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14 November 2017

Today, 14 November, is World Diabetes Day. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Women and diabetes ‒ our right to a healthy future”. The campaign aims to promote the importance of affordable and equitable access for all women at risk of or living with diabetes to the essential diabetes medicines and technologies, self-management education and information they require to...

06 November 2017

World Antibiotics Awareness Week 2017

November 2017 – World Antibiotics Awareness Week will be observed from 13 to 19 November 2017, with the year of this year’s campaign “Seek advice from a qualified health care professional before taking antibiotics”. The aim is to advocate for the proper and responsible use of antibiotics to prevent their misuse. It is important to seek the correct medical advice before...

18 October 2017

18 October 2017 - It is with grieving hearts that we announce the death of Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. He passed away on 17 October on his way to participate in the Global High Level summit on Non Communicable Diseases, taking place in Montevideo, Uruguay. Dr Fikri took office as Regional Director on 1 February...

12 October 2017

64th session of the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean concludes in Pakistan

12 October 2017, Islamabad, Pakistan – Members of WHO’s Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean today concluded their 64th Session, endorsing a number of resolutions that will have a positive impact on the health of populations in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region.  Among the topics discussed were cancer, climate change, the health of adolescents and antimicrobial resistance. Cancer is the second...

11 October 2017

First day of the 64th Regional Committee of the Eastern Mediterranean focuses on polio eradication, health emergencies

11 October 2017, Islamabad, Pakistan -- On the first day of the regular session of the 64th Regional Committee of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Regional Director’s annual report for 2016, health emergencies and polio eradication were at the core of the discussions. Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO Regional Director presented the annual report on the work of the Regional Office in 2016....

10 October 2017

President of Pakistan at inauguration of 64th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean in Islamabad

10 October 2017, Islamabad, Pakistan – For the first time in Regional Committee history, the opening of the 64th Session of Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean was attended by the president of the host country, Pakistan, reflecting the importance of health on the national and global agenda. In his opening speech, H.E. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan called on...

05 October 2017

5 October 2017 – Every year, the world marks World Mental Health Day on 10 October. The theme of this year's day is “mental health in the workplace” which focuses on how to create healthy work environment supportive to the mental health of employees. The aim is to help people avoid anxiety, depression or any mental conditions that may arise due...

02 October 2017

The Sixty-fourth Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean opened on Monday evening, 9 October 2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan. As WHO’s governing body at the regional level, the Regional Committee comprises representatives of all 22 countries in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region.  In the presence of His Excellency Mr Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan, the opening...

03 September 2017

Effective preparedness for hajj 2017 (1438 H) pays off: no major public health events reported

3 September 2017, Makkah – The World Health Organization (WHO) today concluded a successful mission to Saudi Arabia to support the Ministry of Health in ensuring a safe hajj season. No disease outbreak or public health event of concern was reported among the nearly 2.4 million pilgrims visiting the holy sites during this year’s hajj, in spite of an increased...

03 September 2017

WHO statement on successful conclusion of this year’s hajj

3 September 2017 –The World Health Organization would like to congratulate Saudi Arabia for successfully hosting the hajj this year without any public health events or disease outbreaks being reported among pilgrims performing hajj.  In addition, WHO expresses its deep appreciation to all the health care workers and volunteers for their great dedication and for the efforts that they have exerted...

14 August 2017

Somalia celebrates 3 years polio-free: WHO urges continued caution

Mogadishu, 14 August 2017 – An event attended by the President of Somalia, parliamentarians, delegates from the Somali Ministry of Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF, was held in Mogadishu to mark a milestone occasion: 3 years since the detection of the last case of wild poliovirus in the country.  Speaking at the event, WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean,...

27 July 2017

WHO commemorates World Hepatitis Day in Pakistan

Cairo, 27 July 2017 - The World Health Organization and its partners will commemorate tomorrow World Hepatitis Day to add momentum to efforts aimed at implementing WHO's global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis for 2016–2021 and to help Member States achieve the final goal: Eliminating Hepatitis. For this occasion an event will be held at Serena Hotel in Islamabad,...

25 July 2017

KHARTOUM, 25 July 2017 - To help stop antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from killing millions and costing the global economy trillions of dollars, partners from the health and agriculture sectors are coming together in Khartoum, Sudan from 24-27 July to draft a national action plan. By the year 2050, resistance to life-saving antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics is estimated to cost...

10 July 2017

10 July 2017 – With increasing numbers of people in some countries of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region affected by acute watery diarrhoea and cholera, WHO in the Region is working with partners, including UNICEF, to save lives in areas where outbreaks are active, and reduce the risk of these diseases crossing into unaffected areas and neighbouring countries.   “The...

27 June 2017

Bangkok, June 28, 2017 – Governments, civil society and the United Nations in Asia and the Pacific are strengthening the roll-out and implementation of a multi-sectoral response to urgently address gender-based violence against women and girls across this diverse region. More than 100 delegates representing a range of government and civil society partners from a dozen countries are attending a three-day...

