16/05/2007 Global health partners mobilize to counter yellow fever
US$ 58 million GAVI contribution to prevent highly contagious disease in 12 West African nations
16 MAY 2007 | GENEVA -- The effort to contain deadly yellow fever disease received a boost today with the launch of a Yellow Fever Initiative backed by a US$ 58 million contribution from the GAVI Alliance. Launched during the World Health Assembly currently meeting in Geneva, the new initiative will support special immunization campaigns in a dozen West African countries at high risk of yellow fever epidemics.
n/a New WHO online tool to improve clinical trial transparency
WHO today launched a new web site that will enable researchers, health practitioners, consumers, journal editors and reporters to search more easily and quickly for information on clinical trials. The site works as an entry point or portal into multiple, high quality clinical trial registers with a global search function.
For a doctor or a patient, identifying all clinical trials relevant to a decision to receive a specific treatment option is a difficult task, made easier if the results have been reported in the published literature. However, a significant proportion of research is never published and, even if it is published, it is possible that only part of the story is told in the publication. Relying on information provided only by published trial research is therefore unreliable and leads to inadequately informed treatment decisions.
The only way to ensure the availability of complete and accurate information about clinical trials is for all trials to be registered before any participants are recruited. WHO believes that the registration of clinical trials is a scientific, ethical and moral responsibility.
“The Clinical Trial Search Portal is a collaborative, international initiative led by WHO that facilitates the identification of all clinical trials, regardless of whether or not they have been published. For health care researchers, funders, policy-makers and consumers the portal represents an enormous step towards greater access, transparency and accountability of health research globally,” said Tim Evans, Assistant Director General, Information Evidence and Research, WHO. The portal is accessible at http://www.who.int/trialsearch.
30/04/2007 Indoor air pollution takes heavy toll on health
New WHO estimates provide country-by-country status
30 APRIL 2007 | GENEVA -- In the 21 worst-affected countries, close to 5% of death and disease is caused by indoor air pollution, according to new estimates published by WHO.
The first-ever country-by-country estimates of the burden of disease due to indoor air pollution highlight the heavy toll solid fuel use takes on the health and well-being of people around the world. The countries most affected are Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda.
In 11 countries -- Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United Republic of Tanzania -- indoor air pollution is to blame for a total of 1.2 million deaths a year. Globally, reliance on solid fuels is one of the 10 most important threats to public health.
"The prevention potential is enormous," said Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, WHO Assistant Director-General for Sustainable Development and Healthy Environments. \"Solutions are available, and it is our international responsibility to promote the health and well-being of those affected, who are mostly women and children.\"
Worldwide, more than 3 billion people depend on solid fuels, including biomass (wood, dung and crop residues) and coal, for cooking and heating. Exposure to indoor air pollution from solid fuels has been linked to many diseases, in particular pneumonia among children and chronic respiratory diseases among adults.
Benefits of efficient fuels and technologies
A shift towards cleaner and more efficient modern fuels, such as biogas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene could largely eliminate this health risk and prevent 1.5 million deaths a year globally. In the short-term, the promotion of more fuel-efficient and cleaner technologies, such as improved cooking stoves, smoke hoods and insulated retained heat cookers, could substantially reduce indoor air pollution and would bring about many other convenience and socioeconomic benefits.
These burden of disease estimates will assist national decision-makers in the health, environment, energy and finance sectors to set priorities for preventive action. They can also be used to assess the performance of policies over time. In the context of limited resources, burden of disease information should be complemented with knowledge on technological options in a given country and information on the costs and benefits of such options.
At the 15th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-15), currently taking place in New York, ministers in the sectors of energy, environment and development will decide whether to adopt recommendations to integrate the reduction of indoor air pollution into national policies, such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, and provide financial resources to prevent adverse health impacts due to indoor air pollution.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Nada Osseiran
Advocacy & Communications Officer
Public Health and Environment
Tel.: +41 22 791 4475
Fax: +41 22 791 4127
Health and Sustainable Development
Mobile: +41 79 203 6715