News Pouch 30 May 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 30 May 2019


  • Spotlight: Ebola situation
  • Spotlight: World Health Assembly 2019
  • Updates and News on main Outbreaks
    • Priority Infectious Diseases
      • Influenza
      •  VBD, and more
  • One Health
    • Biodiversity and ecosystem
    • Food Security and Safety
    • AMR
    • Health in Emergencies and Disasters
    • Climate Change
    • Urban Health
    • Migration Health
    • Global Health
    • Contact us


    Ebola Outbreak Situation

    WHO Situation report
    As of 26 May 2019, a total of 1920 EVD cases, including 1826 confirmed and 94 probable cases, were reported. A total of 1281 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 67%), including 1187 deaths among confirmed cases. Of the 1920 confirmed and probable cases with known age and sex, 58% (1113) were female, and 29% (565)were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 105 (6%of total cases).

    Villagers kill Ebola health worker in eastern DR Congo

    East Congo villagers kill Ebola health worker, loot clinic

    UN names new 'Ebola czar' for growing DRC outbreak
    "An enhanced UN-wide response is required. . . . We have no time to lose," says David Gressly.
    More »

    United Nations Strengthens Ebola Response in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    With the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo now in its tenth month and the number of new cases increasing in recent weeks, the UN announced today measures to strengthen its response and end the outbreak. The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 1,200 lives and the risk of spread to other provinces in the eastern Congo as well as neighbouring countries remains very high. A third of those who have fallen ill are children, which is a higher proportion than in previous outbreaks.
    Go to article

    Life Amid an Ebola Outbreak: Combating Mistrust—and Saving Lives
    Huguette graduated from college in July 2018—and a month later, the World Health Organization officially declared that North Kivu was experiencing an outbreak of Ebola. So Huguette’s dream shifted: She went to work for UNICEF to educate communities about Ebola—how the viral hemorrhagic fever spreads, how early treatment can arrest it, and how delaying treatment can be fatal.
    Go to article

    Major Cholera Vaccination Campaign Begins in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 
    More than 800,000 people will be immunised against cholera in North Kivu in the Eastern part of the DRC following the launch of a major vaccination campaign today.
    Go to article

    NGOs push for decentralised Ebola treatment in DR Congo

    Ebola Responders on Edge as Virus Sickens 19 More 
    Against a backdrop of steadily rising Ebola cases, health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are bracing for more attacks, as threats continue in the big epicenters of Butembo and Katwa, and are on the rise in smaller hots spots such as Lubero and Kalunguta, the World Health Organization said yesterday in a weekly situation report.
    Go to article

    Ebola Response in DRC Undergoes “Important Shifts” as Violence Intensifies
    The April 19 murder of a World Health Organization official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has brought to center stage the issue of escalating violence against Ebola responders. The WHO epidemiologist was killed and two others injured when gunmen stormed a hospital in Butembo, located in North Kivu province. Following the incident, doctors and nurses in Butembo threatened to strike unless government security forces did more to protect health workers.
    Go to article

    The Ebola Response Effort Is Struggling. Experts Say These Steps Could Help
    With Ebola response teams struggling to contain the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Health Organization and its partners can make changes to shore up their effort and try to prevent the crisis from escalating further, according to a handful of experts surveyed by STAT. The experts are wary of criticizing WHO officials and others trying desperately to stop the virus from spreading. Violence aimed at Ebola response workers and a refusal to cooperate with control measures in some communities has rendered this outbreak, the second largest on record, unlike anything the world of Ebola responders has seen before.
    Go to article