23 June 2017

23 June 2017 – The World Health Organization (WHO) expresses deep thanks and appreciation to His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence for his generous initiative to fund cholera response activities in Yemen. King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre in Saudi Arabia, has announced a donation of US $66.7...

14 June 2017

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 15 June 2017 – The World Health Organization (WHO) and the King Salman Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Relief have signed an agreement for almost US$ 8.3 million to support the ongoing health response to the cholera outbreak in Yemen. This support from the King Salman Centre will ensure that 7.3 million people in 13 priority governorates are...

12 June 2017

World Blood Donor Day: Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Give blood now.

12 June 2017, Cairo – Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations throughout the year to ensure the availability of safe blood supplies for patients in need.  This year’s campaign...

29 May 2017

Baghdad, 29 May 2017 – The Government of Japan extended its support to the World Health Organization in March this year with a donation of over US$ 1 million to implement a project to provide integrated lifesaving services in camps for internally displaced people and Syrian refugees in the hosting governorates of Ninewa, Erbil and Duhok.  Through this initiative, a population of...

23 May 2017

24 May 2017 – The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean convened a meeting for delegates of countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region as a side event at the Seventieth World Health Assembly. The meeting discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, polio eradication and emergencies. Sustainable Development Goals  Superseding the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals with 169...

22 May 2017

Geneva, 23 May 2017 – The Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA) opened yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, and will take place until 31 May 2017. The Health Assembly is being attended by nearly 4000 delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States and partner organizations and is WHO’s highest decision-making body, setting out organizational policy and approving the proposed programme budget. This year,...

18 May 2017

Cairo, Egypt, 18 May, 2017 — On this World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on governments, partners, communities and individuals to stop using tobacco and drive sustainable development. The slogan for this year’s Day is “Say no to tobacco”. Tobacco control can protect health, reduce poverty and promote development.   Each year, more than 7 million...

14 May 2017

Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week: speed management key to saving lives

Cairo, Sunday 14 May 2017 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt today marked the fourth United Nations Global Road Safety Week during a regional celebration held at WHO premises in Cairo. The week and its related campaign “Save Lives: #SlowDown” draw attention to the dangers...

11 May 2017

WHO responds to resurgent cholera in Yemen

11 May 2017, Sana’a, Yemen — The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are responding to an upsurge in cholera transmission in several parts of Yemen that has claimed 51 lives and caused around 2752 suspected cases since 27 April 2017. WHO has rapidly distributed medicines and medical supplies, including cholera kits, oral rehydration solutions and intravenous (IV) fluids as well...

04 May 2017

Prime Minister of Tunisia Yousef El-Shahed honours WHO Regional Director Dr Mahmoud Fikri at World Congress on Road Safety

4 May 2017 – During the 13th session of the Prevention of Road Incidents World Congress on Road Safety, inaugurated in Tunis yesterday, Wednesday 3 May 2017, H.E. Tunisian Prime Minister Yousef El-Shahed honoured Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. The congress started its working sessions today. The first session handled "post-crash response" and highlighted the crucial role...

30 April 2017

“Fight antibiotic resistance … it’s in your hands”

2 May 2017, Cairo – World Hand Hygiene Day, marked globally on 5 May, highlights the importance of hand hygiene in health care. The slogan of this year’s campaign is “Fight antibiotic resistance … it’s in your hands”, illustrating the important relationship between good infection prevention and control practices like washing your hands and preventing antibiotic resistance.    World Hand Hygiene...

20 April 2017

WHO Regional Director meets Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir

Khartoum, 20 April 2017 – WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Mahmoud Fikri has just concluded a 2-day visit to Sudan. During his visit, he met with the President of Sudan Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, senior Government officials and representatives of United Nations agencies and the diplomatic community. In his meeting with the President, the Regional Director expressed...

19 April 2017

World Immunization Week 2017: #VaccinesWork

19 April 2017, Cairo – On the occasion of  World Immunization Week – celebrated annually between 24 and 30 April  – WHO highlights the vital importance of immunization as the most cost-effective preventative intervention in public health. Under the theme “#VaccinesWork”, World Immunization Week in 2017 calls on governments and all stakeholders to ensure strong country commitment for immunization as...

10 April 2017

WHO's Regional Director launches National Immunization Week in Lebanon

Beirut, Lebanon, 10 April 2017 – WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Mahmoud Fikri and H.E. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Mr Ghasan Hasbani today launched National Immunization Week in Lebanon. World Immunization Week is celebrated annually from 24 to 30 April by WHO and partners to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of...

09 April 2017

WHO Regional Director meets Lebanese President H.E. Michel Aoun to discuss regional public health challenges

7 April 2017 – WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Mahmoud Fikri today met the President of Lebanon H. E. Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Lebanon to discuss public health issues in Lebanon and the Region at whole. Also present at the meeting was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Mr Ghassan Hasbani.  H.E President Aoun...

09 April 2017

Nationwide immunization campaign protects 5 million children against polio in war-torn Yemen

Support from the World Bank, WHO and UNICEF critical to reach every vulnerable child SANA’A, 8 April 2017 — In an effort to keep Yemen polio-free, nearly 5 million children under the age of 5 have been vaccinated in a nationwide campaign covering all governorates in the country. The campaign was supported by a partnership between the World Bank, UNICEF and...

