Archive for the ‘World Health Organization’ Category

Social determinants of health and well-being among young people

May 11, 2012 Comments off
Source:  World Health Organization
Widespread inequalities mean that many young people in the WHO European Region and North America are not as healthy as they could be, according to a new report on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

“Adolescence is a crucial life stage, when young people lay the foundation for adulthood, whether healthy or otherwise,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “This report shows us that the situation across Europe is not fair: health depends on age, gender, geography and family affluence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This report gives policy-makers an opportunity to act to secure the health of the next generation. Once again, young people have used the opportunity provided by HBSC to speak. It now falls to us – who cherish their aspirations, ambitions, health and well-being – to act.”

Professor Candace Currie, HBSC International Coordinator, of the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom, said: “Inequalities in child and adolescent health call for international and national policies and action to give all young people the opportunity to maximize their current and future health and well-being. Health promotion programmes should be sensitive to age, gender and socioeconomic differences, and should aim to create a fair situation for all young people. This report is unique in the world as a comprehensive picture of young people’s health and well-being, and is vital as a sound body of evidence on which to base policy.”

The report gives the results of the 2009/2010 HBSC survey, covering 39 countries and regions across the European Region and North America. The survey collected data from 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds on 60 topics related to their health and well-being, social environments and behaviour. HBSC reports have been issued every four years since 1996.

Global Report for Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty

May 2, 2012 Comments off

Global Report for Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Source: World Health Organization
Each year infectious diseases kill 3.5 million people – mostly the poor and young children who live in low and middle income countries. Research can change this and bring health to many more people. TDR has brought people and institutions together to identify and advocate for the research priorities that will bring new and innovative approaches and products.

The result is Global Report for Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty , which provides a new cross-disciplinary approach and analysis. It is essential reading for policy-makers, funders and research leaders.

WHO highlights global underinvestment in mental health care

October 10, 2011 Comments off

WHO highlights global underinvestment in mental health care
Source: World Health Organization

One in four people will require mental health care at some point in their lives but in many countries only two per cent of all health sector resources are invested in mental health services.

Average global spending on mental health is still less than US$ 3 per capita per year. In low income countries, expenditure can be as little as US$0.25 per person per year, according to the WHO’s Mental Health Atlas 2011, released on World Mental Health Day.

The report also finds that the bulk of those resources are often spent on services that serve relatively few people.

“Governments tend to spend most of their scarce mental health resources on long-term care at psychiatric hospitals,” says Dr Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at WHO. “Today, nearly 70 per cent of mental health spending goes to mental institutions. If countries spent more at the primary care level, they would be able to reach more people, and start to address problems early enough to reduce the need for expensive hospital care.”

The Atlas highlights other imbalances. Good mental health services focus equally on providing patients with a combination of medicines and psychosocial care. In lower income countries, however, shortages of resources and skills often result in patients only being treated with medicines. The lack of psychosocial care reduces the effectiveness of the treatment.

Meanwhile, many people have no access to mental health services at all. Across the low-and middle-income group of countries, more than three quarters of people needing mental health care do not even receive the most basic mental health services.

+ Mental Health Atlas 2011

Tackling the global clean air challenge

September 28, 2011 Comments off

Tackling the global clean air challenge
Source: World Health Organization

In many cities air pollution is reaching levels that threaten people’s health according to an unprecedented compilation of air quality data released today by WHO. The information includes data from nearly 1100 cities across 91 countries, including capital cities and cities with more than 100 000 residents.

WHO estimates more than 2 million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in indoor and outdoor air pollution. PM10 particles, which are particles of 10 micrometers or less, which can penetrate into the lungs and may enter the bloodstream, can cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, and acute lower respiratory infections. The WHO air quality guidelines for PM10 is 20 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) as an annual average, but the data released today shows that average PM10 in some cities has reached up to 300 µg/m3.

+ Database: outdoor air pollution in cities
+ World map of outdoor air pollution
+ FAQs

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010

August 29, 2011 Comments off

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010
Source: World Health Organization

Of the 57 million global deaths in 2008, 36 million, or 63%, were due to NCDs, principally cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. As the impact of NCDs increases, and as populations age, annual NCD deaths are projected to continue to rise worldwide, and the greatest increase is expected to be seen in low- and middle-income regions.

While popular belief presumes that NCDs afflict mostly high-income populations, the evidence tells a very different story. Nearly 80% of NCD deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries and NCDs are the most frequent causes of death in most countries, except in Africa. Even in African nations, NCDs are rising rapidly and are projected to exceed communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases as the most common causes of death by 2030.

WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2011: warning about the dangers of tobacco

July 28, 2011 Comments off

WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2011: warning about the dangers of tobacco
Source: World Health Organization

This report is the third in a series of WHO reports on the status of global tobacco control policy implementation.

All data on the level of countries’ achievement for the six MPOWER measures have been updated through 2010, and additional data have been collected on warning the public about the dangers of tobacco. The report examines in detail the two primary strategies to provide health warnings – labels on tobacco product packaging and anti-tobacco mass media campaigns. It provides a comprehensive overview of the evidence base for warning people about the harms of tobacco use as well as country-specific information on the status of these measures.

