Switzerland Current Affairs - 2019

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WHO: Algeria and Argentina declared Malaria-Free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Algeria and Argentina as ‘Malaria-Free’ countries after no cases of indigenous transmission of disease were recorded.

Key Highlights

  • Background: The Malaria parasite was first discovered in humans in Algeria by a French physician named Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran in 1880. By 1960s, Malaria became Nigeria’s primary health challenge, with reporting almost 80,000 cases each year. The country then started it steps towards responding to disease. On the other hand, Argentina began is elimination efforts in 1970s.
  • About: The indigenous transmission of disease was last reported from Algeria in 2013, while last case of Argentina was recorded in 2010.
  • Algeria became second country in Africa to be declared malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973.
  • Argentina became second country in South America to be certified malaria free after Paraguay, which was certified in June 2018.
  • The certificates will be presented to both countries on sidelines of the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Steps Taken: by both nations include-
  1. Improved surveillance which helped every last case of malaria to be rapidly identified and treated.
  2. Free diagnosis and treatment of patients ensured that no one was left behind. This helped to prevent, detect and cure the disease.
  3. The trained health workers were deployed to spray homes with insecticides and to also diagnose disease through microscopy.

WHO and Malaria

As per the WHO’s World malaria report 2018:

  • Malaria remains one of world’s leading killers of decade. In 2017, Malaria accounted for about 219 million cases from 87 countries and more than 400,000 deaths. Of total count over 60% of fatalities was among children under 5 years of age and had caused 266,000 deaths worldwide.
  • In 2017, the African region recorded 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths thus had highest share of global malaria burden.
  • Four countries in African continent accounted for nearly 50% of all malaria cases worldwide, namely Nigeria (25%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC 11%), Mozambique (5%), and Uganda (4%)

WHO Malaria-Free Certification Criteria: The Country under consideration has to prove that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of malaria for at least 3 consecutive years. Till date a total of 36 countries have received WHO’s malaria free certification.

About Malaria

  • It is mosquito-borne infectious disease.
  • Cause: by infectious Plasmodium type parasitic protozoans (group of single-celled microorganisms).
  • Transmission: on biting of infected female Anopheles mosquito.
  • Mosquirix or (RTS,S) is World’s first vaccine against a parasitic disease.

Month: Categories: International

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Bulletin: Joint meetings of Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions held in Geneva

The joint meetings of three conventions on chemicals and waste namely Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Key Highlights

  • About: The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to Basel Convention (COP 14) was held along with the 9th meeting of the COP to Rotterdam Convention and the 9th meeting of the COP to Stockholm Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019.
  • Theme of 2019 meetings was- “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.
  • India and COP: An Indian delegation of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), and along with other ministries namely Agriculture Ministry, Chemicals and Fertilizer Ministry, and Electronics and Information Technology Ministry (MeitY) participated in the joint meetings and set a tone at COP.
  • In Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, two important issues were mainly discussed and decided i.e. technical guidelines on e-waste and inclusion of plastic waste in Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.
  • India’s Stand: In view of growing consumption of electronic equipment and waste across world, India highlighted that technical guidelines provision in name of re-use, repair, refurbishment and failure leads to possibility of e-waste dumping from developed world to the developing countries. So, Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during plenary and did not allow it to be passed by conference of parties (COP).
  • Outcome: On final day of COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all concerns raised by India were incorporated. This thereby opened a window for further negotiations and corrections in draft technical guidelines on e-waste.
  • In Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP), COP decided to list “Dicofol” in Annex A (Elimination) without any exemption. The “PFOA”, (Perfluorooctanoic acid) was also listed with some exemptions in Annex A of Stockholm Convention.
  • In Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, two new chemicals named Phorate and HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) were added in list for mandatory Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure in international trade.

Key Facts

The Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share common objective of protecting human health and environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC

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