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Global status report on alcohol and health 2014

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Global status report on alcohol and health 2014
Source: World Health Organization

The report provides a global overview of alcohol consumption in relation to public health (Chapter 1) as well as information on: the consumption of alcohol in populations (Chapter 2); the health consequences of alcohol consumption (Chapter 3); and policy responses at national level (Chapter 4). In addition the report contains country profiles for WHO Member States and appendices with statistical annexes, a description of the data sources and methods used as well as references.

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WHO — Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with hepatitis C infection

May 1, 2014 Comments off

Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with hepatitis C infection
Source: World Health Organization

These are the first guidelines dealing with hepatitis C treatment produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and complement existing guidance on the prevention of transmission of bloodborne viruses, including HCV. They are intended for policy-makers, government officials, and others working in low- and middleincome countries who are developing programmes for the screening, care and treatment of persons with HCV infection.

These guidelines serve as a framework that can allow the expansion of clinical services to patients with HCV infection, as they provide key recommendations in these areas and discuss considerations for implementation. The guidelines are also intended for health-care providers who care for persons with HCV infection in low- and middle-countries and provide them guidance in the management of patients infected with HCV.

WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health

May 1, 2014 Comments off

WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health
Source: World Health Organization

A new report by WHO–its first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security. “Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”

7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution

March 25, 2014 Comments off

7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution
Source: World Health Organization

In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

Guideline on the Use of Devices for Adult Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention

March 14, 2014 Comments off

Guideline on the Use of Devices for Adult Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention
Source: World Health Organization (via National Center for Biotechnology Information)

This guideline provides an evidence-based recommendation on the use of adult male circumcision devices for HIV prevention in public health programmes in high HIV prevalence, resource-limited settings. It also presents key programmatic considerations for the introduction and use of these devices in public health HIV prevention programmes. The primary audiences are policy- and decision-makers, programme managers, health-care providers, donors and implementing agencies.

The guideline was developed according to the WHO standards and requirements for guideline development. The process involved internal and external consultations with technical experts, national programme managers, consumer advocates and an evidence review methodologist. Two complementary annexes are also available.

Fact Sheet — Physical activity

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Physical activity
Source: World Health Organization

Key facts

  • Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide.
  • Approximately 3.2 million people die each year due to physical inactivity.
  • Physical inactivity is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
  • Physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to prevent NCDs.
  • Globally, one in three adults is not active enough.
  • Policies to address physical inactivity are operational in 56% of WHO Member States.
  • WHO Member States have agreed to reduce physical inactivity by 10% by 2025.

Underlying issues are key to dispelling vaccine doubts

February 18, 2014 Comments off

Underlying issues are key to dispelling vaccine doubts (PDF)
Source: World Health Organization

Why is the same vaccine accepted in one part of the world and rejected in another? Heidi Larson tells Fiona Fleck why communicating the benefits versus the risks of vaccination is just part of the battle to gain public confidence in vaccines.

Heidi Larson is an anthropologist who has devoted the last two decades to bridging the gap between health providers and the public. In the last decade, her work has focused on increasing public confidence in vaccines. She leads the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and is a member of the Vaccine Hesitancy Working Group of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington, Seattle. From 2000 to 2005, she was head of communications for global immunization at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in particular supporting the introduction of new vaccines and chairing the advocacy taskforce for the GAVI Alliance.

First ever global atlas identifies unmet need for palliative care

February 4, 2014 Comments off

First ever global atlas identifies unmet need for palliative care
Source: World Health Organization

Only 1 in 10 people who need palliative care – that is medical care to relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness – is currently receiving it. This unmet need is mapped for the first time in the “Global atlas of palliative care at the end of life”, published jointly by the WHO and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA).

Spinal cord injury: as many as 500 000 people suffer each year

December 9, 2013 Comments off

Spinal cord injury: as many as 500 000 people suffer each year
Source: World Health Organization

As many as 500 000 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year. People with spinal cord injuries are 2 to 5 times more likely to die prematurely, with worse survival rates in low- and middle-income countries. The new WHO report, “International perspectives on spinal cord injury”, summarizes the best available evidence on the causes, prevention, care and lived experience of people with spinal cord injury.

Males are most at risk of spinal cord injury between the ages of 20-29 years and 70 years and older, while females are most at risk between the ages of 15-19 years and 60 years and older. Studies report male to female ratios of at least 2:1 among adults.

