Tuesday, July 4, 2017

WHO declares an end to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Brazzaville/Kinshasa, 2 July 2017 – Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province tested negative for the disease for the second time. Enhanced surveillance in the country will continue, as well as strengthening of preparedness and readiness for Ebola outbreaks.
"With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Related to the outbreak, 4 people died, and 4 people survived the disease. Five of these cases were laboratory confirmed.  A total of 583 contacts were registered and closely monitored, but no known contacts developed signs or symptoms of EVD.
On 11 May 2017, WHO was notified by the Ministry of Public Health of the virus among a cluster of undiagnosed illnesses and deaths with haemorrhagic signs in Likati Health Zone. Likati is a remote, hard to reach area, which shares borders with the Central African Republic and two other provinces of DRC.  Cases of the disease were reported in four health districts.  This is DRC’s eighth outbreak of EVD since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. 
The effective response to this latest EVD outbreak in Africa was achieved through the timely alert by local authorities of suspect cases, immediate testing of blood samples due to strengthened national laboratory capacity, the early announcement of the outbreak by the government, rapid response activities by local and national health authorities with the robust support of international partners, and speedy access to flexible funding. Coordination support on the ground by the WHO Health Emergencies Programme was critical and an Incident Management System was set up within 24 hours of the outbreak being announced. WHO deployed more than 50 experts to work closely with government and partners.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, who visited DRC in May to discuss steps to control the outbreak, said the country had shown exemplary commitment in leading the response and strengthening local capacities. “Together with partners, we are committed to continuing support to the Government of DRC to strengthen the health system and improve healthcare delivery and preparedness at all levels,” she said.
Work with the government of DRC continues to ensure that survivors have access to medical care and screening for persistent virus, as well as psychosocial care, counselling and education to help them reintegrate into family and community life, reduce stigma and minimize the risk of EVD transmission.
Announcing that the outbreak of Ebola in DRC was over, Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the country’s Minister of Health said, “I urge that we now focus all our efforts on strengthening the health system in Bas- Uélé province, which has been stressed by the outbreak. Without strengthening the health system, effective surveillance is not possible."
WHO coordinated international technical support for the outbreak with Partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network. Other key Partners supporting the DRC government in their response included Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention;  Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA); European Union (EU); the government of the People’s Republic of China; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Médecins sans Frontières (MSF); Red Cross of the DRC; UNICEF; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID); the University of Québec, Canada; and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The WFP/Logistics Cluster and UNICEF supported warehousing capacity in Buta and Likati and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) set up a base for air operations from Buta, while the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) helped transport response teams and urgently needed supplies to the affected zone.

Monday, April 3, 2017

"Depression: let’s talk" says WHO, as depression tops list of causes of ill health

News release 

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.
The new estimates have been released in the lead-up to World Health Day on 7 April, the high point in WHO’s year-long campaign “Depression: let’s talk”. The overall goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.
Said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan: “These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves.”
One of the first steps is to address issues around prejudice and discrimination. “The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Urgent need for increased investment

Increased investment is also needed. In many countries, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50% of people with depression do not get treatment. On average, just 3% of government health budgets is invested in mental health, varying from less than 1% in low-income countries to 5% in high-income countries.
Investment in mental health makes economic sense. Every US$ 1 invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of US$ 4 in better health and ability to work. Treatment usually involves either a talking therapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of the two. Both approaches can be provided by non-specialist health-workers, following a short course of training, and using WHO’s mhGAP Intervention Guide. More than 90 countries, of all income levels, have introduced or scaled-up programmes that provide treatment for depression and other mental disorders using this Intervention Guide.
Failure to act is costly. According to a WHO-led study, which calculated treatment costs and health outcomes in 36 low-, middle- and high-income countries for the 15 years from 2016-2030, low levels of recognition and access to care for depression and another common mental disorder, anxiety, result in a global economic loss of a trillion US dollars every year. The losses are incurred by households, employers and governments. Households lose out financially when people cannot work. Employers suffer when employees become less productive and are unable to work. Governments have to pay higher health and welfare expenditures.

