Vanuatu delegates meet WHO Director General

The meeting highlighted Vanuatu’s achievement and support from WHO and push back of Public Health programmes due to Covid-19 and twin cyclones Kevin and Judy in March 2023.

Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health, Judith Melsul highlighted that the ministry played a significant role in advocating for the more than 50 percent increase in excise tax on tobacco products, and for the total prohibition of heated tobacco products, electronic nicotine, and non-nicotine products in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu health issues addressed at World Health Assembly

A Ministry of Health delegation attended the general assembly in Geneva Switzerland this week to address Vanuatu’s health issues at the global level.

During the opening of the meeting Director General Dr Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus said, “As we mark WHO’s 75th anniversary, we can be proud of our past achievements, but we must be mindful of lessons learned, as we transition from the emergency phase of Covid-19, and create a future where every person has access to the health services they need.

Vanuatu receives award for exceptional contributions to tobacco control

Vanuatu was selected as one of the five winners from the Western Pacific Region.

This is the second time that the Ministry of Health has received the award.

The ministry played a crucial role in advocating the increase of over 50 per cent in excise taxes on tobacco products, along with the prohibition of heated tobacco products, electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems and acting even before products were widely available in the country.

The ministry recognised the potential threats they posed to young people and tobacco control efforts.

WHO warns of biological hazard at seized lab

Officials said it was unclear who was behind the occupation of the National Public Health Laboratory in the capital Khartoum.

The city has been ravaged by fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The WHO told the BBC on Tuesday that workers can no longer access the lab.

It warned power cuts were making it impossible to properly manage material at the lab.

Officials said a broad range of biological and chemical materials were stored in the lab.

WHO reaches draft consensus on future pandemic treaty

The draft resolution, hammered out in negotiations over the weekend, will be presented for adoption to health ministers at the WHO's three-day special assembly that opens on November 29, they said.

The diplomatic breakthrough came amid growing international concern over the new coronavirus variant Omicron, first detected in South Africa this month, which has spread further around the world.

WHO calls for booster pause to vaccinate poorer nations

WHO Chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a pause would allow for at least 10% of the population in every country to be vaccinated.

A number of nations including Israel and Germany have announced plans to administer a third dose.

But Dr Tedros has warned poorer nations are falling behind.

According to the WHO, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to a lack of supply.

Dr Tedros said that there needs to be a reversal and that the majority of vaccines should go to lower income countries.

UK and WHO deliver essential medical equipment across the Pacific

The World Health Organization’s Division of Pacific Technical Support based in Suva, Fiji, and the WHO Country Liaison Office in Tonga are working to meet these varied needs alongside partners like the government of the United Kingdom (UK).

WHO classifies India variant as being of global concern

The B.1.617 variant is the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern and requiring heightened tracking and analysis. The others are those first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

"We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told a briefing. "There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility."

Partnerships strengthened to support Pacific health sector responses to COVID-19

This follows the new Financing Agreement the EU and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) signed, to repurpose funding to support the Pacific’s response to COVID-19.

Over 30 countries begin Covid-19 vaccinations

In a media briefing yesterday, (Tuesday), the World Health Organisation Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom said, “The scientific community has set a new standard for vaccine development.”

“Now the international community must set a new standard for access.” 

“COVAX has been backed by 190 countries and economies and I want to see all manufacturers channel supply to COVAX quickly so that rollouts can begin and those at high-risk are protected around the world,” he said.