    Retrospective versus Real-time Ebola Virus Sequencing
    In The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Placide Mbala-Kingebeni and colleagues report the effect of retrospective viral genome analysis of the 2018 Équateur Province Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They describe the outputs of an international response, working with local scientists, using in-country, whole-genome sequencing. The 2018 Democratic Republic of the Congo EVD outbreak was the ninth recorded in the country. 54 cases were reported with 33 fatalities, resulting in a case fatality rate of approximately 60%, which is in line with that of the much larger 2013-16 west African outbreak.
    Go to article
    2018 Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Retrospective Genomic Characterization
    The 2018 Ebola virus disease outbreak in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, began on May 8, and was declared over on July 24; it resulted in 54 documented cases and 33 deaths. We did a retrospective genomic characterisation of the outbreak and assessed potential therapeutic agents and vaccine (medical countermeasures).
    Go to article
    Preparing for the Next Ebola Outbreak: In-country Genomic Capacity in Africa
    The resurgence of Ebola virus disease in Équateur province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2018, is an important reminder of the difficulties of predicting when and where the next outbreak will occur. The subsequent July 2018 outbreak of EVD in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has affected about 1000 people and the outbreak has the highest case fatality rate (62%) for EVD to date. Conflict, insecurity, poverty, mistrust, poor health systems, and other factors have been implicated in sustaining the outbreak. The response to the July 2018 EVD outbreak in North Kivu Province has highlighted the positive impact of lessons learnt during the 2013-16 EVD outbreak in west Africa.
    Go to article
    Medical Countermeasures During the 2018 Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Rapid Genomic Assessment
    The real-time generation of information about pathogen genomes has become a vital goal for transmission analysis and characterisation in rapid outbreak responses. In response to the recently established genomic capacity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we explored the real-time generation of genomic information at the start of the 2018 Ebola virus disease outbreak in North Kivu Province.
    Go to article
    As Ebola Cases Rise, so Do Worries of a Cross-Border Epidemic
    The second-largest Ebola outbreak ever continues to spread, and health officials now say it’s likely to reach the populous city of Goma. Once there, the risk of it spreading beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda, South Sudan, or Uganda increases.
    Go to article

    Threats to health workers roil Ebola response amid new cases
    The outbreak total grew by 11 cases today, reaching a total of 1,888 infections.
    More »

    Congo Wants More Use of Merck Vaccine Rather than J&J Newcomer: Minister
    Democratic Republic of Congo called on Wednesday for Merck’s experimental Ebola vaccine to be fully licensed to facilitate its use in the Ebola-hit country, while saying Johnson & Johnson’s rival drug would complicate matters. 
    Go to article

    Contact-tracing in Ebola-hit DRC has not been very effective, according to MSF, which means that the real number of Ebola cases could be higher than thought.
    [Jamey Keaten and Krista Larson, AP in Washington Post]

    Ebola antiviral protects monkeys against Nipah virus
    The Ebola antiviral treatment remdesivir (GS-5734) effectively protected African green monkeys during a Nipah virus challenge, suggesting further tests should be conducted in humans, according to a study today in Science Translational Medicine

    OPINION: Ebola patients are human beings not biosecurity threats

    World Health Assembly 2019

    Daily updates

    WHA 72: achievements, commitment, accountability
    Full closing session

    Transparency and migrant health wrap up WHA72
    Even as the World Health Assembly wrapped up in Geneva, member states were still finding some topics hard to agree on.
    Taking responsibility for the health of refugees and migrants and promoting transparency over the costs of research and development of medicines and other health-related technologies were among those issues that left member states in disagreement.
    On the plus side, WHA ended with the establishment of the WHO Academy to "transform the training of WHO staff and public health professionals."
    Read more here.

    Priority Diseases


    Eurosurveillance: The Re-Emergence of HPAI H7N9 Human Infection in Mainland China, 2019
    Two years ago pandemic concerns were heightened as the world watched the biggest human outbreak of Avian Influenza on record, in Mainland China.
    Go to article

    US Senate Authorizes Increased Spending on Pandemic Flu Products 
    The Senate has passed a bill authorising spending on the development of products to protect the US against pandemic influenza and other biological threats to public health. 
    Go to article


    the H5N8 HPAI Global Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health

    • Updated maps on H5N8 and H5Nx HPAI events worldwide;
    • 3 relevant publications;
    • And more....

