Latest news

Half the world lacks access to essential health services

13 December 2017 – At least half of the world’s population cannot obtain essential health services, according to a new report from the World Bank and WHO. And each year, large numbers of households are being pushed into poverty because they must pay for health care out of their own pockets. Currently, 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family member.

Up to 650 000 people die of respiratory diseases due to seasonal flu yearly

14 December 2017 – According to new calculations, this marks an increase on the previous global estimate of 250 000 – 500 000, which dates from over ten years ago and covered all influenza-related deaths, including cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The new figures of 290 000 – 650 000 deaths are based on more recent data from a larger, more diverse group of countries, including lower middle income countries, and exclude deaths from non-respiratory diseases.

Universal Health Coverage Day

12 December 2017 – Health is a human right. But we have a long way to go until everyone – no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have – can get the quality health care they need and deserve.

For this year’s Universal Health Coverage Day there will be a historic forum in Tokyo, Japan, from 12–15 December to galvanize action toward #HealthforAll.

Health is a fundamental human right

10 December 2017 – “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”.  

Almost 70 years after these words were adopted in WHO's constitution, they are more powerful and relevant than ever.  Since day one, the right to health has been central to WHO’s identity and mandate.

Uganda ends outbreak of Marburg virus disease

8 December 2017 – Uganda has successfully controlled an outbreak of Marburg virus disease and prevented its spread only weeks after it was first detected.

Within 24 hours of being informed by Ugandan health authorities in early October, WHO deployed a rapid response team to the remote mountainous area. The Organization also released US$ 623 000 from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to finance immediate support and scale up of the response.

More top stories »


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

"I envision a world in which everyone can live healthy, productive lives, regardless of who they are or where they live."


  • South Sudan implements the second round of oral cholera vaccination
    December 2017 – As part of the ongoing cholera response, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan with support from WHO and partners has deployed cholera vaccines to complement traditional cholera response.
    From the 2 178 177 doses secured by WHO in 2017, a total of 1 133 579 doses have already been deployed.
  • New perspectives on global health spending for universal health coverage
    December 2017 – WHO global health financing report summarizes the latest internationally comparable data on health spending in all WHO Member States between 2000 and 2015. For the first time the report uses the new international classification for health expenditures in the revised System of Health Accounts.
  • The Latvian eHealth Journey
    December 2017 – In a journey that started over a decade ago, and in line with the 2013 World Health Assembly resolution on eHealth standardization and interoperability, the Ministry of Health of Latvia demonstrated its commitment to achieving Universal Health Coverage by creating a national programme of eHealth – which was seen as a key effort in ensuring that Latvian people receive the right care in the right place and time. The WHO Country Office in Latvia has provided coordination and technical support for Latvia’s eHealth efforts.

Violence against women

Health care workers have an important role to play in identifying women who experience violence, and responding to them with empathy.

In order for health care providers to be able to respond appropriately, health systems need to be strengthened so that women receive high-quality and respectful care.

Fact sheets

Tweets from WHO


A girls' feet are seen touching the floor as she sits with hands folded on a wooden bench.
A 7 year old girl who was sexually abused by an 18 year old.

"Violence against women – both physical and sexual – is a gross violation of human rights. As we continue to hear so many #MeToo stories, it’s time for #YouToo to do your part."

Disease outbreak news