Associated health risks

WHO has identified strong links between depression and other noncommunicable disorders and diseases. Depression increases the risk of substance use disorders and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease; the opposite is also true, meaning that people with these other conditions have a higher risk of depression.
Depression is also an important risk factor for suicide, which claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Said Dr Saxena: “A better understanding of depression and how it can be treated, while essential, is just the beginning. What needs to follow is sustained scale-up of mental health services accessible to everyone, even the most remote populations in the world.”
Depression is a common mental illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that people normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for 14 days or longer.
In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cure&Cancer Forum Call for Abstracts

The International AIDS Society (IAS) invites you to submit your latest research for consideration as an oral or poster presentation at the IAS HIV Cure & Cancer Forum, to be held 22-23 July 2017 at the Institut Curie in Paris, France. The deadline for abstract submission is 2 May 2017.
The IAS HIV Cure & Cancer Forum will explore the interface and similarities between HIV cure and cancer research, and seek to benefit from the synergies between these two disciplines to accelerate the pace of discovery in HIV cure research. The meeting will be co-chaired by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Steven Deeks and Sharon Lewin.

Abstracts will be considered in the following areas:
  • Burden of disease
  • Epigenetics
  • Immunology and immunotherapy
  • Gene therapy
  • Interferon in HIV and cancer
  • Social and behavioural sciences
Please note that abstracts for the IAS HIV Cure & Cancer Forum are submitted separately from the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017). If you have an abstract related to HIV cure or remission research, we encourage you to submit to the main conference programme of IAS 2017. Late-breaker submissions for IAS 2017 will open from 24 April to 15 May 2017.
Please click here for more information on the Towards an HIV Cure initiative and please contact the team at hivcure@iasociety.org for any additional information.
We encourage you to share this message through your networks.
The IAS Towards an HIV Cure Team

Thursday, March 16, 2017

DFC Competitive Grants Program: Improving Food and Nutrition Security in LMICs

Deadline: 1 April 2017
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid from the UK government through the Department for International Development (DFID) are seeking proposals for its 2nd Drivers of Food Choice (DFC) Competitive Grants Program with an aim to improve food and nutrition security in LMIC.
The DFC competitive research grants aim to provide a deep understanding of the drivers of food choice among the poor in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Research Topics
  • Development of an understanding of factors that influence food choice among consumers in lower wealth quintiles in LMIC to inform policy and practice
  • Investigation of how changes to food environments and food systems influence food choice among consumers in LMIC settings.
  • Evaluation of the impact of agricultural policies and interventions (e.g., home gardening, aquaculture, livestock production, cash cropping, bio-fortification, agricultural subsidies, land use policies) on food choice behaviors of different household members, especially women and children.
Grant Information
  • The DFC Competitive Grants Program anticipates distributing a total of $2,152,500 in the second two-year funding round of the grants program.
  • Grant requests may not exceed $300,000 for the total duration of the project.
  • Grant requests should be for two-year projects.
  • Two-year projects will be awarded but the second year of funding will be contingent upon satisfactory progress by the recipient during the first year.
Eligibility Criteria
  • Grants can be awarded to any organization with a demonstrated interest and commitment to improving food and nutrition security in LMIC, including research organizations, non-government organizations, public (e.g., government) institutions, and private sector organizations.
  • All recipients must have prior experience conducting relevant nutrition, food systems, or agricultural research, and must demonstrate prior experience in efficient and effective fiscal management. In the case of partnerships, a lead organization should be identified that meets these criteria and can submit the concept memo as the prime applicant.
  • All applicants named in the proposal should be described by their roles and responsibilities, as well as the value added by their partnership.
How to Apply
Interested applicants must download the Concept memos template via given website.
Eligible Countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Rep., Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic , Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro. Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
For more information, please visit DFC Competitive Grants Program.
From FundsforNGO