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WHO condemns ‘abrupt halt’ to medical evacuations from Gaza

Thousands of Gazans are estimated to require urgent medical evacuation but few have been able to leave the besieged Palestinian territory since war erupted there nearly eight months ago…reports Asian Lite News

Desperately needed medical evacuations from Gaza — already very limited — came to a full stop when Israel launched its military offensive on Rafah three weeks ago, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The United Nations health agency has long been pleading for Israeli permission to evacuate more critically ill and severely wounded people from Gaza.

Thousands of Gazans are estimated to require urgent medical evacuation but few have been able to leave the besieged Palestinian territory since war erupted there nearly eight months ago.

WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said that since Israel launched its military offensive in the densely crowded southern city of Rafah in early May, “there’s been an abrupt halt to all medical evacuations.”

She warned that the cut-off obviously meant more people will die waiting for treatment.

Before the war in the Gaza Strip erupted after Hamas’s October 7 attacks, around 50 to 100 people left the enclave every day with medical referrals for complex treatments that were not available in the Palestinian territory, including for cancer.

“Those people didn’t go away simply because conflict started, so they all still need a referral,” Harris told reporters in Geneva.

And since services in Gaza have been disastrously disrupted by the conflict, far more people need to leave to get services they used to access inside the strip, like chemotherapy or dialysis, she said.

In addition, thousands now need to evacuate after suffering severe trauma injuries in the war.

WHO estimates that there are now typically at any given time “around 10,000 people who need to be evacuated… to receive the much-needed medical treatment elsewhere,” Harris said.

They include more than 6,000 trauma-related patients and at least 2,000 patients with serious chronic conditions, like cancer, she said.

Since the complete halt to medical evacuations from Gaza on May 8, an additional 1,000 critically ill and wounded patients have been added to that list, Harris said.

Before the cut-off, WHO had received approval from Israel for 5,800 medical evacuations — around just half of the number it had requested since the war began.

Of those 5,800, only 4,900 patients had actually been able to leave, Harris said.

The Gaza war began after Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Palestinian militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the Israeli army says are dead.

Israel’s relentless military retaliation has killed at least 36,096 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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WHO chief urges countries to quickly seal pandemic deal

Tedros said the task before negotiators had been “immense, technically, legally, and politically,” and that they had been “operating on a very ambitious time line.”…reports Asian Lite News

The World Health Organization chief on Monday urged countries to nail down a landmark global agreement on handling of future pandemics after they missed a hard deadline.

Scarred by COVID-19 — which killed millions, shredded economies and crippled health systems — nations have spent two years trying to forge binding commitments on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Negotiators failed to clinch a deal ahead of this week’s World Health Assembly — the annual gathering of WHO’s 194 member states — the deadline for concluding the talks.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opened the assembly Monday, saying he was confident that an agreement would be secured.

“Of course, we all wish that we had been able to reach a consensus on the agreement in time for this health assembly and crossed the finish line,” he said.

“But I remain confident that you still will, because where there is a will, there is a way.”

Tedros said the task before negotiators had been “immense, technically, legally, and politically,” and that they had been “operating on a very ambitious time line.”

“You have demonstrated a clear commitment to reaching an agreement,” he said, adding that negotiators had “worked long days and nights,” closing meetings as late as 4:00 a.m.

He hailed their dedication to push forward despite “a torrent of misinformation that was undermining your negotiations.”

While missing Friday’s deadline, countries have voiced a commitment to keep pushing for an accord.

Negotiators are due on Tuesday to present the outcome of the talks to the assembly, which runs until June 1, and the assembly will take stock and decide what to do next.

“I know that there remains among you a common will to get this done, so, there must always be a way,” Tedros said.

“Meaning the solution is in your hands,” he stressed.

Parallel talks have also taken place on revising the International Health Regulations, which were first adopted in 1969 and constitute the existing international legally binding framework for responding to public health emergencies around the world.

The proposed amendments to the IHR, including adding more nuance to a system meant to alert countries to potential health emergencies of global concern, might have a better chance of being adopted during this week’s assembly, observers said.

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WHO Chief Urges Israel to Lift Medical Blockade on Gaza

As only two functional hospitals are remaining in northern Gaza, the WHO Chief said it is imperative to ensure their ability to deliver health services…reports Asian Lite News

Head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has asked Israel to lift blockade on medical supplies into Gaza, saying nearly 700 seriously ill patients are stuck in a war zone.