04 April 2017

6 April 2017 – On World Health Day, 7 April,  the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on individuals and communities to speak out about depression and to fight the stigma surrounding it. The slogan for this year’s Day is “Depression: let’s talk”. Talking about depression helps break down stigma and encourages more people to seek help. To commemorate World Health Day...

04 April 2017

WHO Regional Director met with H.E. President of Pakistan during his official visit to the country

Islamabad, 2 April 2017 – Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, visited Islamabad, Pakistan, from 30 to 31 March. During his first official visit to the country, Dr Fikri met with several high-ranking officials, including the President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, the Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar, and...

03 April 2017

3 April 2017 – As the world’s leaders gather in Brussels on 4–5 April, the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria continues to unfold. More than 6 years into the conflict, the violence is unrelenting. As always, it is civilians who pay the highest price: almost 300 000 people have been killed and 1.5 million people injured, including thousands of women and children....

30 March 2017

Regional Director thanks United Arab Emirates for support of Polio Eradication Initiative in Pakistan

Islamabad, 30 March 2017 – During his 2-day visit to Pakistan on 30–31 March 2017, Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, met with H.E. Abdulaziz Ali Rashed Binmesaied Alneyadi, First Secretary with the Embassy of United Arab Emirates in Pakistan, to express his appreciation of the country's funding to the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme and encouraged continued...

29 March 2017

Within hours of opening its doors, Athbah trauma field hospital treats casualties from west Mosul

Mosul, Iraq 29 March 2017: With medical capacities to treat severely wounded people significantly reduced due to conflict and coupled with the increased trend of traumatic injuries among civilians, the World Health Organization, the Federal Ministry of Health and Ninewa Department of Health has opened a trauma field hospital in Athba. Located in Athba, 15 kilometres from the frontlines of west...

19 March 2017

World TB Day: Unite to End TB and alleviate the suffering of millions

22 March 2017, Cairo – The World Health Organization (WHO) calls for united efforts to put an end to tuberculosis (TB) that is still affecting millions of people around the world. On the occasion of World TB Day, celebrated on 24 March, WHO renews the call to “Unite to End TB” through actions to address stigma, discrimination and marginalization and...

08 March 2017

8 March 2017 – Today the global community celebrates a very distinguished occasion, International Women’s Day, under the inspirational slogan be bold for change. Many achievements have been made for and by women in recent decades. We have witnessed a substantial reduction in maternal mortality ratio in our region through improved access to reproductive health services. Women are now playing greater catalyst...

03 March 2017

3 March 2017 – Following the reported use of chemical weapons agents in East Mosul, Iraq, WHO, partners and local health authorities have activated an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical. Since 1 March, 12 patients including women and children with respiratory symptoms and blistering have been received for...

02 March 2017

WHO airlifts cholera and tuberculosis medical supplies to Yemen

23 January 2017, Sana’a – Today a cargo plane carrying 8 metric tonnes of cholera kits and tuberculosis medicines landed in Yemeni capital, Sana’a. The cholera kits include anti-diarrhoeal treatment for 12 000 people, as well as cholera laboratory equipment and rapid diagnostics tests.  Part of the airlift coming from Djibouti are also anti-tuberculosis medicines procured by Global Fund on behalf of...

01 March 2017

Baghdad, Iraq, 28 February 2017 – As military operations in west Mosul, Iraq, begin, the World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up its response in support of the Ministry of Health to meet the urgent health needs of 750 000 west Mosul residents who are expected to require trauma care and basic health services. Additional trauma stabilization points, field hospitals, and...

27 February 2017

Cairo, 27 February 2017 – The World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up its response in Somalia to provide critical health services for 1.5 million people currently affected by severe drought conditions and a worsening food crisis. However, the Organization urgently requires US$ 10 million as part of the United Nations appeal for the first 6 months of 2017. The humanitarian situation in Somalia...

19 February 2017

Regional Director meets Egyptian Minister of Health and Population

19 February 2017 – On 16 February, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Mahmoud Fikri received the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population Dr Ahmed Emad Eldin Rady at the WHO Regional Office in Cairo, accompanied by the WHO Representative in Egypt, Dr Jean Jabbour.  This welcome visit came after the inauguration of the new Regional Director who assumed...

15 February 2017

Erbil 15 February 2017 - The World Health Organization (WHO) has responded to an acute shortage of medical supplies in the newly retaken areas of Mosul by delivering medicines and other medical supplies to 16 primary health centers, one hospital and the Directorate of Health (DOH) in Ninewa. The donation will support treatment of patients with infectious diseases, chronic conditions,...

15 February 2017

Erbil, 15 February 2017 – After over 2 years of suspended routine immunization activities in Mosul and the surrounding districts, the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, have trained 30 vaccinators from the recently taken areas in east Mosul and Salahuddin to help revitalize routine immunization services. The 3-day training that targeted grass-root level health...

31 January 2017

31 January 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Today, Heads of State from across Africa endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, also known as the Ministerial Declaration on Universal Access to Immunization, a historic and timely pledge to ensure that everyone in Africa – regardless of who they are or where they live – receives the full benefits of immunization. The...

