Recent news from WHO
WHO warned of potential shortages of influenza vaccine, should a pandemic occur, if production capacity is not increased soon. In the best case scenario, WHO said on 23 October that an estimated 2 billion doses per year could be produced by 2009 or 2010 relying on market-driven forces alone, far short of two doses needed per person for the world's population of more than six billion.
The world's success in eradicating polio now depends on four countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the Advisory Committee on Polio Eradication (ACPE), the independent oversight body of the eradication effort, said on 12 October.
An estimated 153 million people have uncorrected near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism, according to new global estimates released by WHO on 11 October.
sanofi-aventis has renewed its agreement with WHO to expand a programme to fight neglected tropical diseases. Under the new agreement, announced by WHO on 10 October, sanofi-aventis will donate US$ 5 million of drugs to treat sleeping sickness and a further US$ 20 million for leishmaniasis, Buruli ulcer and Chagas disease.
A WHO Global Task Force on extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) said the emergence of the disease posed a serious threat to public health, particularly when associated with HIV. At its first meeting on 9-10 October, the Task Force also outlined a series of measures that countries must put in place to effectively combat XDR-TB.
WHO has called on all governments to improve the quality of the air in their cities to protect people's health. According to a new set of Air Quality Guidelines, released by WHO on 5 October, a reduction in levels of a pollutant known as PM10 could reduce deaths in polluted cities by up to 15% every year.
For more about these and other WHO news items please see: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2006/en/index.html