Briefing on the Ebola virus outbreak – General Assembly, Informal meeting of the plenary, 69th session

Briefing on the Ebola virus outbreak – General Assembly, Informal meeting of the plenary, 69th session
20 Jan 2015
Informal meeting of the plenary, to hear a briefing by Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), concerning the public health crisis emanating from the Ebola virus outbreak.

A letter from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the General Assembly, containing a report on progress made in the Ebola response, was issued in document A/69/720.


Text: Statement by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Representative and Head of UNMEER, to the UN General Assembly

Letter dated 12 January 2015 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the General Assembly  A/69/720 :: 21 pages, General Assembly, Sixty-ninth session; Agenda item 124; Global health and foreign policy

WHO: Protecting fans from Ebola at the Africa Cup of Nations

WHO: Protecting fans from Ebola at the Africa Cup of Nations
23 January 2015 — Thanks to preparedness activities by Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Health, FIFA and WHO, the one million people gathered in Equatorial Guinea for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations are able to focus more on footie than on fears of Ebola. So what does it take to ensure that capacities are in place to prevent, identify and respond to potential Ebola virus transmission at such a large mass gathering?
Read the story from Equatorial Guinea

UNICEF [to 24 January 2015]

UNICEF [to 24 January 2015]

Media Releases [selected]
As schools reopen in Guinea, UNICEF helps efforts to reduce Ebola transmission risk
DAKAR/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 20 January 2015 – As schools reopen in Guinea, UNICEF and partners are helping reduce as much as possible the risk of Ebola transmission, training teachers to implement safety measures such as daily temperature screening, and supplying thermometers and handwashing kits for schools.

World Bank [to 24 January 2015]

World Bank [to 24 January 2015]

Ebola: Most African Countries Avoid Major Economic Loss but Impact on Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone Remains Crippling
Africa-wide impact in 2015The Bank Group expects sub-Saharan Africa to grow at 4.6 percent in 2015, down from a 5.0 percent forecast in June 2014. Projections have been lowered because of global events, including the West African Ebola epidemic as well as the net effect of winners and losers from a steep fall in the global prices of oil and other commodities. Key risks to this projected growth include a renewed spread of Ebola, violent insurgencies, further reductions in commodity prices, and volatile global financial conditions.Much of the economic impact of Ebola beyond the epicenter of directly affected West African countries is based on fear, as was the case during the SARS outbreak in East Asia a decade ago…
January 20, 2015

POLIO [to 24 January 2015]

POLIO [to 24 January 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

GPEI Update: Polio this week – As of 21 January 2014
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
[Editor’s Excerpt and text bolding]
Full report:
:: Ministers of Health from around the world will convene next week at WHO’s Executive Board meeting, to set global public health policies. Among other topics, representatives are expected to review the current polio epidemiology and global preparedness plans for the phased removal of oral polio vaccines. A report has been prepared, to facilitate discussions, available here and below.
:: In Nigeria, the Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization (ERC) is meeting this week to discuss aggressive strategies to urgently eradicate both wild- and vaccine-derived polioviruses in the country as rapidly as possible.
:: The first wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case of 2015 is reported this week, from Pakistan. The case had onset of paralysis on 3 January, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. See ‘Pakistan’ section for more.
:: Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this week published their annual letter, outlining how they believe the world will look like in 15 years. In the letter, they highlight the urgent need to eradicate polio. “Destroying a disease utterly is a very difficult thing to do – so difficult in fact, that it’s happened only once in history, when smallpox was eradicated in 1980. But if we keep working hard… we can get polio out of Africa this year and out of every country in the world in the next several years.”

