Sunday August 25, 2019
Home Lead Story WHO Chief Say...

WHO Chief Says Reforms Begun Under Predecessor Margaret Chan Paying Off

Some deal with diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries, while others are newly emerging.

0
//
who
he noted the assembly had approved a road map to reduce deaths from cholera by 90 percent by 2030. Pixabay

The World Health Organization’s annual conference ended on a high note Saturday, with the organization’s director general praising delegates for giving him a strong mandate to implement an ambitious program of reforms and initiatives that will improve global health.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus paid homage to his predecessor, Margaret Chan, saying the reforms begun under her leadership to make the World Health Organization more responsive and better able to tackle emergencies were now paying off.

WHO
The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, passed a number of resolutions aimed at improving global health. Pixabay

“The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has demonstrated exactly that. … Let me assure you that I am personally committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop this outbreak as soon as possible,” Tedros said. “And the commitment of the government, of course, and the leadership is at the center, which we really admire.”

The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, passed a number of resolutions aimed at improving global health. Some deal with diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries, while others are newly emerging.

But all these decisions, Tedros said, involve commitments to make the world a healthier, safer place. For example, he noted the assembly had approved a road map to reduce deaths from cholera by 90 percent by 2030.

Read More: Children Threatened By Ebola Outbreak In DRC

“You endorsed our five-year strategic plan on polio transition, to strengthen country health systems that could be affected by the scaling down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,” he said. “You passed resolutions on tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases. … And you have agreed to increase the development and use of digital technologies to improve health and keep the world safe.”

Tedros urged the delegates to go back to their countries with renewed determination to work every day for the health of their people. How well they succeed in this endeavor, he said, will be measured by the outcomes, by whether they result in real change on the ground. (VOA)

Next Story

WHO Voicing Concern about Growing Risk of Congo’s Ebola Spreading to Neighboring Countries

Fears that the deadly Ebola virus could spread to Congo's nine neighboring countries are growing with the death

0
WHO, Congo, Ebola
A health worker sprays disinfectant on an ambulance at a Health Centre in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 18, 2019. VOA

As the Ebola epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo enters its second year, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are voicing concern about the growing risk of the virus spreading to neighboring countries.

Fears that the deadly Ebola virus could spread to Congo’s nine neighboring countries are growing with the death of the second person confirmed to have had the disease in Goma, a city of more than one million people. Goma, the capital of conflict-ridden North Kivu province, borders Rwanda and DRC’s gateway to the rest of the world.

Uganda has had three imported cases of Ebola. While it has successfully contained the spread of the disease, WHO experts warn of the potential dangers should the virus enter South Sudan, which is a particularly vulnerable, unstable country.

This is the 10th Ebola outbreak over the past four decades in the DRC. The executive director of WHO Emergencies, Michael Ryan, finds this current one presents unprecedented challenges.

WHO, Congo, Ebola
As the Ebola epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo enters its second year, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are voicing concern. Pixabay

Ryan notes previous outbreaks were generally small, self-contained, and often confined to remote rural areas. This has changed. He says factors such as a conflict, forced migration, unsafe health facilities, and disease amplification are increasing the risks from emerging diseases.

“So, the risk of an individual disease emerging may not change,” he said. “But, the impacts of those emergencies are changing. In that sense it is a new normal and we need to be ready…About 80 percent of our high-impact epidemic responses are in fragile, conflict-affected, and vulnerable countries. So, about 30 countries around the world represent around 80 percent of these high-impact epidemics.”

Ryan says African countries need international assistance to help them strengthen their fragile health systems. Without this aid, he warns, Congo and other nations will have great difficulty in tackling future outbreaks of Ebola and other emerging diseases.

The World Health Organization has deployed more than 700 international experts in the field. The U.N. agency says it is scaling up Ebola preparation measures in the neighboring countries, especially Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda, which are most at risk.

Also Read- Google Starts Testing its Own Monthly Gaming Subscription

It says frontline health workers are being vaccinated against the disease, more Ebola treatment centers are being set up, and more than 3,000 health workers are screening people for the virus at major points of entry. (VOA)