Friday, October 2, 2020

WHO Health Emergency Highlights #108

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120 million COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for low- and middle-income countries
With results available in 15-30 minutes, the use of these tests will help particularly in countries that do not have extensive laboratory facilities or trained health workers to implement molecular (PCR) tests.
"WHO has zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse"
WHO is outraged by recent reports of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Such acts of abuse are not tolerated in any of our staff, contractors or partners; and anyone involved will be held to account and face serious consequences. WHO's Regional Director for Africa expressed support to the victims, and the decision of the Director-General to initiate a thorough review of the allegations and bring the perpetrators to account. The full statement is here.
Refugee scholarship for those displaced due to the conflicts
The Center for Humanitarian Health announced a refugee scholarship programme in honour of the late Dr Peter Salama, who was WHO's Executive Director of the Division for Universal Health Coverage. The grant will support individuals who have been displaced due to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. These students will receive full tuition while pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Details are available on the Center's website
Thailand | Video
"It's so much easier to fight an epidemic like COVID-19 when you have a strong health system," says Dr Daniel Kertesz, WHO Representative in Thailand, lauding the country's decades of committing to and investing in the public health care system. Watch this video to learn how Thailand stayed ahead of the pandemic.
WHO deploys help to refugees and migrants in Lesvos's fire-burned camp
Hours after the catastrophic fire that broke out in the Moria reception and identification centre for asylum seekers and refugees in Lesvos, the WHO Country Office in Greece arrived on the island to working at the forefront of the response with government and other health actors.
The Americas
'Our fate is in your hands': Educating children on preventing Zika
The Pan-American Health Organization and UNICEF have teamed up with Cartoon Network Latin America in the "Mission Zika" educational campaign, to raise awareness about Zika using public service announcements on how to prevent the disease. The campaign calls on children – 'young superheroes' – to help stop the spread of the virus and protect themselves, their families and neighbourhoods.
WHO supports home-based strategy to relieve health facilities
A successful pilot project to ensure effective care at home is being adopted across the country.
Democratic Republic of Congo
WHO in Africa strengthens cross-border surveillance
Faced with high risk of the spread of Ebola virus disease between from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the Republic of Congo (RC), WHO's Regional Director for Africa facilitated an agreement between the two countries on mechanisms of cross-border collaboration. The partnership strengthens surveillance, rapid case detection and multi-disciplinary interventions for Ebola in high-risk districts to prevent any importation of the virus into neighbouring countries.
EU and WHO deliver emergency life-saving supplies to flood-affected areas
At the request of WHO, the European Union delegation to Somalia commissioned two special flights in September to airlift emergency medical kits and supplies to Hirshabelle State. These supplies are being used to treat populations affected by recent flash floods.
Nationwide measles campaign to start in October
In the Philippines, around 2.4 million children under the age of five are susceptible to measles. WHO and UNICEF are supporting the Department of Health in the nationwide measles and polio supplemental immunisation campaign starting on 26 October.
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Expanding the COVID-19 surveillance system
Once a possible case or cluster is identified, an expanded community-based system alerts the surveillance team. The team can then quickly investigate, isolate, test and treat the cases and monitor and quarantine contacts to reduce chances of further transmission.
Life-saving antitoxin delivered to treat children with diphtheria 
Despite COVID-19 related disruptions to essential health services, WHO is supporting national authorities to continue immunisation services for vaccine preventable diseases, including diphtheria, which has a higher mortality rate among children. 
HIV prevention in high burden settings through voluntary medical male circumcision
New WHO guidelines present additional evidence supporting voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as part of a combination of preventive measures to keep adult men and adolescent boys from contracting HIV. The guidelines also outline a health systems framework to help transition to adolescent-focused sustainable services and maintain high VMMC coverage.
Spotlight on health care workers
COVID-19 has infected at least 570,000 health workers and killed 2,500 in the Americas
As of September, the Americas region has the highest number of health care workers infected in the world, with at least 570 000, and more than 2,500 have fallen – and still counting. With the region accounting for half of the world's COVID 19 cases, the scale of this pandemic is unprecedented. No other group has felt this more acutely than the very men and women who make up the health workforce, according to PAHO Regional Director Dr Carissa Etienne.
The Partners Platform
Live digital space behind the scenes for a more effective and transparent country response
The COVID-19 Partners Platform gives real-time monitoring of the flow of contributions in support of country-level response. Its action checklist, resource tracking and the Supply Portal, enable countries to choose actions from the checklist and create their preparedness and response plan, and match with donors. 
First WHO training in infodemic management
Four-week training in November now open for applications
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is also an urgent need to address the misinformation around the disease, treatments and vaccines, and public health measures. WHO and partners invite applications from experienced professionals from the fields of epidemiology, risk communication, health service delivery/health care workers, digital health, policy making (in health and intersectoral), who are responding to the current COVID-19 and overlapping infodemics at country level.
It's never been more urgent to be part of the global COVID-19 response. Donations support the work with partners to track and understand the spread of the virus; ensure patients receive care and frontline workers get essential protection and information; and accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them. Donate now.
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