Selected country report content:
:: Seven new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases were reported in the past week, including the first case with onset of paralysis in 2015. The total number of WPV1 cases in 2014 is 303, and one for 2015 (onset of paralysis on 3 January, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – KP).
:: Pakistan accounts for more than 85% of all WPV1 cases worldwide in 2014.
:: To urgently address the intense transmission affecting the country, the government has put in place emergency measures to take advantage of the upcoming ‘low season’ for poliovirus transmission (in the early part of 2015). A ‘low season plan’ has been established, based on lessons learned on accessing populations in insecure areas, engaging communities and fixing remaining operational challenges. Implementation is overseen by Emergency Operations Centres at federal and provincial levels to ensure accountability for the quality of polio eradication operations. More
West Africa
:: Even as polio programme staff across West Africa support efforts to control the Ebola outbreak affecting the region, efforts are being made in those countries not affected by Ebola to vaccinate children against polio to create a buffer zone surrounding the Ebola-affected countries. The Ebola crisis in western Africa continues to have an impact on the implementation of polio eradication activities in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) in these countries have been postponed and the quality of acute flaccid paralysis surveillance has markedly decreased throughout 2014.
:: NIDs are planned using bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) in Niger and Benin on 27 February to 2 March, and Subnational Immunization Days (SNIDs) tentatively in Mali in February with dates to be confirmed. From 27 to 31 March, NIDs will take place in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Senegal using trivalent OPV. NIDs are also scheduled on those dates for the three Ebola-affected countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.


Poliomyelitis: Report by the secretariat
WHO 136th Executive Board (January 2015)
EB136/21 – 16 January 2015 – Provisional agenda item 8.2

WHO [to 24 January 2015]

WHO  [to 24 January 2015]
:: 136th WHO Executive Board session
26 January–3 February 2015 –
– Main Documents:

:: Noncommunicable diseases take 16 million lives prematurely annually
19 January 2015 — Urgent government action is needed to meet global targets to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and prevent the annual toll of 16 million people dying prematurely – before the age of 70 – from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes, according to a new WHO report. The report states that most premature NCD deaths are preventable.
– Read the news release on the new NCDs status report
– Read the NCDs status report

:: Global Alert and Response (GAR): Disease Outbreak News (DONs)
– Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Oman 23 January 2015
– Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia 20 January 2015
– Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China 19 January 2015

:: The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) for 23 January 2015, vol. 90,4 (pp. 17–24) includes –
Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, 3–4 December 2014


WHO Regional Offices [to 24 January 2015]

WHO Regional Offices

WHO African Region AFRO
Press Releases
:: More than 2.5 million people reached in emergency response campaign with anti-malarial medicines in Sierra Leone – 22 January 2015
:: Meningitis A vaccine now recommended in routine immunization schedules
Brazzaville, 20 January 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends the conjugate meningitis A vaccine MenAfriVac® to be introduced in routine immunization schedules in sub-Saharan Africa. This recommendation ensures that infants are protected against meningitis and population-wide immunity is maintained.The use of the MenAfriVac® vaccine to prevent meningitis A epidemics is one of the greatest vaccination success stories in public health history and highlights what partners can accomplish when unified by a compelling cause. In 2014, the MenAfriVac® campaigns reached more than 63 million people with remarkable success.


WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
No new digest content identified.


WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
:: India: first to adapt the Global Monitoring Framework on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
January 2015
Every year, roughly 5.8 million Indians die from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. In other words, 1 in 4 Indians risks dying from an NCD before they reach the age of 70. Full story – India: first to adapt the Global Monitoring Framework on NCDs


WHO European Region EURO
:: Ukraine health system buckling under weight of humanitarian crisis 19-01-2015


WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: WHO provides support for hearing impaired children in Iraq
22 January 2015 – WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region have provided cochlear implants to 20 internally displaced and refugee children in Iraq as part of a larger WHO disability prevention and reduction project targeting internally displaced persons, refugees and affected host communities in Dohuk. WHO is also providing support to strengthen health services. To continue to improve its humanitarian response in Iraq, WHO requires more financial resources. Of the US$ 187 million needed, the Organization has so far raised only US$ 55 million (29%).


WHO Western Pacific Region
No new digest content identified.