Recent news from WHO



• More than 2000 children die each day as a result of unintentional or accidental injuries, according to a report by WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund released on 10 December. Read the report, entitled World report on child injury prevention, here:

• As of 9 December, Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health reported 16 141 suspected cholera cases resulting in 775 deaths since August 2008 in two-thirds of the country's 62 districts. WHO said that the overall case fatality rate was 4.8%. WHO is establishing a cholera control and command centre, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and other health partners.

• In a meeting held by WHO in Ottawa, Canada, on 1-4 December, food safety experts set a level of 0.2 milligrams of melamine per kilogram of body weight as the maximum that can be tolerated by a person. The chemical was found in milk, milk products and other animal-origin products in recent months.

• Annual measles deaths fell globally by 74% between 2000 and 2007, WHO announced on 4 December, from an estimated 750 000 to 197 000.

• Michel Sidibé of Mali was appointed the new Executive Director of UNAIDS on 1 December, World AIDS Day. Sidibé takes over from Dr Peter Piot on 1 January 2008.

• Lack of availability of essential medicines in the public sector drives patients to pay higher prices in the private sector or to go without, according to a WHO study reported in the online edition of the Lancet on 1 December.

• Universal and annual voluntary HIV testing followed by immediate antiretroviral therapy - irrespective of clinical stage or CD4+ level - can reduce new HIV cases by 95% within 10 years, according to new findings based on a mathematical model developed by a group of HIV specialists at WHO. WHO said that these findings, published in the Lancet on 26 November, aimed to stimulate discussion and further research and did not imply any change in WHO guidance.

• Delegates at the Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health issued a Call to Action urging governments to allocate at least 2% of the budgets of health ministries to research and development agencies. The 17-19 November meeting in Bamako, Mali, also urged governments to pursue innovative financing mechanisms for research for health and to link evidence to policy-making.

• The first WHO Congress on Traditional Medicine took place in Beijing, China, 7-9 November, and was opened by the Director-General and attended by experts from more than 70 countries. During the Congress participants adopted the Beijing Declaration on traditional medicine. The Declaration aims to promote the safe and effective use of traditional medicine, and to integrate traditional medicine into national health care systems.

For more about these and other WHO news items please see:

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland