News and top stories

Recovery from the 2004 tsunami, 10 years on

22 December 2014 – It has been nearly a decade since the tsunami of 2004 claimed the lives of about 200,000 people and displaced more than 2 million from their homes. Huge areas along the coast of 10 countries in South-East Asia and 5 countries in East Africa were devastated. Through the recovery process, the region has developed the knowledge and skills to manage health emergencies and build disaster resilient structures.

Sierra Leone: Western Area Surge combats Ebola pro-actively

19 December 2014 -- The Western Area of Sierra Leone is the “hotspot” in this Ebola outbreak at the moment, with the highest transmission of any of the 3 most affected countries. The Government of Sierra Leone, WHO and partners, are sending in a massive surge of staff and resources to this area to intensify efforts to curb the spread of Ebola disease.

Liberia: Local students become active Ebola case finders

19 December 2014 -- Ever since the closure of the university due to the Ebola outbreak, Tony Harrison, sociology student at the University of Liberia, has been trying to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus in his country. He joined the team of active case finders to go from house to house to find out if sick people are being treated.

Preparing to confront Ebola – just in case

15 December 2014 -- Countries in Africa have been working on improving their preparedness in the event of an Ebola outbreak. WHO teams have provided simulated exercises in hospitals and technical trainings on immediate emergency response and communication, on infection prevention and control, safe burials, and other components of response. The Ebola outbreaks and response in Nigeria and Senegal showed that the disease can be stopped if a country is adequately prepared from the start.

Uniting to build stronger health systems in Ebola-affected countries

12 December 2014 -- Ministers of health and finance of Ebola-affected countries, international organizations and partners assembled for a high-level meeting on 10-11 December 2014 on strengthening health systems in these countries. They have agreed on what needs to be done to rebuild and strengthen essential health services so that they can both absorb the shock of an emergency like Ebola, and continue to provide regular health services such as immunization, maternal and child care.

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Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

A child and mother with a bednet.
© 2012 Diana Mrazikova/ Networks, Courtesy of Photoshare

Highlights

  • Syria Response Plan 2015 launched in Berlin
    December 2014 -- The Syria Response Plan 2015 incorporates, for the first time, the whole of Syria approach by bringing together humanitarian actors working inside Syria and in neighbouring countries under a single framework to increase the effectiveness of the response. Health partners are requesting a total of US$ 318 million, 182 million of which are for inside Syria.
  • Eight mobile health clinics to serve vulnerable populations in Iraq
    December 2014 -- These urgently needed clinics, procured by WHO and flown in by the World Food Programme from Amman, Jordan, will be immediately deployed to parts of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to help address the health needs of displaced populations residing in areas with limited access to health care services – in camps, informal settlements, and in urban and remote areas across the country.
  • Q&A on Ebola vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics
    Is there a vaccine to protect against Ebola virus disease?
    Which vaccines are being tested? When will these vaccines be available?
    What other treatments and therapies are available or being evaluated?
  • Webinar: Lessons learned from reforms aimed at improving efficiency in health systems
    December 2014-- Join the webinar on Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:30–16:30 CET for an overview of why addressing inefficiencies in health systems is essential for universal health coverage. Four case studies will be presented describing efforts to improve efficiency in medicines use, high cost health care, health workforce and health insurance markets.

Fact sheets

Commentary

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation.

Ebola: What you need to know

Mosquitoes do not spread Ebola.

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Data

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Source: Stoltenborgh et al., 2011, 2012a-c, as quoted in the "Global status report on violence prevention, 2014."

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