International Current Affairs - 2019

Latest International Current Affairs 2019 with news summaries and current events in International developments, geopolitical, organizations, groupings and fora related updates for India and world with all important national news updates and events for the year 2019.

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Mauritania holds election for 1st time in 60yrs

Mauritania, a country in Northwest Africa went to polls for the first time since the African nation gained independence from France nearly 60 years ago. Following the independence the country have mostly been ruled Non-elected military governments.

Key Highlights of Elections

President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (62), who seized power in a military coup in 2008, agreed to step down and abide by serving period of maximum two five-year elected terms. Under his reign he has positioned Mauritania, as an ally of West against Islamist militants.

Bound by term limits, Abdel Aziz threw his support behind 62-year-old Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. Ghazouani, a former general and defence minister was heavily tipped to replace outgoing President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

These elections are being held to choose a successor to a democratically-elected president. However, they are being criticized for being held in absence of international observers and printing of ballot papers by a company with ties to ruling party.

The counting of ballots in Mauritania on Saturday evening from its presidential election, as the ruling party claimed its candidate was poised to win a landslide victory.

About Mauritania

The country is officially named Islamic Republic of Mauritania, lies on Atlantic coast of Africa.

It is a home to fewer than 5 million people across a vast expanse of Western Sahara Desert.

In 1981, Mauritania became final country in world to formally abolish slavery, but it continues to this day.

In recent years, country has been spared attacks by jihadist militants linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS). These militants have devastated other countries in West Africa’s Sahel region, including neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso.

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WHO launches AWaRe tool to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched a global campaign urging governments all across the world to adopt its new online tool called AWaRe (Access, Watch and Reserve), which is aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers of country to reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs.

This AWaRe tool was developed by World Health Oraganisation’s Essential Medicines List (EML) to reduce spread of antimicrobial resistance, antibiotic-related adverse events, and also to make antibiotic use safer, cheaper and more effective for its consumer.

Key Highlights

Objective: to combat growing menace of antibiotic abuse and burgeoning resistance worldwide and to limit drugs those are at risk of resistance.

About: The WHO’s latest advisory, suggested adoption of AWaRe approach which classifies antibiotics into three groups –

  1. Access– which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections
  2. Watch– which ones should be available at all times in the healthcare system
  3. Reserve– those that must be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort

Need:

As per WHO estimates, in most of the countries more than 50% of antibiotics are used inappropriately for treatment of viruses even when they only treat bacterial infections, or are wrong choice of antibiotic (broader spectrum), thus contributing to spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Also, when antibiotics stop working effectively, treatments become more expensive and hospital admissions are increased, thus this may take a heavy toll on already stretched health budgets of developing countries.

Measures Undertaken:

This new campaign will strive towards increasing proportion of global consumption of antibiotics in Access group to minimum 60%, and towards reducing use of antibiotics most at risk of resistance from Watch and Reserve groups.

As Access antibiotics are narrow-spectrum antibiotics drugs (means that they target a specific microorganism rather than many), therefore, using Access antibiotics lowers the risk of resistance. They are also less costly than others as they are available in generic formulations.

India’s Efforts

Red Line Campaign: In India, Union Ministry of Health Affair has made it mandatory to display a 5mm-thick red vertical band (line) on packaging of prescription-only drugs (those which compulsorily require Doctors’ Prescription) so as to sensitise people and make them cautious while buying these Antibiotic medicines that are widely sold without prescriptions.

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