Mr. Guterres celebrated rising vaccination coverage worldwide, particularly among high-risk populations, and the fact that, on average, countries have vaccinated around three-quarters of health care workers and older people.
COVID-19 measures are increasingly integrated into routine health programmes, and new antiviral drugs are about to become available.
However, gaps in coverage and protection remain, said Mr, Guterres. There is minimal vaccine booster coverage in all countries, and there are low vaccination rates in poorer countries. He also warned of a “shadow pandemic” of vaccine hesitancy, and misinformation, that needs to be tackled.
The UN chief also called for testing rates to be drastically improved, and for countries to ensure they are fully prepared for future pandemics. “Making progress towards closing these gaps is what today is all about, declared Mr. Guterres. “It’s time to build political momentum to finish the job on COVID-19”.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of UN health agency WHO, has had to deliver many downbeat remarks since the beginning of the pandemic but, at Friday’s event, he was able to send a remarkably positive message.
With so many people vaccinated, and reported deaths from the virus at the lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, the international community, he said, has “never been in a better position to end COVID-19 as a global health emergency”.
The report and new data portal, was launched on the sidelines of the 77th session of the General Assembly, at an event co-organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) together with Bloomberg Philanthropies.
⏱️ Every two seconds, one person under the age of 70 dies of a noncommunicable diseases - such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes & respiratory diseases.September 21, 2022
NCDs constitute one of the greatest health and development challenges of this century, according to WHO.
Chief among them are cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke; cancer; and diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases – as well as mental health illnesses.
Together they account for nearly three-quarters of deaths in the world, taking 41 million lives every year.
The report, Invisible numbers: The true extent of noncommunicable diseases and what to do about them, highlights NCDs statistics to illustrate the true scale of the threats and risk factors they pose.
It also shows cost-effective and globally applicable interventions that can lower those numbers and save lives and money.
“This report is a reminder of the true scale of the threat posed by NCDs and their risk factors,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Sharing the latest country-specific data, risk factors and policy implementation for 194 countries, the NCD data portal brings the numbers in the report to life.
Moreover, it allows data exploration on cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases along with their main drivers and risk factors, which include tobacco, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol and lack of physical activity.
The portal spotlights patterns and trends throughout countries and allows comparison across nations and/or within geographical regions.
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that a sample taken from a 24-year-old man was identified as the relatively rare Sudan strain.
It is the first time in more than a decade that the Sudan strain has been found in Uganda, which also saw an outbreak of the Zaire strain of Ebola virus in 2019.
The latest outbreak follows six suspicious deaths in Mubende district so far this month. There are also eight suspected cases who are receiving care in a health facility.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, said that the UN agency was working closely with Ugandan authorities to investigate the source, and support efforts to control it.
“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control”, she said. “Thanks to its expertise, action has been taken to quickly to detect the virus and we can bank on this knowledge to halt the spread of infections.”
Existing vaccines against Ebola have proved effective against the Zaire strain but it is not clear if they will be as successful against the Sudan strain, WHO said in a statement.
Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. It has six different strains, three of which - Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire - have previously caused large outbreaks.
Case fatality rates of the Sudan strain have varied from 41 per cent to 100 per cent in past outbreaks. Early roll-out of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola, WHO said.
👩👧 Early parenthood
These life altering moments can be stressful for women & their partners and might impact their #MentalHealth.
🆕 WHO guide supports maternal & child health services to detect & respond to mental health conditions ⬇️— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) September 19, 2022
It can trigger a period of poor mental health or lead to a worsening of previous mental health conditions.
Moreover, among women with perinatal mental health conditions – just before and shortly after giving birth – around 20 per cent will experience suicidal thoughts or undertake acts of self-harm, said WHO.
Ignoring mental fitness not only risks women’s overall health and well-being, but also impacts infants’ physical and emotional development.
The UN health agency’s new guide for integration of perinatal mental health in maternal and child health services upholds that good mental health can improve health outcomes and the quality of maternal and child health services for all women.
And it compliments other services, including screening, diagnosis and management of PMH conditions into maternal and child health (MCH) – highlighted in the Nurturing Care Framework; WHO recommendations on maternal and newborn care for a positive postnatal experience; and the WHO guideline on improving Early Childhood Development.
The guide provides the best available information aimed at supporting MCH providers in identifying symptoms of mental health problems and responding in a way that is adapted to their local and cultural context.
“The guide provides an evidence-informed approach for planning the integration of perinatal mental healthcare into MCH services and assessing its impact,” said the UN health agency.
WHO outlined that effective integration requires, for example, a core team responsible to oversee it, a situation analysis and needs assessment to identify a feasible package of interventions that meet women’s needs during the perinatal period, and adequate workforce training and supervision to deliver services.