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08 April 2020

Brazzaville/ Cairo, 7 April 2020 – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has risen to more than 10 000 and caused more than 500 deaths. While the virus was slow to reach the continent compared to other parts of the world, infection has grown exponentially in recent weeks and continues to spread. Reaching the continent through travellers returning from...

05 April 2020

World Health Day 2020: Let’s show our support for nurses and midwives

7 April 2020 – The theme of this year’s World Health Day is “Support nurses and midwives”. It acknowledges the critical role that nurses and midwives play in keeping the world healthy and is a call to world leaders to invest in nurses and midwives as part of their commitment to health for all.  Nurses and midwives are the backbone...

02 April 2020

2 April 2020 – In just one week, the number of COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has almost doubled, from 32 442 cases on 26 March to 58 168 on 2 April. New cases have been reported in some of the most vulnerable countries with fragile health systems. Even in countries with stronger health systems, we have seen a...

27 March 2020

27 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt – 21 out of 22 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region are now reporting cases of COVID-19, including new reports of 5 confirmed cases in Syria and one confirmed case Libya. The past weeks have seen some of the most developed health systems in the world struggle with their response to COVID-19. The emergence of the...

26 March 2020

WHO delegation concludes COVID-19 technical mission to Egypt

26 March 2020 — A team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded a COVID-19 technical support mission to Egypt on 25 March 2020. The objectives of the mission were to understand the current situation; review ongoing response activities; provide on-site technical support as needed; and identify strengths and gaps to guide response priorities. “After several days of intensive...

26 March 2020

WHO, Saudi Arabia join forces to fight COVID-19 nationally, regionally and globally

25 March 2020, Riyadh — The World Health Organization (WHO), with support from Saudi Arabia, is working to combat COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and beyond. On 23 March, Saudi Arabia helped airlift WHO medical equipment and supplies from WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai to Aden, Yemen. The shipment, which included personal protective items for health workers, laboratory screening tests,...

19 March 2020

Djibouti joins global action to prevent COVID-19 as first case is confirmed in the country

Djibouti City, 18 March 2020 - The Ministry of Health of Djibouti has confirmed the country’s first case of COVID-19. Health authorities reported the patient as a Spanish national who arrived on a military flight and was directly put in quarantine with no contact with the Djiboutian population. Other Spanish military passengers are being quarantined with support from the French...

19 March 2020

Press conference, 18 March 2020 Dear colleagues and friends, Thank you for joining us here again today for the latest updates on COVID-19, as well as updates on some the work that has been happening on a regional level to help countries manage this pandemic. In the past weeks since many of you were last here, there has been many developments in terms...

12 March 2020

Statement by Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

12 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt - Today in our Region, 9960 cases in 16 countries have been reported, including 366 deaths reported in 5 countries (as of 3 pm Cairo local time). Almost all the deaths were patients aged 60 years or above, who had pre-existing conditions that were exacerbated when they contracted the virus. We are concerned about the increasing...

11 March 2020

First Regional Health Forum for

11 March 2020 –  Representatives of 12 United Nations agencies gathered for the First Regional Health Forum on 4 March 2020 at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean to review countries' experience in implementation of the “Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All” in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, identify the Region’s role in catalysing impact...

03 March 2020

Statement by the Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean

3 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt - 1682 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in 14 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region as of 2 March, 6pm Cairo local time. These include 66 deaths reported in Islamic Republic of Iran. While the numbers inside China have been rapidly declining, the sudden increase in cases in countries outside China, including in our Region, is...

16 February 2020

Update on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Cairo, Egypt, 16 February, 2020 - The World Health Organization announces a total of nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region as of 16 February 2020. Eight cases were reported in by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention between 29 January and 9 February, and one case was reported by the Egyptian Ministry of Health...

04 February 2020

World Cancer Day 2020: a call to step up cancer services

4 February 2020 – On this day, we are spelling out the need to step up cancer services to save the lives of millions. Worldwide, 9.6 million people die from cancer every year. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, cancer is the fourth leading cause of death. The rate is expected to almost double in the next two decades, from an estimated...

