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1.8 million died of tuberculosis in 2008

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that over the last fifteen years, some 36 million people have been cured of tuberculosis, and about 8-million tuberculosis cases have been avoided.

The information is contained in the WHO’s 2009 Global Tuberculosis Control Report Update. The Direct Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy was given credit for the success.

The report added, however, that millions of people still do not have access to high quality tuberculosis care. The disease is second only to HIV/AIDS in the number of people it kills each year. About 1.8 million died of tuberculosis in 2008. Read More…

1 Billion hungry people in World

The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) said today that for the first time in history, the number of hungry people worldwide will exceed one billion.

The huge number of people facing food insecurity has prompted the UN organization to appeal to individuals for the first time. The WFP launched the Billion for a Billion online campaign today, in an effort to get one billion people living in the developed world to give one euro (US$1.50) a week to the campaign.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran commented that donor governments have supported WFP efforts in the past, but they cannot be expected to do so anymore because of the financial pressure they are facing in the worldwide economic downturn. She said that the WFP was projected to make only $3.7 billion in donations, about half of the $6.7 billion it had targeted for 2009. Read More…

UN hold first World Humanitarian Day

The inaugural World Humanitarian Day is in part dedicated to the memory of all those aid workers who have lost their lives while bringing assistance to others, the majority of them from the communities they are trying to help.

The UN hopes the event will focus attention on aid workers and increase support for their role. Aid staff are working in increasingly dangerous environments and are frequently targets of attacks, it says.

Last year 122 international aid workers were killed, a death toll that was higher than that for UN peacekeeping troops. Read More…

Number of hungry worldwide tops 1bn

The number of hungry people in the world is projected to reach an all-time high of 1.02 billion this year, according to a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Food Insecurity in the World

Food Insecurity in the World

The report blames this latest spike in world hunger chiefly on the global economic recession, which has increased unemployment and reduced incomes among the poor, leading to greater food insecurity.

The report, published on Friday, estimates that over 1 billion people will go hungry each day in 2009, a first in human history. Read More…

WHO declares global swine flu pandemic

After holding an emergency meeting, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared a worldwide swine flu pandemic on Thursday. The agency increased its pandemic alert level to the sixth level, its highest.

“On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. I have therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6,” said the the WHO’s director Margaret Chan in a press conference earlier today. Read More…

Swine flu worldwide update

The H1N1 swine flu virus has now spread to 66 different countries throughout the globe, with at least 19,273 confirmed cases and 117 deaths having been reported according to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) tally. A majority of the cases were reported by the United States, which now has at least 10,053 confirmed infections from the disease.

Spread of the swine flu worldwide

Spread of the swine flu worldwide

Egypt, Bulgaria, and Nicaragua each reported their first case, while Lebanon reported three.

The WHO’s pandemic alert level is at the fifth level, on a scale of one to six. In order for a transition for the highest level to be made, the organisation must confirm a significant spread of swine flu in at least two continents.

The WHO has recently been under pressure to include the severity of a disease spread to its criteria, not just the geographical spread of a virus. Read More…

Lindane production and use banned worldwide

Participating countries of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants add nine more chemicals, including lindane, to its globally banned list.Stockholm_Convention_Secretariat

Lindane is an organochlorine chemical that has been used both as an agricultural insecticide and as a pharmaceutical treatment for head lice and scabies.

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international environmental treatyof the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which it defined as “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment”.

The Hindu article Pesticide levels in soft drinks too high.

The Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) article Pesticides in Indian Soft Drinks.