“Crossings from Egypt into Gaza have remained closed for two weeks, cutting off the primary pipeline for emergency health supplies into Gaza,” the WHO Director-General told a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

Tedros described the situation in Gaza as “beyond catastrophic,” adding that intense hostilities near Gaza’s hospitals have compromised their ability to provide medical care and made it harder for patients to reach, Xinhua news agency reported.

As only two functional hospitals are remaining in northern Gaza, the WHO Chief said it is imperative to ensure their ability to deliver health services.

However, he also lamented that the UN’s health agency cannot sustain its lifesaving support to hospitals and the population without more aid flowing into Gaza.

The WHO and its partners have managed to deliver small amounts of fuel to hospitals in recent days, but this falls far short of the large quantity of fuel that is needed each day for health operations.

ALSO READ-WHO lauds SE Asia in advancing right to health

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WHO lauds SE Asia in advancing right to health

WHO South-East Asia Director highlights region’s strides in promoting ‘My Health, My Right’ theme for World Health Day….reports Asian Lite News

Echoing with the sentiments of this year’s World Health Day’s theme – “My Health, My Right” – Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region, Saima Wazed, on Saturday, said that South-East Asia Region has made “notable progress” in advancing right to health.

“Our South-East Asia Region has made notable progress in advancing this right to health.

From enhancements in healthcare coverage to declines in maternal and child mortality rates, there are achievements to be celebrated,” Wazed said on the eve of World Health Organisation’s founding anniversary.

She also highlighted pressing issues in the region’s healthcare landscape, saying that there is not enough health service coverage and that the government’s expenditure to improve the services is also too low.

Addressing the dire situation where nearly 40 per cent of the population lacks essential health services coverage, the director underscored the urgency for increased government expenditure and improved access to quality healthcare.

Despite strides in healthcare coverage and reductions in maternal and child mortality rates, financial barriers persist, exacerbating the plight of vulnerable groups. The director emphasised the rise in “out-of-pocket expenses” due to inadequate government funding, hindering access to basic healthcare services.

“Challenges remain. Nearly 40 per cent of our regions population still lacks essential health services coverage. Current government expenditure remains unacceptably low, leading to high expenses for many,” said Wazed on the eve of World Health Organisation’s founding anniversary.

According to Wazed, under the theme ‘My Health, My Right,’ this year’s World Health Day serves as a poignant reminder of the fundamental human right to quality health services, education, and information.

“This year’s theme was chosen to champion the right of everyone everywhere to have access to quality health services, education and information. It tells us of the right to safe drinking water, clean air and good nutrition. It reminds us that quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination should be enjoyed by everyone,” she also said.

In light of these challenges, the director articulated a vision for Southeast Asia, characterised by “holistic approach to health and well being and are physically and mentally empowered to achieve their full potential”.

Emphasising health as a basic human right, the WHO Regional Director said, “We want a region where this right is enjoyed by everyone starting from before birth, including the most vulnerable, and covering every community.”

However, amidst commendable progress, disparities persist, with gender disparities in non-communicable disease diagnosis and treatment, and the prevalence of poor-quality care impacting health outcomes.

“From enhancements in health coverage to declines in maternal and child mortality rates, there are achievements to be celebrated. Financial hardships in accessing basic health care are unfortunately on the rise. Vulnerable groups encounter disproportionate obstacles in accessing health care. Gender disparities persist in the diagnosis and treatment of non communicable diseases,” she also said in a video message.

“Poor quality care takes a heavier toll on health outcomes than mere lack of access to care. However, amidst these challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to a rights based approach to health, we must ensure equality, participation, and accountability in healthcare decision making processes,” she added.

The director also urged governments to prioritise health investments and strengthen healthcare systems, while emphasising the obligation of duty bearers, including governments and the WHO, to uphold the right to health for all individuals.

“Let us renew our resolve to make the right to health a reality for all. Let us set course towards a future where health is not a privilege, but a promise–a promise to safeguard the dignity and well being of everyone everywhere,” she concluded.

WHO’s Constitution came into force on April 7, 1948, a date now celebrated every year as World Health Day. (ANI)

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WHO chief says 9,000 Gaza patients in need of urgent evacuation

The WHO chief said more than 3,400 people have already been evacuated, and many more were awaiting Israeli approval to leave…reports Asian Lite News

Amid the continuing Israeli onslaught on Gaza in retaliation to the Hamas terror attacks on October 7, last year, and fears of a new front opening up in Rafah amid the ongoing war, World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday said approximately 9,000 patients trapped in the Strip were in urgent need of evacuation abroad, CNN reported.

