WHO counts successes, challenges at 70

World Health Organisation (WHO) Head-Quater in Geneva, Switzerland.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Head-Quater in Geneva, Switzerland. Copyright : WHO/Pierre Virot

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says irrespective of current health crisis still bedeviling some nations, it has recorded great success in eradicating diseases and improving life expectancy globally during its 70 years of existence.

In a statement to celebrate seven decades of the existence of WHO, the organisation said one of its health gains was reducing death rate among children under five years by 6 million between 1990 and 2016.

It said that since the organisation’s establishment, life expectancy globally had increased by 25 years with smallpox defeated and polio on the verge of eradication.

The organisation said many countries had successfully eliminated measles, malaria and debilitating tropical diseases like guinea worm and elephantiasis as well as mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

WHO said that with its recommendations and efforts, the plight of more than 300 million people suffering from chronic hepatitis B and C infections had gained global attention.

According to WHO, “our efforts have helped 21 million people get life-saving treatment for HIV and our innovative partnerships has produced effective vaccines against meningitis, Ebola and the world’s first ever malaria vaccine.

“In the coming weeks, WHO will publish the world’s first Essential Diagnostics List.

This document is a guide for countries on the key medicines that a national health system needs.

“In the early years, there was a strong focus on fighting infectious killers like smallpox, polio and diphtheria.

“But in the recent decades, the world has seen a rise in non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

“These diseases now account for 70 per cent of all deaths; WHO is therefore shifting focus along with other health authorities around the world to promote healthy eating, physical exercise and regular health checks.”

The organisation said in spite all these achievements, it continued to remain on constant alert to all health crises globally and it was committed to prevent outbreaks from turning into epidemics.

WHO said the organisation had run global health campaigns on the prevention of diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and was working towards reducing disease and death caused by tobacco.

It said that the organisation was also currently responding to outbreaks and humanitarian crises in more than 40 countries worldwide.

“Every year, WHO studies influenza trends, to work out what should go into the next season’s vaccine.

The organisation remains on constant alert against the threat of pandemic influenza.’’

According to WHO, 100 years after the flu pandemic of 1918, it is determined that the world should never again be subjected to such a threat to global health security.

It said at the World Health Assembly scheduled for May, the organisation will propose a bold new agenda that would build on lessons learnt and experience gained over the past 70 years.

“It will focus on achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for one billion more people; protecting one billion more people from health emergencies.

“It will also enabling one billion more people to enjoy better health and wellbeing by 2023, the halfway point to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda deadline.”

The establishment of WHO was approved by the UN Conference in San Francisco, USA in 1945 and the organisation began its operations in 1948.

WHO will mark its 70th anniversary on April 7, a day set aside yearly to commemorate the “World Health Day”.

The theme for the 2018 World Health Day is “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere”.

(NAN)



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