Sunday November 19, 2017

WHO’s newly Elected Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stresses on Health as Human Right

Tedros promised to strengthen the frontlines of health, transform the World Health Organization into a world class force and lastly “place accountability, transparency and continuous improvement at the heart of WHOs culture.”

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WHO Director General Tedros stresses the need for bolder action to fight non-communicable diseases,VOA

Geneva, May 25, 2017: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s newly elected director-general, says health as a human right is at the core of his vision for the organization he soon will lead.

The former Ethiopian health and foreign minister is the first African chosen to head the organization, which was created 69 years ago.

After a long, bruising campaign that began in 2015, Tedros beat out two other contenders, David Nabarro of Britain and Pakistani physician Sania Nishtar, for the post by winning 133 of the votes cast by 185 WHO member states.

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“The outcome of the voting was very, very clear,” said Tedros. “Having confidence from the majority of member states gives me legitimacy to really implement the vision that I have already outlined.”

Tedros’ goals

That vision included five promises, which Tedros made to the World Health Assembly during a final campaign pitch preceding Tuesday’s secret ballot vote.

He said that he would “work tirelessly” to fulfill the WHO promise of universal coverage and would ensure “a robust response for emergencies to come.”

He promised to strengthen the frontlines of health, transform the World Health Organization into a world-class force and lastly “place accountability, transparency and continuous improvement at the heart of WHOs culture.”

At a news conference in Geneva, he said the concept of health as a human right would be at the heart of whatever he did.

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FILE - A health official administers a polio vaccine to children at a camp for people displaced by Islamist Extremist in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Aug. 28, 2016. New WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says universal health coverage "should be the center of gravity of our movement."
FILE – A health official administers a polio vaccine to children at a camp for people displaced by Islamist Extremist in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Aug. 28, 2016. New WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says universal health coverage “should be the center of gravity of our movement.” VOA

“Half of our population does not have access to health care,” he said. That, he said, could and should be remedied through universal health care coverage, which would address the issue of health as a human right and act as a spur to development.

“All roads should lead to universal health coverage and it should be the center of gravity of our movement,” he said.

Tedros begins his five-year term as director-general on July 1, succeeding Margaret Chan, who has headed the WHO for the past 10 years.

The newly elected director general said he wants to reform and transform the World Health Organization into a better, more responsive agency.

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As Ethiopia’s minister of health, Tedros led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure and health insurance coverage.

Resources a constant priority

As WHO leader, Tedros said one of his first orders of business would be to strengthen the organization’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies because “epidemics can strike at any time” and the WHO must be prepared.

“The campaign has ended, as you know, officially, but I think the work begins actually now. I know it is very difficult. It is going to be tough,” he said.

One of the major difficulties is that of money. Reform, tackling emerging and ancient diseases take a lot of money, something the World Health Organization, which reportedly is struggling to close a $2.2 billion gap, does not have.

FILE - A woman stands near a poster explaining the Zika virus at the Ministry of Health office in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 2, 2016. New WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that among his priorities will be to strengthen the WHO's ability to respond swiftly and effectively to health emergencies.
FILE – A woman stands near a poster explaining the Zika virus at the Ministry of Health office in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 2, 2016. New WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that among his priorities will be to strengthen the WHO’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to health emergencies. VOA

 

The problem is likely to be made even worse given the Trump administration announced budget cuts to global health programs, including a 32 percent cut to USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) and between 20 percent and 30 percent cuts for scientific research institutes.

The United States is the biggest WHO donor. U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested funding cuts to the organization might be in the offing.

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Tedros observed that it is the poor that are the most affected by big financial cuts.

“I hope this will be understood before finalizing the proposal. I believe this will be taken into consideration,” he said.

He can take heart in that a congratulatory statement on his election from Tim Price, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary did not threaten any funding cuts. Instead, he told Tedros the United States looked forward to working with him on changing the World Health Organization for the better.

“The United States is committed to helping advance reforms and cultivating greater global health security,” he said. (VOA)

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WHO launches a new global effort to end TB by 2030

The announcement was made in the Global Ministerial Conference in Moscow.

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WHO will start working towards ending Tuberculosis
Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

Delegates from 114 countries have agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the WHO said.

The announcement on Friday came as the delegates gathered in Moscow for the first WHO global ministerial conference on ending tuberculosis, Xinhua news agency reported.