With healthcare infrastructure ‘all but collapsed’ in Gaza, thousands need treatment for cancer and kidney dialysis, as well as for injuries sustained during the conflict, Tedros posted on X.

The WHO chief said more than 3,400 people have already been evacuated, and many more were awaiting Israeli approval to leave, according to CNN.

“We urge Israel to speed up approvals for evacuations, so that critical patients can be treated,” Tedros said, adding, “Every moment matters.”

According to CNN, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated on Friday that Gaza’s partially functional hospitals can only provide ‘limited services’ and are overwhelmed with patients. They are also facing “critical shortages of fuel, medicines, medical supplies, and health personnel.”

According to the UN, more than 400 attacks on healthcare infrastructure in the Gaza Strip had been documented by the WHO as of March 12, affecting some 100 ambulances and nearly 100 health facilities.

Israel has repeatedly blamed Hamas for hiding behind civilians in Gaza’s hospitals and other medical facilities, accusations the militant group denies.

Meanwhile, nearly 400 tonnes of food aid are expected to arrive in Gaza by ship in the coming days, according to the non-governmental organisation arranging the deliveries, CNN reported.

Juan Camilo, a community outreach manager with World Central Kitchen, stated that the aid would be distributed to residents in the northern part of the Strip.

He mentioned that The Open Arms, a rescue vessel that recently delivered aid to Gaza, was towing a barge, while another cargo vessel, ‘Jennifer’, was also transporting aid.

World Central Kitchen mentioned that the vessels are equipped with machinery to expedite the off-loading process. Additionally, they noted that the aid includes dates provided by the United Arab Emirates for Palestinians observing Ramadan.

Earlier this month, World Central Kitchen said almost 200 tons of aid were delivered by ship in an operation conducted with the Emirati government and Open Arms, with support from Cyprus.

Truce talks between Israel and Hamas to resume

Truce talks between Israel and Hamas will resume on Sunday in Cairo, the latest attempt to bring about a pause after nearly six months of war in the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s Al Qahera News TV reported on Saturday, citing a security source.

An Israeli official told Reuters that Israel will send a delegation to Cairo on Sunday. A Hamas official however told Reuters the group would wait to hear from Cairo mediators on the outcome of their talks with Israel first.

The warring sides have stepped up negotiations, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, on a six-week suspension of Israel’s offensive in return for the proposed release of 40 of the 130 hostages still held by the Palestinian militant group in Gaza.

Hamas has sought to parlay any deal into an end to the fighting and withdrawal of Israeli forces. Israel has ruled this out, saying it would eventually resume efforts to dismantle the governance and military capabilities of Hamas.

Hamas also wants hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled Gaza City and surrounding areas southward during the first stage of the war to be allowed back north. One Israeli official said his country was open to discussing allowing back only “some” of the displaced.

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, according to health authorities in the territory.

The war erupted after Hamas militants broke through the border and rampaged through communities in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and abducting 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel kept up its aerial and ground bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing 82 Palestinians in the past 24 hours, the territory’s health ministry said as fighting raged around Gaza City’s main Al Shifa hospital.

The ministry added that Israeli forces in control of the hospital had blockaded 107 patients in the human resources department without water, electricity, or medication for several days, refusing all calls to evacuate them.

Armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said their fighters continued to battle Israeli forces around the medical facility, the Gaza Strip’s biggest hospital before the war, which had been one of the few health care facilities even partially operational in north Gaza before the latest fighting.

The Israeli military said forces operating in Al Shifa killed three armed Hamas commanders inside two buildings of the medical facility. Forces located sniper rifles, AK-47s, magazines, and grenades during the activity, the military said.

Israel said it killed and detained hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen at Al Shifa during its raid there. Hamas and medical staffers deny any armed presence inside medical facilities, accusing Israel of killing and arresting civilians.

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WHO: 286K+ in Afghanistan Hit by Respiratory Illness

Earlier this month, the World Bank in a report said that Afghanistan’s struggling economy has led to deflation and poverty, Khaama Press reported. This deflationary trend persisted from April 2023 to December 2023…reports Asian Lite News

The World Health Organization has announced that more than 286,000 people have been afflicted with respiratory illness in Afghanistan since the beginning of January 2024. Among those, 668 people have lost their lives, Afghanistan-based Khaama Press reported.