+ International perspectives on spinal cord injury

Status report on alcohol and health in 35 European countries 2013

October 15, 2013 Comments off

Status report on alcohol and health in 35 European countries 2013
Source: World Health Organization

People in the WHO European Region consume the most alcohol per head in the world. In the European Union (EU), alcohol accounts for about 120 000 premature deaths per year: 1 in 7 in men and 1 in 13 in women. Most countries in the Region have adopted policies, strategies and plans to reduce alcohol-related harm. In 2012, the WHO Regional Office for Europe collected information on alcohol consumption and related harm, and countries policy responses to contribute to the Global Information System for Alcohol and Health; this report presented a selection of the results for 35 countries – EU Member States and candidate countries, Norway and Switzerland – individually and in groups distinguished by their drinking patterns and traditions.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe is grateful to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, for financial support in the production of this report. This report has received funding from the European Union (EU) in the frame of the EU’s Health Programme 2008-2013.

Bulletin of the World Health Organization — Special theme issue: women’s health beyond reproduction – a new agenda

September 4, 2013 Comments off

Bulletin of the World Health Organization — Special theme issue: women’s health beyond reproduction – a new agenda
Source: World Health Organization

This issue includes articles on the following topics:
• Health systems need to adapt to addressing women’s health across the life-course
• The environmental causes of breast cancer
• Interview with Ana Langer: the new women’s health agenda
• The sexual health of older women
• Opportunities for action on breast and cervical cancer in the Americas
• Noncommunicable diseases among women in China
• Breast and cervical cancer in poor countries
• Older women’s health in the post-MDG agenda
• Universal coverage of health services for older women
• Addressing women’s cancers in Africa
• Cervical cancer prevention, care and control in Rwanda

Research for universal health coverage: World health report 2013

August 21, 2013 Comments off

Research for universal health coverage: World health report 2013
Source: World Health Organization

Universal health coverage ensures everyone has access to the health services they need without suffering financial hardship as a result. In December 2012, a UN resolution was passed encouraging governments to move towards providing universal access to affordable and quality health care services. As countries move towards it, common challenges are emerging — challenges to which research can help provide answers.

The World health report: research for universal health coverage focuses on the importance of research in advancing progress towards universal health coverage. In addition, it identifies the benefits of increased investment in health research by low- and middle-income countries using case studies from around the world, and proposes ways to further strengthen this type of research.

Health financing for universal coverage and health system performance: concepts and implications for policy

July 1, 2013 Comments off

Health financing for universal coverage and health system performance: concepts and implications for policy (PDF)
Source: Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Unless the concept is clearly understood, “universal coverage” (or universal health coverage, UHC) can be used to justify practically any health financing reform or scheme. This paper unpacks the definition of health financing for universal coverage as used in the World Health Organization’s World health report 2010 to show how UHC embodies specific health system goals and intermediate objectives and, broadly, how health financing reforms can influence these.

All countries seek to improve equity in the use of health services, service quality and financial protection for their populations. Hence, the pursuit of UHC is relevant to every country. Health financing policy is an integral part of efforts to move towards UHC, but for health financing policy to be aligned with the pursuit of UHC, health system reforms need to be aimed explicitly at improving coverage and the intermediate objectives linked to it, namely, efficiency, equity in health resource distribution and transparency and accountability.

The unit of analysis for goals and objectives must be the population and health system as a whole. What matters is not how a particular financing scheme affects its individual members, but rather, how it influences progress towards UHC at the population level. Concern only with specific schemes is incompatible with a universal coverage approach and may even undermine UHC, particularly in terms of equity. Conversely, if a scheme is fully oriented towards system-level goals and objectives, it can further progress towards UHC. Policy and policy analysis need to shift from the scheme to the system level.

WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’

June 28, 2013 Comments off

WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’
Source: World Health Organization

Physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally, according to a new report released by WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council.

The report, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners. Some 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. The study finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30% of women worldwide.

The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support for women who experience it. New WHO guidelines, launched with the report, aim to help countries improve their health sector’s capacity to respond to violence against women.

WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’

June 21, 2013 Comments off

WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’

Source: World Health Organization

Physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally, according to a new report released by WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council.

