Latest homepage stories

Below are the most recent top stories from the WHO homepage.

Urgent response needed for viral hepatitis

21 April 2017 – New WHO data reveal that an estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The WHO Global hepatitis report, 2017 indicates that the large majority of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions of people are at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer, and death.

Preventing malaria during pregnancy in Africa

21 April 2017 – Approximately 52 million pregnant women living in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of exposure to malaria each year. A key preventive therapy – known as intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) – has been added to the antenatal care package in response. An estimated 69% of pregnant women are not receiving the full cycle of IPTp however, a gap which must be urgently closed.

Five years into the Decade of Vaccines

20 April 2017 – World Immunization Week, celebrated 24–30 April 2017, promotes the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Today, there are still 19.4 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world.

Exceptional progress against neglected tropical diseases

19 April 2017 – With a record 1 billion people receiving treatments for at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD) in 2015 alone, remarkable progress has been made against neglected tropical diseases over the past 10 years. A new report from WHO demonstrates how political support, generous donations of medicines, and improvements in living conditions have led to sustained expansion of disease control programmes for NTDs.

Ten years in public health 2007-2017

13 April 2017 -- Today WHO launches a report that chronicles the evolution of global public health over the decade that Dr Margaret Chan has served as Director-General at WHO. The report opens with a letter from Dr Chan who offers her reflections on some of the highlights and challenges of the past 10 years working to build a better, healthier future for the world’s people. The first chapter examines WHO’s key role in promoting universal health coverage as the most powerful way to improve global health and development and lead the world towards greater fairness.

Radical increase needed in funding for water and sanitation

13 April 2017 – Countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals, says a new report published by WHO on behalf of UN-Water. According to the report, countries have increased their budgets for water, sanitation and hygiene over the last 3 years, yet 80% of countries report that this financing is still insufficient to meet nationally-defined targets.

Togo is Saying Goodbye to Elephantiasis

8 April 2017 – Togo is on the way to eliminating elephantiasis, also known as lymphatic filariasis (LF). The country used a two-pronged approach of interrupting transmission, and treating and managing the disease. Togo is on the threshold of making history as the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate LF. The disease is a mosquito-borne disease, caused by thread-like worms living in the lymphatic system.

Togo is Saying Goodbye to Elephantiasis

9 April 2017 – Togo is on the way to eliminating elephantiasis, also known as lymphatic filariasis (LF). The country used a two-pronged approach of interrupting transmission, and treating and managing the disease. Togo is on the threshold of making history as the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate LF. The disease is a mosquito-borne disease, caused by thread-like worms living in the lymphatic system.

Depression: let’s talk

7 April 2017 – Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. WHO is leading a global campaign on depression for World Health Day 2017, with the goal of enabling more people with mental disorders to live healthy, productive lives.

Autism spectrum disorders affect 1 in 160 children

6 April 2017 – Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) refers to a range of conditions characterised by impaired social behaviour and a narrow range of interests and activities. ASDs begin in childhood, and in most cases symptoms appear during the first 5 years of life. In consultation with partners WHO has developed a parent skills training programme which is currently undergoing field-testing.

WHO releases new guidance on malaria elimination

3 April 2017 – The 2017 Framework for malaria elimination provides countries with a set of tools and strategies for achieving and maintaining elimination, regardless of where they lie across the spectrum of malaria transmission, from high to very low. The new framework includes a streamlined process for WHO certification of malaria elimination and clarifies the threshold for reestablishment of transmission.

Marshall Islands triumphs against lymphatic filariasis

1 April 2017 – The country is the latest to join six others in WHO's Western Pacific Region: Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Niue, the Republic of Korea and Vanuatu are already validated for eliminating the disease as a public health problem. In 2016, WHO validated the Maldives and Sri Lanka – both from the South East-Asia Region – for having achieved elimination. Lymphatic filariasis is a mosquito-borne disease that damages the lymphatic system, leading to severe disfigurement, pain and disability.

Depression tops list of causes of ill health

31 March 2017 – WHO’s World Health Day campaign, the high point of which is 7 April, is themed “Depression: let’s talk”. The campaign’s aim is to have more people with depression, in all countries, both seek and get help. According to the latest WHO estimates, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.

Measles outbreaks threaten progress towards elimination

28 March 2017 – Over 500 measles cases were reported for January 2017 in the WHO European Region. Measles continues to spread within and among European countries, with the potential to cause large outbreaks wherever immunization coverage has dropped below the necessary threshold of 95%. It is a highly contagious virus that can cause potentially serious illness. As measles remains endemic in most parts of the world, it can spread to any country, including those that have eliminated the disease.

Brazil: 3.5 million doses of yellow fever vaccine deployed

30 March 2017 – In response to the yellow fever outbreak currently on-going in Brazil some 3.5 million doses of vaccine from the emergency stockpile were deployed to the country through the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision for yellow fever. Brazil is carrying out vaccination campaigns for yellow fever in several states, while strengthening surveillance and case management throughout the country since the outbreak began in January 2017.

Halving medication-related errors in 5 years

29 March 2017 – WHO today launched a global initiative to reduce severe, avoidable medication-associated harm in all countries by 50% over the next 5 years. Medication errors can be caused by health worker fatigue, overcrowding, staff shortages, poor training and the wrong information being given to patients, among other reasons. Globally, the cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at US$ 42 billion annually or almost 1% of total global health expenditure.

Measles outbreaks threaten progress towards elimination

28 March 2017 – Over 500 measles cases were reported for January 2017 in the WHO European Region. Measles continues to spread within and among European countries, with the potential to cause large outbreaks wherever immunization coverage has dropped below the necessary threshold of 95%. Measles is a highly contagious virus that can cause potentially serious illness. As measles remains endemic in most parts of the world, it can spread to any country, including those that have eliminated the disease.

Immunizing 116 million children against polio in Africa

23 March 2017 – As part of one of the largest polio vaccination campaigns in Africa, 190 000 vaccinators in 13 countries will immunize 116 million children to tackle the last remaining stronghold of the disease on the continent. To stop the potentially dangerous spread of the disease as soon as possible, volunteers will deliver polio vaccine to every house across all cities, towns and villages in these countries.

World TB Day: Unite to end TB

22 March 2017 – Protecting human rights, ethics and equity are principles which underpin WHO’s End TB Strategy. Patients, communities, health workers, policy makers and other stakeholders frequently face conflicts and ethical dilemmas. New WHO tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched for World TB Day, 24 March, aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.

Safe wastewater reuse important as fresh water supplies diminish

22 March 2017 – Worldwide, as water resources become scarce, urban centres expand and demand for food increases, wastewater reuse is becoming more attractive and viable. Today, it is estimated that more than 10% of the world’s population consumes food produced with wastewater and 40% live in water-stressed areas. However, wastewater treatment is low in most developing countries, posing various risks to human health.