Tuesday October 15, 2019

WHO Calls for Developing and Implementing Strategies to Prevent Suicide and Promote Mental Health

Suicide is a public health problem, according to the WHO. An estimated 8 lakh people globally commit suicide every year

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WHO, Strategies, Suicide
In line with the regional strategy for preventing suicide, all the countries are working to develop and implement comprehensive, multisectoral suicide prevention strategies, she said. Pixabay

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for developing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote mental health.

Ahead of the World Mental Health Day, to be observed on Thursday, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said the region’s member states are taking important steps to address the issue.

In line with the regional strategy for preventing suicide, all the countries are working to develop and implement comprehensive, multisectoral suicide prevention strategies, she said.

Suicide is a public health problem, according to the WHO. An estimated 8 lakh people globally commit suicide every year, which equates to around one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 29.

WHO, Strategies, Suicide
Ahead of the World Mental Health Day, to be observed on Thursday, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said the region’s member states are taking important steps to address the issue. Pixabay

Though suicide is a global issue, nearly 79 per cent of suicides occur in low and middle-income countries. The Southeast Asia Region is the world’s most affected area, accounting for 39 per cent of global suicide mortality.

Singh said national policies or strategies for suicide prevention should be developed and implemented in line with evidence, best practices and international and regional human rights conventions. To do that, appropriate budgets should be allocated, she added.

She also said that surveillance for suicide should be established and strengthened and, wherever possible, linked to other sources of data.

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Sex and age-disaggregated data ought to be collected and measured, while the direct and indirect costs of suicide and attempted suicide should be collated, Singh said. (IANS)

Next Story

WHO Reports Progress in Containing Ebola Outbreak in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

It is impossible to predict where the outbreak is going to go next, said Ryan.

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WHO, Ebola, Outbreak
The executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, says he is largely optimistic that aid workers are getting control of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo. VOA

The World Health Organization reports progress in containing the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but says many challenges to its elimination remain.  WHO reports the number of cases in the outbreak now stands at 3,207, including 2,144 deaths.

The executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, says he is largely optimistic that aid workers are getting control of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo.  But, he says, it is impossible to say the outbreak is over.

“It is not.  It is impossible to predict where the outbreak is going to go next,” said Ryan. “But… I do–I would stand over the fact that we have significantly contained the virus in a much smaller geographic area.  Now we have to kill the virus.  The problem is, it is back in areas that are deeply insecure.”

In fact, the virus has come full circle.  Ryan notes the disease has moved from Butembo and other urban areas to the remote, rural town of Mangina, the epicenter of the outbreak.  He says the virus is back where it began when the Ebola outbreak was declared August 1, 2018.

WHO, Ebola, Outbreak
But, he says, it is impossible to say the outbreak is over. Pixabay

“So, essentially the virus is back in the same zone,” said Ryan. “So, the factors that allowed that virus to transmit at low intensity for a number of months, have not changed.  Deep insecurity, reticence amongst the population, distrust and many other factors continue to make this a very dangerous situation.  But a situation, for which I believe we are making significant progress at this time.”

Ryan says WHO is increasing the scale of its operation, engaging in active surveillance across North Kivu province and actively seeking new cases and tracing contacts to keep the virus from spreading.

He says more than 230,000 people have been vaccinated against the deadly disease and more lives are being saved among people infected with the virus who are coming to the treatment centers.

He says the fatality rate among the nearly 800 patients currently in Ebola treatment units is less than one third – a significantly better outcome than the two-thirds fatality rate reported for the disease overall.

Also Read- One in Five People in Conflict-Affected Areas Live with Mental Health Condition

Still, this is the biggest Ebola outbreak in Africa since the epidemic across three West African countries in 2014 killed more than 11,000 people. (VOA)