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Changing the game to improve availability and affordability of quality-assured insulin and associated devices
Official UN General Assembly side event: Progress and Multisectoral Action towards achieving global targets to end TB
25 September 2020 – Fragile gains made to advance women and children’s health are threatened by conflict, the climate crisis and COVID-19, according to a new report from Every Woman Every Child.
Protect the Progress: Rise, Refocus, Recover, 2020 highlights that since the Every Woman Every Child movement was launched 10 years ago, spearheaded by the United Nations Secretary-General, there has been remarkable progress in improving the health of the world’s women, children and adolescents. For example, under-five deaths reached an
all-time recorded low in 2019, and more than 1 billion children were vaccinated over the past decade. Coverage of immunization, skilled birth attendant and access to safe drinking water reached over 80 per cent. Maternal deaths declined by 35 per cent since 2000, with the most significant declines occurring from 2010. An estimated 25 million child marriages were also prevented over the past decade.
However, conflict, climate instability and the COVID-19 pandemic are putting the health and well-being of all children and adolescents at risk. The COVID-19 crisis, in particular, is exacerbating existing inequities, with reported disruptions in essential health interventions disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable women and children. At the height of pandemic lockdowns, schools were closed in 192 countries, affecting 1.6 billion students. Domestic violence and abuse of girls and women increased. Poverty and hunger are also on the rise.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a child under the age of five died every six seconds somewhere around the world,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Millions of children living in conflict zones and fragile settings face even greater hardship with the onset of the pandemic. We need to work collectively to meet immediate needs caused by the pandemic while also strengthening health systems. Only then can we protect and save lives.”
In 2019, 5.2 million children under the age of 5 and 1 million adolescents died of preventable causes. Every 13 seconds a newborn baby died. Every hour 33 women did not survive childbirth; and 33,000 girls a day were forced into marriages, usually to much older men. The report examines the deep-rooted inequities which continue to deprive women, children and adolescents of their rights – noting birthplace as a significant determinant of survival. In 2019, 82 percent of under-5 deaths and 86 percent of maternal deaths were concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Nine in 10 paediatric HIV infections occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent mortality rates were substantially higher in countries chronically affected by conflict.
“For too long, the health and rights of women, children, and adolescents have received insufficient attention and services have been inadequately resourced,” said former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Helen Clark. “We call on all partners to work together to support governments to strengthen health systems and tackle the inequities that constrain progress.”
The report calls upon the global community to fight COVID-19 while honoring and respecting commitments that can improve the lives of women and children, and not widen the gap between promise and reality. “The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to turn back the clock on years of progress in reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health. This is unacceptable,” said Muhammad Ali Pate, Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group and Director, Global Financing Facility. “The GFF partnership will double down on its efforts to engage with partners and countries and honor the global commitment to ensure that all women, adolescents and children can access the quality, affordable health care they need to survive and thrive.”
The past decade of progress to advance the health of women, children and adolescents must be protected from the impact of the pandemic and the responses to it, the report says. “Rapid reversal of hard-fought progress in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health is a real threat,” said Ties Boerma, Director of the Countdown to 2030 for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health. “As the intensive tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic tells us, timely local data are necessary to be able to target actions and prevent rising inequalities. Global and country investments in local health information systems are much needed to guide the response and protect progress.”
Without intensified efforts to combat preventable child deaths, 48 million children under age 5 could die between 2020 and 2030. Almost half of these deaths will be newborns. The report advocates for countries to continue investing in the health of all women, children and adolescents, in all crises.
"As we respond to COVID-19 and reimagine a better future, with sustained peace, including at home, we must repeat unequivocally that the rights of women and girls are not negotiable. Even in times of crisis – especially in times of crisis – their sexual and reproductive health and rights must be safeguarded at all costs," said Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director.
The report argues that the Every Woman Every Child movement is more critical than ever as we step into the SDG Decade of Action in the midst of the worst global health crisis of a generation. The momentum of the movement must continue to champion multilaterialism, to mobilize action across all sectors to safeguard the tremendous investments and gains realized by commitments since its launch 10 years ago, and to protect the health and well-being of every woman, child and adolescent, everywhere.
"There is no doubt that the pandemic has set back global efforts to improve the health and well-being of women and children, but that should only serve to strengthen our resolve," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Our joint action under the Every Woman Every Child movement is more important than ever. We now must renew our commitment to a healthier, safer, fairer and more sustainable world for women, children and future generations.”
Link to report microsite: http://protect.everywomaneverychild.org/
Link to The WHO Global Strategy for Women’s, Children and Adolescents Health Data Portal: https://www.who.int/data/maternal-newborn-child-adolescent/global-strategy-data
Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released today by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September.
This equates to one in five of all deaths from heart disease, warn the report’s authors, who urge all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.
Just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease. But if tobacco users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease will decrease by 50% after one year of not smoking.
“Given the current level of evidence on tobacco and cardiovascular health and the health benefits of quitting smoking, failing to offer cessation services to patients with heart disease could be considered clinical malpractice or negligence. Cardiology societies should train their members in smoking cessation, as well as to promote and even drive tobacco control advocacy efforts,” said Dr Eduardo Bianco, Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group.
The brief also shows that smokeless tobacco is responsible for around 200 000 deaths from coronary heart disease per year. E-cigarettes also raise blood pressure increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Moreover, high blood pressure and heart disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19. A recent WHO survey found that among people dying of COVID-19 in Italy, 67% had high blood pressure and in Spain, 43% of people who developed COVID-19 were living with heart disease.
“Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic. Making our communities smoke-free reduces the number of tobacco-related hospital admissions, which is more important than ever in the context of the current pandemic,” said Dr Vinayak Prasad, Unit Lead of the WHO No Tobacco Unit.
Tobacco control is a key element for reducing heart disease. Governments can help tobacco users quit by increasing tax on tobacco products, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and offering services to help people give up tobacco.
Zoonotic diseases can have reaching impacts on the health of people, animals, environments, economies and health systems globally. Countries must be prepared to detect, prevent and respond to these emerging and endemic diseases.
The Tripartite organisations (FAO, OIE and WHO) have launched a guide entitled ‘Taking a Multisectoral, One Health Approach: A Tripartite Guide to Addressing Zoonotic Diseases in Countries’, the TZG, to support countries in addressing zoonotic diseases. It provides principles, best practices and options to assist countries in achieving sustainable and functional collaboration at the human-animal-environment interface.
Today, a new online training is available for free to help you navigate and implement the TZG.
Watch this video to know more about the training:
What are the benefits for your country?
After completing this training, you will:
- Understand the purpose of the TZG
- Recognize the tools that can be used to understand national context and priorities for One Health
- Explore the seven technical chapters of the TZG
- Learn from country examples about the application of key principles of the TZG
- Identify operational tools available to support the use of the TZG at a country level