    H5N8 strikes more poultry in Nigeria; study details H5N6 in Bangladesh
    Nigeria's agriculture ministry yesterday reported another highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreak, this time in poultry at a livestock market, according to a new World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report.
    The event began on Apr 21, affecting chickens, ducks, and turkeys in the market in Edo state in south central Nigeria. Culling was planned for 20 susceptible birds. Nigeria has been battling sporadic H5N8 outbreaks since 2016. The country reported its last event involving the strain in April, which also involved poultry in Edo state.
    May 28 OIE report on H5N8 in Nigeria

    Detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N6) viruses in waterfowl in Bangladesh
    A live poultry markets based surveillance platform was established in Bangladesh in 2007 to identify emerging HPAI viruses in poultry that pose a potential threat to human and animal health. This study describes the influenza A subtypes identified by this surveillance system from June 2016 to June 2017 and reports the first detection of clade H5N6 viruses in Bangladesh. We also assessed the evolution and antigenic properties of these viruses and potential modes and timing of emergence.
    China Says Making Progress on African Swine Fever Vaccine
    China will start work on clinical trials of an African swine fever vaccine, state media said on Friday, as the disease continues to spread through the world’s biggest hog herd.
    Go to article

    FDA Expands List of Countries Affected By Import Ban Amid Swine Fever Threat The Food and Drug Administration has released an expanded list of countries affected by a temporary ban on the importation and sale of processed pork meat products amid growing fears over the spread of African swine fever virus.
    Go to article

    ASF Asia Update for 23 May from FAO/EMPRES - Animal Health.  

    OIE Launches Global Initiative to Control African Swine Fever
    In addition to the harmonized approach between countries, OIE says the transparency of new and evolving outbreaks is essential to a good understanding of the epidemiology of the disease and to its control and prevention.
    Go to article 

    WHO has declared Algeria and Argentina malaria-free, now bringing the total number of countries and territories to eliminate the disease to 38.

    Inovio launches first clinical trial of Lassa fever vaccine

    Development of a Confinable Gene-Drive System in the Human Disease Vector, Aedes aegypti  
    Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector for many arboviruses that causes yellow fever, dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, increasingly infects millions of people every year. With an escalating burden of infections and the relative failure of traditional control methods, the development of innovative control measures has become of paramount importance.
    Go to article

    Chinese researchers highlight new tick-borne disease, Alongshan virus
    A group of patients in Inner Mongolia likely represent the first identified human cases of a new tick-borne illness, Alongshan virus (ALSV), which belongs to the jingmenvirus group in the flavivirus family. A description of ALSV and these cases was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. A far more cost-effective way to understand the emergence of diseases and to mitigate their outbreak is a proactive, real-time surveillance of human populations."
    May 29 N Engl J Med study
    May 29 N Engl J Med commentary

    Seminar: Nipah 360: A Multifaceted Look at New and Emerging Disease
    Tuesday, June 4, 2019 from 2:15 PM - 4:00 PM
    Moderated by EcoHealth Alliance Vice President for Science and Outreach Dr. Jonathan Epstein
    Attend Event

    MERS infects man from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health today reported another MERS-CoV infection, this time involving a 69-year-old man from Riyadh, the country's capital. In an update to its epidemiologic week 21 report, officials said an investigation revealed the man had contact with camels, a known risk factor for contracting MERS-CoV.
    Saudi Arabia has confirmed 141 MERS cases this year. The World Health Organization said in its most recent update that globally through Apr 30 it has received reports of 2,428 cases, at least 839 of them fatal. The vast majority of the illnesses have been in Saudi Arabia.
    May 23 Saudi MOH update

    Six new Saudi MERS cases as study shows virus infecting Bactrian camels
    The Bactrian camels had similar infection and shedding patterns as dromedaries.
    More »

    A new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health


    • Thirteen new human cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, including 6 fatalities;
    • Updated map of MERS-CoV livestock field surveys;
    • Updated epidemiological timeline (by exposure source) and global distribution map of MERS-CoV human cases;
    • Two new relevant publications;
    • Project updates by Egypt and Kenya;
    • and more...

