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Curbing climate change could save millions of lives – WHO

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, 6 December 2018 10:08 AM

FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization (WHO) logo is pictured at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, January 25, 2015. REUTERS/PIERRE ALBOUY

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday (December 5) that mitigating climate change would save millions of lives at a global level.

According to WHO, exposure to pollution results in seven million deaths every year. The organization says climate change affects a number of diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer, stroke or ischemic heart diseases.

Speaking during COP24, United Nations talks on climate change in Katowice, Poland, WHO’s head of environmental determinants of health, Maria Neira said a number of pulmonary and heart diseases caused by pollution were not included in decision-making processes and documents related to climate change.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, a team leader for climate change and health with WHO, added that health benefits of meeting the 2 Degree C Goal, which aims to cap a rise in average surface temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), are approximately twice the value of what it would cost to implement that mitigation at the global level.

COP24 talks are billed as the most important U.N. conference since the landmark Paris 2015 deal on climate change. Over the next two weeks, the aim is to make an end-of-year deadline for agreeing on a rule book on how to enforce global action to limit further warming of the planet. — Reuters

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WHO says migrants risk illness in host countries, lack access to health care

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 10:32 AM

Female migrants standing in line to get their temperatures checked by a Red Cross worker in Malaga, Spain on January 15, 2018 | Reuters

Migrants and refugees arriving in Europe are likely to be healthy but risk falling sick due to poor living conditions in their host countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a first-ever report on migrants’ health.

WHO regional director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, said on Monday (January 21) that refugees and migrants in Europe do not bring “exotic” diseases but are in higher risk to of getting sick because they lack access to health care.

Poor living conditions also increase their risk for cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer, though they are less affected than their host populations on arrival, WHO said.

The report said that a significant proportion of migrants and refugees who are HIV positive acquired the infection after they arrived in Europe. Despite a widespread assumption to the contrary, there is only a very low risk of refugees and migrants transmitting communicable diseases to their host population.

Jakab said that in some European countries “citizens estimate that there are three or four times more migrants than they are in reality”. — Reuters

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Maldives tells U.N. climate talks: ‘We are not prepared to die’

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, 14 December 2018 10:35 AM

 

Maldives beach | Reuters

The Maldives will do all in its power to keep “our heads above water”, the head of its delegation at U.N. climate talks, Mohamed Nasheed, said on Thursday (December 13) in an impassioned appeal for nations to overcome their divisions over how to tackle global warming.

The low-lying Maldives is among countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels and coral reef deterioration.

Nasheed was not alone in his appeal to delegates at the talks in Katowice, Poland.

Fiji’s Prime Minister and president of COP23, Frank Bainimarama, delivered a statement on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS). “There must be no expansion of existing coal mines or the creation of new ones,” he said at a news conference on the sidelines of the COP24 talks.

A Greenpeace activist, who witnessed her mother’s town in Fiji be completely devastated by Cyclone Winston in 2016, said climate change is a threat to the whole world.

Vanuatu’s foreign minister and Cook Islands’ prime minister also highlighted the urgency of the climate change issue and the importance for discussions on the matter to continue.

With less than two days until the conference is formally scheduled to end, delegates are still grappling with many issues – not just how the accord will be implemented – including finance, strengthening emissions cuts and monitoring action.

A draft, more concise text of the deal should be available later on Thursday but it is expected to still be laden with brackets for wording to be decided on and gaps. — Reuters

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Congo’s Ebola outbreak to last at least six more months, WHO says

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, 14 November 2018 09:19 AM

Health workers treating Ebola patient in treatment unit | REUTERS

The Ebola outbreak in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which has already killed more than 200 people, is expected to last until mid-2019, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday (November 13).

WHO emergency response chief Peter Salama said the WHO is “planning on at least another six months before we can declare this outbreak over.”

The outbreak in Congo’s North Kivu province has caused 333 confirmed and probable cases of the deadly virus and is now the worst in Congo’s history.

The location of the disease is perhaps the most difficult the WHO has ever encountered, due to a dense and mobile local population, insecurity caused by two armed groups, and its spread by transmission in health centers, Salama said.

One of the major drivers of the spread of the disease was due to people visiting the several hundred “tradi-modern” health centers in the town of Beni, he said. — Reuters

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