Latest homepage stories

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


Better working conditions needed for midwives

13 October 2016 – WHO and partners are calling for an end to the discrimination, harassment and lack of respect that hinder midwives’ ability to provide quality care to women and newborns. Based on findings from 2400 midwives in 93 countries, the first global survey of midwifery personnel reveals that too often midwives are constrained by unequal power relations and face cultural isolation, unsafe accommodation, and low salaries.

11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases

12 October 2016 – The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is made up of thousands of codes that are used around the world to classify diseases and conditions, to track changing disease patterns, and make financing decisions about health systems. This week, the first update of ICD in 25 years is being released by WHO for comment by its member states. Why is the ICD so important for global health? Watch the video to find out.

Taxing sugary drinks can reduce obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay

11 October 2016 – A new report from WHO finds that an increase of at least 20% in the retail price of sugary drinks will result in proportional reductions in consumption of sugary drinks. Furthermore, the report also finds that subsidies used to reduce retail prices of fresh fruits and vegetables by 10–30% can increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Depression: let’s talk

10 October 2016 – Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends. At worst, depression can lead to suicide. Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated. Today, on World Mental Health Day, WHO is launching a 1-year campaign: Depression: let’s talk.

Early childhood development essential for children and communities

4 October 2016 – An estimated 43% of children under five years of age in low- and middle-income countries – 249 million children – are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, according to a new publication series from The Lancet. WHO contributed to the series, which reveals effective interventions that may cost as little as 50 cents per child per year when combined with existing services.

WHO calls for evacuation of the sick and wounded from conflict areas

30 September 2016 – WHO is calling on belligerents in Syria to allow for the immediate and safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from all areas affected by the conflict, including eastern Aleppo, where more than 270 000 people are trapped with dwindling supplies of food, water and fuel. The Organization is also calling for a halt of attacks on health care workers and facilities.

Treating cardiovascular disease in Barbados

29 September 2016 – Heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of cardiovascular disease kill millions of people each year. Many of these deaths can be prevented. In Barbados, a WHO-backed programme is improving treatment of people suffering from high blood pressure, and counselling them on lifestyle changes that can keep them healthier.

Discrimination against older people is bad for health

29 September 2016 – New analysis shows that negative attitudes towards older people are widespread, and that these attitudes affect the physical and mental health of older people. More than 83 000 people in 57 countries took part in a WHO survey, in which 60 % of respondents reported that older people are not respected. The lowest levels of respect were reported in high income countries.

Rabies: Targeting zero human deaths by 2030

28 September 2016 – Rabies causes thousands of deaths every year in over 100 countries, mostly affecting underserved communities with limited access to health and veterinary systems. It is preventable however, and can be controlled with education and public awareness, mass vaccination of dogs, and access to post-bite treatment.

Interactive maps show high levels of air pollution

27 September 2016 – A new air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. The model uses a series of interactive maps to show, by country, the most detailed outdoor air pollution health data ever reported by WHO, based on data from more than 3000 rural and urban locations.

Six candidates proposed for WHO Director-General election

23 September 2016 – Six candidates have been proposed by WHO Member States for the post of the Organization’s next Director-General. The Director-General is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer, overseeing the Organization’s international health work. On 1–2 November, a forum will be held for candidates to present their visions to WHO Member States and the public.

Beating cardiovascular disease

22 September 2016 – A new initiative from WHO and partners, the Global Hearts Initiative, has been launched to respond to the world’s leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Scaling up tobacco control, reducing salt consumption and strengthening primary health care services to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are the focuses of the Global Hearts Initiative.

Global leaders commit to act on antimicrobial resistance

21 September 2016 – World leaders today signalled an unprecedented level of attention to curb the spread of infections that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi develop resistance against medicines that were previously able to cure them. A broad, coordinated approach will now be taken to address AMR through human health, animal health and agriculture.

UN Commission: Investments in health workforce drive growth

20 September 2016 – The Presidents of France and South Africa today called for urgent investments globally to create new jobs in the health sector to prevent a shortfall of 18 million health workers and to maximize the social and economic benefits of increased health employment. Demand for 40 million new health workers is expected worldwide by 2030, a doubling of the current global health workforce.

Resetting the yellow fever strategy

16 September 2016 – A coalition of partners working to stop yellow fever outbreaks met in Geneva on 12 September 2016 to develop a new strategy - Eliminating Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE). This strategy aims to protect the populations most at risk, ensure a ready supply of yellow fever vaccine, build resilience in urban centres and prevent international spread.

Promoting health, promoting sustainable development: It’s our health, our future, our choice

16 September 2016 – How can everyone on the planet, from people living in cities to remote communities, attain the highest level of health? All-of-government action, healthy environments and an empowered and informed public are essential. A healthy population is also key to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 9th Global conference on health promotion, being held this November in Shanghai, will profile these and other innovative actions to promote health.

A global threat to prevention and treatment: Antimicrobial resistance

15 September 2016 – Antimicrobial resistance, also known as "drug resistance", threatens our ability to prevent and treat an ever-increasing range of deadly infections. Globally, 480 000 people develop multi-drug resistant tuberculosis each year, and antimicrobial resistance is complicating the fight against HIV and malaria. Without antibiotics, the major surgery and cancer chemotherapy are also compromised. Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health.

WHO and partners battle multiple disease outbreaks in South Sudan

9 September 2016 – Infectious diseases continue to pose a major public health threat in South Sudan. Adding to the chronic burden of disease, regular outbreaks further threaten people's health.

Suicide is preventable

Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. For each of one of those people, WHO estimates that at least another 20 attempt to take their own life. However, suicides are preventable. World Suicide Prevention Day, on 10 September, is an opportunity to find out what each of us can do to help prevent suicide.

Updated guidance on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus

6 September 2016 – The interim guidance on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus has been updated with new evidence and advice. The primary transmission route of Zika virus is via the Aedes mosquito, however mounting evidence shows that sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible and more common than previously assumed. This is of concern due to an association between the Zika virus and adverse pregnancy outcomes.