Global Health Current Affairs

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193 countries sign declaration to stamp out drug-resistant infections

The 193 countries of the United Nations (UN) have signed a landmark declaration to rid the world of drug-resistant infections or Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs.

It is the fourth time a UN declaration has been reached on a health issue, following HIV in 2001, non-communicable diseases in 2011 and Ebola in 2013.

The signatory countries now have two years to submit action plan. These submitted plans are expected to address the seriousness and scope of the situation. It will also agree on sustainable, multisectoral approaches to addressing antimicrobial resistance.

What is Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs?

  • Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs.
  • These microorganisms are also termed as “superbugs”. As a result, the medicines or drugs become ineffective and infections persist in the body futher increasing the risk of spread to others.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Threats

  • AMR has become one of the biggest threats to global health and endangers other major priorities, such as human development.
  • All around the world, many common infections have become resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them which resulted in longer illnesses and more deaths.
  • At the same time, not enough new antimicrobial drugs especially antibiotics are being developed to replace older and increasingly ineffective ones.

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19 November: World Toilet Day

Every year World Toilet Day (WTD) is being observed on 19 November across the world.

Significance of Day: Draw attention of people around the world to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation which in fact is a human right along with clean water.

2015 Theme: Sanitation and Nutrition. It seeks to draw attention of people across the world to raise the importance of toilets along with supporting better nutrition and improved health.

The observance of this day is coordinated by United Nations-Water in collaboration with Governments of member countries and relevant stakeholders.

About World Toilet Day

WTD has been initiated by the World Toilet Organisation since 2001. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) gave it official recognition in July 2013 in its 67th session under the global campaign of Sanitation For All resolution.

Observance of this day now has become an important platform to demand action from governments. It seeks brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets.

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Cuba becomes first nation to eliminate mother-to-child HIV and syphilis: WHO

Cuba has become the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. It was announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Cuba was able to achieve this milestone with the help and efforts of WHO and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

Cuba’s achievement

Since 2010, WHO/PAHO are working with partners in Cuba and other American countries to implement a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

As part of the initiative, Cuba had intensively worked to ensure early access to prenatal care, HIV and syphilis testing for pregnant women and their partner as well as their babies.

Services under this initiative were provided as part of an equitable, accessible and universal health system. It included services like maternal and child health programs and integrated programs for HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Global challenge of mother-to-child HIV transmission

It is estimated that around 1.4 million women infected HIV every year globally. The chances of mother-to-child transmission of virus to their children during pregnancy are 15-45% if they are untreated.

The risk of transmission of virus in the new born can reduced with the medication of antiretroviral medicines.

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