Cigarette plain packs to 'go global'

The body said moves to introduce standardised packaging in the UK, France and Australia will influence policy around the globe.

But the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association said policy was being "driven more by dogma than hard fact".

Around six million deaths each year are linked to smoking.

Plain, or standardised, packaging has a uniform colour across all brands except for health warnings. Any brand names are in small, non-distinctive lettering.

WHO revises sex guidelines for Zika prevention

This is even if you have no symptoms of the disease, the World Health Organization said today. Previous guidance suggested taking precautions or abstaining for only four weeks.

Men who have had any Zika-like symptoms such as rash, fever, red eyes and painful joints or muscles should practice safe sex or consider abstaining for at least six months, the organization says.

WHO declares Zika virus international emergency

The agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts on Monday to assess the outbreak after noting a suspicious link between Zika's arrival in Brazil last year and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

Global malaria target met amid sharp drop in cases

According to a new United Nations report: “Global malaria control is one of the great public health success stories of the past 15 years,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). “It’s a sign that our strategies are on target, and that we can beat this ancient killer, which still claims hundreds of thousands of lives, mostly children, each year.”

Meningitis epidemic threat in West Africa, but few vaccines

The first large-scale outbreak of the C strain in decades has already killed 800 of 12,000 infected people in Nigeria and in neighboring Niger this year, according to the World Health Organization.

"We've never seen this before with meningitis C," William A. Perea, coordinator of WHO's Control of Epidemic Diseases Unit, said of the resurgence of the strain.

Pacific youth call on WHO to help change local policies

A recent WHO report shows that Pacific nations make up the top five countries with the world's highest obesity rates.

Four commissioners from the organisation's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, or ECHO, have been meeting with regional leaders in Auckland this week to discuss ways to combat the issue.

They hosted a discussion with students and teachers, which included a Skype link-up with students in the Cook Islands and Tonga.


Pacific nations should look at fat tax

The World Health Organisation ranks eight Pacific island countries among the world's top 10 most obese nations.

Unless drastic measures are introduced the region is headed for disaster, says the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's director-general, Colin Tukuitonga.

"Small fragile health systems in the region just won't be able to cope," Dr Tukuitonga told AAP.