Monday, November 16, 2020

WHO Health Emergency Highlights #109, October 2020

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Republic of Korea | Video
"Crisis response can only succeed if you are faithful to the fundamental values of your country." The Republic of Korea implemented a robust nationwide response, built on intensive testing and contact tracing, care for affected people, and a clear public information campaign. Drawing on lessons learned from past outbreaks and the advice and support of WHO, the country brought the epidemic under control and demonstrated the importance of adherence to proven public health measures.
The push for a COVID-19 vaccine
As WHO works with partners on the global response to COVID-19, including tracking the pandemic, advising on critical interventions, and distributing vital medical supplies to those in need, the race to find a vaccine has also highlighted how the world has come together as one community. Read more on how the COVAX Facility, led by WHO, Gavi and CEPI, is evaluating more than 100 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development, with a number of these in the human trial phase.
Staying safe during typhoon season
As typhoons hit Vietnam and the Philippines recently, it is important to keep these simple but effective steps to stay safe during natural calamities; and especially in time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
'Science in 5' | Video
In this edition of the 'Science in 5' series, WHO's Dr Maria Neira explains how ventilation keeps homes, schools, offices, and shops safe from COVID-19. Click here for a full playlist of all episodes discussing different aspects of science in responding to COVID-19 – each explained in just five minutes.
WHO strengthens a multi-sectoral response to floods and disease outbreaks
Having experienced recurrent epidemic-prone disease outbreaks such as cholera, chikungunya, malaria, Rift Valley fever and measles, amongst others, Sudan is now responding to COVID-19. In addition, the country's worst floods in decades have affected more than 860,000 people, and killed more than 120. WHO supports the Ministry of Health to set up a clinic for many residents who lost their homes and have seen their health deteriorate due to difficult living conditions; and works with UNICEF and national and international partners in a well-coordinated multi-sectoral response.
Community strength, local knowledge, and collective memory prepare people for COVID-19
Memory of the measles outbreak in Samoa in 2019 galvanised communities' commitment to stay safe from COVID-19, using traditional resources and a holistic approach. Along with high rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the COVID-19 pandemic means many people would be extremely vulnerable. Through the Delivering as One UN initiative and working with government, WHO supports the development of a community engagement strategy to boost the health system beyond COVID-19, along with partner NGOs.
Laos PDR
Data help to prepare and contain the COVID-19 outbreak 
With the support of WHO, a system to collect vital information on the use of health resources such as ICU beds, ventilators, and staffing in designated COVID-19 treatment hospitals, has helped Laos PDR to evaluate trends and plan ahead. Since 2013, WHO has been supporting the country's long-term investment to build a national health information system based on software: the District Health Information System (DHIS2).
South Sudan
Vaccination campaign conducted to protect 93,000 people from yellow fever 
"I learned that cases of yellow fever have been confirmed here, and as a parent I got worried that I and my family could get infected. When I heard we would be receiving the vaccines for free, I wanted to be the first to receive, along with my family members. The vaccines came at the right time," said Basenso Loro, 53-year-old resident of Rego village, South Sudan, on receiving his first-ever dose of the vaccine.
WHO delivers medical supplies to Syria
A chartered aircraft landed in Damascus, Syria, to deliver 8.8 tonnes of medical kits and supplies for almost 2,000 beneficiaries and enough personal protective equipment to protect more than 4,000 health care workers, to support the health response in Syria as the country is expecting a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
WHO, EU support expansion of COVID-19 lab testing for Community Health Workers
The European Union and the Pan American Health Organization have been supporting the COVID-19 response in Belize to enhance the Ministry of Health's capacity for decentralised and faster COVID-19 testing, improved infection prevention and control, and the delivery of health services to the community. By providing results quickly, the new testing capacity empowers frontline health workers to better manage cases by isolating and providing care to patients to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Responding to the floods that affected people, homes, health facilities, schools
WHO worked with the Royal Government of Cambodia to respond to COVID-19 and protect the health of the communities affected by floods that damaged 95,130 homes, over 25 health facilities and more than 560 schools, and resulted in 37 deaths and the evacuation of 42 332 people. WHO coordinates the response of UN agencies and international NGOs in the response.
Ensuring the continuity of essential health services in the world's largest refugee camp
Ensuring the continuity of essential health services in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, was a challenge even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has brought lockdowns and subsequent disruption to health services in the world's largest refugee camp. WHO's work in bringing routine immunisation programme is key to reduce the likelihood of outbreak-prone vaccine preventable diseases such as polio and measles among the Rohingya refugees.
Polio response networks bolster pandemic response
Integrated polio surveillance and immunisation networks in five priority countries were re-purposed to prepare the most vulnerable populations and respond to COVID-19: polio networks help health authorities to detect, test, track, isolate and even prepare hospitals to provide adequate and timely treatment across the Southeast Asian Region. In neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan, the World Polio Day was commemorated for the same comprehensive approach in the polio response that is now used for COVID-19.
Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict
WHO delivered emergency medical supplies in response to the conflict
WHO delivered medical supplies, consisting of trauma and surgical supplies to Armenia and Azerbaijan to help hundreds of civilians injured in the hostilities. WHO expressed concern at the violence that displaced tens of thousands of civilians, injured hundreds and killed many, as it exacerbates an accelerating COVID-19 transmission.
Spotlight on Donor Support
Japan and Korea support COVID-19 response in Bolivia 
The Republic of Korea and the Government of Japan, working with WHO's Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have been supporting Bolivia's COVID-19 pandemic response. Korea has given $500,000 to train health and laboratory workers, obtain tests, provide medical equipment, deliver protective gear for frontline COVID-19 health workers, and support numerous other activities.
Responding to multi-dimensional emergency situations
The people of Central Sahel are in dire need of help
Along with the ongoing COVIDI-19 pandemic, the situation in the Central Sahel region has deteriorated significantly over the last years. Complex and fast-growing crises cause unprecedented needs, while armed violence and insecurity have forced more people to flee their homes, and disrupted basic social services and governance. Across the region, the number of internally displaced people has risen from 70,000 to 1.4 million in less than two years; including 1 million in Burkina Faso, 267,000 in Mali and 140,000 in western Niger.
It's never been more urgent to be part of the global COVID-19 response. As of October, the Solidarity Response Fund has raised or committed $236,404,014 from more than 633,000 individuals, companies and philanthropies. But the urgency to support and be part of the global response to this pandemic continues. Click here to see how donations support various tracks of work with partners to ensure patients receive the care, 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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