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    Posted by educratsweb.comHealth 👁 362 times visited (11 Apr 2021) Sources https://www.who.int/rss-feeds/news-english.xml
    Meeting of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG) for the update and consolidation of guidelines for safe abortion care #
    WHO has released new details regarding membership of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG) for the update and consolidation of the following guidelines: Safe Abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems, 2012 Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception, 2015) and Medical Management of Abortion, 2019 The meeting of the GDG will be held on 27-30 April 2021 and will focus on reviewing the latest evidence relating to the epidemiological, clinical, service delivery, legal and human rights aspects of providing safe abortion care. The purpose of the meeting is to review the evidence, then provide recommendations and guidance on safe abortion care.List of experts with biographiesSee list of expertsNOTE: The GDG members are participating in the meeting on their individual capacity. Affiliations are presented only as a reference. The participation of experts in a WHO meeting does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the WHO nor does it create a binding relationship between the experts and WHO. The biographies have been provided by the experts themselves and are the sole responsibility of the individuals concerned. WHO is not responsible for the accuracy, veracity and completeness of the information provided. In accordance with WHO conflict of interest assessment policy, expert’s biographies are published for transparency purposes. Comments and perceptions are brought to the knowledge of WHO through the public notice and comment process. Comments sent to WHO are treated confidentially and their receipt will be acknowledged through a generic email notification to the sender. Please send any comments to the following email: srhpua@who.int. WHO reserves the right to discuss information received through this process with the relevant expert with no attribution to the provider of such information. Upon review and assessment of the information received through this process, WHO, in its sole discretion, may take appropriate management of conflicts of interests in accordance with its policies.
    COVAX reaches over 100 economies, 42 days after first international delivery #
    The COVAX Facility has now delivered life-saving vaccines to over 100 economies since making its first international delivery to Ghana on 24 February 2021.So far, more than 38 million doses of vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Serum Institute of India (SII) have now been delivered, including 61 economies eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.COVAX aims to supply vaccines to all participating economies that have requested vaccines, in the first half of 2021, despite some delays in planned deliveries for March and April.More than one hundred economies have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on 24 February 2021.COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII). Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).Despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimizing their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.“In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached one hundred countries,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”“COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “If we are going to realize this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritize vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”"This is a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19. Faced with the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants, global access to vaccines is fundamentally important to reduce the prevalence of the disease, slow down viral mutation, and hasten the end of the pandemic,” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). “The extraordinary scientific achievements of the last year must now be matched by an unprecedented effort to protect the most vulnerable, so the global community must remain firmly focused on reducing the equity gap in COVID-19 vaccine distribution." “In just a month and a half, the ambition of granting countries access to COVID vaccines is becoming a reality, thanks to the outstanding work of our partners in the COVAX Facility,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “However, this is no time to celebrate; it is time to accelerate. With variants emerging all over the world, we need to speed up global rollout. To do this, we need governments, along with other partners, to take necessary steps to increase supply, including by simplifying barriers to intellectual property rights, eliminating direct and indirect measures that restrict exports of COVID-19 vaccines, and donating excess vaccine doses as quickly as possible.”According to its latest supply forecast, COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021. In order to reach this goal, the COVAX Facility will continue to diversify its portfolio further, and will announce new agreements with vaccine manufacturers in due course. Furthermore, in March it was announced that the United States government will host the launch event for the 2021 Gavi COVAX AMC Invest Opportunity to catalyze further commitment and support for accelerated access to vaccines for AMC-supported economies. An additional US$ 2 billion is required in 2021 to finance and secure up to a total of 1.8 billion donor-funded doses of vaccines. COVAX is also working to secure additional sourcing of vaccines in the form of dose-sharing from higher income countries.Quotes from donors and partnersPresident of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “As we continue our common race to speed up safe and effective vaccination everywhere, I want to commend COVAX for having delivered first vaccines to 100 countries in every corner of the world, including some of the most vulnerable warn torn countries like Afghanistan and Yemen. This is a real milestone. Team Europe has strongly invested in COVAX and I urge all partners to support COVAX to make sure no one is left behind”.  Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Australia said: “Australia welcomes the progress made by COVAX in COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the world. One hundred countries now have access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX. We are proud to work with global partners to achieve equitable global access to safe and effective vaccines.”Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, Canada and co-chair, COVAX AMC Engagement Group said: “Despite the many challenges it faced, the COVAX Facility has continued to deliver. In just a matter of weeks, it’s been supplying vaccines to 100 countries. This is a milestone we can all be proud of. Now, more than ever, we must continue to work together and support multilateral mechanisms like the COVAX Facility and the ACT-Accelerator.”  Jean-Yves le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France said: “One hundred countries have now received safe, WHO-approved vaccines against COVID-19 through the COVAX Facility. France welcomes this crucial step forward, which demonstrates that multilateralism in global health, as well as the spirit of solidarity and responsibility on which it is based, constitutes the most effective response to this pandemic. But the fight against the virus is far from over: we must continue to support COVAX and accelerate equitable access to vaccines in fragile countries, in particular through sharing of vaccine doses. This is what France wants to do, together with its EU and G7 partners.”Dr Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany said: “We either beat the pandemic worldwide or we will not beat it at all. The only way out of the crisis is a global immunization campaign. In order to now be able to vaccinate people quickly, we are using the tried and tested structures of the global vaccine alliance Gavi. Thanks to the vaccination platform COVAX, the structures are in place to provide vaccines for at least 20 per cent of people in developing countries and emerging economies over the course of this year.”Heiko Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Germany said: “The fact that St.Lucia yesterday became the 100th country to be supplied with vaccines via the COVAX platform supported by Germany and the EU, is a milestone on the way out of the pandemic. This progress gives us hope, for we too will only be safe when everyone around the world is safe. Access to vaccines, medicines and tests must not become a geopolitical pawn. Rather, they must be available to all countries in a fair and transparent manner. That’s why we’re committed to COVAX, to a multilateral approach.”Colm Brophy TD, Minister of State for Overseas Development and the Diaspora, Ireland said: “Through our funding to COVAX, Ireland is supporting developing countries, who most need vaccines and can least afford them, secure their share of global supply.”Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, Norway, and Co-chair of the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council said: “In less than a year, the world has come together to develop and secure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. That is a huge victory. But the risk of vaccine nationalism is still looming large. Countries and manufactures must prioritize global solutions. It is also crucial that all manufacturers continue to make their vaccines available and affordable to COVAX, so that the global rollout can continue. Countries that have more vaccines than they need should share vaccines through COVAX. I also expect all relevant stakeholders to take action to ensure that the world can produce enough vaccines, at a price that even the poorest countries can afford.”H.E. Dr Tawfig AlRabiah, Minister of Health in Saudi Arabia said: “‘People’s health first’ has been the guiding principle, driving all efforts in the fight against the pandemic - both nationally and globally - to ensure that “No one is left behind”. We in the kingdom are proud contributors to GAVI and the COVAX facility, which has now shipped over 37 million vaccines. This show of solidarity is the cure to fighting COVID-19, and our collective resilience will enable us to overcome any future pandemic we may face.”  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Minister Wendy Morton, United Kingdom said: “From Nigeria to Nepal, COVAX has now delivered life-saving vaccine doses to 100 countries and territories which is a huge achievement and another step towards making us all safe. The UK has played a leading role in achieving equitable access to vaccines by providing £548 million for COVAX early on, which will help to deliver more than one billion doses around the world, as well as lobbying international partners to increase their funding.”United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said: “The United States welcomes the news that COVAX has delivered safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to 100 countries.  The United States signaled our strong support for COVAX through an initial $2 billion contribution to Gavi.  Through unprecedented partnerships among donors, manufacturers, and participating countries, COVAX has achieved extraordinary milestones in equitably distributing doses to the global community in record time.” Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank said: “As part of Team Europe the European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 400 million for COVAX, representing the EIB’s largest ever support for global public health. COVAX has already provided vaccines to vulnerable groups and front line workers and brought hope to millions more. COVAX demonstrates the benefit of global cooperation to tackle the shared challenge of COVID. Congratulations to the COVAX team and global partners in 100 countries around the world. Together we are ensuring equitable access to vaccines and together we are directing our efforts towards a global recovery.”Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in the global fight against the pandemic as 100 countries have received vaccine through COVAX. I am proud that the supply of our vaccine accounts for the vast majority of doses being delivered through COVAX in the first half of this year. Over 37 million doses of our vaccine have been delivered to date which are protecting the most vulnerable populations around the world.  Together with our COVAX partners, we continue to work 24/7 to deliver on our unwavering commitment to broad, equitable and affordable access.”Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said: “Congratulations to everyone who has worked tirelessly to reach this impressive milestone. At Pfizer we are driven every day by the belief that science will win. Through collaboration and commitment, COVAX has brought forth a global solution that helps to bring breakthrough science to everyone, everywhere. We are proud to work together with the facility and all of its partners and remain firmly committed to working toward the shared vision of equitable access for all to end this pandemic.” Sai D. Prasad, President, Developing Countries Vaccines Manufacturing Network (DCVMN) said: “COVAX has made history by ensuring equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines to all countries irrespective of their economic status. The 100th delivery marks a great milestone for COVAX, leading to enhanced deliveries during 2021. We commend the efforts by all partners in COVAX for this achievement. Developed and developing country manufacturers have played a crucial role in product development and large scale manufacturing. In order to meet the requirements of all countries, more partnerships between innovators and manufacturers are required. COVAX’s leadership in COVID-19 vaccines will ensure that we leave no one behind.”Thomas Cueni, Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) & founding partner of ACT-A said: “The timeline is truly impressive. It's an innovation success story with the first WHO vaccine approval on 31 December 2020, less than a year after the virus was first shared.  It’s a manufacturing success story with the scaling up from zero to one billion doses being produced by April 2021.  It is a logistics and country preparedness success story, with 100 countries receiving the vaccines and last but by no means least, it's a collaboration and solidarity success story, thanks to the commitment from donors and the tireless efforts of the partners of COVAX including the developing and the developed world manufacturers. COVAX’s partnerships together with political leadership to equitably share surplus vaccines are the best guarantees we have that people who need the vaccine will get it whenever they live, fast enough to outpace the virus’ mutations.”Notes to editorsThe list of 102 Facility participants (as of 14h CET, 8 April) that have received a combined total of 38,392,540 doses of COVAX-delivered vaccines so far is as follows (in alphabetical order):Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Congo (DRC), Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia*, Sudan, Suriname, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen. *100th Facility participant to receive a COVAX delivery About COVAX COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.CEPI’s role in COVAXCEPI is leading on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio, investing in R&D across a variety of promising candidates, with the goal to support development of three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. As part of this work, CEPI has secured first right of refusal to potentially over one billion doses for the COVAX Facility to a number of candidates, and made strategic investments in vaccine manufacturing, which includes reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVAX vaccines at a network of facilities, and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of vaccine. CEPI is also investing in the ‘next generation’ of vaccine candidates, which will give the world additional options to control COVID-19 in the future.  Gavi’s role in COVAXGavi is leading on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. As part of this role, Gavi hosts the Office of the COVAX Facility to coordinate the operation and governance of the mechanism as a whole, manages relationships with Facility participants, and negotiates advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates on behalf of the 190 economies participating in the COVAX Facility. It also coordinates design, operation and fundraising for the COVAX AMC that supports 92 lower-income economies, including a no-fault compensation mechanism that will be administered by WHO. As part of this work, Gavi supports governments and partners on ensuring country readiness, providing funding and oversight of UNICEF procurement of vaccines as well as partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes support for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery.WHO’s role in COVAXWHO has multiple roles within COVAX: It provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. Its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations. Its Emergency Use Listing (EUL)/prequalification programmes ensure harmonized review and authorization across member states. It provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. It developed the target product profiles for COVID-19 vaccines and provides R&D technical coordination. WHO leads, together with UNICEF, the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream, which provides support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. Along with Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level, the CRD workstream provides tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines. Along with COVAX partners, WHO has developed a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments.UNICEF’s role in COVAXUNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.About ACT-AcceleratorThe Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020. The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organization, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organizations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation. 