    Measles Outbreak Spreads to Maine, Cases Now in Half the Country
    The measles outbreak has now spread to half the country, as Maine became the 25th state to report a confirmed case of the disease. According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the case was confirmed in a school-age child in Somerset County on Monday. It's the first confirmed measles case in the state since 2017.
    Go to article

    The Philippines Is Fighting One of the World's Worst Measles Outbreaks
    The measles outbreak got so bad in Manila, Philippines, that San Lazaro Hospital had to set up tents in the parking lot, the courtyard and even the landing at the top of the stairs outside the pediatric ward to house patients. "This ward would only accommodate 50 patients," says Dr. Ferdinand de Guzman, the head of family medicine at the hospital. "But at the height of the outbreak, [there were] 300 patients per ward." 
    Go to article

    Officials Fighting U.S. Measles Outbreaks Threaten to Use Rare Air Travel Ban
    Health officials in five states have warned people believed to be infected with measles and planning to travel that they could prevent them from getting on planes.
    Go to article

    US measles total climbs by 60 to reach 940 cases
    In global developments, European officials warned of a growing gap in vaccine coverage and the World Health Organization certified measles and rubella elimination in Bahrain, Oman, and Iran.
    More »

    A proposed novel approach to TB drug financing

    Global Fund’s management and framework for investments in health systems need significant improvement, OIG says
    The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the Global Fund structures, policies and processes for the management of investments in Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health, and the monitoring framework for these investments, need significant improvement; however, the risk mitigation measures for RSSH activities are partially effective, according to the OIG’s ratings.

    To Calm Nervous Families, Pakistan Changes Polio Vaccination Tactics
     Paralysis cases spiked after a vaccination drive was derailed by false rumors that dozens of children had collapsed and died.
    Go to article

    WHO counts down Africa polio clock despite fears of new outbreak

    Wild poliovirus type 1 – Islamic Republic of Iran
    On 9 May 2019, the Global Polio Laboratory Network notified WHO of the detection of wild poliovirus type 1 from an environmental sewage sample collected on 20 April 2019 in Konarak district, Sistan-Baluchistan province, Islamic Republic of Iran. The virus was detected in an environmental sample only, and to date, no associated cases of paralysis have been detected. 
    Go to article

    One Health  


    The 87th OIE General Session
    Around 1000 participants are expected to attend this annual meeting, bringing together all the Member Countries, as well as the international and regional partners of the Organisation. During this event, new intergovernmental standards for animal health and welfare will be adopted, and the current global landscape of animal diseases, including zoonosis, will be analysed.
    The Director General, Dr Monique Eloit, will also report on the progress made in the implementation of the 6th Strategic Plan (2016-2020).
    In particular, the following topics will be addressed this year:
    Technical Item1: How external factors (e.g. climate change, conflicts, socio-economics, trading patterns) will impact Veterinary Services, and the adaptations required. Presented in collaboration with ILRI
    Technical Item 2: Global situation relating to African swine fever. Presented in collaboration with FAO
    Other topics will be addressed:

    • The work done on achieving transparency and surveillance of diseases;
    • The fight against antimicrobial resistance and the collaboration between the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) and the OIE for the launch of the recommendations report;
    • The adaptation of a Rabies programme control and the requirements to recognize a control programme on a country;
    • The importance of biosecurity for aquatic animals’ health systems for a sustainable aquaculture.

