#UN; #WHO, #Covid19
New York/Canadian-Media: Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
A pregnant woman receives antenatal care from a UNFPA-supported programme in Santa Cruz do Arari, Pará, Brazil. © UNFPA Brazil
With global attention and support focused this week on the severe crisis in India, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus used his regular media briefing to highlight the situation in South America’s largest country.
Brazil has been among nations hardest hit by COVID-19. More than 400,000 people have died from the disease, and over 14 million cases have been reported.
“Cases have now declined for four weeks in a row, and hospitalizations and deaths are also declining. This is good news, and we hope this trend continues. But the pandemic has taught us that no country can ever let down its guard”, said Tedros.
Scaling up support
Since November, Brazil has been battling an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, including among younger people. Intensive care units across the country have been at almost full capacity this month.
“Brazil has a long and proud history in public health, with three decades of investments in strengthening primary health care and progress towards universal health coverage. But the pandemic has hit Brazil’s health system hard and threatens to unravel those gains”, Tedros said.
WHO and its regional arm, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are working with the Brazilian authorities to provide medicines and other urgently needed supplies, including oxygen and masks.
Brazil is also scaling up domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines, Tedros said.
Newly appointed Health Minister, Dr Marcelo Queiroga, said the Brazilian authorities are also accelerating vaccination efforts, including through better distribution of doses.
Vaccinating a South American giant
Dr. Queiroga said the country’s “diversified strategy” for the pandemic includes partnerships for technology transfer, bilateral contracts with pharmaceutical companies, and participation in the global vaccine solidarity mechanism, COVAX.
“Currently, we are distributing more than 60 million doses of vaccines, and we have already applied more than 41 million doses”, he said, speaking through an interpreter. “Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go because we need to be able to vaccinate 2.4 million people every day.”
The Health Minister appealed for countries with extra vaccine doses to share them with Brazil. He also spoke of action to support indigenous people, reporting that more than 500,000 doses so far have been distributed.
Overall, the Americas has been the region most affected by the pandemic, according to WHO.
Countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Guyana have reported a dramatic rise in infections, and health services are overwhelmed.
Dr Ciro Ugarte, Director of the Department of Health Emergencies for WHO/PAHO, said several countries have seen an increase in cases among younger people.
“These are linked to increased exposure and no vaccination in this group as most countries have few vaccines and are applying them to vulnerable older groups and healthcare workers,” he explained.
A bleak outlook
PAHO is helping countries to plan for a needed sudden increase in the use of oxygen, intubation, drugs and personal protective equipment, and to improve protection for health workers.
Dr Ugarte underscored the need for more vaccines in the region, including through COVAX and donations.
“COVAX has delivered 7.3 million doses in Latin America and the Caribbean so far, but the need for vaccines is much greater”, he said. “Many countries cannot afford large bilateral deals with producers and are relying on COVAX for vaccines, but the outlook is not optimistic for increased supplies soon.”
Moderna vaccine Emergency Use Listing
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been listed for emergency use, WHO announced on Friday.
It becomes the fifth vaccine to receive the validation, which is a prerequisite for being included in COVAX.
Emergency Use Listing (EUL) assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approvals to import and administer doses.
The Moderna vaccine had previously been reviewed by WHO’s expert advisory group, SAGE, which in January recommended its use for people 18 and above.
The other vaccines WHO has listed for emergency use are by Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India and Janssen.
#UN; #MalariaFreeWorld; #WorldMalariaDay
New York/Canadian-Media: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the multiple crises it has sparked, a growing number of countries are approaching and achieving malaria elimination, the UN chief said on Sunday, World Malaria Day.
A mother and her nine-month-old baby sit under a UNICEF-supplied bed net in Upper Nile state, South Sudan. Image credit: © UNICEF/Mark Naftalin
“We commend all countries that have reached the ambitious target of zero malaria”, said Secretary-General António Guterres.
‘Key to success’
Countries with zero malaria have reached the people at risk with the necessary services, from prevention to detection and treatment, regardless of citizenship or financial status, said the top UN official.
“Sustained funding, surveillance systems and community engagement have been the key to success”, he added.
Yet, while these achievements deserve celebrating, it is important to remember the millions around the world who continue to suffer and die from this deadly illness.
Each year, malaria claims the lives of more than 400,000 people, mainly young children in Africa. And, every year, there are more than 200 million new cases of this fatal parasitic disease.
With robust political commitment, adequate investment and the right mix of strategies, “malaria can be defeated”, upheld the UN Secretary-General.
Stamping out malaria
Between 2000 and 2019, the number of countries with fewer than 100 indigenous malaria cases increased from six to 27, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), calling it “a strong indicator” that malaria elimination is within reach.