    WHO launches Progress Indicators to measure access to assistive technology #
    Today, 1 billion people globally need assistive technology to lead healthy, productive and dignified lives but only 1 in 10 have access. One of the biggest barriers to accessing assistive technology is a lack of data. Without relevant, quality information, decision makers face huge challenges in developing evidence-informed policies and programmes to improve access for their populations.The  resolution on improving access to assistive technology (resolution WHA71.8) urges all Member States to take actions to improve access to assistive technology, and requests the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a Global Report on Assistive Technology based on the best available scientific evidence and international experience.WHO has developed the WHA71.8 Progress Indicators for access to assistive technology to collect high-level information from all Member States to track and measure progress in achieving the resolution. The Progress Indicators monitor the status of assistive technology access across ten specific areas reported in the resolution: legislation, population and geographic coverage, budget, responsible ministries, human resources, education and training, financial coverage, regulations and standards, and specific assistive technology initiatives. Data will be collected between April and June 2021, and will be reported in the Global Report on Assistive Technology presented at the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly in 2022.Information video on WHA71.8 Progress Indicators for access to assistive technology 
    Interim statement of the COVID-19 subcommittee of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine #
    The COVID-19 subcommittee of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) has reviewed reports of rare cases of blood clots with low platelets following vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (including Covishield) since their onset a few weeks ago.At its most recent meeting on 7 April, 2021, the subcommittee reviewed latest information from the European Medicines Agency along with information from the United Kingdom’s Medicines and other Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and other Member States and noted the following:Based on current information, a causal relationship between the vaccine and the occurrence of blood clots with low platelets is considered plausible but is not confirmed. Specialised studies are needed to fully understand the potential relationship between vaccination and possible risk factors. The GACVS subcommittee will continue to gather and review further data, as it has done since the beginning of the COVID vaccine programme. It is important to note that whilst concerning, the events under assessment are very rare, with low numbers reported among the almost 200 million individuals who have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Rare adverse events following immunizations should be assessed against the risk of deaths from COVID-19 disease and the potential of the vaccines to prevent infections and reduce deaths due to diseases. In this context, it should be noted that as of today, at least 2.86 million people have died of COVID-19 disease worldwide. Side effects within two- or three-days following vaccination, the majority of which are mild and local in nature, are expected and common. However, individuals who experience any severe symptoms – such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, neurological symptoms, such as severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision, tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection - from around four to 20 days following vaccination, should seek urgent medical attention. Clinicians should be aware of relevant case definitions and clinical guidance for patients presenting thrombosis and thrombocytopaenia following COVID-19 vaccination. To this end, the GACVS subcommittee also suggested that a committee of clinical experts including haematologists and other specialists is convened, for advice on clinical diagnosis and case management.  Active surveillance, including sentinel site / hospital case-based investigations should be considered, to further characterise these rare events. WHO has developed template protocols that countries could adapt for such studies. The GACVS will meet again next week to review additional data and will be issuing further recommendations as relevantWHO is carefully monitoring the rollout of all COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to work closely with countries to manage potential risks, and to use science and data to drive response and recommendations.In extensive vaccination campaigns, it is normal for countries to identify potential adverse events following immunization. This does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to vaccination itself, but they must be investigated to ensure that any safety concerns are addressed quickly. Vaccines, like all medicines, can have side effects. The administration of vaccines is based on a risk versus benefit analysis.
    Alisson Becker and WHO Foundation launch campaign to raise resources and support treatment for COVID-19 patients starting in the Americas #
    “Give a Breath for Health” campaign launched on World Health Day to kickstart global effort for purchasing oxygen and other life-saving supplies and therapeuticsChampion goalkeeper Alisson Becker, World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill ambassador for health promotion, is kickstarting a new global fundraising campaign, titled “Give a Breath for Health,” driven by the WHO Foundation and WHO. The initiative aims to support the delivery of oxygen and other life-saving supplies to health facilities treating patients with COVID-19 around the world.The first donation to the “Give a Breath for Health” campaign, made by Alisson, will contribute with supplies to locations in the Amazon and collaborate with the efforts of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO regional office for the Americas, in support of the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the State Health Department of Amazonas.“I am a proud Brazilian and wish my people the best health possible. Working together we can overcome this difficult moment and I will do what I can to help my country, my Region, and the world, during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Alisson, goalkeeper for the Brazilian national football team and Liverpool Football Club. “While vaccines offer great hope to many countries around the world, there remains a desperate need in many areas for supplies of essential medicines and equipment, including oxygen, to help keep people alive in our hospitals and clinics.” Part of Alisson’s contribution will be used to purchase non-invasive ventilation masks for people hospitalized in remote parts of Brazil due to COVID-19. The supplies will be delivered to eight municipalities in the state of Amazonas: Coari, Humaitá, Itacoatiara, Lábrea Parintins, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Tabatinga and Tefé.The rest of the donation will be used to purchase equipment to fill oxygen cylinders in the municipality of Tabatinga, located on the border with Colombia and Peru. These supplies will help solve a logistical problem regarding the need to send the cylinders to other locations for refilling.“We are concerned about the situation in the Americas, where a surge in COVID-19 cases is causing some areas to experience very high occupancy rates at intensive care units and putting health systems at risk of collapsing,” said PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne. “As more and more patients require hospitalization, solidarity response efforts like the one led by Alisson Becker can help provide health care workers in the Region with much-needed supplies and equipment, including oxygen, to save lives.”Oxygen delivery is among the priorities identified in WHO’s recently released Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for 2021, for which the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is seeking to raise funds from individuals, philanthropies, and corporates.Anil Soni, Chief Executive Officer of the WHO Foundation, thanked Alisson Becker for his generous support to health facilities in the Americas and for being the driving force behind the “Give a Breath for Health” campaign.“The response to COVID-19 is bigger than any one country or government can manage alone.  The ‘Give a Breath for Health’ campaign is an exciting example of how the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund can enable anyone, anywhere to support the urgently needed pandemic response efforts of WHO and its partners.” About the WHO FoundationThe WHO Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation, based in Geneva, that sets out to protect the health and well-being of everyone in every part of the world, working alongside the World Health Organization and the global health community. It aims to support donors, scientists, experts, implementing partners, and advocates around the world in rapidly finding new and better solutions to the most pressing global health challenges of today and tomorrow.The Foundation targets evidence-based initiatives that support WHO in delivering Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 (To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all). It is focused on reducing health risks, averting pandemics, better managing diseases, and creating stronger health systems. It tackles these areas by building awareness and supporting its partners, including WHO, so that every life is invested in and the world is ready for any health emergency that may arise.WHO Foundation. Together we have so much to achieve.www.who.foundationCampaign website About PAHOPAHO works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the population. Founded in 1902, it is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It serves as the WHO regional office for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the inter-American system. More information at www.paho.org 
    WHO urges countries to build a fairer, healthier world post-COVID-19 #
    For World Health Day, 7 April 2021, WHO is issuing five calls for urgent action to improve health for all people.