    Biodiversity and Ecosystem
    Biodiversity: Finance And The Economic And Business Case For Action
    The OECD has released the report, "Biodiversity: Finance and the Economic and Business Case for Action". It presents a preliminary assessment of current biodiversity-related finance flows and discusses they key data and indicator gaps that need to be addressed to underpin effective monitoring of both the pressures on biodiversity (i.e. responses) being implemented. The report spotlights ten priority areas where G7 and other countries can prioritize their efforts. This report was prepared for the French G7 Presidency and the G7 Environment Ministers' Meeting, 5-6 May 2019. An Executive Summary and Synthesis is also available. 
    Read the report

    International Land Coalition national engagement strategy launched in Cameroon

    Brazil's mangroves on the front line of climate change


    Organic livestock farms give wild birds a boost
    In Finland, farming subsidies that support organic animal farm is money well spent, finds a group of researchers, who identified a huge benefit to wild birds.
    Read More

    ILRI annual report goes online
    The report focuses on 10 of ILRI’s specific achievements:

    1. A novel index to measure women’s empowerment in livestock production;
    2. A rapid, standardized and cost-effective tool for tracking agricultural performance;
    3. The creation and promotion of a bioinformatics community of practice for agricultural sciences in Africa;
    4. An electronic disease surveillance system to improve early detection of livestock diseases;
    5. A program using cell phone apps and emerging genomics to provide farmers and scientists with the information they need to improve dairy cattle in east Africa;
    6. A process, adapted from emerging biofuel technology, to convert straws and stover into feed concentrates;
    7. A program to secure rangelands and settle conflicts through village land use planning in Tanzania;
    8. The Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA)-ILRI Hub efforts to mentor women to become future leaders in science;
    9. A retrospective of ILRI’s participation in Borlaug-Ruan high school internship program, as recognized at the 2018 world food prize award;
    10. A program in Vietnam to foster South-South partnerships to improve food safety in Asia.

    WHA adopts resolution to combat antimicrobial resistance
    The resolution urges countries to strengthen infection prevention and control measures, including water sanitation and hygiene; enhance participation in the Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System; ensure prudent use of antimicrobials; and support multisectoral annual self-assessment surveys. It requests the WHO director-general to significantly enhance support to countries in implementing their national action plans and help mobilize needed financial resources, in collaboration with other United Nations agencies and partners. It also calls on the WHO director-general to maintain the WHO list of critically important antimicrobials for human medicine.
    May 23 WHO news release

    New report calls for urgent action to avert antimicrobial resistance crisis

    On the Evolutionary Ecology of Multidrug Resistance in Bacteria
    Resistance against different antibiotics appears on the same bacterial strains more often than expected by chance, leading to high frequencies of multidrug resistance. There are multiple explanations for this observation, but these tend to be specific to subsets of antibiotics and/or bacterial species, whereas the trend is pervasive.
    Go to article

    Scientists Modify Viruses With CRISPR to Create New Weapon Against Superbugs
    "We are getting to the point where there are organisms that are resistant to every known antibiotic," says Michael Priebe, a doctor who heads the spinal cord injury service at the VA medical center.
    Go to article

    The rise of the superbugs - and why industrial farming is to blame
    Last month, the United Nations published an alarming report about the escalating crisis involving new superbugs that are building up resistance against commonly-used, live-saving human medicines. This escalation is largely caused by factory farms that use massive amounts of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent diseases on healthy animals. But recent reports also point to weed killers and fungicides used in industrial agriculture as major culprits. A short opinion piece by GRAIN draws attention to this disaster in the making and calls for a radical shift in the global food system.
    Read the full article here:


    The Radical Plan to Change How Antibiotics Get Developed

    USDA spotlights high antibiotic use in pigs, cattle
    Experts say two new reports provide deeper insight into how and why antibiotics are being used in US agriculture.
    More »

