WHO welcomes crucial new funding for vaccines

4 Jun

WHO welcomes funding commitments made at today’s Global Vaccine Summit, hosted virtually by the UK government. The Summit is Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s third pledging conference and follows the successful Berlin summit in January 2015.

The new pledges will enable Gavi to protect the next generation and reduce disease inequality by reaching an additional 300 million children with vaccines by 2025. 

“Thanks to vaccines, hundreds of millions of deaths have been prevented. Polio has been pushed to the brink of eradication, and just in the past few years new vaccines have become available for Ebola and malaria,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. 

“But vaccines only realize their true power when they are deployed to protect the poorest and most vulnerable. The COVID-19 pandemic is unravelling many of the gains we have made, with vaccination campaigns for polio, cholera, measles, diphtheria, and meningitis.”

The bold funding commitments mean that the Gavi Alliance will be better able to maintain immunization in lower-income countries, mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will also help strengthen health systems.

The backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder of how much individual health depends on collective health and the critical role that vaccines play in keeping the global population safe and healthy. The Summit also highlighted how important a safe, effective and equitably accessible vaccine will be in controlling COVID-19.

The Global Vaccine Summit marks 20 years since Gavi was founded. Dr Tedros added: “We join Gavi in celebrating the collective success of this great Alliance. These pledges are not just an investment in the Alliance of which we are a very proud partner; they are an advance on our shared vision of a healthier, safer and fairer world.”

 

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World Food Safety Day 2020: UN experts in Facebook live event on 5 June 2020

4 Jun

On 7 June 2020, the United Nations will mark the second global World Food Safety Day, led by two of its specialized agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Food safety is a shared responsibility, and everyone has a role to play including governments, industry, producers, business operators and consumers. This is reflected in the theme of the day ‘Food safety: everyone’s business!’

FAO and WHO are supporting their Members in efforts to provide enough safe food for all and to enable people to trust that what they eat is safe. Events such as World Food Safety Day help by highlighting the critical role played by all those who work to ensure that they are not derailed by disruptions and other challenges to continue keeping foods safe.

On Friday, 5 June, ahead of World Food Safety Day 2020, FAO and WHO will hold a virtual celebration including video messages from FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The event will include an interactive Facebook live session in which FAO and WHO experts will discuss the theme of this year’s World Food Safety Day, including how governments, producers, manufacturers, consumers and vendors alike can ensure food safety.

The current global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized more than ever before the importance of monitoring and addressing food safety. It has also highlighted the need for food safety systems to be adapted to respond to disruptions in supply chains and ensure continued access to safe food.

World Food Day 2020 is dedicated to all those who have ensured that the crisis has not interrupted supply chains and that safe food remains available, contributing to the consumption of safe and healthy diets.

What:World Food Safety Day 2020 - FAO/WHO event on WHO’s Official Facebook page
Who:WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (video message)
 QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General (video message)
 Dr Francesco Branca, Director, WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety
 Dr Sarah Cahill, Codex Alimentarius, Senior Food Standards Officer
When:Friday, 5 June 2020, 15:00-15:45 (CET)


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Record number of countries contribute data revealing disturbing rates of antimicrobial resistance

4 Jun

Geneva—A record number of countries are now monitoring and reporting on antibiotic resistance - marking a major step forward in the global fight against drug resistance. But the data they provide reveals that a worrying number of bacterial infections are increasingly resistant to the medicines at hand to treat them.

“As we gather more evidence, we see more clearly and more worryingly how fast we are losing critically important antimicrobial medicines all over the world,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “These data underscore the importance both of protecting the antimicrobials we have and developing new ones, to effectively treat infections, preserve health gains made in the last century and ensure a secure future.”

Since the WHO’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) report in 2018, participation has grown exponentially. In only three years of existence, the system now aggregates data from more than 64 000 surveillance sites with more than 2 million patients enrolled from 66 countries across the world. In 2018 the number of surveillance sites was 729 across 22 countries.

More countries are also reporting on the recently approved indicator on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as part of the Sustainable Development Goal monitoring. “The enormous expansion of countries, facilities and patients covered by the new AMR surveillance system allows us to better document the emerging public health threat of AMR,” said Hanan Balkhy, Assistant Director-General for antimicrobial resistance at WHO .

High rates of resistance among antimicrobials frequently used to treat common infections, such as urinary tract infections or some forms of diarrhoea, indicate that the world is running out of effective ways to tackle these diseases. For instance, the rate of resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antimicrobial frequently used to treat urinary tract infections, varied from 8.4% to 92.9% in 33 reporting countries.

WHO is concerned that the trend will further be fueled by the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence shows that only small proportion of COVID-19 patients need antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections and the Organization has issued guidance not to provide antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis to patients with mild COVID-19 or to patients with suspected or confirmed moderate COVID-19 illness unless there is a clinical indication to do so.

Dr Balkhy, said: “We believe this clear guidance  on the use of antibiotics in the COVID-19 pandemic will both help countries tackle COVID-19 effectively  and prevent the emergence and transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the context of the pandemic.”

WHO remains concerned by declining investment (including in the private sector) and lack of innovation in the development of new antimicrobial treatments - factors that are undermining efforts to combat drug-resistant infections.

“We must bolster global cooperation and partnerships including between the public and private sectors to provide financial and non-financial incentives for the development of new and innovative antimicrobials, added Balkhy.

To support this effort, WHO has released two documents on target product profiles to guide development of new treatments for common resistant bacterial infections and an economic model that simulates the costs, risks, and possible return on investment of antibacterial drug development. 

 

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Main results of the video conference of ministers of justice

4 Jun
Justice ministers covered the proposed regulation on the law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims, the extradition of EU citizens to third countries and the impact of COVID-19 in the area of justice.

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