29 January 2020

Cairo, Egypt, 29 January 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed the first cases of 2019-nCoV in the Eastern Mediterranean Region in the United Arab Emirates. This follows earlier confirmation by the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the United Arab Emirates on 29 January. Four members of the same family from Wuhan City in China arrived in the...

27 January 2020

WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region scales up preparedness for novel coronavirus

27 January 2020, Cairo, Egypt – In light of the continued global situation related to the transmission of novel coronavirus, WHO’s Regional Office continues to work closely with Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to ensure that national preparedness and response efforts are accelerated in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). A total of 1320 confirmed cases have...

19 December 2019

Number of males using tobacco globally on the decline, showing that government-led control efforts work to save lives, protect health, beat tobacco

WHO launches new report on global tobacco use trends 19 December, 2019 | Geneva: For the first time, the World Health Organization projects that the number of males using tobacco is on the decline, indicating a powerful shift in the global tobacco epidemic. The findings, published today in a new WHO report, demonstrate how government-led action can protect communities from tobacco,...

12 December 2019

WHO launches regional nutrition strategy to help countries #beatNCDs 12 December 2019 – Malnutrition, in all its forms, is negatively impacting the health, well-being and sustainable development of people of all ages in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, particularly in those countries affected by conflict in which people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity, undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. In the Region,...

12 December 2019

Universal Health Coverage: Keep the Promise

12 December 2019 - On Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, WHO has called on leaders in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to make sure that everyone has access to the health services they need despite the many challenges facing the Region. According to recent research, essential health services are less widely accessible in the Eastern Mediterranean Region than in many parts of...

21 November 2019

21 November 2019 – In light of recent comments on social media, the World Health Organization (WHO) clarifies that it does not engage with tobacco companies and does not support visits to tobacco company facilities in any way. WHO’s Constitution, rules, and regulations, including its Framework of engagement with non-State actors, prohibit engagement in activities that have a negative impact on WHO’s...

20 November 2019

WHO establishes Commission on Social Determinants of Health for the Eastern Mediterranean Region

20 November 2019, Cairo, Egypt – The World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is pleased to announce the establishment of a Commission on Social Determinants of Health to lead action on the social determinants of health in the Region with the aim of achieving health equity. It aims to establish a comprehensive evidence base of health inequities,...

14 November 2019

14 November 2019, Casablanca, Morocco – The fifth meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance (EMARIS) network, organized by WHO and hosted by the Ministry of Health of Morocco, is taking place this week in Casablanca, Morocco, from 12 to 15 November. This year’s meeting also coincides with the Second Scientific Conference on Acute Respiratory Infections. Participants of...

11 November 2019

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

11 November 2019 ‒ World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global campaign – celebrated this year from 18 to 24 November – to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance, and encourage best practices among the general public, health care workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis that threatens a century...

17 October 2019

Sixty-sixth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean concludes with 6 resolutions to address major health issues and enhance country capacities

17 October 2019, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran -- The WHO Regional Committee concluded its 66th session, held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, with the endorsement of 6 important resolutions covering critical health issues that Member States had discussed over the past 4 days, and endorsing the WHO Regional Director’s annual report on the work of WHO in the...

16 October 2019

Strengthening primary health care to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Statement from Dr Ahmad Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director and Mr Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director Tehran, 16 October 2019 ‒ “Very recently during the United Nations General Assembly and in Astana last year, we came together to reaffirm that primary health care is the foundation for achieving universal health coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a discussion today on...

15 October 2019

The 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean opens in Tehran

Tehran, 15 October 2019 ‒ The 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean was inaugurated today in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, in the presence of HE Dr Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean and HE Dr...

09 October 2019

9 October 2019, Cairo ‒ Health ministers and high-level representatives of the 22 countries of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, partner organizations and civil society will take part in the Sixty-sixth Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean, in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, from 14 to 17 October 2019. The opening session, on Tuesday 15October, will be attended...

