WHO Current Affairs - 2020
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) list of 10 global health threats lists 10 issues which demand immediate attention from WHO and health partners in 2019 has been released. They are:
Air pollution and climate change
Nine out of ten people breathe polluted air every day. In 2019, air pollution is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health. Burning fossil fuels which are a major contributor to climate change also impacts people’s health in different ways.
Noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths world and are responsible for over 85% of these premature deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
Global influenza pandemic
WHO warns of impending influenza pandemic.WHO states that Global defences are only as effective as the weakest link in any country’s health emergency preparedness and response system.
Fragile and vulnerable settings
WHO notes that fragile settings exist in almost all regions of the world, and half of the key targets in the sustainable development goals, including on child and maternal health, remains unmet.
Time with antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials is running out. Antimicrobial resistance which is the ability of bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi to resist these medicines is threatening to send the world back to a time when the world was unable to easily treat infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis.
Ebola and other high-threat pathogens
2018 witnessed two separate Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both outbreaks spread to cities of more than 1 million people and One of the affected provinces was also in an active conflict zone. Similar outbreaks can be witnessed in 2019.
Weak Primary Health Care
Primary health care is the first point of contact people have with their health care system, and Primary Health Care centres should provide comprehensive, affordable, community-based care throughout life. Yet many countries do not have adequate primary health care facilities.
The reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. WHO notes that complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that causes flu-like symptoms which can be lethal and kill up to 20% of those with severe dengue. A high number of cases occur in the rainy seasons of countries such as Bangladesh and India, with rainy seasons lengthening significantly and the disease is spreading to less tropical and more temperate countries such as Nepal which have not traditionally seen the disease, Dengue needs to be fought with urgency.
Even though enormous progress has been made in terms of getting people tested, providing them with antiretrovirals and providing access to preventive measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, the epidemic continues to rage with nearly a million people every year dying of HIV/AIDS.
Tags: air pollution • Antimicrobial resistance • Climate Change • Dengue • Ebola
India has the highest number of ‘stunted’ children in the world and nearly a third of all stunted children worldwide are to be found in India as per the recently released WHO’s Global Nutrition Report, 2018.
About Global Nutrition Report
The Global Nutrition Report came into existence following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013. The Global Nutrition Report was devised as a mechanism for tracking the commitments made by 100 stakeholders spanning governments, aid donors, civil society, the UN and businesses.
The Global Nutrition Report is the world’s leading report on the state of global nutrition. The report is delivered by an Independent Expert Group and guided at a strategic level by a Stakeholder Group, whose members also review the Report.
2018 Report: Global Profile
- Stunting among children aged under five has fallen from 32.6 per cent in 2000 to 22.2 per cent in 2017
- 20 million babies are born with low birth weight each year.
- 3 million Children in the world over are overweight, while 38.9 per cent of adults are overweight or obese.
- One third of all women of reproductive age have anaemia.
- Women also have a higher prevalence of obesity than men.
2018 Report: Indian Profile
- India has the highest number of ‘stunted’ children in the world and nearly a third of all stunted children worldwide are to be found in India.
- About 46.6 million children in India suffer from stunting due to poor nutrition intake in the long term and repeated infections.
- India is also the country with the highest number of children who are ‘wasted’. This is an even more severe indicator of acute malnutrition.
- India has 25.5 million children who are wasted. Among the 50.5 million children who are wasted globally, India has half of the global wasting burden.
- Stunting in India varied greatly from district to district (12.4 per cent to 65.1 per cent). 239 of 604 districts had stunting levels above 40 per cent.
- As of 2015, the percentage of children Under 5 (both boys and girls) who were stunted was 37.9 per cent and the percentage of children Under 5 who were wasted was 20.8 per cent.
- The households with the lowest incomes had the highest number of wasting (23.8 per cent) and stunting (50.7 per cent) among children aged under five years.
- 7 per cent of children under five years of age were stunted in rural India while 30.6 per cent of children were stunted in urban India, while 21.1 per cent children aged under five were wasted in rural areas and 19.9 per cent were wasted in urban areas.
- The report also shows the nutrition status of children and adolescents aged between five and19 years. 58.1 per cent of boys were underweight while 50.1 per cent girls were underweight. This difference between the genders is attributed to India’s adverse sex ratio in the first place.
- More than half of all women of reproductive age (51.4 per cent), whether or not they were pregnant, suffered from anaemia.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) had used district-level aggregate data from the 2015-2016 National and Family Health Survey (NFHS) in India along with the data from UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Group: Joint child malnutrition estimates, NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, WHO Global Health Observatory.
Tags: Global Nutrition Report • Growth Initiative Summit • Nutrition in India • Poverty & Hunger • WHO