The UN health agency lauded those countries that have already done so saying: “They provide inspiration for all nations that are working to stamp out this deadly disease and improve the health and livelihoods of their populations”.
In 2019, Africa shouldered 94 per cent of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide, with more than half of all cases occurring in the five countries of Nigeria, 27 per cent; Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12 per cent; Uganda and Niger, five per cent each; and Mozambique, four per cent, according to WHO.
During that same period, about three per cent per cent of malaria cases were reported in South-East Asia and two per cent in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
The Americas and Western Pacific region each accounted for fewer than one per cent of all cases.
Certifying zero malaria
Certification of malaria elimination is WHO’s official recognition of a country’s malaria-free status, which it grants when a State has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past three consecutive years.
Following 50 years of solid commitment by the Government and people of El Salvador to end the disease, in February it became the first country in Central America to receive the distinction.
Meanwhile China, which registered zero indigenous cases in 2016 and has stayed malaria-free to date, applied last year for the WHO malaria-free certification.
#TheRadioShow; #TimeToLaughAndBeHappy; #VelocityAthleticTraining; #Positivity; #motivation; #ShiftInConsciousness; #Visualization; #Enlightenment; #GivingToOthers; #Sharing; #Selflessness; #Gratitude; #JmRyan
Washington (U.S.)/Canadian-Media: The radio show 'Time to laugh and be happy!, created by Laila Helena Smolock, a firm believer that “laughter” is the best medicine for the soul, was aired live by Velocity Athletic Training Radio on Apr 7 at 12 P.M. (PST) in Blaine, Washington (United States), 3 P.M (EST).
Jim Ryan (left) and Helena Smolock (right). Image credit: Website
While introducing the show Helena, from Blaine Washington said that some may find this an inappropriate comment during this shift that the world’s population is experiencing.
But as the name of the radio show suggests, 'Time to laugh and be happy!' the theme of the show is to seek pure happiness in all kinds of circumstances.
She added that during her research, she discovered three classifications of laughter according to PositivePeoplePsychology.com.
Ruch and Ekman (2001) distinguish three types of laughter in non-clinical contexts: – Speaking or singing “hahaha” is Fake laughter, and then is Real laughter. But the question arises are laughter and happiness the same thing?
Jim Ryan, the author of Simple Happiness 52 ways to Lighten Up!, the guest speaker of the show throws more light on many traits like giving to others, volunteering, selflessness, gratitude, positive attitude, appreciation, being non-judgemental, visualization, and enlightenment, etc. to seek true happiness.
To validate his teaching Jim said that when he wrote his book and tried to promote it through the radio the host of the program used to ask him what happens when a terrible thing happens in his life. At that time he always struggled for an answer but by now he had realized that the path of true happiness is to just live in the moment and being prepared for the worst and half the battle is won.
Helena commented that his thoughts about living in the moment resonated with the thoughts of her teacher in Vancouver as well as with the teachings of Buddhist monks. She added that there would be a point when you hit one of the deepest emotions. Jim's Aha Moments would complement that. Once you catch that emotion, it does wonder and gives you a lot of relief that compresses negativity, and then one actually stops and visualizes.
When asked by Helena his thoughts about the power of visualization, Jim replied that visualization has been proven scientifically to be viable. He then validated his message by saying that every morning he sits and meditates, and he pictures living a happy life, as happy as it could be. This puts him in a mindset that attracts good things in his life. It is a powerful way of picturing one's success and not picture your failure. Because energy flows where attention grows. It is by paying attention to things that are not working out. Chances are they are going to work out. We have so much power within us.
Helena then narrated her own experience as a 23-year old and her desire to get a mortgage for her house. Although her friends laughed at her, she was determined and luck sided her and she could get the mortgage.
Helena said people can achieve whatever they visualize they want, by focusing on it, and then an option could be seen. This is visualization, you feel it, you breathe it, you share it that empowers you. and added that people should not give up upon their positive visualization. There is always timing. The right timing.
Jim also talked about enlightenment. Often we are judging people, by the way, they live, dress, and talk but when we turn our consciousness to enlightenment we see everyone alike.
When Helena asked him the motive for writing the book, he said that as a motivational speaker, he wanted to separate himself from others by having a book that could give him more credibility and help him in his career. Another reason is his talks to people about happiness get them all excited about the possibility of leading a happy life. But human nature is that people tend to go back to their own way of thinking. Having a book they would rekindle their excitement of reading and focus on how to be happy. So the feedback is the experience of reading about ways of happiness is so humbling and tens of thousands of people can read it and would go back and underline points. Jim said he felt blessed to have written the book to reach the public. Soon Jim's view shifted from local, to the country and then he started traveling all around the country and giving books to different kinds of audiences and telling them how to be happy and positive. He said it was a different kind of experience, speaking and giving books to the audience, and added that he felt blessed to be part of this.