26 January 2017

Cairo, 25 January 2017 – As the conflict in Mosul intensifies and greater numbers of civilians are caught in the crossfire, WHO and partners have increased trauma care services to ensure that patients requiring medical care for injuries have a greater chance of survival. However, additional funds are needed in order to provide a full scale of health services to...

23 January 2017

Mahmoud Fikri appointed as Regional Director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region

24 January 2017 | Geneva – The World Health Organization’s Executive Board, currently holding its 140th session in Geneva, has appointed Dr Mahmoud Fikri as WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, following his nomination by the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean in October last year. Dr Fikri will take up his appointment for a 5-year term starting on 1...

04 December 2016

4 December 2016 – As the conflict in Aleppo intensifies, WHO and partners are providing lifesaving services and health supplies for thousands of people fleeing to safer areas. More than 250 000 people in besieged eastern Aleppo city are facing dwindling supplies of food, medicine, water and fuel. All ten of eastern Aleppo’s hospitals are closed or barely functional, depriving thousands...

29 November 2016

29 November 2016, Gaza – On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, marked by the UN since 1977, WHO launched a 2-year report on health access today at an event in Gaza to highlight how the Israeli permit system and physical barriers obstruct health access for Palestinian patients, ambulances and health workers. The study...

29 November 2016

1 December 2016, Cairo – “Dignity above all” is the regional slogan of this year’s World AIDS Day, celebrated every year on 1 December. This year’s campaign in the Eastern Mediterranean Region calls on all stakeholders to work together to end stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV in health care settings. The campaign is soliciting high-level political commitment and...

20 November 2016

20 November 2016 – On Friday 18 November 2016 WHO issued a press release strongly denouncing a claim recently published on the "Aswat Hurrah" (Free voices) website on so called illegitimate marriages during religious ceremonies. The claim that this information was released by a WHO headquarter’s communications officer is completely erroneous.  WHO not only condemns the use of the Organization’s name...

20 November 2016

18 November 2016 – WHO denounces the false information published on the "Free voices" website on 17 November 2016 claiming that one media official in the Organization made a statement regarding marriage during religious ceremonies in Iraq. The statement was completely fabricated and entirely against the role of WHO in protecting public health. WHO asks all media to check WHO websites to...

14 November 2016

15 November 2016 ¦ Geneva ¦ Marrakech – Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem1 in Morocco.   Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. Transmitted through contact with eye and nose discharge of infected people, particularly young children, it affects populations in 42 countries, and is responsible for blindness or...

10 November 2016

Second World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 14–20 November 2016

Awareness is key to reducing antibiotic resistance  10 November 2016 – The second World Antibiotic Awareness Week will take place from 14 to 20 November 2016, with "Antibiotics: handle with care" as the slogan of this year’s campaign. The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that humanity is heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once...

06 November 2016

Sana'a, 6 November 2016 — More than half of all health facilities in Yemen are closed or partially functioning, and there are critical shortages in medical doctors in more than 40% of all districts, according to a new WHO health system survey. Final findings from WHO’s Health Resources Availability Mapping System (HeRAMS*) in 16 out of Yemen's 22 governorates show that...

27 October 2016

WHO releases emergency funds to support cholera response in Yemen

27 October 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has released approximately US$ 1 million from its internal emergency funds to support the ongoing response to the cholera outbreak in Yemen. Since the outbreak was announced by the Ministry of Public Health and Population on 6 October, a total of 1184 suspected cases of cholera, including 6 deaths, have been reported. 47 cases have tested...

26 October 2016

WHO and partners gear up to safeguard lives of displaced persons fleeing Mosul

26 October 2016 – The World Health Organization, together with national health authorities and health cluster partners, have accelerated preparedness and response measures for internally displaced persons from Mosul by prepositioning 46 mobile medical clinics, 45 mobile health teams and 26 ambulances in a number of prioritized areas around the country. Life-saving medicines and supplies for more than 350 000 beneficiaries...

17 October 2016

17 October 2016 – At least 5 people, including 2 children and 2 women, were reportedly killed when a primary health care centre in Kafr Zita, northern Hama governorate, Syria, was hit on 15 October. At least 10 others were injured, including 2 health staff.   The centre sustained major damages and is temporarily out of service. Hundreds of people are...

07 October 2016

Sana'a, 7 October 2016— Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population has officially announced the occurrence of 8 cholera cases among population in one of the areas of Sana'a city. The stool samples of these cases were tested positive for Vibrio cholerae. The cases were admitted to Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sana'a in the first week of October and are currently...

06 October 2016

6 October 2016 – The World Health Organization congratulates Dr Mahmoud M. Fikri on his nomination as Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region during the 63rd Regional Committee, which has just concluded in Cairo, Egypt.  The nomination will be submitted to WHO’s Executive Board which meets in January 2017 when the election for the Regional Director will be conducted. Once officially...

