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Apr 18 2013

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Free Articles on High Blood Pressure for World Health Day 2013
The article collection for World Health Day 2013 looks at research from across the journals on causes, impact and treatment for high blood pressure.

Free Occupational Therapy Articles on our Health & Social Care Arena
Visit the Health & Social Care Arena today to view the Occupational Therapy themed promotion, which includes free articles for a limited time only.

Free Online Access to the First Issue of Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior
The inaugural double issue of Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior is now available online.

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Apr 07 2011

World Health Day 2011 — Urgent Action Necessary to Safeguard Drug Treatments

News release WHO/4

 

5 APRIL 2011 | GENEVA - Drug resistance is becoming more severe and many infections are no longer easily cured, leading to prolonged and expensive treatment and greater risk of death, warns the World Health Organization (WHO) on World Health Day.  Under the theme “Combat Drug Resistance”, WHO calls for urgent and concerted action by governments, health professionals, industry and civil society and patients to slow down the spread of drug resistance, limit its impact today and preserve medical advances for future generations.

 

“The message on this World Health Day is loud and clear. The world is on the brink of losing these miracle cures,” said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “In the absence of urgent corrective and protective actions, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated.”

 

Today, WHO is publishing a policy package that sets out the measures governments and their national partners need to combat drug resistance. The policy steps recommended by WHO include:

 

  • develop and implement a comprehensive, financed national plan
  • strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity
  • ensure uninterrupted access to essential medicines of assured quality
  • regulate and promote rational use of medicines
  • enhance infection prevention and control
  • foster innovation and research and development for new tools

 

The discovery and use of antimicrobial drugs to treat diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and syphilis changed the course of medical – and human - history.  Now, those discoveries and the generations of drugs that followed them are at risk, as high levels of drug resistance threaten their effectiveness.

 

Drug resistance is a natural biological phenomenon, through which micro-organisms acquire resistance to the drugs meant to kill them. With each new generation, the microorganism carrying the resistant gene becomes ever more dominant until the drug is completely ineffective.  Inappropriate use of infection- fighting drugs - underuse, overuse or misuse - causes resistance to emerge faster.

 

Last year, at least 440,000 new cases of multidrug resistant-tuberculosis were detected and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has been reported in 69 countries to date .  The malaria parasite is acquiring resistance to even the latest generation of medicines, and resistant strains causing gonorrhea and shigella are limiting treatment options. Serious infections acquired in hospitals can become fatal because they are so difficult to treat and drug-resistant strains of microorganism are spread from one geographical location to another in today’s interconnected and globalized world.   Resistance is also emerging to the antiretroviral medicines used to treat people living with HIV.

 

“On this World Health Day, WHO is issuing a policy package to get everyone, especially governments and their drug regulatory systems, on the right track, with the right measures, quickly,” said Dr Chan.  “The trends are clear and ominous. No action today means no cure tomorrow. At a time of multiple calamities in the world, we cannot allow the loss of essential medicines – essential cures for many millions of people – to become the next global crisis.”

 

“WHO has established many initiatives to understand and address drug resistance over the last decade, particularly in relation to some of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO Stop TB Department, who has been leading the preparations for World Health Day 2011. “Those measures must now be further strengthened and implemented urgently across many diseases and across many sectors. New collaborations, led by governments working alongside civil society and health professionals, if accountable, can halt the public health threat of drug resistance. ”

 

Although governments need to take the lead and develop national policies to combat drug resistance, health professionals, civil society and other groups can also make important contributions. For example, doctors and pharmacists can prescribe and dispense only the drugs that are required to treat a patient, rather than automatically giving either the newest or best-known medicines. Patients can stop demanding that doctors give them antibiotics when they may not be appropriate.  Health professionals can help rapidly reduce the spread of infection in health care facilities.

 

Collaboration between human and animal health and agriculture professionals is also vital, as the use of antibiotics in food animal production contributes to increased drug resistance. Approximately half of current antibiotic production is used in agriculture, to promote growth and prevent disease as well as to treat sick animals. With such massive use, those drug resistant microbes generated in animals can be later transferred to humans.

 

Governments and partners need to work closely with industry to encourage greater investment in research and development of new diagnostics that can help improve decision making as well as drugs to replace those that are being lost to resistance. Today, less than five per cent of products in the research and development pipeline are antibiotic drugs. Innovative incentive schemes are needed to stimulate industry to research and develop new antimicrobial drugs for the future.

 

For more information, please contact:

Glenn Thomas, Mobile: +41 79 509 0677, E-mail: thomasg@who.int
Iain Simpson, Mobile: +44 797 6090292, E-mail: iainsimpson.work@gmail.com
Information on World Health Day 2011: http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2011/en/index.html

 

All WHO information can be found at: www.who.int

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Apr 08 2009

WORLD HEALTH DAY 2009 - Save Lives. Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies

7 APRIL 2009 | GENEVA/BEIJING - The World Health Organization (WHO) is today celebrating World Health Day by focussing attention on the large numbers of lives that can be saved during earthquakes, floods, conflicts and other emergencies through the better design and construction of health facilities and preparing and training of health staff.

 

WHO is recommending six core actions that governments, public health authorities and hospital managers can undertake to make their health facilities safe during emergencies. These include training health workers, designing and building safe hospitals, retrofitting existing health facilities to make them more resilient and ensuring staff and supplies are secure.