    Living with the Times: new toolkit helps older adults maintain good mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. #
    The “Living with the Times” toolkit contains illustrated posters with key messages for older adults on how to maintain their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, while supporting those around them at the same time. Thanks to their unique design, the posters require minimal reading skills, are culturally diverse and aim to engage older adults in conversations and activities, rather than simply share information. The toolkit also includes instructions for facilitators of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) on how to conduct guided conversations with older adults using these posters. Posters and facilitator instructions were designed in a way that each can be used alone or in combination, as a complete toolkit.The “Living with the times” toolkit is truly unique. For the first time, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG) in a unique collaboration with experts from different disciplines, including dementia, MHPSS in humanitarian settings, and ageing and disability, developed a resource specifically targeting the needs of older adults. A total of 199 older adults aged between 60 and 90 years, from 51 countries, were involved in the development of the toolkit. Through a network of country-level MHPSS Technical Working Groups, the posters were tested with older adults from different countries, income groups and contexts, including humanitarian settings. PostersAll posters are included at the end of the toolkit. High-resolution posters for printing can be downloaded using this link. Please note that posters are best printed on A3 paper (minimum size A4) or shown on large screens (not on mobile phones or tablets). The posters and messaging build upon the existing IASC guidance sections for older adults (see IASC Interim Briefing Note Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak, and the IASC Guidance on Operational Considerations for Multisectoral Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programmes during the COVID-19 Pandemic.) Related contentPostersFacilitator notesMental health & COVID-19AgeingDementiaiSupportBe He@lthy Be Mobile A handbook on how to implement mDementiaCoronavirus disease (COVID-19): Risks and safety for older people 
    New WHO-IUCN Expert Working Group on Biodiversity, Climate, One Health and Nature-based Solutions #
    Expert working group (EWG) on Biodiversity, Climate, One Health and Nature-based Solutions, established by WHO, IUCN and FEBA.
    Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden, appointed WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator #
    Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, has appointed Mr Carl Bildt as WHO Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator). In his role as WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator, Carl Bildt will help lead the collective advocacy for the ACT-Accelerator, mobilizing support and resources so it can deliver against its strategy for 2021. He will also support the leaders of the ACT-Accelerator co-convening agencies, particularly in aligning work that cuts across the diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines pillars and health-system connector; consult widely on the work of the ACT-Accelerator; advise the Director-General, ACT-Accelerator principals and stakeholders on emerging issues; and represent the ACT-Accelerator in key national and international fora. Carl Bildt joins the ACT-Accelerator at a pivotal time when the world rolls out vaccines against COVID-19, introduces new diagnostics and scales up life-saving oxygen and corticosteroids for severe disease, while addressing the uneven distribution of vaccines globally and the emergence of new variants of concern. The past year has highlighted the need for a globally coordinated response to the pandemic that prioritizes equitable access to COVID-19 tools and is fueled by sufficient financial investment. The ACT-Accelerator partnership, of leading public health organizations, is the only global initiative offering an integrated, end-to-end solution to expedite the end of the pandemic through the equitable distribution of vaccines, tests and treatments. Carl Bildt has had an extensive career dedicated to working for the global common good. He served as both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, and is a renowned international diplomat, having been EU Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia; High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; UN Special Envoy to the Balkan;, and Co-Chair of the Dayton Peace Conference. Dr Tedros said, “Former Prime Minister Bildt’s appointment as Special Envoy for the ACT -Accelerator comes at a time when global solidarity and equitable access to life-saving tools are more important than ever. We are fortunate to have him in this important leadership role, helping us to get therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines to health workers and vulnerable populations around the world.”Carl Bildt, said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator. As a unique instrument of coordination for the global effort to fight the pandemic, the ACT-Accelerator has proved its worth during the past year. But with infections rising in all regions of the world, and with the danger of vaccine nationalism growing, work must be intensified across the entire range of efforts to fight the pandemic. It’s a question of saving lives, protecting health systems and getting the global economy going again.”  Carl Bildt succeeds Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Sir Andrew Witty in this special envoy role. Notes to EditorsThe Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is the proven, up-and-running global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organization but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organizations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.The ACT-Accelerator comprises four pillars: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and health system strengthening. The diagnostics pillar co-convened by the Global Fund and FIND is focused on ensuring equitable access to new and existing tests, supporting country uptake and deployment and strengthening the diagnostic portfolio with R&D investments in low-cost, easy-to-use and quality tests. In 2021, it is focused on procuring and distributing at least 900 million molecular and AG-RDTs to LMICs.The therapeutics pillar is led by Unitaid and Wellcome. Therapeutics can play a role in all stages of COVID-19 disease: to prevent infection; suppress symptoms and spread of infection to others; treat or prevent symptoms; as a life-saving treatment for severe symptoms; and as a treatment that can speed up recovery. The aim in the next 12 months is to develop, manufacture and distribute millions of treatment doses, helping COVID-19 sufferers to recover from the disease.The vaccines pillar, convened by CEPI, Gavi and WHO, is speeding up the search for an effective vaccine for all countries. At the same time, it is supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities, and buying supply, ahead of time so that at least 2 billion doses can be fairly distributed to the most high risk and highly exposed populations globally by the end of 2021.The health systems connector pillar, led by the World Bank, the Global Fund and WHO, is working to ensure that these tools can reach the people who need them.Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).Since April 2020, the ACT-Accelerator has supported the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight a disease. With significant advances in research and development by academia, private sector and government initiatives, the ACT-Accelerator has advanced our understanding of what works to fight the disease. It has transformed our ability to tackle COVID-19 on a global scale: vaccines are poised to roll-out worldwide, low-cost high-performing antigen rapid diagnostic tests can now detect transmission anywhere, affordable therapy for severe disease can save lives in any setting, and health systems are being prepared for the roll out of tools.Find out more: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator
    WHO calls for further studies, data on origin of SARS-CoV-2 virus, reiterates that all hypotheses remain open #