05 October 2016

Regional Committee discusses public health achievements

Cairo, 4 October 2016 – During the first day of the Regional Committee meeting, WHO’s Regional Director Dr Ala Alwan presented his annual report on the work of WHO in the Eastern Mediterranean Region in 2015 and into 2016 to ministers of health and senior level policy-makers attending the 63rd Session of the Regional Committee in Cairo, Egypt. The report focuses on...

29 September 2016

63rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean opens in Cairo

3 October 2016, Cairo – Ministers of health and high-level representatives of the 22 countries and territories of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region and health partners are attending the 63rd session of the Regional Committee meeting in Cairo, Egypt. The Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean is WHO’s decision-making body in the Region. It meets in October each year to formulate...

27 September 2016

WHO releases country estimates on air pollution exposure and its health impact

92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO-recommended limits 27 September 2016 | Cairo – A new World Health Organization (WHO) air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO-recommended limits. The situation is even worse in the Eastern Mediterranean Region where the percentage rises...

22 September 2016

At UN, global leaders commit to act on antimicrobial resistance

Collective effort to address a challenge to health, food security, and development Joint news release OPGA/WHO/FAO/OIE 21 SEPTEMBER 2016 | NEW YORK - World leaders today signalled an unprecedented level of attention to curb the spread of infections that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi develop resistance against medicines that were previously able to...

14 September 2016

No major public health event reported during the pilgrimage: WHO concludes its mission to Saudi Arabia

14 September 2016, Mecca – The World Health Organization (WHO) has today concluded its mission to Saudi Arabia to support the Ministry of Health in ensuring a safe pilgrimage season (Hajj). So far there has been no major health threat or event of concern, with no major disease outbreak reported among the nearly two million pilgrims attending the holy sites. In...

11 September 2016

Thousands of health workers supporting pilgrims as they move to Arafat Mountain

11 September 2016 – More than 26 000 Saudi health staff have started providing support to pilgrims at 25 hospitals and 158 primary health care centres around the holy sites where more than 1.5 Muslims from 140 countries have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Today, pilgrims are traveling to Mount Arafat, for what will be the main part...

10 September 2016

WHO and African Union collaborate to strengthen routine immunization programmes across Africa

9 September 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean hosted some of the Organization’s most important partners on 7–8 September for a workshop to continue developing a roadmap to help countries across Africa build the political will, infrastructure and resources necessary to ensure more children have access to vaccines. Vaccines administrated under the expanded programme on...

06 September 2016

Preparations for the upcoming pilgrimage: heat exhaustion and respiratory diseases are a priority

Over 2 million Muslim pilgrims are expected to participate in this year’s hajj that begins next week in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. In preparation, the Saudi Ministry of Health with support from World Health Organization (WHO) has put in place measures to prevent and rapidly address any health issues that could arise during the hajj, including the Middle East...

24 August 2016

Cairo, 24 August 2016 – The World Health Organization observes with dismay the frequent attacks on health care facilities in Syria. Nearly every day, hospitals, clinics and ambulances are being targeted.  Between 9 and 19 August 2106, attacks were reported on 11 hospitals, 5 ambulances and one primary health care centre in Hama, Aleppo, Idleb and Homs governorates. Most of these health...

17 August 2016

17 August 2016 — WHO condemns the attack on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported Abs Hospital in Hajjah governorate, Yemen, which claimed the lives of 11 people including an MSF staff member and injured 19 others, according to MSF. The local health office confirmed 18 killed and 18 injured within of hours after the attack. The hospital was partially destroyed and all...

17 August 2016

17 August 2016 –  More than 20 health workers and patients, including mothers and children, were inside Kafr Hamra Child and Maternity Hospital in Aleppo, Syria, when the facility was hit at 1:00 am on 12 August 2016. 2 health workers and a female patient inside the hospital were killed. Among the 14 injured were nurses, a midwife, female patients...

09 August 2016

9 August 2016 -- WHO strongly condemns the attack at Quetta Civil Hospital, Pakistan on 8 August. At least 71 people were killed, including one doctor, and 112 people injured. WHO extends its sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of those who were killed and injured in this attack. Doctors, patients and civilians in health care settings should never be...

09 August 2016

9 August 2016 – With support from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre WHO continues to provide lifesaving health, nutrition and environmental services for millions of people in Yemen. To date, the Centre has donated more than US$ 22 million to support WHO’s response activities in Yemen. Funds received have allowed WHO to provide 120 metric tonnes of essential medicines...

26 July 2016

World Breastfeeding Week 2016: enabling conditions needed to support mothers to breastfeed anytime, anywhere

More than 170 countries in the world will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from 1 to 7 August 2016 to support and encourage breastfeeding practices in order to improve the health of babies around the world. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a...

24 July 2016

WHO calls to put hepatitis C medicines within the reach of patients

July 2016, Cairo – To commemorate World Hepatitis Day this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on decision-makers and people affected by the disease to work together to put hepatitis treatment within the reach of all people living with chronic hepatitis C. The newly available treatment known as direct-acting antivirals is safe, easy to administer and can cure...