09 October 2019

WHO mobile clinics deployed to Islamic Republic of Iran

Tehran, 9 October 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered 3 fully equipped mobile clinics to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran. “These mobile clinics will provide health services and save lives in communities beyond health centres and health posts both in good times and during the crisis,” said Dr Christoph Hamelamann, WHO...

23 September 2019

Broken food systems and poor diets are increasing rates of obesity

23 September 2019 – Levels of overweight and obesity are rising across all ages in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East and North Africa Regions. In many middle- and high-income countries, half of adult women (50.1%) and more than two in five men (43.8%) are overweight or obese. In some countries, over 15% of children and more than...

17 September 2019

WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean concludes visit to Somalia

17 September 2019 – WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari has concluded his first visit to Somalia, where he launched the country’s roadmap to universal health coverage (UHC) together with the Federal Minister of Health, and met with representatives of United Nations agencies, health leaders and partners, internally displaced Somalis, and health workers to review the...

17 September 2019

On World Patient Safety Day “Speak up for Patient Safety”

17 September 2019 – On 17 September 2019, the world celebrates the first ever World Patient Safety Day under the theme “Patient safety: a global health priority”. The global campaign aims to create awareness of patient safety and WHO encourages everyone to speak up for the right of people to safe health care. World Patient Safety Day is also a call...

05 September 2019

Islamic Advisory Group expresses concern on interrupted vaccination activities and calls on international community to join hands to end polio

5 September 2019, Cairo, Egypt ‒ The Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG) held its sixth annual meeting reaffirming its commitment to global polio eradication efforts and reiterating its trust in the safety and effectiveness of the poliovirus vaccine as a preventative and life-saving tool that protects children. The meeting was hosted in Cairo by His Eminence Dr Ahmed El-Tayyeb,...

02 September 2019

WHO statement on attacks against health care in north-west Syria

Cairo, 2 September 2019 – WHO is gravely concerned about reported attacks on 7 health care facilities in the north west of Syria from 28 to 30 August 2019. Attacks on 4 facilities have been verified according to WHO reporting standards, and 3 are in process of verification. The facilities include 4 hospitals and 2 primary health care centres that were functional at the...

19 August 2019

WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region celebrates women on health front lines

Cairo, 19 August 2019 – On this year’s World Humanitarian Day, WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean recognizes the contribution of women humanitarians working on the front line in emergencies. “Particularly in our Region, which is severely affected by emergencies, it is critical that women’s role and contribution in emergencies is recognized,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional...

12 August 2019

WHO statement on successful conclusion of hajj 1440/2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) would like to congratulate the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Health for successfully hosting the hajj season 1440/2019 without a single public health event or disease outbreak being reported among pilgrims performing the hajj. In addition, WHO expresses its deep appreciation to all the health care heroes and volunteers for their dedication in...

10 August 2019

Hajj health and safety boosted by new Health Early Warning System

Mina, Saudi Arabia, 10 August 2019 — Authorities in Saudi Arabia are deploying a new health surveillance system to help keep people protected from communicable diseases during the annual hajj pilgrimage. For the first time, the Global Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicines of the Saudi Ministry of Health is using the Health Early Warning System (HEWS), which ensures the early detection...

01 August 2019

WHO Regional Director's statement on Pakistan

Cairo, Egypt, 1 August 2019 — I have just returned from my third, and most fruitful and memorable visit to Pakistan as WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. The 4 days I spent in the country this week were truly effective and productive. I had the chance to visit different areas in the country, including Larkana, where the current HIV...

28 July 2019

Despite progress, increased action needed to help people quit deadly tobacco products Cairo, Egypt, 28 July 2019 – Many governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco. Today, 5 billion people are living in countries that have introduced effective tobacco control measures such as smoking bans and graphic warnings on packaging – 4 times more people than a decade ago....

