Tag Archives: WHO

Is the Formula Industry Overpowering Breastfeeding?

Yesterday global women’s and children’s advocates sounded the alarm regarding alleged strong-arming by US delegates at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.  The issue at hand was the rights of women regarding their choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding.

According to the New York Times, the US delegation sought to remove the language in a pro-breastfeeding resolution that compelled countries to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” and to remove any restrictions on formula that many global health experts contend is harmful to infants and toddlers.

The US delegation threatened Ecuador (the sponsoring country for the resolution) with devasting trade measures and a reduction in military aid. Ecuador acquiesced as did many more African and Latin American countries until Russia stepped up to sponsor the resolution, a country the US could not threaten.

Lucy M. Sullivan, Executive Director of 1000 Days, tweeted an entire thread about what was happening at the World Health Assembly in May.

Continue reading Is the Formula Industry Overpowering Breastfeeding?

World Immunization Week Starts With a Global Challenge

Today starts World Immunization Week which is a time to reflect on the major accomplishments we’ve seen on routine vaccinations of children worldwide, but also to look critically at the challenges that children face who are still not fully immunized.

This year the World Health Organization is calling upon the global health community, governments, civil society, and other key actors to close the gap for under-immunized children. Today immunizations curb 2 – 3 million child deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles. each year, but that number of saved lives can be larger.  Today 84 percent of children have received three doses of the DPT vaccine, but a whopping 21.8 million infants do not have complete vaccines, that is 1 in 5 children who still lack all of their basic vaccines.

“World Immunization Week creates a focused global platform to reinvigorate our collective efforts to ensure vaccination for every child, whoever they are and wherever they live,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health. “It is critical that the global community now makes a collective and cohesive effort to put progress towards our 6 targets back on track.”

Continue reading World Immunization Week Starts With a Global Challenge

#SouthAfricaCares Side Event In Photos #PMNCHLive

During a packed event at Michelangelo hotel in Johannesburg, key partners including Save the Children, World Vision, PATH, Mothers 2 Mothers, and the Society of Midwives of South Africa came together to rally support for newborns and celebrate the progress thus far to save millions of vulnerable newborns around the world.

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The Every Newborn Action Plan was endorsed by 194 countries in May 2014 and will be officially launched at the PMNCH Partners’ Forum today. At this early pre-event called “A Common Thread: Reaching Every Woman and Every Newborn” leaders in the global call to save newborns and their mothers spoke including Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, Joy Lawn, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, former Ethiopian Minister of Health as well as the Minister of Health of South Africa.

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During the event Save the Children unveiled its Blanket of Hope with squares from across the globe.

Quilt

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And global stories of mothers and their newborns and their survival were placed throughout.

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The Partners’ Forum begins today in Johannesburg. Follow along at #PMNCHLive.

Vaccine Effectiveness – 1980 Through Today

In listening to a talk last week in Atlanta given by Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, the Executive Director, WHO Office at the United Nations in New York, I learned a fascinating statistic about vaccine effectiveness.

In 1980 before the mass roll-out of vaccines there was one child death per second from deadly, yet preventable diseases like pneumonia, rotavirus, and measles. By 2000 the death rate was one death per minute. By 2010 the death rate was one death every four minutes. That shows progress, but the number of child deaths is still too high. By 2015 the United Nations has called for a reduction of child deaths by 2/3. Recent data by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund shows that MDG #4 (Child health) likely will not be reached, but that does not mean progress should slow.

One of the highest priorities in the global health community is to vaccinate children. In fact, it is one of the best global health buys to keep children alive.

“Immunizations have the power to save lives and transform lives,” said Kumaresan. “We can give the opportunity for a child to be healthy and grow without diseases.”

According to Kumaresan in 2010 109 million children were vaccinated with the DPT vaccine that fights against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. 19.3 million children did not receive the vaccines and 70% of those children live in 10 developing countries.

The ultimate goal of global health agencies is to increase the vaccination rate to 90% worldwide in order eradicate these preventable diseases. In the developing world, however, there are challenges intrinsic to immunizing children. Many people live in informal settlements (slums) and in war-torn areas making vaccinations in this areas difficult.

Since 2010 the GAVI Alliance has supported the immunization of 3.6 million children with the pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. GAVI’s mission is to save children’s lives in poor countries through immunization.

The Measles & Rubella Initiative

Five key partners make up the Measles Rubella Initiative including the American Red Cross, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization. These partners have set a strategic plan to reduce measles and rubella to zero by 2020 in at least five WHO regions. According to WHO the plan will be implemented through:

  • high vaccination coverage;
  • monitoring spread of disease using laboratory-backed surveillance;
  • outbreak preparedness and response and measles case management;
  • communication and community engagement; and
  • research and development.

The goal is within reach. In fact sub-Saharan Africa made saw a significant 85% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2010 due to vaccinations.

“It’s a moral imperative in today’s world,” said Kumeresan. “Every child should be reached. We need to make vaccines accessible and affordable to the people who need it.”