The delegates promised to achieve strengthen health systems and improve access to the people regarding TB prevention and care so that no one is left behind.

They also agreed to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.

Resources are expected to advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB, and to build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB.

“Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end TB,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.”

Though global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention, according to the WHO.

As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. Due to its antimicrobial resistance, TB is also the leading killer of people with HIV.

Representatives at the meeting, which was attended by over 1,000 participants, also promised to minimize the risk and spread of drug resistance and do more to engage people and communities affected by or at risk of TB. (IANS)

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Rape Survivors in India Still Face Humiliation with Two-Finger tests and Barriers to Justice says Human Rights Watch

Indian Rape survivors still face barriers in justice and humiliation with two-finger tests, reported the Human Rights Watch

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Rape survivors face humiliation during investigation. Pixabay.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Five years after the Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi, rape survivors are still facing barriers to getting justice in India, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services despite legal and other reforms adopted since the December 16, 2012 gang rape-murder of a 19-year-old physiotherapy intern in the national capital, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, said the international human rights NGO in an 82-page report “Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India” released on Wednesday.

The report said women and girls who survived rape and other sexual violence often suffered humiliation at police stations and hospitals.

“Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading two finger tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused,” an HRW statement said.

“Five years ago, Indians shocked by the brutality of the gang rape in Delhi, called for an end to the silence around sexual violence and demanded criminal justice reforms,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW.

“Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity,” she said.

The HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — selected because of their large number of reported rape cases — as well as Delhi and Mumbai.

The report details 21 cases — 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.

Rape survivors
Rape survivors feel harassed at police stations and hospitals. Pixabay.

The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.

“Under the Indian law, police officers who fail to register a complaint of sexual assault face up to two years in prison. However, Human Rights Watch found that police did not always file a First Information Report (FIR), the first step to initiating a police investigation, especially if the victim was from an economically or socially marginalised community.

“In several cases, the police resisted filing the FIR or pressured the victim’s family to ‘settle’ or ‘compromise’, particularly if the accused was from a powerful family or community,” the statement said.

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It said that lack of witness protection law in India makes rape survivors and witnesses vulnerable to pressure that undermines prosecutions.

The human rights body said that some defence lawyers and judges still use language in courtrooms that is “biased and derogatory” toward sexual assault survivors.

“The attempt at shaming the victim is still very much prevalent in the courts,” Rebecca Mammen John, a senior criminal lawyer in Delhi, was quoted in the statement. (IANS)

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10 Quick Facts About Delhi Pollution Problem

Delhi pollution problem is a matter of grave concern for the authorities in the capital, especially before Diwali and the upcoming winter season. Supreme Court insists upon following strict environmental regulations by the government in order to prevent the release of toxic substances such as carbon, sulfur and coal.

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Vehicles move through morning as smog covers New Delhi. voa

According to a current report by the World Health Organization (WHO), among the 20 most contaminated cities on the earth, 13 are in India, in which Delhi tops the list.

Every year air pollution in New Delhi causes smog during the winters

Here are some important issues and steps which are being taken to control the Pollution level in Delhi.

  • The Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers in Diwali, India’s largest festival, to deal with the air pollution problem in Delhi, that causes smog during the winters.
  • The Court has declared 24th October as a deadline for the government to regulate the use of petcoke fuel.
  • Every day nearly eight residents are dying in India’s capital due to air pollution.
  • Despite the authorities in the capital setting rules to clear the air by cutting traffic, air pollution continues to be a severe threat to the lives of the residents of the capital.
  • A new fuel, petroleum coke, which is the replacement of coal, has further enhanced the problem of the air pollution.
  • Petroleum coke, also known as Petcoke is found in tar sands in the pits of Canada. These are some of the dirtiest crude oil sources. At US Gulf Coast, it is refined where petrol and diesel are removed. Petcoke is the left out substance that produces further harmful substances such as carbon, sulfur and heavy metal emission such as coal.
  • It is exported to the countries like India and China where it is used as a fuel. Thus the developed counties manage to make money out of this harmful waste material due to lax environmental laws in China and India.
  • China has reduced its dependence upon petcoke since 2014. Now India is the largest importer of petcoke.
  • In February, Supreme Court has ordered the government to ban the use of petcoke or put a limit on the sulphur emission in the process.
  • The regulations have limited the sulfur emissions to 4,000 ppm but the regional environmental agencies confirm the presence of 72,000 ppm of sulphur in the petcoke.