    Taking Action Against AMR:
    OIE prioritizes global and national initiatives
    The 87th General Session of the OIE reflected on the progress made in the past year to elevate the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at the national and global level. The achievements highlighted, included the Second OIE Global Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance, the annual collection of data on antimicrobial use in animals, an updated OIE list of antimicrobial agents of veterinary importance, new communication resources, and regional OIE Focal Point seminars to increase capacity and understand of the current global situation of AMR in animal health. The OIE Assembly of Delegates examined the advantages of creating a permanent Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance to advise and increase the capacity of the organisation to respond to global AMR developments. This group will provide a reinforce the OIE contribution to continuously strengthen the Tripartite partnership and the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations (UN) Ad-hoc Inter-agency Coordination Group (IACG) on AMR that presented its recommendations report to the UN Secretary General this year. 
    Discover what you can do to handle antimicrobials with care in animal health:


    World's Rivers 'Awash with Dangerous Levels of Antibiotics'  
    Hundreds of sites in rivers around the world from the Thames to the Tigris are awash with dangerously high levels of antibiotics, the largest global study on the subject has found.
    Go to article

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for May 23, 2019

    • Urgent sepsis antibiotics
    • Resistant Pseudomonas from Mexico

    More »

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for May 29, 2019

    • Excessive post-discharge antibiotics
    • CPE surge in Hong Kong
    • STI antibiotic use

    More »

    1st Antibiotics Resistance Course (AMR):a One Health challenge
    November 4-8, 2019
    Deadline for application ends on July 5, 2019! The course will take place from 8:30am on Monday, November 4 to 4:00pm on Friday, November 8, 2019 at Les Pensières Center for Global Health, Veyrier-du-Lac (France)
    To apply, click here:

    From the WHO AMR Surveillance and Quality Assessment Collaborating Centre Network webinar series. This new webinar will discuss how the Proof-of-Principle AMR routine diagnostics (PoP) project promotes the use of blood cultures and AMR susceptibility testing in clinical practice, thereby aiming to provide a starting point for a national AMR surveillance system. The webinar will provide an overview of the PoP project methodology and will discuss the experience gained and challenges faced with PoP project implementation in the WHO European region and address.
    The same webinar will be delivered twice at the following dates:
    Date and time: Monday June 17 (10 AM CEST) and Thursday June 20 (3 PM CEST)
    Join Webex meeting :
    Meeting number (access code): 843 613 028     

    Emergencies and Disasters

    72nd World Health Assembly adopts resolution on emergency and trauma care 
    Well-organized emergency care is a key mechanism for achieving a range of Sustainable Development Goal targets, including those on universal health coverage, road safety, maternal and child health, noncommunicable diseases, infectious diseases, disasters and violence. It also helps WHO to fulfill the mandate of its Thirteenth General Programme of Work 2019-2023 to strengthen health systems, widen coverage of essential health services and improve integrated service delivery.
    Related links
    WHA report of the Director-General on "Emergency and trauma care"
    WHO Emergency and Trauma Care
    Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative

    Report finds lack of diversity, gender balance in WHO health emergencies program
    “Recruitment of Health Emergencies Programme staff at country office level at present stands at only 54% of goals: the Programme therefore remains very much a ‘work in progress,’” according to the report. It added that “allegations of insufficient diversity among international professional staff were well founded.”  
    Out of 1,481 WHO headquarters staff, only 372, or 25%, were from developing countries. For the health emergencies program, only 24% of 229 employees came from developing countries. The gaps were even greater in more senior levels, at professional category 5 and above. Out of 513 WHO headquarters staff, only 22% were from developing countries. Meanwhile, only 18% of the 74 health emergencies program staff were from developing countries.

    Around 600,000 Afghan children face death through malnutrition without emergency funds

    UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl has rebuffed a U.S. call to have the agency dismantled, mentioning that the Palestinian aid agency's mandate is protected by the U.N. General Assembly.
    [Deutsche Welle]

    Climate Change

    How should hospitals respond to climate change?

