Newsletter, June 2017




Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Health and Disaster Risk Reduction - Overview of the working session on Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
The working session provided a platform to sensitize and mobilize Member States and key actors in health, disaster risk reduction and development to identify ways and commit to working together to realize these objectives at national and local levels and contribute to the achievement of the Sendai Framework targets, particularly Target (e) on developing comprehensive disaster risk reduction strategies and plans.

Summary report of the working session on Health and Disaster Risk Reduction

Video from the working session - Health and Disaster Risk Reducation

WHO Statement to the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 

Echo Health Alliance and partners statement to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

UN risk reduction forum in Cancun closes with call to harness data
UN News Centre, 29 May
The 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction wrapped up late Friday with a call for facts and figures on economic and human losses in natural disasters ...


Women must be central in disaster prevention
Reliefweb, 26 May
CANCUN, Mexico – Countries around the world need to focus on women if they are to achieve the aims of a 15-year agreement to curb hazard impacts, according to delegates at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Global ...
Sendai Framework monitoring starts early 2018
Reliefweb, 29 May
... reducing disaster losses will get underway early in 2018, it was confirmed Friday, the closing day of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, ...


One Health

Vector Control: Time for a Planetary Health Approach
The Lancet, June 2017
What is the world's most dangerous animal? According to Bill Gates, in an infographic that was memorable if not wholly fair, it is the mosquito.

Another Deadly Consequence of Climate Change: The Spread of Dangerous Diseases
Washington Post, 30 May
With President Trump's decision on US participation in the Paris climate accords expected in the next few days, there has been widespread discussion of the many consequences that climate change will have for us and our children, including extreme weather events, displacement of people, submergence of lands and devastation to our oceans. But one of the most potentially deadly effects has been far less discussed: an increase in the spread of dangerous epidemics and the risk of a global pandemic.


Recent drought-induced livestock losses in East Africa mask deeper problem of animal feed scarcities
ILRI Clippings, 6 June
‘With the onset of the rains, livestock farmers around Kenya might breathe a sigh of relief. But they have come too late for the thousands of cattle that have already died, hit by the drought that led President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare a national disaster in February this year. . . .
Role of environment in health security
USAID, 2017
The environment sector has valuable insight to provide in the prevention, detection and control of epidemic and pandemic threats. This briefing document identifies key areas of engagement for the environment sector in national action planning for health security and One Health initiatives, with the aim of supporting multi-sectoral collaboration to prevent and prepare for health disasters.
Interagency Liaison Group on Biodiversity and Health
The Interagency Liaison Group on Biodiversity and Health was established in 2017 by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and World Health Organization (WHO) pursuant to a Memorandum of Cooperation concluded between these organizations in July 2015.
Connecting Climate Change and Health for Better Development
The World Bank Blogs, 12 June
Climate change is already having real, measurable impacts on human health, and those impacts are expected to grow. Low- and middle-income countries are seeing the worst effects as they are most vulnerable to climate shifts and least able to adapt given weak health systems and poor infrastructure.


70th World Health Assembly

70th World Health Assembly - News Releases 2017
The 70th World Health Assembly took place in Geneva 22-31 May made decisions on a wide range of health emergency-related issues.

8 Takeaways from the 70th World Health Assembly
Devex, 31 May
It's been nearly two weeks of intense debates on global health at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva. Several resolutions were adopted by member states, including on cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention, the integration and prevention of, and care for deafness...

World Health Assembly elects Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as new WHO Director-General

23 May 2017 | GENEVA - The Member States of WHO elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of WHO. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.




Emerging Pandemic Threats
USAID, June 2017
Over recent decades, multiple epidemic events have underscored how highly vulnerable we are to viral threats. Our world is globally connected—and an "emerging threat" in one part of the world can pose a threat everywhere and to everyone. About 75 percent of new human diseases are caused by microbes that originate in animals. These include HIV, influenzas (including pandemic H1N1, H5N1, and H7N9), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Ebola, Marburg, and Nipah.

Disaster risk management a top priority on the international stage this week
World Bank Group, 24 May
We're working with many partners across a range of critical areas in disaster risk management. Many will be highlighted this week at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, the major international forum on disaster risk reduction. The GP ...


Number of suspected cholera cases reaches 100 000 in Yemen
The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen continues to rise, reaching 101 820 with 791 deaths as of 7 June 2017. Worst affected are the country’s most vulnerable: children under the age of 15 years account for 46% of cases, and those aged over 60 years represent 33% of fatalities.