The number one personal trainer of 35 years in areas of consulting, management, and corporate wellness training for clients from all walks of life, Smolock has been creating this radio show through Velocity Athletic Training Radio every Wednesday at 12 P.M. (PST) in Blaine, Washington (United States), 3 P.M (EST) for past three years.
Jim's website is www.jimryantalks.com
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Velocity Athletic Training theme song created by DJ ZAK - "INFINITE" - All rights reserved.
Velocity Athletic Training website is: https://velocityathletictraining.com
#WHO; #Covid19Pandemic; #SaleOfWildMammals; #FoodMarket
Geneva/Canadian-Media: The interim guidance, published on Tuesday, is aimed at reducing public health risks associated with these transactions as most emerging infectious diseases have wildlife origins.
“Globally, traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations. Banning the sale of these animals can protect people’s health – both those working there and those shopping there”, they said in a press release.
No way to check for viruses The temporary guidelines were issued by WHO alongside the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
They said animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 70 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses. Wild mammals sold in markets pose particular risk as there is no way to check if they carry dangerous viruses.
"Traditional markets, where live animals are held, slaughtered and dressed, pose a particular risk for pathogen transmission to workers and customers alike," the guidance stated.
The partners noted that some of the earliest known cases of COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, were linked to a traditional food market in Wuhan, China.
Many of the first people to have the disease were stall owners, market employees or regular visitors.
“It is likely that the virus that causes COVID-19 originated in wild animals, as it belongs to a group of coronaviruses normally found in bats”, they said.
Additional hygiene guidance
In addition to halting sales of wild animals, the guidelines also call for governments to close markets, or sections of markets, and to re-open them “only on condition that they meet required food safety, hygiene and environmental standards and comply with regulations.”
Authorities are also urged to improve hygiene and sanitation at traditional food markets to reduce transmission of zoonotic diseases.
“During this pandemic, additional measures for crowd control and physical distancing, hand washing and sanitizing stations as well as education on respiratory hygiene including on use of face masks should be introduced in market settings to limit the possibility of person-to-person transmission of disease,” they added.
#UN; #LowIncomeCountries; #Covid19Vaccines; #WHO; #VaccineSupplyConstraints
Geneva/Canadian-Media: The vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines administered have so far gone to wealthy nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Friday.
Health workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine in San Juan City, Metro Manila. Image credit: © UNICEF/Jake Verzosa
Although more than 700 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, richer countries have received more than 87 per cent, and low-income countries just 0.2 per cent.
“There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanonom Ghebreyesus, speaking during the agency’s regular briefing from Geneva.
Bilateral deals hurt COVAX
The global solidarity initiative, COVAX, has also experienced a shortage of vaccines. While the mechanism has distributed some 38 million doses so far, it was expected to deliver nearly 100 million by the end of March. , has also experienced a shortage of vaccines. While the mechanism has distributed some 38 million doses so far, it was expected to deliver nearly 100 million by the end of March.
Scaling up solidarity
COVAX partners, who include Gavi, the vaccine alliance, are working on several options to scale up production to meet the goal of delivering two billion doses by the end of the year.
Dr Seth Berkley, the Chief Executive Officer at Gavi, highlighted the need for continued solidarity.
“What we are now beginning to see are supply constraints, not just of vaccines, but also of the goods that go into making vaccines”, he said.
COVAX is in discussions with several high-income countries to get them to share surplus vaccine doses, he said. It is also developing cost-sharing mechanisms so that low income countries can buy additional doses through COVAX, funded by multilateral development banks.
Dr Berkley added that financing is also needed as demand for vaccines has risen with the emergence of new COVID-19 variants.
Concern over the ‘raging inferno’ in Brazil
WHO remains deeply concerned about what one of its experts labelled the “raging inferno of an outbreak” in Brazil, in response to a journalist’s question about scaling up vaccines to address the emergency there.
South America’s largest country has recorded more than 340,000 deaths since the pandemic began, making it second only to the United States.
Tedros said he has spoken with the newly appointed health minister, and officials at the federal level, which he hoped will “help with moving forward in our partnership.”
Continue prevention measures
Dr. Bruce Aylward, a WHO Senior Adviser, described the situation in Brazil as “very, very concerning”. Delivering more vaccines would have minimal impact, he said, emphasizing the need to continue measures that have proved to slow virus spread.
“Even by the time you get vaccines into a country, by the time you get them into people – and you’re getting them to a relatively small proportion of the population – that will have a small effect in limiting the risk to some people”, he said.
“But what you’re dealing with here is a raging inferno of an outbreak, and that requires population-level action in the rapid identification, isolation, quarantining, because you have to approach this at that scale to slow this thing down.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19, added that while vaccines are a powerful tool, they alone will not end the pandemic.