19 July 2016

19 July 2016 – WHO condemns the attacks on hospitals in Aleppo and Idleb governorates in the Syrian Arab Republic, and offers its condolences to the families and colleagues of the health staff and patients killed in these attacks. On 16 July, Omar Ibn Abdel Aziz hospital, located in Al-Maadi neighbourhood in the eastern part of Aleppo City, was hit and...

26 June 2016

26 June 2016, Tunis, Tunisia – The World Health Organization condemns recent attacks on 2 health facilities in Benghazi. Libya. On 21 June, a rocket hit the roof of the Ear, Nose and Throat and Urological Centre, directly above the operating theatres, causing damage to the roof, all oxygen supply pipes, and the central ventilation. The roof had been reconstructed...

23 June 2016

23 June 2016 – Recently, some media reports have misinterpreted and erroneously reported details about Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, published on the WHO “Disease outbreak news” portal on 19 June 2016. In relation to this, WHO would like to state the following in reference to these reports:  Disease outbreak news states the facts of an...

21 June 2016

WHO again reaches East Ghouta, Syria, with supplies of lifesaving treatments

21 June 2016 – With another delivery of lifesaving treatments to East Ghouta in Syria on 19 June 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reached, this year, the besieged district with over 30 tonnes of urgently needed medicines and supplies for an estimated population of 246 000 people in need.      This was the sixth delivery of lifesaving medicines and...

20 June 2016

20 June 2016 – As conflict rages through the Eastern Mediterranean Region, thousands of people flee their homes every day in search of safety. Faced with violence, blocked roads and sometimes limited resources, their journey is never easy. Crossing borders in search of a safer environment, many refugees still struggle to lead normal lives, competing with some of the poorest host communities...

15 June 2016

WHO expresses concern over disease outbreaks in its response to Fallujah crisis

Baghdad, 16 June 2016: WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan arrived in Baghdad yesterday to review firsthand WHO’s response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Fallujah city, where more than 42 000 Iraqis have been displaced since the beginning of the military operations in the city in May 2016. Tens of thousands of besieged and displaced...

13 June 2016

WHO reaches more people in need with lifesaving treatments in Duma

13 June 2016 – Despite security challenges, WHO continues to reach people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria with health humanitarian assistance. These sites include Duma, Syria, where impediments to proper water and sanitation services have resulted in poor living, hygiene and sanitation conditions, as well as a lack of access to emergency and chronic disease medications and medical supplies.  On...

12 June 2016

World Blood Donor Day 2016: Blood connects us all Share blood. Save lives

14 June 2016-- On the occasion of the World Blood Donor Day 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on people all over the world to share life by donating their blood to those who need it. “Blood connects us all” is the theme selected to highlight this year’s Day celebrated worldwide on 14 June. About 6 million blood donations are...

12 June 2016

10 June 2016 – The World Health Organization condemns the attacks on 2 hospitals in Aleppo, Syria, on 8 June. The al-Bayan and al-Hakeem hospitals, located in the eastern part of Aleppo city, were together providing close to 9200 consultations and performing 173 major surgeries per month. The al-Hakeem hospital, a UNICEF-supported facility, is one of the few remaining health...

02 June 2016

Vaccination campaign at risk as fighting intensifies in Syria

Joint statement by Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, and Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa 2 June 2016, Amman/Cairo – As fighting and violence escalate across Syria, we risk losing the opportunity to vaccinate and save the lives of more than 1 million children. For example, due to the sharp...

30 May 2016

30 May 2016 - WHO condemns the multiple attacks on 27 and 28 May 2016 on the Benghazi Medical Center in Benghazi, Libya. More than 600 patients and health workers were in the medical center at the time of the attacks. No casualties inside the center have been reported, although there are substantial damages to infrastructure. Benghazi Medical Center is the...

29 May 2016

Plain packaging of tobacco products to reduce demand, save lives 30 May, 2016–Recent moves to introduce plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products can save lives by reducing demand for tobacco products, say the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat (WHO FCTC). Plain packaging of tobacco products restricts or prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand...

24 May 2016

23 May 2016 – WHO condemns the bombing of the Jableh National Hospital in Latakia province in Syria. Over 40 patients and accompanying family members were killed and 35 injured. An emergency doctor and 2 nurses also died in the explosion while 11 other health workers have been wounded.  Due to the damage, the hospital is currently not functional and patients have...

20 May 2016

Baghdad, 19 May 2016 — The Government of Japan has generously provided US$ 3 million to support the work of WHO in Iraq. This contribution directly supports life-saving primary and secondary health care services in Duhok and the plains of Ninewa, where more than 600 000 people live. It will also assist in the prevention, early detection and containment of outbreaks in 11...

19 May 2016

Delivering health care in crises: attacks on health care and the need for compliance to international humanitarian law

20 May 2016 – Saving lives in a number of countries of the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region is a dangerous profession. Escalating conflict and the massive scale of humanitarian needs continue to place health care workers at great risk. Attacks against health workers and facilities in Afghanistan increased by 50% in 2015, and Syria is now the deadliest place in the...

14 May 2016

Sana’a, 9 May 2016 — With support from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, WHO continues to provide life-saving health care services to people affected by the conflict in Yemen. Funding from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has allowed WHO to deploy 14 mobile teams to 5 governorates, offering integrated care to populations with no access...

