News and top stories

Assistive technologies for the elderly and disabled

11 February 2016 -- WHO has launched a global survey to gather views on the most necessary and useful assistive technologies, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs. The survey will feed into the first ever WHO mandated list of essential assistive technologies. Governments can use the list to plan and focus efforts to help populations acquire the 50 priority products, thereby improving the everyday lives of the elderly and people living with disabilities.

Women in the context of microcephaly and Zika virus disease

10 February 2016 -- The risk of babies born with microcephaly has raised understandable concerns among women including those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. There are many unknowns regarding the possible causes of microcephaly. Here are a number of questions being asked, and the advice that WHO is offering in response.

Zika virus: Current situation and future research and development

8 February 2016 -- WHO releases its first situation report for the public health emergency announced after a spike in cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome in the Americas. These cases are strongly suspected to be linked to Zika virus. WHO is currently mapping existing research and development for Zika virus in order to prioritize actions that need to be taken in order to fast-track medical products and approaches.

Putting household water treatment products to the test

5 February 2016 -- Globally, an estimated 1.9 billion people rely on water supplies that are contaminated with faeces. In order to help prevent disease and make water safe for drinking, household water treatment technologies are marketed and distributed in countries around the world. WHO’s new International Scheme to Evaluate Household Water Treatment Technologies ensures that products used to treat water in homes are effective in protecting health.

Essential medicines give lifeline to people with cancer

4 February 2016 -- Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 2 decades. On World Cancer Day, WHO looks at the importance of essential medicines for building stronger health systems, and saving lives. This feature story looks at how Mexico has taken major steps to give sustainable access to treatment for people diagnosed cancer and how this is saving lives.

More top stories »

WHO fact sheets


  • Deworming campaign targets 270 million children in one day
    February 2016 −− An estimated 270 million children across India have received deworming medicine (albendazole) as part of a drive to eliminate intestinal parasitic infections – a widespread problem that affects children’s development.
  • India launches plan to eliminate malaria
    February 2016 -- India’s Ministry of Health launched an ambitious national roadmap to eliminate malaria. The National Framework for Malaria Elimination in India 2016-2030, aims to reduce malaria case incidence and deaths to 0 over the next 15 years.
  • Zika: Research in emergencies
    February 2016 -- To improve timely access to data in the context of a public health emergency, the WHO Bulletin is implementing a new data-sharing and reporting protocol. All research manuscripts relevant to the Zika epidemic will be posted online in the “Zika Open” collection within 24 hours.

Emergency reform

WHO is reforming its work in outbreaks and emergencies with health and humanitarian consequences to ensure the Organization can respond rapidly to future crises.

Zika virus


To lower the risk of being infected with Zika virus: use insect repellent; cover as much of the body as possible with long, light-coloured clothing; empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water to remove places mosquitoes can breed; and sleep under mosquito nets.

Tweets from WHO


Note: mouse over points to see full information