    The report of the international team on their Wuhan field visit, from 14 January -10 February 2021, was published today as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for further studies.The report stems from a Member State resolution adopted by consensus at the World Health Assembly in May 2020 and calling on WHO “to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts, including through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions.”In remarks to Member States today, Dr Tedros, who received the full report on the weekend, thanked the team for their tireless work. He said it advances our understanding in important ways, while raising questions that will need to be addressed by further studies, as noted in the report. “As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do,” said Dr Tedros. “Finding the origin of a virus takes time and we owe it to the world to find the source so we can collectively take steps to reduce the risk of this happening again. No single research trip can provide all the answers.”The report is available on this webpage:https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus/origins-of-the-virusBelow is the full text of the Director-General’s remarks that can be found here: https://www.who.int/director-general/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-remarks-at-the-member-state-briefing-on-the-report-of-the-international-team-studying-the-origins-of-sars-cov-2Background informationFrom the very beginning of the pandemic WHO has stressed the need to understand the origin of the virus in order to better understand the emergence of new pathogens and possible exposures.Only a few weeks into the outbreak, the IHR Emergency Committee of independent experts recommended that WHO and China pursue efforts to identify the animal source of the virus. Throughout 2020, WHO continued to discuss with China and other Member States the need to study and share information around the virus origins. The World Health Assembly resolution of May 2020, which was adopted by all Member States, cited a need “to identify the zoonotic source”:WHA73.1 from 19 May 2020: 9. (6) to continue to work closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and countries, as part of the One-Health Approach to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts, including through efforts such as scientific and collaborative field missions, which will enable targeted interventions and a research agenda to reduce the risk of similar events occurring, as well as to provide guidance on how to prevent infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV2) in animals and humans and prevent the establishment of new zoonotic reservoirs, as well as to reduce further risks of emergence and transmission of zoonotic diseases;In July 2020 WHO sent a small team to China to plan a joint study comprising Chinese and independent international scientists.It was agreed that WHO would select the international scientists. The Terms of Reference for the Virus Origins Study were completed by fall 2020.Terms of reference of the Global Study of the Origins of SARS-COV2The team of scientists came from around the world: Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, Qatar, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Viet Nam.The joint international team comprised 17 Chinese and 17 international experts from 10 other countries as well as the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE); and WHO.  Find the list of the members of the international team here.From the outset, this study was designed as one step on the path of understanding the origins of COVID-19 reflecting the specific scope and mandate as outlined by Member States in the World Health Assembly resolution and negotiated Terms of Reference. 
    Global leaders unite in urgent call for international pandemic treaty #
    The main goal of a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response would be to foster a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to strengthen national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics.
    Medical Product Alert N°2/2021: Falsified COVID-19 Vaccine BNT162b2 #
    This WHO Medical Product Alert refers to falsified COVID-19 Vaccine identified as “BNT162b2” detected in Mexico in February 2021 and recently confirmed as falsified to the WHO. The falsified product was supplied and administered to patients outside authorized vaccination programs. This falsified COVID-19 Vaccine may still be in circulation in the region and may continue to be offered to patients outside authorized vaccination programs.
    Joint Statement on prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers and aircrew #
    The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered devastating consequences for human life and the global economy. Maritime and air transport are two essential activities that underpin global trade and mobility and are key to a sustainable socio-economic recovery. More than 80% of global trade by volume is moved by maritime transport. The global economy depends on the world’s 2 million seafarers who operate the global fleet of merchant ships. Seafarers have been severely impacted by the travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. As of January 2021, it is estimated that some 400,000 seafarers are stranded on board commercial vessels, long past the expiry of their contracts and unable to be repatriated. A similar number of seafarers urgently need to join ships to replace them. Passenger air transport carried about 5.7 billion passengers in 2019 while airfreight represents 35% of the value of goods shipped in all modes combined. The total number of licensed aviation professionals, which include pilots, air traffic controllers and licensed maintenance technicians, was 887,000 in 2019, according to ICAO personnel statistics.  Application of stringent public health rules to air crew, including quarantine, has resulted in hindered connectivity, operational complexity and significant cost.Maritime and air transport rely on seafarers and aircrew. They are key workers required to travel across borders at all times, which may result in the need for them to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry in some countries. This is despite WHO recommendation that, at the present time, countries should not introduce requirements of proof of vaccination for international travel as a condition of entry, as there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission and limited availability of vaccines1. For shipping and air transport to continue to operate safely, the safe cross border movement of seafarers and aircrew must be facilitated. We reiterate our call upon countries that have not done so to designate seafarers and aircrew as key workers.With this statement, our organizations also call on governments to prioritize seafarers and aircrew in their national COVID-19 vaccination programmes, together with other essential workers, in accordance with the advice from the WHO SAGE Roadmap for prioritizing the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the context of limited supply published in November 20202. Seafarers and aircrew need to be protected through vaccination as soon as possible, to facilitate their safe movement across borders. We also call on governments to identify and prepare for the challenges of COVID-19 vaccination of seafarers and aircrew, particularly for seafarers spending long periods of time away from their home country. Our organizations fully support the timely development of an international harmonized framework for vaccination certificates, to facilitate international travel for seafarers and aircrew. In December 2020, WHO established a Smart Vaccination Certificate working group to ensure that digitalized versions of vaccine certificates are interoperable3, and the UN Crisis Management Team for COVID-19, under the leadership of WHO, recognized that all countries should consider seafarers and aircrew, who are required to travel across borders during the pandemic, for essential allocation of vaccines. We invite governments and other stakeholders to bring the contents of this joint statement to the attention of the competent authorities and all parties concerned.1 Statement on the sixth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: https://www.who.int/news/item/15-01-2021-statement-on-the-sixth-meeting-of-the-international-health-regulations-(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)-pandemic2 WHO SAGE Roadmap For Prioritizing Uses Of COVID-19 Vaccines In The Context Of Limited Supply: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/who-sage-roadmap-for-prioritizing-uses-of-covid-19-vaccines-in-the-context-of-limited-supply  3 WHO Smart Vaccination Certificate Working Group: https://www.who.int/groups/smart-vaccination-certificate-working-group
    COVAX updates participants on delivery delays for vaccines from Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca #
    The COVAX Facility has notified participating economies that deliveries of doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII) will be delayed in March and April  Delays in securing supplies of SII-produced COVID-19 vaccine doses are due to the increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in IndiaSeparately, participating economies in the COVAX Facility that have been allocated doses from the AstraZeneca manufacturing network have been notified that some first deliveries anticipated in March will now take place in April Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) to lower-income economies participating in the COVAX Facility will face delays during March and April as the Government of India battles a new wave of COVID-19 infections. COVAX and the Government of India remain in discussions to ensure some supplies are completed during March and April.According to the agreement between Gavi and the Serum Institute of India (SII), which included funding to support an increase in manufacturing capacity, SII is contracted to provide COVAX with the SII-licensed and manufactured AstraZeneca (AZ)-Oxford vaccine (known as COVISHIELD) to 64 lower-income economies participating in the Gavi COVAX AMC (including India), alongside its commitments to the Government of India.To date, COVAX has been supplied with 28 million COVISHIELD doses and was expecting an additional 40 million doses to be available in March, and up to 50 million doses in April.COVAX has notified all affected economies of potential delays. SII has pledged that, alongside supplying India, it will prioritize the COVAX multilateral solution for equitable distribution.Participating economies have also received WHO guidance on optimizing the national deployment doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in a constrained supply environment.Separately, the COVAX Facility has informed participants allocated AstraZeneca-manufactured doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine that some of the first deliveries due in March are now set to take place in April.In this early phase of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, vaccine manufacturers require time to scale and optimize their production processes. AstraZeneca, which uses a novel supply chain network with sites across multiple continents, is working to enable initial supply to 82 countries through COVAX in the coming weeks.COVAX retains its objective of supplying initial doses of vaccines to all participating economies in the first half of the year before ramping up significantly in the second half of 2021. To date, COVAX has shipped vaccines to over 50 countries and economies.Notes to editors About COVAXCOVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.CEPI’s role in COVAXCEPI is leading on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio, investing in R&D across a variety of promising candidates, with the goal to support development of three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. As part of this work, CEPI has secured first right of refusal to potentially over one billion doses for the COVAX Facility to a number of candidates, and made strategic investments in vaccine manufacturing, which includes reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVAX vaccines at a network of facilities, and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of vaccine. CEPI is also investing in the ‘next generation’ of vaccine candidates, which will give the world additional options to control COVID-19 in the future.  Gavi’s role in COVAXGavi is leading on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. As part of this role, Gavi hosts the Office of the COVAX Facility to coordinate the operation and governance of the mechanism as a whole, manages relationships with Facility participants, and negotiates advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates on behalf of the 190 economies participating in the COVAX Facility. It also coordinates design, operation and fundraising for the COVAX AMC that supports 92 lower-income economies, including a no-fault compensation mechanism that will be administered by WHO. As part of this work, Gavi supports governments and partners on ensuring country readiness, providing funding and oversight of UNICEF procurement of vaccines as well as partners’ and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes support for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery.WHO’s role in COVAXWHO has multiple roles within COVAX: It provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. Its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations. Its Emergency Use Listing (EUL) / prequalification programmes ensure harmonized review and authorization across member states. It provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. It developed the target product profiles for COVID-19 vaccines and provides R&D technical coordination. WHO leads, together with UNICEF, the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream, which provides support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. Along with Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level, the CRD workstream provides tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines. Along with COVAX partners, WHO has developed a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments.UNICEF’s role in COVAXUNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.About ACT-AcceleratorThe Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organisation, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organisations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organisations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it. The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation. 
    WHO Urban Health Initiative releases report on sustainable transport in Ghana #
    The report, “Health and economic impacts of transport interventions in Accra,” shows how premature deaths can be averted through a multi-sectoral approach towards sustainable transport.
    WHO validates Cote d’Ivoire for eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem #
    Côte d'Ivoire has successfully eliminated human African trypanosomiasis, also known as “sleeping sickness”, as a public health problem, becoming the second African country after Togo to be validated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
    The Clock is ticking – it’s time to end TB deaths among people with HIV! #
    In the run up to World TB Day,  WHO has released new data from over 84 countries on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the TB response, and launched new guidelines on systematic TB screening to help countries bridge the gap in diagnosis and care. As a result of COVID-19, notifications of people with TB dropped by 21% globally in 2020, compared with 2019. Late diagnosis of TB results in onward transmission within households and communities, as well as an increased burden of TB and poor outcomes, including death.People with HIV are at increased risk of dying from TB, particularly when TB goes undiagnosed or is diagnosed late. People with HIV are three times more likely to die during TB treatment compared with all newly diagnosed TB patients. In 2019 less than half of the people with HIV and TB received appropriate care, largely due to a 44% gap in detection of HIV-associated TB. High quality TB screening is a critical intervention to ensure that people with HIV receive timely treatment for TB disease or TB infection.The new guidelines on systematic TB screening  and accompanying operational handbook provide TB and HIV programmes with a range of new TB screening tools to enhance the early detection of TB among people with HIV. As part of the guidelines update, a systematic review was conducted to identify optimal strategies to screen for TB among people with HIV, in addition to the WHO-recommended four-symptom screen (i.e. current cough, fever, weight loss and night sweats).  The review found that:supplementing the WHO-recommended four-symptom screen with chest x-ray increases sensitivity, which is particularly important for people with HIV who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) as the symptom screen alone has reduced sensitivity in this group.The C-reactive protein test (CRP), which is available as a finger-prick point-of-care test, may also be used in high TB-burden settings, and was found to be particularly effective for people with HIV not yet on ART, with a higher specificity than the four symptom screen.In high TB burden settings the molecular WHO-recommended rapid diagnostic tests (mWRDs) for TB diagnosis, may also be used for TB screening. They offer a distinct opportunity to fast-track the diagnosis and treatment of TB among hospitalized HIV patients for whom other screening tools have lower specificity.In practice, the newly recommended screening tools may be used in combination with the four-symptom screen during initial HIV clinical evaluations, with an intensified “boost” screen annually thereafter as part of regular HIV care, such as viral load monitoring. The four-symptom screen should still be used during all other interim health care encounters with health staff or peer supporters within the differentiated service delivery model.  WHO-approved diagnostics such as mWRDs and Lateral flow urine lipoarabinomannan assay (LF-LAM) should be scaled up accordingly to ensure timely diagnostic confirmation.The recently released 2021 update of WHO’s HIV Clinical and Service Delivery guidelines recommends that people with HIV who are not receiving ART and who are found to have TB, should start ART within two weeks of the start of TB treatment, regardless of the CD4 cell count. Previously this was recommended only for people with a CD4 cell count of less than 50 cells/ml. “With the tools and strategies we now have for TB prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment ending deaths among people living with HIV should be in sight” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the Global TB Programme, adding: “Once taken to scale, we should see a significant reduction in the burden and suffering of people with HIV from what should be an entirely preventable disease”    Dr Meg Doherty, Director of WHO’s Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programme highlighted that “As countries update their national strategic plans for TB and HIV, now is the perfect opportunity to include these additional screening tools within national algorithms together with the latest TB diagnostic technologies.”