06 May 2016

Fifth health diplomacy seminar convenes in Cairo

Cairo, 7 May 2016 – The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean held its fifth annual seminar on health diplomacy from 7 to 8 May 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. The seminar was first convened in 2012 as a regional initiative bringing together representatives of ministries of health and foreign affairs to explore the multidimensional relationships between health and foreign...

26 April 2016

WHO urges health care providers to clean their hands to reduce infections

3 May 2016 | Cairo – On the occasion of World Hand Hygiene Day, celebrated every year on 5 May, WHO urges health care workers to improve patient safety through following proper hand hygiene practices to reduce the number of health care-associated infections. The subject of this year’s campaign is surgical site infections, with particular focus on ensuring clean hands...

24 April 2016

United Nations partners renew commitment to end preventable newborn deaths

Amman, 24 April 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO), UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and UNICEF are joining efforts to support Arab countries and Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Pakistan to reduce neonatal mortality and improve the quality of health care services provided to newborns and mothers. Last year, more than 450 000 newborn children in the first...

21 April 2016

National polio immunization campaign concludes in Yemen

Sana'a, 21 April 2016 – Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population, with support from WHO and UNICEF, has concluded a national house-to-house polio immunization campaign, targeting 5 019 948 children under the age of 5 across the country. During the campaign, more than 4.5 million children (90% of target) were successfully vaccinated by more than 40  000 health workers.  Members of local...

06 April 2016

WHO calls for action to prevent and manage diabetes  6 April 2016 – The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double that of their peers without diabetes. On World Health Day, 7 April, the World Health Organization is calling for a 2-pronged approach: interventions to prevent diabetes, and interventions to manage diabetes for people who have...

06 April 2016

6 April 2016 – WHO strongly condemns the attack on Ma’arib General Hospital in Ma’arib governorate, Yemen on 3 April, in which 4 people died, including one medical doctor, and 13 people were injured. The attack also caused damage to the intensive care unit and administration buildings of the hospital.  Despite facing critical shortages in health staff and medicines, Ma’arib Hospital...

05 April 2016

Cairo, 5 April 2016 – In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, more than 65% of adults and 20% of adolescents are currently overweight or obese. Evidence shows that the excessive consumption of sugar is not only a major contributor to the epidemic of obesity but is also leading to increased prevalence of diabetes and tooth decay in children and adults. In order...

27 March 2016

Health situation in Yemen critical as violent conflict enters second year

27 March 2016, Sana’a, Yemen – This week marks one year since the escalation of the conflict in Yemen, where the violence has had a devastating impact on millions of innocent civilians, causing immeasurable suffering. Since March 2015, more than 6200 people have been killed and 30 000 injured. More than 21 million people – 82% of the total population...

15 March 2016

15 March 2016 | Cairo – In 2012, an estimated 854 000 people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in the Eastern Mediterranean Region – nearly one in 5 of total deaths in this Region, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO). Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil...

14 March 2016

Humanitarian sign of hope 5 years into the Syrian conflict: WHO increases its response to reach more people

14 March 2016 – 5 years since the conflict began in Syria, millions of people across the country continue to suffer from limited access to basic medical care services because of ongoing conflict and a deteriorating health system. Over 11 million people are in need of health assistance that many hospitals and primary health clinics are unable to adequately provide....

03 March 2016

Statement by Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Cairo, 3 March, 2016 -- The health situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, not just day by day, but hour by hour. As always in conflict, it is innocent civilians that pay the highest price. Almost two thirds of all Syrians have no access to safe water, putting them...

03 March 2016

03 March 2016 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean invited representatives from ministries of health in the Region to 2 rounds of emergency meetings to share information on Zika virus infection and associated conditions and discuss implementation of public health measures to prepare for, and respond to, any possible spread in the Region. To...

02 March 2016

Life-saving medical supplies reach besieged city in Syria

2 March 2016 – Today, the World Health Organization delivered urgently needed medicines to the besieged city of Mouadamieh, 10 km south of Damascus. “Today we were able to bring in antibiotics and painkillers, exactly what local health workers told me they needed a few days ago,” says Azret Kalmykov, WHO health cluster coordinator in Syria, after completing the delivery inside the...

01 March 2016

Ministerial conference concludes with pledge to improve access to vaccines

29 February 2016 – At a landmark Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa held from 24 to 25 February, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, African Ministers of Health, Finance, Education, Social Affairs and local governments signed a declaration to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases and to close the immunization gap by 2020....

19 February 2016

WHO reaches 5 besieged areas in Syria with life-saving medicines

19 February 2016 – It was another huge sigh of relief for the people in need in the 5 besieged areas of Madaya, Foah, Kafraya, Zabadani and Mouadamiya al-Sham as 100 aid trucks simultaneously delivered humanitarian assistance, including life-saving medicines and therapeutic nutrition supplies.  As part of the current interagency convoy, WHO provided about 18 tonnes of life-saving medicines and supplies to...