 

“With our world threatened by the harmful effects of climate change, more frequent extreme weather events and armed conflicts, it is crucial that we all do more to ensure that health care is available at all times to our citizens, before, during, or after a disaster” said WHO Director - General Dr. Margaret Chan.

 

The six core actions that governments, public health authorities and others who operate hospitals and health care facilities can take are:

 

  1. Assess the safety of hospitals
  2. Protect and train health workers for emergencies
  3. Plan for emergency response
  4. Design and build resilient hospitals
  5. Adopt national policies and programmes for safe hospitals
  6. Protect equipment, medicines and supplies

 

Too often, health facilities are the first casualties of emergencies. This means that health workers are killed and wounded, that services are not available to treat survivors and that large investments of valuable health funding in health facility construction and equipment are squandered.

 

The World Health Day is being launched in China this year, where an earthquake in May 2008 killed over 87,000 people and destroyed 11,027 health care facilities.

 

Relatively inexpensive investments in infrastructure can save lives during disasters. Some countries have taken action to improve health facility safety, preparedness and response to emergencies.

 

  • In earthquake-prone countries such as Japan, Pakistan and Peru, hospitals have been built using efficient building standards that both contain little additional costs and can withstand earthquakes.
  • In Mexico, a Hospital Safety Index has been applied to over 100 health facilities, enabling authorities to determine which facilities are safe and which require improvements.
  • Bangladesh, which regularly is battered by strong cyclones, has invested in safely-built facilities for health, education, and other services that shelter and protect communities. These can withstand flooding, and save thousands of lives, as when Cyclone Sidr struck in November 2007.

 

In areas affected by conflicts, hospitals and clinics should be allowed to function by all parties in line with international humanitarian law.

 

Infectious disease outbreaks are another form of public health emergency that staff should be trained for.

 

WHO is urging all ministries of health to review the safety of existing health facilities and to ensure that any new facilities are built with safety in mind. Practical and effective low cost measures such as protecting equipment, developing emergency preparedness plans and training staff can help make health facilities safer, better prepared and more functional in emergencies

 

Dr Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General for WHO’s Health Action in Crises Cluster, said untold lives can be saved if health systems were better protected from emergencies. “The most expensive health facility is the one that fails, both in human and financial terms,” Dr Laroche said. “We know we can do more to prevent our hospitals and clinics falling victim to emergencies. The time has come for action.”

 

For further information, go to:

 

World Health Day 2009 web site:
http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2009/en/index.html

 

Frequently asked questions:
http://www.who.int/entity/world-health-day/2009/whd2009_faq_en.pdf

 

Photo essay on country examples:
http://www.who.int/features/2009/whd/en/index.html

 

Contacts:
Paul Garwood, Communication officer HAC, WHO, Geneva, Mobile: +41 79 475 5546,
Email: garwoodp@who.int

Jonathan Abrahams, Coordinator, HAC, WHO, Geneva, Mobile: +41 79 61 98 528, Email: abrahamasj@who.int

Joel Schaefer, Communication officer, WHO, Geneva, Tel: +41 22 791 4473, Mobile: +41 79 516 4756, Email: schaefefj@who.int

Sarah Russell, Communication officer, WHO, Geneva, Tel: +41 22 791 5412, Email: russelsa@who.int

Fadéla Chaib, Communication officer, WHO, Geneva, Tel: +41 22 791 32 28, Email: chaibf@who.int

 

All press releases, fact sheets and other WHO media material may be found at www.who.int

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Apr 06 2009

World Health Organization appoints Jet Li as Goodwill Ambassador

03 APRIL 2009 | GENEVA - World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan has appointed international film star Jet Li as WHO Goodwill Ambassador.

 

In his first official function as Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Li will attend the launch of the World Health Day in Beijing on 7th of April. He will help spread the World Health Day message of making hospitals safe during emergencies.

 

Jet Li is expected to use his world wide celebrity to raise attention on key health issues including public health responses to emergencies and mental health.

 

“I am very pleased to appoint Jet Li as a Goodwill Ambassador for WHO”, said WHO Director General Margret Chan speaking from Sichuan, China where she is attending an international conference on health response to natural disasters.

 

“Jet Li’s commitment to promoting community involvement and young people’s participation in social and health issues will be a great asset to WHO’s work. He has been personally involved in providing emergency response following natural disasters and has promoted mental health amongst youth. We are grateful that he is willing to use his energy and fame to promote health and well-being.”

 

Before launching his film career Beijing born Jet Li began studying Wushu (Chinese martial arts) at the age of 8 and won his first Chinese national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team three years later. Jet Li has represented China in over 45 countries performing martial arts at various state functions. Shortly after retiring from the sport at the age of 17, his film career started with a number of successful martial arts films. Today his film credits include a string of successful Hollywood movies.

 

After experiencing the 2004 South Asian tsunami, Jet Li took a break from acting and turned his attention to philanthropy and set up a charitable foundation. He has been involved in the emergency response to earthquakes in China has also set up programmes to help young people to cope with psychosocial challenges and find a balance in life.

 

On his appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Jet Li said: “I would like to thank the WHO for this great honor and opportunity. Health is essential to the well-being of humanity, and I am very happy that the WHO trusts me to take on this important responsibility. If we do not take care of our bodies, we will not be able to do many things. This is our common belief, and I will do my very best to spread this shared belief to the world.”

 

Contact:

Dr. Gaya Gamhewage, Team Leader, Communications office, WHO, Geneva, Mobile: +41 79 475 5563, Email: gamhewageg@who.int.

 

All press releases, fact sheets and other WHO media material may be found at www.who.int

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