The report, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners. Some 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. The study finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30% of women worldwide.

The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support for women who experience it. New WHO guidelines, launched with the report, aim to help countries improve their health sector’s capacity to respond to violence against women.

Hat tip: PW

World Health Statistics 2013

May 28, 2013 Comments off

World Health Statistics 2013

Source: World Health Organization

World Health Statistics 2013 contains WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its 194 Member States, and includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets.

This year, it also includes highlight summaries on the topics of reducing the gaps between the world’s most-advantaged and least-advantaged countries, and on current trends in official development assistance (ODA) for health.

Global status report on road safety 2013

March 27, 2013 Comments off

Global status report on road safety 2013

Source: World Health Organization

The Global status report on road safety 2013 presents information on road safety from 182 countries, accounting for almost 99% of the world’s population. The report indicates that worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high at 1.24 million per year. Only 28 countries, covering 7% of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors: drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints.

This report serves as a baseline for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, declared by the UN General Assembly. Made possible through funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, this is the second in a series of Global status reports.

Global report on Fukushima nuclear accident details health risks

March 6, 2013 Comments off

Global report on Fukushima nuclear accident details health risks
Source: World Health Organization

A comprehensive assessment by international experts on the health risks associated with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) disaster in Japan has concluded that, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.

The WHO report ‘Health Risk Assessment from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami based on preliminary dose estimation’ noted, however, that the estimated risk for specific cancers in certain subsets of the population in Fukushima Prefecture has increased and, as such, it calls for long term continued monitoring and health screening for those people.

Experts estimated risks in the general population in Fukushima Prefecture, the rest of Japan and the rest of the world, plus the power plant and emergency workers that may have been exposed during the emergency phase response.

In terms of specific cancers, for people in the most contaminated location, the estimated increased risks over what would normally be expected are:

  • all solid cancers – around 4% in females exposed as infants;
  • breast cancer – around 6% in females exposed as infants;
  • leukaemia – around 7% in males exposed as infants;
  • thyroid cancer – up to 70% in females exposed as infants (the normally expected risk of thyroid cancer in females over lifetime is 0.75% and the additional lifetime risk assessed for females exposed as infants in the most affected location is 0.50%).

For people in the second most contaminated location of Fukushima Prefecture, the estimated risks are approximately one-half of those in the location with the highest doses.

Fact Sheet — Deafness and hearing loss (WHO)

March 1, 2013 Comments off

Fact Sheet — Deafness and hearing loss

Source: World Health Organization

Key facts

  • 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss1.
  • Hearing loss may be inherited, caused by maternal rubella or complications at birth, certain infectious diseases such as meningitis, chronic ear infections, use of ototoxic drugs, exposure to excessive noise and ageing.
  • Half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention.
  • People with hearing loss can benefit from devices such as hearing aids, assistive devices and cochlear implants, and from captioning, sign language training, educational and social support.
  • Current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global need.
  • WHO is assisting countries in developing programmes for primary ear and hearing care that are integrated into the primary health-care system of the country.

Social determinants of health and well-being among young people

May 11, 2012 Comments off
Source:  World Health Organization
Widespread inequalities mean that many young people in the WHO European Region and North America are not as healthy as they could be, according to a new report on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

“Adolescence is a crucial life stage, when young people lay the foundation for adulthood, whether healthy or otherwise,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “This report shows us that the situation across Europe is not fair: health depends on age, gender, geography and family affluence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This report gives policy-makers an opportunity to act to secure the health of the next generation. Once again, young people have used the opportunity provided by HBSC to speak. It now falls to us – who cherish their aspirations, ambitions, health and well-being – to act.”

Professor Candace Currie, HBSC International Coordinator, of the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, said: “Inequalities in child and adolescent health call for international and national policies and action to give all young people the opportunity to maximize their current and future health and well-being. Health promotion programmes should be sensitive to age, gender and socioeconomic differences, and should aim to create a fair situation for all young people. This report is unique in the world as a comprehensive picture of young people’s health and well-being, and is vital as a sound body of evidence on which to base policy.”

The report gives the results of the 2009/2010 HBSC survey, covering 39 countries and regions across the European Region and North America. The survey collected data from 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds on 60 topics related to their health and well-being, social environments and behaviour. HBSC reports have been issued every four years since 1996.
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