WHO & Regional Offices [to 27 Jul 2019]

WHO & Regional Offices [to 27 Jul 2019]
26 July 2019 News release
WHO urges countries to invest in eliminating hepatitis
Ahead of World Hepatitis Day (28 July), WHO calls on countries to take advantage of recent reductions in the costs of diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis and scale up investments in disease elimination.
A new study by WHO, published today in Lancet Global Health, has found that investing US$6bn per year in eliminating hepatitis in 67 low- and middle-income countries  would avert 4.5 million premature deaths by 2030, and more than 26 million deaths beyond that target date.
A total of US$58.7 billion is needed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat in these 67 countries by 2030. This means reducing new hepatitis infections by 90% and deaths by 65%…

24 July 2019 News release
WHO applauds Rwanda’s Ebola preparedness efforts

22 July 2019 News release
WHO recommends dolutegravir as preferred HIV treatment option in all populations
Based on new evidence assessing benefits and risks, the WHO recommends the use of the HIV drug dolutegravir (DTG) as the preferred first-line and second-line treatment for all populations, including pregnant women and those of childbearing potential.

Initial studies had highlighted a possible link between DTG and neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord that cause conditions such as spina bifida) in infants born to women using the drug at the time of conception. This potential safety concern was reported in May 2018 from a study in Botswana that found 4 cases of neural tube defects out of 426 women who became pregnant while taking DTG. Based on these preliminary findings, many countries advised pregnant women and women of childbearing potential to take efavirenz (EFV) instead.

New data from two large clinical trials comparing the efficacy and safety of DTG and EFV in Africa have now expanded the evidence base. The risks of neural tube defects are significantly lower than what the initial studies may have suggested.

The guidelines group also considered mathematical models of the benefits and harms associated with the two drugs; the values and preferences of people living with HIV, as well as factors related to implementation of HIV programmes in different countries, and cost.

DTG is a drug that is more effective, easier to take and has fewer side effects than alternative drugs that are currently used. DTG also has a high genetic barrier to developing drug resistance, which is important given the rising trend of resistance to EFV and nevirapine-based regimens. In 2019, 12 out of 18 countries surveyed by WHO reported pre-treatment drug resistance levels exceeding the recommended threshold of 10%.

All of above findings informed the decision to update the 2019 guidelines…

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Calls for consultants / proposals
22 July 2019
Consultant on Total Systems Effectiveness (TSE) tool development
pdf, 264kb

Deadline for applications: 11 August 2019

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Weekly Epidemiological Record, 26 July 2019, vol. 94, 30/31 (pp. 329–344)
:: Progress towards poliomyelitis eradication in Nigeria, January 2018 – May 2019
:: Performance of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and incidence of poliomyelitis, 2019

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WHO Regional Offices
Selected Press Releases, Announcements
WHO African Region AFRO
:: WHO’s Data Tool improves Ebola Surveillance, Contact Tracing and Decision Making in Uganda 26 July 2019
:: Countries strategize their plan on Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) to end preventable child death 26 July 2019
:: Ethiopia, Somaliland and Puntland jointly plan for the synchronized HoA cross-border polio response 25 July 2019
:: SIDS Pooled Procurement Initiative to Improve Access To Quality Medicines
22 July 2019

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
:: WHO urges countries to invest in eliminating hepatitis (07/26/2019)
:: IAS 2019: PAHO Director calls for new approach to HIV response in order to end the epidemic by 2030 (07/22/2019)

WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
No new digest content identified.

WHO European Region EURO
No new digest content identified.

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: Statement on Iraq by Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean

Cairo, Egypt, 24 July 2019 – I recently concluded a 4-day visit to Iraq where I saw firsthand a health system transitioning from emergency response to reconstruction, rehabilitation and resilience, while at the same time addressing the health needs of millions of vulnerable Iraqis and refugees. The country’s new national health priorities, including health financing, environmental health and sanitation, and universal health…

WHO Western Pacific Region
:: Risk of Ebola in the Western Pacific remains low 18 July 2019 News releases