In September 2020, the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane (IPG) (member of the French National Reference Laboratory for arboviruses) identified two cases of Mayaro virus infection (MAYV) confirmed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and one probable case found positive for Mayaro antibodies. The case-patients presented dengue-like symptoms and joint pains, and tested negative for dengue by RT-PCR.
The World Health Organization and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted information about COVID-19 on Wikipedia
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19.
The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts.
Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia.
With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.
“Equitable access to trusted health information is critical to keeping people safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "Our new collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation will increase access to reliable health information from WHO across multiple countries, languages, and devices."
Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has taken steps to prevent an “infodemic”— defined by the organization as “an overabundance of information and the rapid spread of misleading or fabricated news, images, and videos.”
Wikipedia editors have similarly been on the frontlines of preventing the spread of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus, ensuring information about the pandemic is based on reliable sources and updated regularly on Wikipedia.
By making verified information about the pandemic available to more people on one of the world’s most-visited knowledge resources, the organizations aim to help curb this infodemic and ensure everyone can access critical public health information.
“Access to information is essential to healthy communities and should be treated as such,” said Katherine Maher, CEO at the Wikimedia Foundation. “This becomes even more clear in times of global health crises when information can have life-changing consequences. All institutions, from governments to international health agencies, scientific bodies to Wikipedia, must do our part to ensure everyone has equitable and trusted access to knowledge about public health, regardless of where you live or the language you speak.”
WHO has served as the leading international health agency spearheading the global response to the coronavirus outbreak. Since the beginning, WHO has worked to rapidly establish international coordination, scale up country readiness and response, and accelerate research and innovation. Today, as information on the transmission and epidemiology of the virus evolves, WHO continues to provide essential guidance and public health recommendations to governments, communities and individuals everywhere.
At the same time, Wikipedia volunteer editors, many of whom are from the medical community, have been creating, updating, and translating Wikipedia articles with information from reliable sources about the pandemic. As one of the top ten sites in the world, studies have shown that Wikipedia is one of the most frequently viewed sources for health information.
At the moment, readers can access WHO’s mythbusting series of infographics on Wikimedia Commons. The infographics, which focus on addressing common misconceptions about COVID-19, are also available for Wikipedia editors to incorporate into Wikipedia articles.
In the coming months, the Wikimedia Foundation and WHO will continue uploading resources to Wikimedia Commons and collaborating with Wikipedia volunteer editors to better understand gaps in information needs on Wikipedia articles related to COVID-19 and how WHO resources can help fill these gaps.
Additionally, under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, other organizations, individuals, and websites can more easily share these materials on their own platforms without having to address stricter copyright restrictions.
About the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 149 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.
For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitch.
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.
Accurate pregnancy dating and quality care combined with the steroids are key to survival
The results of a new clinical trial, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that dexamethasone—a glucocorticoid used to treat many conditions, including rheumatic problems and severe COVID-19— can boost survival of premature babies when given to pregnant women at risk of preterm birth in low-resource settings.
The WHO ACTION-I trial resolves an ongoing controversy about the efficacy of antenatal steroids for improving preterm newborn survival in low-income countries. Dexamethasone and similar drugs have long shown to be effective in saving preterm babies lives in high-income countries, where high-quality newborn care is more accessible. This is the first time a clinical trial has proven that the drugs are also effective in low-income settings.
The impact is significant: for every 25 pregnant women treated with dexamethasone, one premature baby’s life was saved. When administered to mothers at risk of preterm birth, dexamethasone crosses the placenta and accelerates lung development, making it less likely for preterm babies to have respiratory problems at birth.
“Dexamethasone is now a proven drug to save babies born too soon in low-income settings,” says Dr Olufemi Oladapo, head of maternal and perinatal health unit at WHO and HRP, and one of the coordinators of the study. “But it is only effective when administered by health-care providers who can make timely and accurate decisions, and provide a minimum package of high-quality care for both pregnant women and their babies.”
Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early, and 1 million die due to complications resulting from their early birth. In low-income settings, half of the babies born at or below 32 weeks die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care.
The study notes, healthcare providers must have the means to select the women most likely to benefit from the drug and to correctly initiate the treatment at the right time – ideally 48 hours before giving birth to give enough time to complete steroid injections for maximal effect. Women who are in weeks 26-34 of their pregnancy are most likely to benefit from the steroid, so healthcare providers must also have access to ultrasound to accurately date their pregnancies. In addition, babies must receive sufficiently good-quality care when they are born.
“When a minimal package of care for newborn babies – including management of infection, feeding support, thermal care and access to a CPAP machine to support respiration – is in place in low-income countries, antenatal steroids such as dexamethasone can help to save preterm babies’ lives,” says Dr Rajiv Bahl, head of the newborn health unit at WHO and one of the study coordinators.
Conducted from December 2017–November 2019, the randomized trial recruited 2852 women and their 3070 babies from 29 secondary and tertiary level hospitals in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Beyond finding a significantly lower risk of neonatal death and stillbirth, the study also found there was no increase in possible maternal bacterial infections when treating pregnant women with dexamethasone in low-resource settings.
Note to editors
WHO includes dexamethasone in its Essential Medicines List. The drug has also recently been shown to be effective in helping to relieve the symptoms caused by severe COVID-19. It is therefore crucial that countries, health systems, and pharmaceutical companies across the world ensure quality, as well as effective supply chains and pricing to prevent hoarding or stock-outs of this drug, which has many uses; including for helping to save preterm babies lives.
At the occasion of the World Health Summit 2020 and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, a new book has been launched that calls on world leaders and politicians to unite in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other threats to health and the global economy.
This year’s edition features another prestigious line-up of authors, including Amina J Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the UN, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. Calling for coordinated action in response to COVID-19 and on other pressing health-related issues, the publication focuses on five key areas:
- Inclusive economics, defined by a new social contract and the pursuit of progress for all
- The fundamental requirements for a healthy life and equitable health care
- Equitable investments and how to make universal health coverage a reality
- Health in the digital age and how technology can help reshape the human rights agenda
- The long-term outlook on global health
Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General, said: “It has never been clearer that health is a political and economic choice. In the past 20 years, countries have invested heavily in preparing for terrorist attacks, but relatively little in preparing for the attack of a virus – which, as the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, can be far more deadly, disruptive and costly.”
The first book in the series Health: A Political Choice. Delivering Universal Health Coverage 2030 was launched in 2019.
- Global Governance Project's press release
You can access the original press release by clicking here.