2017. Along the way, China developed new surveillance techniques, medicines, and technologies to break the cycle of transmission between the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria parasites and humans.

Antimalaria efforts started in the 1950s with programs to distribute antimalarial medicines to people at risk, reduce mosquito breeding grounds, and spray insecticides. China launched a program to identify new malaria drugs in the late 1960s. As part of that effort, pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou screened traditional Chinese medicine concoctions for compounds active against malaria, eventually isolating artemisinin from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua). Artemisinin became the key compound in the front-line drugs now used against malaria and won Tu a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015. China was also among the countries pioneering the use of insecticide-treated nets in the 1980s.

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The WHO’s Chief Scientist On A Year Of Loss And Learning

Soumya Swaminathan

Nature | December 17, 2020

Soumya Swaminathan at a news conference
Clinician-researcher Soumya Swaminathan oversees the gathering of scientific evidence at the World Health Organization in Geneva. Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

I was appointed to the new post of chief scientist to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the director-general in March 2019. I was charged with overseeing how the 72-year-old United Nations agency gathers scientific evidence and creates guidelines. My original plan for 2020 included rolling out new processes to ensure the quality of technical documents, such as guidelines on water quality, tobacco advertising and immunization programmes. I’d resolved to find ways to focus research on the right questions and to speed up the development of vaccines, medicines and diagnostics to address unmet public-health needs. With my colleagues in the digital-health department, I intended to finalize a global strategy for that field, incorporating telemedicine, interoperability standards and mobile health, and take it to the World Health Assembly for approval. After that, I would work with member states to make sure pathogen samples were shared rapidly with equitable access to benefits, a subject area that has been the focus of protracted negotiations (see More »


Venezuela Will Produce World Health Organization Approved COVID-19 Vaccines and Distribute Them Free

RESUMEN | September 10, 2020

Once vaccines are certified by the World Health Organization, Venezuela will produce and distribute those anti-COVID-19 vaccines produced by international scientific centers.

“Venezuela has its facilities for vaccine production, and we have the capacity to produce the vaccine in coordination of Russia, China, Cuba and the whole world,” stated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.Read More »

COVID-19 Pandemic Is Accelerating in Africa, WHO Warned

teleSUR | June 11, 2020

Ten countries are currently driving Africa's epidemic, including South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria and Cameroon.
Ten countries are currently driving Africa’s epidemic, including South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria and Cameroon. | Photo: AFP

It took 98 days for the continent to reach 100,000 cases and just 18 days to reach 200,000, WHO says.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating in Africa and moving from the continent’s large capital cities into the remote rural areas where it will be more challenging to contain the spread of the disease. 

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Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO grapple with both Ebola, COVID-19

by Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | April 17, 2020

The Democratic Republic of Congo faces the twin threat of Ebola disease and VOCID-19 pandemic Photo: UNICEF/Karel Prinsloo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) grappled with two global health emergencies: The Ebola virus disease and the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also faced a significant challenge, as it ran short of at least $83 million to contain the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, said to be one of the poorest countries in Africa, according to several experts.

The DRC — with 2,266 deaths and 3,456 Ebola infections as of April 12, 2020, according to the country’s health ministry — suffered from the world’s second largest outbreak on record, since August 1, 2018.Read More »

Ghebreyesus: ‘Africa Will Not Be Testing Ground for Any Vaccine’

teleSUR | April 09, 2020

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WHO warns: Coronavirus pandemic in Asia is far from over

| March 31, 2020

In view of some Asian countries slowing down the spread of the coronavirus, officially Covid-19, pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) experts have warned: No country should let its guard down.

“Let me be clear. The epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific,” said Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

Takeshi Kasai was talking to reporters on Tuesday.Read More »