24 July 2019

Statement on Iraq by Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean

Cairo, Egypt, 24 July 2019 – I recently concluded a 4-day visit to Iraq where I saw firsthand a health system transitioning from emergency response to reconstruction, rehabilitation and resilience, while at the same time addressing the health needs of millions of vulnerable Iraqis and refugees. The country’s new national health priorities, including health financing, environmental health and sanitation, and universal health...

07 July 2019

30 June 2019, Cairo, Egypt – The time has come to speak out once more about attacks on health care in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region. Since the beginning of 2019, our Region has witnessed an average of more than one attack every day: hundreds of health workers have been killed, injured or assaulted, hospitals have been damaged and destroyed, and ambulances have...

25 June 2019

First meeting of the Regional Parliamentary Forum for Health and Well-being opens in Tunis, Tunisia

25 June 2019, Tunis, Tunisia ‒ Yesterday in Tunis, the first meeting of the Parliamentary Forum for Health and Well-being, taking place from 24 to 26 June 2019, opened in the Parliamentarian Academy affiliated to Tunisia’s Assembly of the Representatives of the People. It is the first ever WHO-supported meeting to be hosted in a Parliament. This first meeting brings together...

20 June 2019

Kampala, Uganda, 20 June 2019 – Egypt has announced that it would be providing hepatitis C testing and treatment for one million people in 14 African countries. Speaking at the opening of the African Hepatitis Summit 2019, currently underway in Kampala, Uganda, HE Dr Hala Zaid, the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, stated that the initiative would be implemented with...

13 June 2019

World Blood Donor Day 2019: save lives by donating blood regularly

13 June 2019 – On the occasion of World Blood Donor Day 2019, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari emphasized that everyone in the world had the right to access safe blood transfusion, when and where it was needed. Access to safe blood and blood products is essential for universal health coverage (UHC) and a key...

07 June 2019

June 7, 2019 - Cairo: WHO is gravely concerned about the recent impact of violence in Sudan on people in need, health workers and medical facilities. Incursions into hospitals in Khartoum have resulted in emergency services being shut down, the unwarranted transfer of patients, injuries to five medical staff and patients, and threats to others. Health care workers appear to have been...

29 May 2019

Don’t let tobacco take your breath away

Quit now and say no to second-hand smoke Cairo, Egypt, 31 May, 2019 ‒ On this World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on people to quit tobacco smoking and say no to second-hand smoke to protect their lungs. Tobacco is harmful in all its forms. It kills over 8 million people every year. Tobacco smoking and...

28 May 2019

WHO declares countries measles and rubella free

Amman, Jordan, 28 May 2019 – The Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has declared that measles and rubella have been eliminated from both Bahrain and Oman, and that Islamic Republic of Iran has eliminated rubella and is about to eliminate measles. The RVC met in Amman, Jordan, on 15–16 May 2019 to...

12 May 2019

Nurses and midwives are essential to achieving “Health for All by All”

12 May 2019 ‒ Every year, International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May. This year’s campaign focuses on nurses as a voice to lead achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), attainment of health as a human right and achievement of universal health coverage (SDG 3.8) to ensure that no person is left behind without access to health care...

08 May 2019

8 May 2019, Cairo, Egypt: The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemns continuing attacks on health facilities in north-western Syria. Since 28 April, in just 9 days, 12 health structures have been hit.  On 5 May, 3 facilities were struck in one day alone, including 2 major hospitals that provide secondary health care in the area. One of the structures, a surgical unit, was supported by WHO. Three health care workers lost their...

05 May 2019

United Nations Global Road Safety Week: Leadership for Road Safety

7 May 2019 – The Fifth United Nations Global Road Safety Week, under the theme “Leadership for road safety”, is taking place from 6 to 12 May 2019. This major worldwide campaign was requested by the United Nations General Assembly in April 2018 in resolution A/72/271 on improving global road safety. Road safety continues to be a grave public health and...

