Recent news from WHO



· WHO launched a global study of domestic violence on 24 November to draw more attention to a public health problem that is often hidden from view. The prevalence of physical and sexual violence against women by an intimate partner ranged from 15% to 71%, according to the WHO Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Against Women. The report includes data from over 24 000 women in 15 places in 10 geographically and culturally diverse countries.

· The number of people living with HIV/AIDS rose to an estimated 40.3 million in 2004 globally, five million more than in 2003, according to the annual UNAIDS–WHO report launched on 21 November.

· A WHO publication has won a top prize at the 2005 British Medical Association (BMA) Book Competition. The prize-winning WHO book, entitled Inheriting the World: The Atlas of Children's Health and the Environment, was "highly commended" in the Public Health Category. Other WHO books won BMA awards in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

· Typhoid fever is underestimated as a cause of death in developing countries, according to experts at the 6th International Conference on Typhoid Fever and other Salmonellosis 12–14 November in Guilin, China. Experts said more information was needed to produce a more reliable estimate of fatalities due to the disease.

· A massive international effort has stopped a polio epidemic in 10 west and central African countries. No new polio cases have been reported since June in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Togo. A programme was launched in June to boost the immunity of more than 100 million children in 28 countries across Africa, WHO said on 11 November.

· More than 600 public health experts and scientists from 100 countries agreed on the urgent need for financial and other resources for countries already affected by avian flu and those most at risk. Participants at a conference 7 to 9 November in Geneva outlined a global action plan to control avian flu in animals and limit the threat of a future human flu pandemic.

· Measles cases and deaths have dropped by 60% and more than 200 million children have been vaccinated against measles in Africa since 1999, the Measles Initiative said on 2 November.

· Amputations due to diabetes cause unnecessary loss of life and disability. WHO and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) said on 14 November, World Diabetes Day, that more than half of these lower-limb amputations could be prevented with adequate detection and care.

· Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis AG signed an agreement with WHO to provide free medicines to people with leprosy over the next five years. The deal is valued at between US$ 14.5 and US$ 24.5 million depending on the number of cases detected.


For more about these and other WHO news items please see: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2005/en/index.html

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland
E-mail: bulletin@who.int