News and top stories

Caesarean sections should only be performed when medically necessary

10 April 2015 -- Caesarean section is one of the most common surgeries in the world, with rates continuing to rise, particularly in high- and middle-income countries. Although it can save lives, caesarean section is often performed without medical need, putting women and their babies at-risk of short- and long-term health problems. A new statement from WHO underscores the importance of focusing on the needs of the patient, on a case by case basis, and discourages the practice of aiming for “target rates”.

Building a global emergency workforce ready to go

8 April 2015 -- WHO’s new registration system will help build a global roster of foreign medical response teams ready to deploy for emergencies. The Global Foreign Medical Teams Registry sets minimum standards for international health workers and allows teams to clearly outline their services and skills. This new system helped ensure a fast and efficient international response to the cyclone in Vanuatu and help create better coordination between aid providers and recipients.

Cuban. Doctor. Ebola survivor

10 April 2015 -- Felix Sarria Baez was one of hundreds of Cuban doctors sent as a Foreign Medical Team to support the Ebola response in West Africa in October 2014. While working there, he contracted Ebola himself. He survived and returned to Sierra Leone to further help Ebola patients. Below is his story.

World Health Day 2015: From farm to plate, make food safe

2 April 2015 -- New data on the harm caused by foodborne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain. World Health Day will be celebrated on 7 April, with WHO highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan "From farm to plate, make food safe."

El Salvador: Women spread the word on food safety

1 April 2015 -- Unsafe food is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually. Food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. Be informed to ensure that the food on your plate is safe to eat. This is the message of this year’s World Health Day. This feature story describes an educational programme in El Salvador that addresses foodborne illness and poor nutrition by educating local women about food safety.

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Highlights

  • WHO responds to urgent health needs in Yemen
    April 2015 -- WHO is responding to increasing shortages in medicines and medical supplies in Yemen as a result of the ongoing conflict. Health facilities in affected governorates are reporting critical shortages in trauma and surgical medicines and supplies for the treatment of injured patients, and shortages are also reported in medicines for chronic diseases.
  • Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and Japan verified as achieving measles elimination
    March 2015 -- Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and Japan have been verified as having achieved measles elimination by the Measles Regional Verification Commission. The 3 countries join Australia, Macao SAR (China), Mongolia and the Republic of Korea as countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region that have successfully eliminated measles.

Ebola diaries

WHO training on PPE in Guinea, during the Ebola outbreak 2014
WHO /M.A. Heine
  • Changing health worker culture
    Cota Vallenas talks about her experiences in the early days of the Ebola outbreak as an expert in infection prevention and control

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