18 February 2016

World Health Organization responds to growing health needs in Yemen, calls for increased access

17 February 2016 -- Despite facing significant challenges as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, WHO continues to respond to the increasing health needs of millions of people across the country. Since the beginning of the crisis, WHO has reached more than seven million people in 23 governorates through the provision of medicines, medical supplies, mobile medical teams...

17 February 2016

WHO condemns multiple attacks on health facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic

17 February 2016 – WHO is appalled at the recent attacks on health care facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic. These attacks have resulted in at least 14 people being killed, including 4 health care workers, and have left many others severely injured. Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and colleagues of those killed and injured. On 15 February, 7...

11 February 2016

WHO and Ministry of Health of Iraq endorse joint programme of cooperation for 2016–2017

11 February 2016, Baghdad, Iraq -- WHO and the Ministry of Health of Iraq, yesterday in Baghdad, reviewed and endorsed the 2-year cycle joint programme of cooperation between WHO and the Government of Iraq for the biennium 2016–2017.  The biennial programme of work endorsed by Her Excellency the Minister of Health of Iraq Dr Adila Hamoud and WHO Regional Director for...

10 February 2016

Following months of blocked access, WHO medical supplies reach Taiz City, Yemen

Sana'a, 10 February 2016 — Following months of blocked access to Taiz City, Yemen, and in response to mounting emergency health needs, the World Health Organization (WHO) has successfully delivered more than 20 tonnes of life-saving medicines and medical supplies. These medical supplies are critical to meet the most urgent needs in a city where more than 200 000 people...

10 February 2016

10 February 2016 – The World Health Organization welcomes the unprecedented support shown by countries participating in the "Supporting Syrians and the Region Conference" in London on 4 February, during which more than US$ 10 billion was pledged to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by the Syrian crisis over the coming 5 years. “Countries have recognized the extent of this...

10 February 2016

10 February 2016, Baghdad, Iraq: WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan is meeting senior health officials from the Ministry of Health in Baghdad and local and international health partners to discuss a number of emerging health needs and challenges in the country. The Regional Director and Her Excellency the Minister of Health Dr Adila Hammoud have...

01 February 2016

Cairo, 31 January 2016 -- As the Zika virus outbreak continues to spread reaching 24 countries in the Americas (as of 27 January),  WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan is calling on governments to work together to keep the Region protected.   “Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito, the same type of mosquito that transmits...

30 January 2016

30 January 2016 – Outbreaks of Zika virus disease are currently ongoing in 22 countries in the Americas and in 1 country in Africa. No cases of the disease have so far been reported from any country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. However, the disease is spread by a species of mosquito that exists in the majority of countries of...

27 January 2016

Libya conflict lingers leaving nearly 2 million in need of health care

27 January 2016 – As Libya’s yearlong peace talks aimed at establishing a unity government stall again, the lives of millions of people needing urgent health care linger in the balance. WHO and health partners require a total of US$ 50 million in 2016 to meet the critical health needs of nearly 2 million people. Speaking at a special briefing on Libya...

27 January 2016

Reducing preventable cancer deaths in the Region

31 January 2016 – 400 000 people, young and old, die every year in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region due to cancer. On World Cancer Day, 4 February, under the slogan “We Can. I Can.”, WHO is calling on governments to provide and improve access to quality cancer care and on communities and individuals to quit smoking, eat healthy food...

17 January 2016

World Health Organization to open new regional centre for emergencies and polio

17 January 2016 – As part of efforts to strengthen its response to emergencies in the Region and to continue the fight against polio, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established a regional centre for health emergencies and polio eradication in Amman, Jordan. The centre will be inaugurated Sunday 17 January 2016 in an opening ceremony held under the patronage...

14 January 2016

14 January 2016 – Despite repeated calls for immediate access to meet urgent health needs throughout Yemen, the World Health Organization continues to be unable to deliver life-saving medicines and medical supplies in many parts of the country. Access to meet the health needs of the population of Taiz city is of particular concern. For the last 4 weeks, since 14...

14 January 2016

UNICEF and WHO appeal for the lifting of siege on communities in Syria

Joint statement Dr Ala Alwan WHO Regional Director and Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director Amman/Cairo, 14 January 2016 – This week’s delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies1 to the besieged communities of Madaya, Foua’a and Kafraya is a welcome step for a population in desperate need. During the mission to Madaya, our teams met many distressed and hungry children - some...

13 January 2016

WHO Regional Director and Minister of Health of Yemen discuss Yemen's critical health needs

13 January 2016, Cairo, Egypt – Yemen’s Minister of Public Health and Population Dr Nasir Baoum and WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan met today to discuss the humanitarian and health situation in Yemen.  “The situation in Yemen is critical. Hospitals, laboratories, blood banks and other health facilities are increasingly unable to remain functional as they face...

07 January 2016

WHO calls for immediate access to Taiz City to deliver life-saving health supplies

7 January 2016, Sana’a, Yemen – The World Health Organization is concerned about the deteriorating health situation in Taiz, where more than 250 000 people have been living in a state of virtual siege since November 2015. All of city's 6 hospitals have been forced to partially close some services, and are overwhelmed with injured patients. Humanitarian organizations are struggling...