Paris ‘terror attack’: One policeman has been shot dead and two others wounded with their suspected attacker killed by security forces.April 20th, 2017
4/20/1999, Columbine High School: By 11:35 a.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded another 23 people.April 20th, 2017
The US State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week conducted an unprecedented inter-agency drill to test the ability to airlift clusters of infected patients to hospitals with special biocontainment units.April 20th, 2017
“……The State Department and Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday they led an unprecedented inter-agency drill last week to test their preparedness to deal with a new outbreak of Ebola or another deadly, highly infectious disease. In the drill, 11 simulated patients were flown in specially designed bio-containment containers on a pair of 747s and three smaller Gulfstream jets from Sierra Leone to Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
From Dulles, the purported patients then went to five medical facilities across the U.S – Bellevue Hospital in New York City, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, the Denver Health Medical Center in Denver and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The patients were played by non-infected volunteers…..”
WHO: “Today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.”April 20th, 2017
Radical increase in water and sanitation investment required to meet development targets
13 April 2017 | GENEVA – Countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says a new report published by WHO on behalf of UN-Water – the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater-related issues, including sanitation.
“Today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio,” says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.
“Contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause more than 500 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma,” added Neira.
The report stresses that countries will not meet global aspirations of universal access to safe drinking-water and sanitation unless steps are taken to use financial resources more efficiently and increase efforts to identify new sources of funding.
According to the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2017 report, countries have increased their budgets for water, sanitation and hygiene at an annual average rate of 4.9% over the last three years. Yet, 80% of countries report that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) financing is still insufficient to meet nationally-defined targets for WASH services.
In many developing countries, current national coverage targets are based on achieving access to basic infrastructure, which may not always provide continuously safe and reliable services. Planned investments have yet to take into account the much more ambitious SDG targets, which aim for universal access to safely managed water and sanitation services by 2030.
In order to meet the SDG global targets, the World Bank estimates investments in infrastructure need to triple to US $114 billion per year – a figure which does not include operating and maintenance costs.
While the funding gap is vast, 147 countries have previously demonstrated the ability to mobilize the resources required to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people without an improved source of water, and 95 met the corresponding target for sanitation. The much more ambitious SDG targets will require collective, coordinated and innovative efforts to mobilize even higher levels of funding from all sources: taxes, tariffs (payments and labour from households), and transfers from donors.
“This is a challenge we have the ability to solve,” says Guy Ryder, Chair of UN-Water and Director-General of the International Labour Organization. “Increased investments in water and sanitation can yield substantial benefits for human health and development, generate employment and make sure that we leave no one behind.”
Official development assistance (ODA) disbursements for water and sanitation are increasing, but future investments are uncertain.
Water and sanitation ODA disbursements (spending) increased from US$ 6.3 to US$ 7.4 billion from 2012 to 2015. However, aid commitments for water and sanitation have declined since 2012 from US$ 10.4 billion to US$ 8.2 billion in 2015. Due to the multi-year nature of commitments, if commitments were to continue to decrease, it is likely that future disbursements would also decrease. Considering the greater needs to make progress towards universal access to safely managed WASH services under the SDG targets, the possibility of future reductions in aid disbursements is at odds with global aspirations.
Extending WASH services to vulnerable groups is a policy priority, but implementation is lagging.
Over 70% of countries report having specific measures to reach poor populations in their WASH policies and plans. However, the implementation of such concrete measures is lagging: few countries indicate that they are able to consistently apply financing measures to target resources to poor populations. Increasing and sustaining WASH access for vulnerable groups will not only be critical for achieving SDG 6, but also for SDG 3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
The GLAAS 2017 report presents an analysis of the most reliable and up-to-date data from 75 countries and 25 external support agencies on issues related to financing universal access to water and sanitation under the SDGs. Safe drinking-water and sanitation are crucial to human welfare, by supporting health and livelihoods and helping to create healthy environments. Drinking unsafe water impairs human health through illnesses such as diarrhea, and untreated sewage can contaminate drinking-water supplies and the environment, creating a heavy burden on communities.
- Buruli ulcer February 2017
- Chagas disease March 2017
- Dengue and Severe dengue April 2017
- Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) March 2017
- Echinoccosis March 2017
- Foodborne trematodiases April 2017
- Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) January 2017
- Leishmaniasis April 2017
- Leprosy February 2017
- Lymphatic filariasis March 2017
- Mycetoma April 2017
- Onchocerciasis January 2017
- Rabies March 2017
- Schistosomiasis January 2017
- Soil transmitted helminthiases January 2017
- Taeniasis/Cysticercosis March 2017
- Trachoma July 2016
- Yaws March 2017
WHO maintains a complete list of fact sheets.
Below is a short description of the neglected tropical diseases:
Dengue: mosquito-borne viral disease causing flu-like illness. Occasionally develops into a lethal complication called severe dengue.
Rabies: viral disease transmitted to humans through the bites of infected dogs. Invariably fatal once symptoms develop.
Trachoma: infection transmitted through direct contact with eye or nasal discharge. Causes irreversible corneal opacities and blindness.
Buruli ulcer: debilitating skin infection causing severe destruction of the skin, bone and soft tissue.
Yaws: chronic bacterial infection affecting mainly the skin and bone.
Leprosy: caused by infection mainly of the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and eyes.
Chagas disease: infection transmitted through contact with vector insects, ingestion of contaminated food, infected blood transfusion, congenital transmission, organ transplantation or laboratory accidents.
Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness): parasitic infection spread by bites of tsetse flies. Almost 100% fatal without prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Leishmaniases: transmitted through the bites of infected female sandflies. In its most severe (visceral) form, it attacks the internal organs. The most prevalent (cutaneous) form causes face ulcers, disfiguring scars and disability.
Taeniasis and neurocysticercosis: infection by adult tapeworms in human intestines; cysticercosis occurs when humans ingest tapeworm eggs that develop as larvae in tissues.
Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease): nematode infection transmitted by drinking-water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas.
Echinococcosis: infection caused by larval stages of tapeworms forming pathogenic cysts. Transmitted to humans through ingestion of eggs, shed in faeces of dogs and wild animals.
Foodborne trematodiases: infection acquired by consuming fish, vegetables and crustaceans contaminated with larval parasites.
Lymphatic filariasis: Infection transmitted by mosquitoes causing abnormal enlargement of limbs and genitals from adult worms inhabiting and reproducing in the lymphatic system.
Mycetoma: debilitating, disabling bacterial/fungal skin infection thought to be caused by the inoculation of fungi or bacteria into the subcutaneous tissue.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness): parasitic eye and skin disease, transmitted by the bite of infected blackflies. Causes severe itching and eye lesions, leading to visual impairment and permanent blindness.
Schistosomiasis: larval worm infection. Transmission occurs when larval forms released by freshwater snails penetrate human skin during contact with infested water.
Soil-transmitted helminthiases: group of intestinal helminth infections transmitted through soil contaminated by human faeces.
WHO Reports ‘Record-breaking’ Progress: About 1.5 billion people in 149 countries, down from 1.9 billion in 2010, are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTD)April 19th, 2017
Unprecedented progress against neglected tropical diseases, WHO reports
19 April 2017 | Geneva – WHO reports remarkable achievements in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) since 2007. An estimated 1 billion people received treatment in 2015 alone.
“WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan. “Over the past 10 years, millions of people have been rescued from disability and poverty, thanks to one of the most effective global partnerships in modern public health”.
The WHO report, Integrating neglected tropical diseases in global health and development, demonstrates how strong political support, generous donations of medicines, and improvements in living conditions have led to sustained expansion of disease control programs in countries where these diseases are most prevalent.
Since 2007, when a group of global partners met to agree to tackle NTDs together, a variety of local and international partners have worked alongside ministries of health in endemic countries to deliver quality-assured medicines, and provide people with care and long-term management.
In 2012, partners endorsed a WHO NTD roadmap, committing additional support and resources to eliminating 10 of the most common NTDs.
Key achievements include:
- 1 billion people treated for at least one neglected tropical disease in 2015 alone.
- 556 million people received preventive treatment for lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).
- More than 114 million people received treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness: 62% of those requiring it.
- Only 25 human cases of Guinea-worm disease were reported in 2016, putting eradication within reach.
- Cases of human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) have been reduced from 37 000 new cases in 1999 to well under 3000 cases in 2015.
- Trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness – has been eliminated as a public health problem in Mexico, Morocco, and Oman. More than 185 000 trachoma patients had surgery for trichiasis worldwide and more than 56 million people received antibiotics in 2015 alone.
- Visceral leishmaniasis: in 2015 the target for elimination was achieved in 82% of sub-districts in India, 97% of sub-districts in Bangladesh, and in 100% of districts in Nepal.
- Only 12 reported human deaths were attributable to rabies in the WHO Region of the Americas in 2015, bringing the region close to its target of eliminating rabies in humans by 2015.
However, the report highlights the need to further scale up action in other areas.
“Further gains in the fight against neglected tropical diseases will depend on wider progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr Dirk Engels, Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. Meeting global targets for water and sanitation will be key. WHO estimates that 2.4 billion people still lack basic sanitation facilities such as toilets and latrines, while more than 660 million continue to drink water from “unimproved” sources, such as surface water.
Meanwhile, global concern about the recent outbreaks of Zika virus disease, and its associated complications, has re-energized efforts to improve vector control. In May this year, the World Health Assembly will review proposals for a new Global vector control response. There are also brighter prospects to prioritize cross-sectoral collaboration to promote veterinary public health.
Global Partners’ Meeting
Integrating neglected tropical diseases in global health and development is being released at the Global Partners’ Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Geneva, on 19 April 2017.
The Meeting will celebrate efforts to “Collaborate. Accelerate. Eliminate”, and will be attended by health ministers, industry representatives, partners and a host of well-known personalities, including philanthropists, donors and stakeholders.
Besides celebrating 10 years of multi-stakeholder collaboration, the event will also mark the 5th anniversary of the WHO NTD Roadmap which established targets and milestones for the global control, elimination, and eradication of many of these diseases as well as that of the London Declaration.
Note to editors:
Neglected tropical diseases blind, maim, disfigure and debilitate hundreds of millions of people in urban slums and in the poorest parts of the world.
Once widely prevalent, these diseases are now restricted to tropical and sub-tropical regions with unsafe water, inadequate hygiene and sanitation, and poor housing conditions. Poor people living in remote, rural areas, urban slums, or conflict zones are most at risk.
More than 70% of countries and territories that report the presence of NTDs are low or lower-middle income economies.
4/18/1906: At 5:13 a.m., an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, California, killing thousands of people and destroying large segments of the city.April 18th, 2017
About 6,000 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean in dozens of operations coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard on Friday and SaturdayApril 17th, 2017
Syria: A suicide bomber who killed more than 120 people in Syria lured children toward him by handing out crisps before detonating his explosives.April 17th, 2017
“….The bomb….killed at least 126 people including 68 children [as it] tore through buses carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns….”