02 May 2019

Global Hand Hygiene Day 2019:

Global Hand Hygiene Day will be celebrated worldwide on 5 May 2019. This year, the focus will be the importance of good hand hygiene practices as part of improving patient safety globally to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), under the theme “Clean care for all – it’s in your hands”. Hand hygiene is part of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures....

24 April 2019

Statement by WHO Regional Director on World Malaria Day

24 April 2019 – Malaria-endemic countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region have made significant progress. Malaria cases and deaths in the Region fell by more than 60% between 2000 and 2015, thanks to increased coverage of malaria control interventions. In the same period, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco were certified free from malaria, while Egypt and Oman are preparing...

23 April 2019

World Immunization Week 2019 stresses the importance of working together to leave no one behind

23 April 2019, Cairo – World Immunization Week will be celebrated both globally and regionally from 24 to 30 April 2019، using the slogan “Protected Together: Vaccines Work!” to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective...

11 April 2019

3 million people now in need of immediate health care assistance Cairo, April 11, 2019 – As the number of people impacted by the recent flooding in Islamic Republic of Iran increases, WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean expressed his condolences to families who have lost loved ones. He also reiterated that the support already provided by his agency will continue...

07 April 2019

World Health Day 2019: WHO and partners join hands in solidarity for universal health coverage

7 April 2019, Cairo – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean joins the world today in marking World Health Day 2019 focusing on primary health care as the path towards universal health coverage. World Health Day 2019 places a special emphasis on equity and solidarity – on raising the bar for health for everyone, everywhere by...

27 March 2019

27 March 2019 ‒ As part of its effort to address violence against women and girls, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is launching an Arabic version of the WHO package on health system response to violence against women and girls. In releasing this evidence-based guidance, WHO seeks to ensure that preventing and responding to violence against women and...

21 March 2019

World TB Day 2019: It’s time for action! It’s time to End TB.

21 March 2019, Cairo, Egypt ‒ On the occasion of World TB Day, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said that WHO called on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health care providers, and national/international partners to act now to detect and treat all tuberculosis (TB) cases to end the global epidemic and ensure that no...

03 March 2019

Global Ministerial Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, calls to promote patient safety in low- and middle-income countries

3 March 2019 ‒ The Fourth Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety is being held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 2 to 3 March 2019, with a focus on patient safety in low- and middle-income countries that shoulder two thirds of the global patient harm burden. Patient safety in health care is a serious global public health concern and a major...

17 February 2019

High-level meeting on institutional capacity for use of evidence in health policy-making

17 February 2019, in Beirut, Lebanon ‒ The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is convening a major event to bridge the gap between academic research, other valid sources of evidence and policy-making to improve population health in the Region. The high-level meeting on institutional capacity for the use of evidence in health policy-making is taking place...

17 February 2019

Global conference calls for action to prevent suffering and disability from mycetoma

17 February 2019| Khartoum | Cairo |Geneva ‒ Delegates attending the Sixth International Conference on Mycetoma in Khartoum, Sudan, have endorsed a “call for action” urging the global community to work together with multilateral agencies, partners, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to address the devastating consequences of this disease. Mycetoma, a neglected tropical disease, mainly affects poor, rural populations, particularly people...

21 January 2019

21 January 2019, Cairo, Egypt ‒ The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is holding an intercountry consultative meeting for nutrition focal points from 22 to 24 January 2019, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UNICEF and the World Food Programme. Participants, including representatives from Member States and a range of stakeholders, will...

20 January 2019

20 January 2019, Amman, Jordan ‒ Around 80 experts and participants representing key senior stakeholders from Member States of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region will take part in a consultative meeting on strengthening health information systems from 21 to 23 January 2019 in Amman, Jordan. The consultation aims to identify and address critical gaps and needs in national health information systems...

09 January 2019

WHO Director-General and WHO Regional Director conclude joint official visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan; polio eradication high on agenda

9 January 2019 – WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari highlighted WHO’s commitment to the final push to eradicate polio on a 4-day visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan – the only 2 countries where wild poliovirus cases were reported last year. They also commended the governments of both countries for their efforts to provide...