Health in South-East Asia | April 2015

Health in South-East Asia

Dear Friends

Health in SouthEast Asia, WHOSEARO’s newsletter is going paperless from this edition and I have great pleasure in launching the first eissue. Through this newsletter, readers have been kept informed about the Region’s priority health issues and the initiatives taken by the Member States in collaboration with WHO, to address them.  

This edition focuses on ‘food safety’, the theme for World Health Day 2015.  Every year nearly 700 000 children die in our Region due to diarrhoea caused by contaminated food and water. Food safety is a major public health issue and a shared responsibility. We hope to generate awareness and spur national action to mobilize multisectoral efforts to address the issue of safe food by launching a yearlong campaign on 7 April, celebrated as World Health Day.

This newsletter also provides an update on the Region’s preparedness for responding to Ebola Virus Disease, and shares the lessons on emergency preparedness and response learnt in the 10 years since the Asian Tsunami struck our Region.

I hope that you will continue to find time for this newsletter and share it with those you think can benefit and join forces to promote health and well-being of people in our Region.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh
Regional Director
World Health Day 2015: From farm to plate, make food safe
Farmer holding vegetablesUnsafe food and water is linked to 700 000 diarrhoeal deaths in children in WHO's South-East Asia Region annually. WHO is spotlighting food safety on World Health Day 2015 to mobilize policy makers and the public to make food safe, from farm to plate.
Globally, 2.2 million people die every year from diarrhoea caused by contaminated food and water while unsafe food often begins a pattern of disease that can impact generations. Keeping the food on our plate safe requires that everyone from the farmer, the policy maker, the cook and the consumer are better informed to make safer choices.
Full Story
World Health Day 2015: Food safety
World Health Day 2015 links
Preparedness is key to fight Ebola
The 11 Member States of WHO's South-East Asia Region have been stepping up preparedness to respond to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). On August 8, 2014, WHO declared  the EVD outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. Since then, the focus globally has been on containing the outbreak and preventing its further spread from West Africa through an internationally coordinated response.
Health workers in Timor-Leste practice using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during a WHO training on infection prevention control for Ebola virus disease in Health Care Settings.
Ebola virus disease, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in West Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas. Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization.
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Ebola virus disease (EVD)
More information on Ebola virus disease
2004 tsunami: 10 years later

Strengthening emergency preparedness, response capacities can save lives in mega disasters like tsunami

It has been a decade since the devastating tsunami hit this region with a vengeance claiming lives of close to 200 000 people, displacing more than 2 million from their homes and destroying /damaging huge areas of the natural environment and human built structures along the coast of 10 countries in South-East Asia and five countries in East Africa.

The region has come a long way since the 2004 event in it preparedness and capacity building initiatives in the area of disaster risk reduction and emergency risk management by formulating guidelines and disseminating knowledge and skills to manage health emergencies during crisis situations and assisting in building disaster resilient structures.
Full story

10 years recovery from the 2004 tsunami
Additional information on 10 years recovery from the 2004 tsunami
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