To continue the process of improving data analysis, categories of policy achievement have been refined and, where possible, made consistent with new and evolving guidelines for the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Data from the 2009 report have been re-analyzed to be consistent with these new categories, allowing for more direct comparisons of the data across both reports.

+ Full Report (PDF)

WHO — EHEC outbreak: Increase in cases in Germany

June 2, 2011 Comments off

EHEC outbreak: Increase in cases in Germany
Source: World Health Organization

Cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) continue to rise in Germany. Ten countries have now reported cases to WHO/Europe.

As of 31 May 2011, nine patients in Germany have died of HUS, and six of EHEC. One person in Sweden has also died. There are many hospitalized patients, several of them requiring intensive care, including dialysis.

The number of patients in Germany presenting with HUS and bloody diarrhoea caused by STEC is 470, which is 97 more than the day before, and 1064 of EHEC, which is an increase of 268. Overall in Europe, 499 cases of HUS and 1115 cases of EHEC have been reported, 1614 in total.

Cases have now also been notified from: Austria (HUS 0, EHEC 2), Denmark (7, 7), France, (0, 6), Netherlands (4, 4), Norway, (0, 1), Spain, (1, 0), Sweden (15, 28) and Switzerland (0, 2) and the United Kingdom. (2, 1) All these cases except two are in people who had recently visited northern Germany or in one case, had contact with a visitor from northern Germany.

Numerous investigations are continuing into the cause of the outbreak, which is still unclear.

+ EHEC outbreak in Germany
+ Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC)
+ Five Keys to Safer Food (PDF)

Documents in the News — IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans

May 31, 2011 Comments off

IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans (PDF)
Source: World Health Organization (International Agency for Research on Cancer)

Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group, indicated that “the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”

“Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings,” said IARC Director Christopher Wild, “it is important that additional research be conducted into the long‐term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands‐free devices or texting.”

The Working Group considered hundreds of scientific articles; the complete list will be published in the Monograph. It is noteworthy to mention that several recent in‐press scientific articles resulting from the Interphone study were made available to the working group shortly before it was due to convene, reflecting their acceptance for publication at that time, and were included in the evaluation.

A concise report summarizing the main conclusions of the IARC Working Group and the evaluations of the carcinogenic hazard from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (including the use of mobile telephones) will be published in The Lancet Oncology in its July 1 issue, and in a few days online.

Many countries hit by health threats from both infectious and chronic diseases

May 17, 2011 Comments off

Many countries hit by health threats from both infectious and chronic diseases
Source: World Health Organization

An increasing number of countries are facing a double burden of disease as the prevalence of risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancers increase and many countries still struggle to reduce maternal and child deaths caused by infectious diseases, for the Millennium Development Goals, according to the World Health Statistics 2011 released by the WHO today.

Noncommunicable diseases such heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and cancer, now make up two-thirds of all deaths globally, due to the population aging and the spread of risk factors associated with globalization and urbanization. The control of risk factors such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and excessive use of alcohol becomes more critical. The latest WHO figures showed that about 4 out of 10 men and 1 in 11 women are using tobacco and about 1 in 8 adults is obese.

In addition many developing countries continue to battle health issues such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria that are most likely to kill children under the age of five. In 2009, 40% of all child deaths were among newborns (aged 28 days or less). Much more needs to be done to achieve the MDGs by the target date of 2015, but progress has accelerated.

+ World Health Statistics 2011

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010

April 28, 2011 Comments off

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010
Source: World Health Organization

This report sets out the statistics, evidence and experiences needed to launch a more forceful response to the growing threat posed by noncommunicable diseases. While advice and recommendations are universally relevant, the report gives particular attention to conditions in low- and middle-income countries, which now bear nearly 80% of the burden from diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. The health consequences of the worldwide epidemic of obesity are also addressed.

The report takes an analytical approach, using global, regional and country-specific data to document the magnitude of the problem, project future trends, and assess the factors contributing to these trends. As noted, the epidemic of these diseases is being driven by powerful forces now touching every region of the world: demographic ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. While many chronic conditions develop slowly, changes in lifestyles and behaviours are occurring with a stunning speed and sweep.

Burden of disease from environmental noise: Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe

April 5, 2011 Comments off

Burden of disease from environmental noise: Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe
Source: World Health Organization

The health impacts of environmental noise are a growing concern. At least one million healthy life years are lost every year from traffic-related noise in the western part of Europe.

This publication summarizes the evidence on the relationship between environmental noise and health effects, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, tinnitus, and annoyance. For each one, the environmental burden of disease methodology, based on exposure–response relationship, exposure distribution, background prevalence of disease and disability weights of the outcome, is applied to calculate the burden of disease in terms of disability-adjusted life-years. Data are still lacking for the rest of the WHO European Region.

+ Full Document (PDF)

Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011

February 15, 2011 Comments off

Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011
Source: World Health Organization
From press release:

Wider implementation of policies is needed to save lives and reduce the health impact of harmful alcohol drinking, says a new report launched today by WHO. Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, causes illness and injury to many more, and increasingly affects younger generations and drinkers in developing countries.

Harmful use of alcohol is defined as excessive use to the point that it causes damage to health and often includes adverse social consequences.


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