    WHO announces updated guidance on the systematic screening for tuberculosis #
    New guidelines released by the World Health Organization(WHO) update several recommendations on the systematic screening of tuberculosis(TB) disease. This will help national TB programmes, public and private healthcare providers, funders and other stakeholders improve actions to detect TB earlier and close gaps in prevention and care.It is estimated that close to three million people with TB are not diagnosed or reported annually around the world. Improved TB screening using new tools and approaches to reach all people with care could help bridge this gap. Measures like screening need to be stepped up rapidly to reach the global target of treating at least 40 million people with TB by 2022.The updated guidance avails of the latest evidence and best available practices on new approaches to screening of people at risk, the role of new technologies such as computer-aided detection(CAD) to interpret chest radiography and the use of molecular rapid diagnostics for screening. The guidelines will be accompanied by an operational guide to facilitate their rollout.For reference:WHO consolidated guidelines on tuberculosis: Module 2: Screening. Systematic screening for tuberculosis disease. Geneva, World Health Organization. 2021.WHO operational handbook on tuberculosis: Module 2: Screening. Systematic screening for tuberculosis disease. Geneva, World Health Organization. 2021.
    Introducing the WHO technical package on quality of care in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings #
    The World Health Organization is calling for action to address quality of care in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable (FCV) settings, with the release of a technical package on this subject.
    Statement on Gender-Based Violence in Tigray region of Ethiopia #
    Amid a worsening humanitarian situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, reports of indiscriminate and targeted attacks against civilians, including rape and other horrific forms of sexual violence, continue to surface. This must stop.We call on all State and non-State parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law; ensure their forces respect and protect civilian populations, particularly women and children, from all human rights abuses; explicitly condemn all sexual violence; and take action to bring perpetrators to justice where abuses do occur.Women and children in affected areas are reporting significant challenges in accessing health, social welfare and justice services. Facility assessments undertaken in some health facilities in the region, including Mekelle, Adigrat and Shire, show gaps in premises’ security, as well as in staffing, services and supplies. Initial assessments of 106 facilities in Tigray between December 2020 and March 2021 show that nearly 70 per cent of facilities were looted, 30 per cent damaged, and only 13 per cent in Tigray were functional. Health services have also been rendered less functional by the displacement of many health-care workers, in addition to non-payment of salaries. Further health service availability assessments of over two thirds of the total 264 facilities in the region report large and widespread disruptions of services. Childhood vaccination services were observed in only 28 per cent of facilities and comprehensive nutrition services available in approximately 29 per cent of functioning facilities.Only one facility provides the full range of services for clinical management of rape survivors, and emergency contraception is fully available in less than half of the facilities assessed. The lack of direct access to health care also creates an environment of fear accessing health care, especially for women and children, who are already facing frequent and severe security threats and displacement. Moreover, many displaced civilians are sheltering in unfinished or damaged buildings, and most collective centres do not include separate spaces or latrines for women and men, girls and boys, thus increasing risks of gender-based violence (GBV) and the spread of certain infectious diseases.Preventing and responding to the grave human suffering resulting from this conflict will require a concerted effort at all levels.First, it is essential that an independent investigation into conflict-related sexual violence in Tigray be initiated, with the involvement of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.Humanitarian access is essential. Humanitarian staff need to be able to reach all regions of Ethiopia affected by conflict and violence. This includes major towns and rural areas in Tigray, as well as Benishangul Gumuz, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples (SNNP) and Amhara, and in the regions hosting thousands of internally displaced people.When it comes to getting aid staff and supplies into Tigray, notwithstanding recent developments, much more remains to be done. If they are given the access and resources they need, aid agencies will be able to make the desperately needed prevention and response interventions that will save and transform lives, including health services and supplies, GBV case management, dignity kits, post-rape treatment, and safe spaces for women and children. Given the deep trauma many have experienced, support for mental health and psychosocial needs is also required.It is only with a concerted and comprehensive effort, fully grounded in respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, that the humanitarian response in Tigray will match the scale of humanitarian need, especially for women and children. SignatoriesMr. Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)Mr. Ignacio Packer, Executive Director, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)Mr. Samuel Worthington, Chief Executive Officer, InterActionMr. António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM)Ms. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)Mr. Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)Ms. Maimunah Mohammed Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)Ms. Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs)Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)
    COVID-19 highlights urgent need to reboot global effort to end tuberculosis #
    An estimated 1.4 million fewer people received care for tuberculosis (TB) in 2020 than in 2019, according to preliminary data compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) from over 80 countries- a reduction of 21% from 2019. The countries with the biggest relative gaps were Indonesia (42%), South Africa (41%), Philippines (37%) and India (25%).
