Highlights archive

Eliminating legal invisibility to improve access to health care

11 December 2012 – The World Health Organization is a co-organizer of the “High-level Meeting on the Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific”, the second and final day of which is today in Bangkok. Forty-six Asian and Pacific countries are represented. The meeting was convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The participants are looking for ways to advance the "Make Every Life Count" initiative, which is part of a global movement to raise awareness of the importance of civil registration and vital statistics systems for safeguarding rights, generating reliable statistics and underpinning good governance. It is estimated that between one and two thirds of children in Asia and the Pacific are not registered. This legal invisibility hampers inclusive growth, access to health care and sustainable development and exposes people to exploitation, including human trafficking.

United Nations appeals for US$65 million to help survivors of Typhoon Bopha

PHILIPPINES, 10 December 2012 – The United Nations today appealed for US$65 million to provide immediate lifesaving aid and support in recovery to the millions affected by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines. Typhoon Bopha (known locally as Pablo) struck the southern Philippines between 4 and 7 December, triggering flash floods and landslides, killing hundreds, devastating houses and crops and affecting the lives of millions of people. It was the strongest typhoon to hit the area in decades. An official Action Plan for Recovery outlines how the humanitarian community will deliver assistance to meet the priority needs of survivors, which according to assessments are emergency shelter, water and sanitation, food and livelihoods.

New multi-country strategy addresses health threats in South Pacific

19 November 2012 – The new WHO Multi-Country Cooperation Strategy for the Pacific 2013–2017 addresses a common triple threat to health in the South Pacific – communicable disease, noncommunicable disease and climate change. The strategy is novel in that it describes WHO’s technical cooperation with 21 South Pacific countries and territories. The result of extensive consultations with Member States, other United Nations agencies and key development partners, the strategy identifies specific health priorities and establishes strategic approaches for addressing them. The priorities include: reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality; reducing morbidity and mortality from sexually transmitted infections, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases; reducing morbidity, premature death and disabilities from noncommunicable diseases; reducing mortality due to epidemics, disasters, environmental threats and climate change; and promoting universal access to essential health services and products and sustainable health care.

Measles at historic low in Western Pacific

12 September 2012 – Measles cases are at a historic low in the Western Pacific, and the Region is making excellent progress towards eliminating the measles virus, according to WHO and the other founding partners of the Measles & Rubella Initiative. Efforts to reach more children with measles vaccine reduced measles cases in the Region by 86% between 2008 and 2011. China, which accounts for 75% of the Region’s population, reported a 92% drop in cases as a result of its nationwide measles immunization effort. These findings were confirmed at a recent meeting of the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region’s Technical Advisory Group for immunization. The group found that 32 of the 37 countries and areas in the Region might already be free of endemic measles.

Viet Nam mobilises to help victims of tropical storm Kai-Tak

VIET NAM, 22 August 2012 – Sixteen people have died and 16 have been injured so far as a consequence of tropical storm Kai-Tak, which struck Viet Nam on 17 and 18 August, causing severe floods, landslides and damage to crops, according to the United Nations. More than 259 houses have collapsed and 12,670 have been damaged. Yen Bai and Phu Tho are the most affected provinces.

The Philippines: Displaced families struggle to rebuild lives

PHILIPPINES, 8 June 2012 – Kaligan lives with her husband and eight children in Maguindanao on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Maguindanao, which literally means ‘people of the flood plains,’ is prone to climate-related disasters and has been seriously affected by conflict between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been fighting for autonomy for the Moro people over the past four decades.

Pacific island countries push for higher tobacco taxation

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 15 June 2012 – A workshop on tobacco taxation in the Pacific will be held in Auckland from 18 to 22 June to review and evaluate current tobacco tax systems and explore ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Dr Shin Young-soo, World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific, urges Pacific island countries to raise tobacco taxes and prices. Higher cigarette prices would discourage young people from starting and encourage smokers to quit, he says.

As Fiji recovers from its March floods, the risk of communicable diseases remains

SUVA, Fiji, 25 April 2012 – Although life is returning to normal for most victims of the floods that struck Fiji on 30 March, communicable diseases – particularly typhoid, leptospirosis and dengue – remain a big threat, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Twenty people have died of leptospirosis in Fiji since January, including six since the floods. Fiji needs appropriate technical guidance on disease surveillance and control, food and water safety, nutrition and psychosocial and mental support.

Special Rapporteur on Violence against women finalises country mission to Solomon Islands

HONIARA, 26 March 2012 – At the end of her official country mission to Solomon Islands, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, delivered the following statement:

“At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation for the cooperation extended to me by the Government of Solomon Islands. I am grateful to all my interlocutors, including State officials, representatives of civil society organisations, and representatives of United Nations agencies.