News and top stories

Improved data reveals higher global burden of tuberculosis

22 October 2014 -- Recent intensive efforts to improve collection and reporting of data are shedding new light on the epidemic, revealing almost half a million more cases than previously estimated. WHO’s “Global Tuberculosis Report 2014” shows that 9 million people developed TB in 2013, and 1.5 million died, including 360 000 people who were HIV positive. However, the mortality rate from TB is still falling and the number of people developing the disease is declining by an average 1.5% a year.

WHO declares end of Ebola outbreak in Nigeria

20 October 2014 -- WHO officially declares that Nigeria is now free of Ebola virus transmission. This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained. The story of how Nigeria ended what many believed to be potentially the most explosive Ebola outbreak imaginable is worth telling in detail.

Uruguay acts decisively to prevent lead exposure

21 October 2014 -- Globally, lead poisoning kills an estimated 143 000 people every year. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure as they absorb 4–5 times as much ingested lead as adults from a given source. This feature story describes Uruguay’s efforts to protect the population from lead exposure through a series of laws that address the main sources of contamination, such as lead paint.

Transforming health care in Tunisia

20 October 2014 -- Involving the community is part of a people-centred approach to health systems that aims to motivate individuals to make decisions about their own health. This feature story illustrates how people in Tunisia contributed to a national debate on the health-care system which has been accepted at the National Health Conference.

Liberia: speeding up diagnosis and improving care

20 October 2014 -- One of the challenges in the Ebola outbreak in Liberia has been a lack of local access to laboratories that can provide a quick and firm diagnosis of the disease. This month a new, high-tech mobile laboratory opened near Monrovia. Until the new lab was running, health workers had to wait 2 days to have a preliminary Ebola diagnosis confirmed. Now it takes just 3 to 5 hours to get results.


  • Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
    October 2014 -- Price and tax measures to reduce demand for tobacco, e-cigarettes, and sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing are amongst the issues being discussed in Moscow from 13–18 October at the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The 179 Parties to the Convention, will also discuss trade, investment and liability issues, as well as tobacco industry interference with the implementation of tobacco control.
  • A common approach to strengthen Ebola preparedness in unaffected countries
    October 2014 -- WHO and partner organizations have agreed on a range of actions to support countries unaffected by Ebola in strengthening their preparedness in the event of an outbreak. Building on national and international existing preparedness efforts, a set of tools is being developed to help any country to intensify and accelerate their readiness.
  • Older people in emergencies
    October 2014 -- WHO is joining international calls to ensure greater attention is given to the needs, vulnerabilities, and capabilities of older people – before, during, and after emergencies, including natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.

Focus: MERS-CoV

MERS-CoV preventive messages for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims

It is important for countries to use all practical and effective means possible to communicate information on a range of issues before, during and after Umrah and Hajj to all key groups.


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

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