Global health issues
The World Health Organization (WHO) just held a virtual press conference on November 16, 2022, to discuss global health emergencies. At the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Margaret Harris served as the conference's host. Additionally, both online and offline discussions involved a large panel of technical specialists.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, gave the conference's opening remarks. He spoke to the group from Bali, Indonesia, where he was taking part in the G20 Summit. He began his statement by declaring, "When health is at risk, everything is at risk," about the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic.
The epidemic had been obscured, according to Dr. Tedros, by global conflicts, climate change, and insecurity surrounding food and energy, but each issue had a major influence on economies and public health.
Finally, he commended the G20 leaders for their steadfast dedication to advancing health and health security and realizing universal health coverage by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
The G20 leaders have made sure there is enough funding for pandemic preparedness and response, as Dr. Tedros noted. Additionally, they indicated their readiness to aid the WHO mRNA Technology Transfer Hub in South Africa. A new pandemic fund was established in Bali with their assistance.
Dr. Tedros praised Indonesia for its leadership as the G20 President in 2022 by adding that WHO has built a new training center for emergency medical teams in cooperation with the health and defense ministries of Indonesia. He also looked forward to working closely with India the next year.
A critical update on the Ebola outbreak in Uganda was provided by Dr. Tedros. He stated: "The number of Ebola cases in Uganda has increased by six more confirmed cases and one probable case, bringing the total to 141 confirmed cases and 22 probable cases. For a total of 55 confirmed and 22 probable Ebola deaths, there have been two further confirmed deaths and one probable death. Furthermore, 73 patients have already fully recovered."
He added that the majority of areas have seen a considerable reduction in disease transmission as a result of the Ugandan government's efforts to prevent outbreaks. However, the Jinja district has lately seen the detection of a fresh case. The government is presently receiving assistance from WHO and partners in containing the outbreak and launching two experimental medicines and three vaccination candidates into human trials as soon as possible.
The FIFA World Cup
Dr. Tedros will attend the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This year's World Cup is predicted to draw five billion people.
He emphasized how Qatar and FIFA are collaborating with the WHO to promote physical and mental health through a variety of initiatives. For instance, they intend to use major video campaigns, broadcasts, and social media advertising to encourage a healthy diet and physical activity among World Cup viewers.
They have put in place tight control measures, such as COVID-19, to stop disease transmission during World Cup events. Additionally, smoking is not permitted inside the stadium. Additionally, to aid in the preparations for the Paris Olympics in 2024 and the Milano Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026, WHO's goodwill ambassadors will actively share World Cup results with the International Olympic Committee.
Family Planning Handbook
Dr. Tedros said that the WHO has updated its Family Planning Handbook to give medical professionals and decision-makers access to the most recent data on contraceptives. This updated version contains suggestions for expanding access to self-administered birth control. The risk of unwanted pregnancy and STDs should decrease as a result of these suggestions.
Dr. Tedros then gave Margaret control of the session after making this announcement. Then she invited questions from the audience. Many health reporters from around the world asked the expert panel their questions.
The availability of Ebola experimental vaccinations was the primary topic of discussion (ChAdOx, ChAd3, and VSV Sudan). Reporters questioned how well the trials were able to compile enough solid evidence.
The majority of the panel's experts gave positive answers when asked if there were enough doses to start further trials. Dr. Ana Maria, one of the panelists, commented on the readiness for upcoming trials when asked about randomizing vaccines: "WHO, the partners, and the vaccine developers are committed to randomizing these vaccines so we can generate the robust evidence that will allow us to know if one or more of them has the efficacy we hope they have."
Also mentioned was the potential for influenza, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreaks to occur simultaneously in the upcoming winter. In this regard, the panelists advised getting COVID-19 and flu shots as well as adhering to safety precautions.
The European Health Union (EHU) has scheduled a second press conference for November 17, 2022, to announce that the Commission's Health Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) has signed a Joint Procurement Framework contract with the business Bavarian Nordic for the provision of up to 2 million doses of the monkeypox vaccine in 2023 and 2024. Participating nations might create stockpiles in this fashion to address their medium- and long-term demands.
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