    Carbon-based air pollution linked with high odds of infant mortality in low- and middle-income countries

    Climate ambition hangs in balance as Europe votes
    The EU’s new parliament and commission face major decisions that reach far beyond where energy comes from

    Brazil reverses decision to cancel Latin American climate week
    Government backtracks under pressure from mayor of host city, who is a political friend of president Jair Bolsonaro

    Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’
    Artificial intelligence, or AI, is at the forefront of fighting hunger, mitigating the climate crisis and facilitating “the transition to smart sustainable cities", said the chief of the UN agency which specializes in information and communication technologies, Houlin Zhao, kicking off the third AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva.

    ‘Save Tuvalu; save the world’; UN chief echoes rallying cry from front lines of global climate emergency
    Further inaction on climate change is “simply not an option”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday in an opinion piece where he called for “rapid and deep change in how we do business, generate power, build cities and feed the world.”

    Urban Health

    City Footprint Calculators are launching in Portugal



    Portugal’s Cities Footprint project, now in its second year, reached a landmark this month as the Footprint Calculators of six cities were unveiled to the public. They are calibrated with the specific data collected from their respective municipality during the first year of the project. Residents can use their city’s Calculator to assess their household’s use of natural resources and compare it with the city average. The first public event was organized in Guimarães with a 3-hour workshop so citizens could learn how to use the tool and to disseminate it as widely as possible throughout the local community.
    Read More
    IPBES adopts Ecological Footprint as a Core Indicator

    You may have heard of the biodiversity report just released by IPBES warning about one million species at risk of extinction. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an independent intergovernmental body established in 2012, has added Ecological Footprint and biocapacity metrics to its list of Core Indicators. Its recent reports for Europe and Central Asia, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and the Americas, all include Ecological Footprint and biocapacity trends in both the full document and the summary for policy makers. Using Footprint data, IPBES recognizes as a scientifically “well established” trend that countries with an ecological deficit put tremendous pressure on resource security and biodiversity outside of their borders.
    High urbanization and extreme weather: a dire mix for the Caribbean – Interview with Amilcar Kraudie
    Small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean already struggle to cope with rampant population growth in its urban centers, and the scarcity of living spaces and resources that comes with it, argues Amilcar Kraudie.

    Migration Health

    WHO Draft Global Action Plan ‘Promoting the health of refugees and migrants’ (2019-2023)

    Challenges for immigrant health in the USA—the road to crisis

    Global Health

    Special Edition: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Report of the Secretary-General
    Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages 24.
    Major progress has been made in improving the health of millions of people, increasing life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality, and fighting against leading communicable diseases. However, progress has stalled or is not happening fast enough in addressing major diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, while at least half of the global population do not have access to essential health services and many of those who do suffer undue financial hardship potentially pushing them into extreme poverty. Concerted efforts are required to achieve universal health coverage, sustainable financing for health; to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases including mental health; and to tackle anti-microbial resistance and determinants of health such as air pollution and inadequate water and sanitation.

    Smarter research & development to tackle global health priorities

     WHO fraud, harassment cases on the rise
    The World Health Organization’s Office of Internal Oversight Services is currently dealing with 167 cases, the majority of which were cases reported in 2018, according to the internal auditor report presented at the 72nd World Health Assembly on Thursday. Most of the cases are about fraud, failure to comply with professional standards, and harassment — including sexual harassment and abuse.
    Fraud cases were up 83% from 2017, a number of which related to procurement, health insurance, and travel. Cases relating to staff failure to comply with professional standards was up 280%. These cases included allegations of unauthorized external activities, conflicts of interest, failure to honor private obligations, confidentiality breaches, and other types of wrongdoing, according to the report. Harassment cases were up 92%, while sexual harassment cases jumped to 233% — from three cases in 2017 to 10 in 2018. There’s also an increased number of cases of sexual exploitation and abuse (3), as well as retaliation (4), compared to just 1 each in 2017

    Global health actors share different perspectives as WHO reform unfolds




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