    WHO announces 2nd edition Health for All Film Festival shortlist and jury composition #
    In an extraordinary demonstration of creative energy and enthusiasm for telling public health stories, the second edition of the Health for All Film Festival has attracted nearly 1200 short film submissions - both amateur and professional - from 110 countries. These have now been shortlisted to 15 to 16 titles in each of the three competition categories: Universal Health Coverage, Health emergencies, and Better health and well-being.“Telling stories is as old as human civilisation », said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It helps to inspire, motivate, build empathy and share problems so we can find and share solutions together. Everything WHO does is about stories, because everything we do is about people. We’re excited about the quantity and quality of entries in this year’s Health for All Film Festival. Ultimately, we hope the festival is not just a way to tell stories, but to change the arc of people’s stories around the world, towards better health.”The shortlisted films can be viewed by the public as of today through Youtube playlists available on the Festival’s website as well as WHO’s Youtube channel. The public is invited to post comments and questions on the short films and a selection of these questions will be featured during online award ceremonies in May.The following distinguished professionals, artists and activists have agreed to join four WHO senior experts to form the Festival jury: Eugenio Derbez (Actor from Mexico); Dr Leyla Hussein (Psychotherapist from Somalia and activist on gender rights); Martin Fernando Jakobsen (Director of NGO Turning Tables from Denmark, and activist for youth empowerment); Sonia Lowman (Documentary Film Director from USA), Milica Momcilovic (President of World Federation of Science Journalists, from Serbia); and Vithika Yadav (Human rights activist from India). In the coming weeks, jurors will review the shortlisted films and recommend winners to WHO’s Director-General, who will make the final decision.Three “GRAND PRIX” will be announced on 13 May during a press conference followed by a series of online ceremonies with winners and jurors. WHO also plans to award three special prizes: a student-produced film, a health educational film aimed at youth, and a Health Equity Film to pay tribute to the theme of the World Health Day campaign in 2021.For more details on the official selection, the jury composition and further information, visit https://www.who.int/film-festival
    Campaign launched to make 30 km/h streets the norm for cities worldwide #
    Streets for Life: Why #Love30? Low speed streets save lives and are the heart of any community. 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits where people and traffic mix make for streets that are safe, healthy, green and liveable, in other words, streets for life. The 6th UN Global Road Safety Week is calling on policymakers to act for low speed streets worldwide, limiting speeds to 30 km/h where people walk, live and play. Join the #Love30 campaign to call for 30 km/h speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide.What are the benefits of 30 km/h streets? 30 km/h streets are safe and healthy.30 km/h streets protect all who use them, but especially the most vulnerable, like pedestrians, cyclists, children and older people and people with disabilities. 30 km/h streets where people and traffic mix help prevent road traffic deaths and promote physical activity, because when streets are safe, people walk and cycle more.     30 km/h streets are green.30 km/h streets are vital in efforts to shift to zero-carbon mobility. Streets that promote safe walking and cycling can reduce car dependency and harmful vehicle emissions that contribute to climate change. To protect the environment, people need safe, low-speed streets that encourage sustainable transport choices.30 km/h streets are liveable. Liveable streets, made possible by low speeds, are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and can facilitate many of its targets. As we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone should benefit from low speed streets, so that they not only survive, but also hrive. 30 km/h streets where people and traffic mix are streets for life. Join the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week to help garner policy commitments at national and local levels to deliver 30 km/h speed limits in urban areas; generate local support for these speed measures in order to create safe, healthy, green and liveable cities; and build momentum towards the launch of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in 2022. 
    Statement of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) COVID-19 subcommittee on safety signals related to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine #
    As of 17 March 2021, more than 120 million cases of COVID-19 infections, with more than 2 million deaths, had been reported globally.  Vaccination remains a critical tool to help prevent further illness and death and to control the pandemic.So far, more than 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Europe and more than 27 million doses of the Covishield vaccine (AstraZeneca vaccine by Serum Institute of India) have been administered in India. The GACVS COVID-19 subcommittee met virtually on 16 and 19 March 2021 to review available information and data on thromboembolic events (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets) after vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.The subcommittee reviewed clinical trial data and reports based on safety data from Europe, the United Kingdom, India, and Vigibase, the WHO global database of individual case safety reports.Based on a careful scientific review of the available information, the subcommittee came to the following conclusions and recommendations: The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (including Covishield) continues to have a positive benefit-risk profile, with tremendous potential to prevent infections and reduce deaths across the world.The available data do not suggest any overall increase in clotting conditions such as deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism following administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Reported rates of thromboembolic events after COVID-19 vaccines are in line with the expected number of diagnoses of these conditions. Both conditions occur naturally and are not uncommon. They also occur as a result of COVID-19.  The observed rates have been fewer than expected for such events.While very rare and unique thromboembolic events in combination with thrombocytopenia, such as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), have also been reported following vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Europe, it is not certain that they have been caused by vaccination. The European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee has reviewed 18 cases of CVST out of a total of more than 20 million vaccinations with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Europe. A causal relationship between these rare events has not been established at this time (1). Adequate education should be provided to health-care professionals and persons being vaccinated to recognize the signs and symptoms of all serious adverse events after vaccinations with all COVID-19 vaccines, so that people may seek and receive prompt and relevant medical care and treatment. The GACVS subcommittee recommends that countries continue to monitor the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines and promote reporting of suspected adverse events.The GACVS subcommittee also agrees with the European Medicines Agency’s plans to further investigate and monitor for these events. The GACVS COVID-19 subcommittee will continue to review the safety data from all COVID-19 vaccines and update any advice as necessary. The WHO COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance manual provides guidance to countries on the safety monitoring and adverse events data sharing for the new COVID-19 vaccines, and can be accessed here.(1) EMA Statement: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-benefits-still-outweigh-risks-despite-possible-link-rare-blood-clotsUK MHRA statement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-regulator-confirms-that-people-should-continue-to-receive-the-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca
    Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: closing the gap to end neglected tropical diseases #
    Today, on World Water Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its strategy on water, sanitation and hygiene as part of joint efforts by the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and the neglected tropical diseases (NTD) sectors towards ending these diseases over the next decade.
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    April 11 - Historical Events - On This Day
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    In order to share and spread inspiring stories of grassroots, innovations Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, is collaborating with ScooNews, one of the largest education media houses in India. Through this collaboration, not only greater awareness of various initiatives of AIM and Atal Tinkering Labs will be generated among the education sector stakeholders, but also schools, faculties, educators and mentors will be provided quality perspectives, content and best practices from across the glo
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