News and top stories

Action needed against illicit tobacco trade

28 May 2015 -- Eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco would generate an annual tax windfall of US$ 31 billion for governments, improve public health, help cut crime and curb an important revenue source for the tobacco industry. On the World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, WHO calls Member States to sign the "Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products".

WHO strengthens laboratory capacity during cholera outbreak in Tanzania

1 June 2015 -- After a cholera outbreak was confirmed in the United Republic of Tanzania on 16 May 2015, WHO helped ramp-up lab services and medical supplies at the Maweni Hospital. Cholera is endemic in the region, but due to a recent influx of thousands of Burundian refugees, overcrowding and poor sanitation, the situation was critical. As of 28 May 2015, a total of 4487 suspected cholera cases were reported. The reinforced lab team has been able to test 107 samples and discovered 42 samples that tested positive for cholera.

Dutch “farm” offers community living for people with dementia

28 May 2015 -- WHO has called on countries to invest in health and social systems to improve care and services for people with dementia and their caregivers in the report: “Dementia: a public health priority”. The Netherlands National Dementia Programme, created in consultation with caregivers, has set national treatment and housing standards for people with dementia. The following story highlights a Dutch care facility with a focus on community.

WHA closes, passing resolutions on air pollution and epilepsy

26 May 2015 – The World Health Assembly closed today, with Director-General Dr Margaret Chan noting that it had passed several “landmark resolutions and decisions”. Three new resolutions were passed today: one on air pollution, one on epilepsy and one laying out the next steps in finalizing a framework of engagement with non-State actors.

Racing to combat an unprecedented meningitis outbreak in Niger

15 May 2015 -- WHO and partners have sent an international expert team and negotiated provision of over half a million doses of vaccine to help Niger combat an unprecedented outbreak of meningococcal meningitis. This outbreak is the first large-scale meningitis outbreak caused by strain C to hit any country in Africa’s meningitis belt and has caused 5,855 suspected cases including 406 deaths.

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Highlights

  • Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use
    June 2015 -- Today WHO launches the 2015 Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use. It provides family planning providers with guidance to help those living with a medical or physical conditions to find a contraceptive method that works for them.
  • 10 facts about zoonotic neglected tropical diseases
    May 2015 -- There is now recognition that several zoonotic diseases within the neglected tropical diseases merit attention, and these include rabies, echinococcosis, taeniasis/cysticercosis and foodborne trematodiases. Find out more in this fact file.

Commentary

Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Secretariat WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Ebola diaries

Leticia Linn (left), WHO communications expert, in Liberia
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