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti--from 2010 to Today
The Lancet,10 June
Big funding gaps hamper cholera response in Haiti as number of cases nears 1 million and almost 10,000 deaths. John Zarocostas reports. Numerous calls from the UN chief, Antonio Guterres and his predecessor Ban Ki-moon--stating that the world has a "moral responsibility" to assist Haiti to get rid of cholera--have failed to spur a generous spike in donor funds.
Diarrhoea kills half a million children globally, shows Lancet study
The Guardian, 2 June
Immediate and sustained action urged as diarrhoea remains among leading causes of child mortality despite improved access to clean water and sanitation


WHO Ebola Situation report: 15 June 2017
Ebola epidemic in Congo 'under control': health minister
Reuters, 2 June
Democratic Republic of Congo has not recorded a new case of Ebola in the last 21 days, the maximum incubation period for the disease, and is now in a phase ...
WHO | First anniversary of end of Ebola outbreak in West Africa
WHO, 9 June

There were more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all other outbreaks combined. S. Hawkey. Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and then spreads through human-to-human transmission.

Advances in Ebola virus vaccination
The Lancet, 10 June
The Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa between 2013 and 2016 was the largest and deadliest since the discovery of the virus in 1976. The epidemic ...
Analysis of H7N9 in China finds age, geographic shifts
CIDRAP, 5 June
Reassuringly, the disease doesn't seem more severe than in the earlier 4 waves.

For the first time, a new strain of bird flu was transmitted human-to-human. This is highly unusual–and could be the first sign of new global pandemic.
UN Dispach, 26 May
Last week, though, China reported a case of H7N9 that appears to have spread person to person, not bird to person. The infected patient had no contact with birds or live bird markets, and he had no underlying medical condition. He was a healthy 62-year-old man, who helped a family member hospitalized with H7N9 to use the bathroom. Genetic analysis of the infecting virus indicates that he was infected with the same strain of virus that infected his family member.
Travel advice on MERS-CoV for pilgrimages
WHO, 31 May

As of 31 May 2017, more than 1950 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported to WHO, including at least 693 deaths.

Puerto Rico declares its outbreak of Zika virus is over
STAT, 5 June
Puerto Rico declared its Zika epidemic over on Monday, saying transmission of the virus on the island has fallen to relatively low levels. In a statement, the territorial government said there have been only about 10 cases of Zika reported in every four-week period since mid-April, down from more than 8,000 cases in four-week periods at the same time last year.


Zika virus cases detected in India: Thorough investigation, educating masses is need of the hour
Firstpost, 6 June
The Zika virus, a public heath emergency that continues to grow, has the potential to cause widespread harm to the health of people in affected areas. India has been upgraded to a country where there is "ongoing transmission that is no longer in the ...


Is Zika Still A Problem In Florida And The Caribbean?
NPR, 12 June
Across the Caribbean, outbreaks have subsided. And in Florida, the virus seems to have gone into hiding.Health officials haven't investigated a new Zika case ...


Health in Humanitarian Crises
The Lancet, 8 June
Large-scale humanitarian crises are ongoing in Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen among others. This Lancet Series of four papers and accompanying Comments assesses the evidence base for health interventions in humanitarian crises and finds significant variations in the quantity and quality of evidence.

From panic and neglect to investing in health security: financing pandemic preparedness at a national level
World Bank, the (WB), 2017
This report by the International Working Group on Financing Preparedness (IWG) proposes ways in which national governments and development partners can finance investments in country and regional preparedness and response capacities for pandemics and other health emergencies.  Deadly infectious pandemics will mark humanity's future, as they have shaped its past. Neither individual governments nor the global community can entirely prevent the...

Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers (PERRC) Toolkits
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2017
This inventory was developed by the Emergency Preparedness, Research, Evaluation & Practice (EPREP) Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with the scope of disseminating PERRC research findings and promising practices to knowledge users (researchers, decision-makers, practitioners, public health departments’ workforce, and public health system partners), enhance preparedness processes and strengthen the competence of the...

Diagnostic Preparedness for Infectious Disease Outbreaks
The Lancet, 31 May
Diagnostics are crucial in mitigating the effect of disease outbreaks. Because diagnostic development and validation are time consuming, they should be carried out in anticipation of epidemics rather than in response to them.

Health facilities in 7 Caribbean countries to be transformed to be disaster resistant
WHO/PAHO, June 2017
WHO PAHO analyzed the safety situation of nearly 350 hospitals and health centers, and their likelihood of continuing to function in disasters. WHO then selected 16 hospitals and health centers in seven Caribbean countries to make them safer, greener and more resilient to natural disasters.

African Solutions to the Continent's Health Crises

Diplomatic Courier, 7 June
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa in 2014 set the world's nerves on edge. At the height of the epidemic, as the numbers of dead seemed to be rising exponentially, fears rose that this virus could be the “big one”, the one that breaks loose ...
Knowledge Transfer - A weapon for fighting epidemics
UN Special, 19 May
Knowledge exists for battling many known disease outbreaks. The challenge is to get the latest science and knowledge into the hands and minds of decision-makers and front-line responders.