On February 24, the WHO reported hundreds of deaths and infections due to respiratory illness in Afghanistan, coinciding with the onset of winter, according to the report.

According to the World Health Organization, the rise in the number of people afflicted with respiratory issues is due to cold weather conditions, particularly affecting children, according to the Khaama Press report.

According to a WHO report, more than 63 per cent of the patients are children aged below five years, with nearly 50 per cent of them being women.

Previously, the World Health Organization stated that the average recorded statistics of respiratory illnesses in Afghanistan have increased in comparison to the same period from 2020 to 2022.

With the arrival of the cold season and increased air pollution, concerns over the spread of respiratory illnesses in Afghanistan have intensified. Previously, thousands of people died due to acute respiratory illnesses in Afghanistan, Khaama Press reported.

Amidst the increased deportation of Afghan refugees from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, more than half a million people are returning home and face dire conditions like lacking food, shelter, water, and job opportunities.

Earlier this month, the World Bank in a report said that Afghanistan’s struggling economy has led to deflation and poverty, Khaama Press reported. This deflationary trend persisted from April 2023 to December 2023.

According to the report, Afghanistan has been facing economic challenges due to reduced aggregate demand, including factors like the stronger local currency, dwindling household savings, reduced public spending, and the ban on opium cultivation causing farmers to lose income.

Afghanistan has witnessed a significant decrease in headline inflation, with a negative 9.7 per cent year-on-year rate in December 2023. Food inflation reduced to negative 14.5 per cent and non-food inflation dropped to negative 4.2 per cent, reflecting weak demand. Core inflation, excluding food and energy prices, also reduced to a negative 6.0 per cent year-on-year.

These economic struggles have increased unemployment and pushed half of the population into poverty, with 15 million people facing food insecurity. Coal exports dropped by 46 per cent in 2023 to USD 257 million.

Furthermore, food exports witnessed a rise of 13 per cent, reaching USD 1.3 billion. Textile exports increased by 46 per cent in 2023 and reached USD 281 million, with Pakistan and India remaining primary export destinations. Imports in Afghanistan increased by 23 per cent in 2023 and reached USD 7.8 billion, with food, minerals, and textiles making up a major portion. (ANI)

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Saima Wazed Appointed WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia

Speaking about her priorities, Wazed said, “The first of these is a strong focus on mental health….a long-neglected area…reports Asian Lite News

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board in Geneva has said that Saima Wazed has been appointed as the WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

After taking oath as the new Regional Director, Wazed in her acceptance speech at the WHO Executive Board, said, “I would like to thank the Member States for the trust they have placed in me. There is a lot of work to be done, and I am extremely pleased to be starting this journey at this moment with all of you. I am excited for all that we can, and will, do together in the coming years.”

She begins her five-year term on February 1, 2024, and is the first from Bangladesh and the second woman Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region. On November 1 last year, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s daughter Saima Wazed was nominated as the next Regional Director in a vote by the Regional Committee for South-East Asia.

Speaking about her priorities, Wazed said, “The first of these is a strong focus on mental health….a long-neglected area. It is time to turn the tide against the silent illness of mental health which impacts every aspect of the lives affected. I will work towards ensuring relative parity between physical and mental health in our healthcare systems.” She said that she looked forward to devising and implementing specific interventions for women and children, including pregnant women, according to the WHO press release.

“Second, I look forward to devising and implementing specific interventions for women and children, including pregnant women. This will be created with education, empowerment, and prevention in mind. Structured with a life-course approach, this will include comprehensive well-being and health screenings, vaccination and nutrition programs, promotion of both physical and mental well-being, and resilience,” she said.

She said, “Any success we achieve in this area will have multi-generational impacts and benefits which will potentially outlive us all. Successes in this area cascade through societies, even improving the social and economic health of communities.” Calling technology a “great enabler,” Wazed said that her third priority is the use of technology. She said, “This great enabler in our lives over the last few decades allows untold possibilities of innovation across many different spheres of public health. The impact of the digital revolution on healthcare holds immense promise, ranging from telemedicine and remote patient monitoring to data-driven diagnostics and personalized treatment plans.”

Speaking about her other priority areas, Wazed stressed on strengthening health systems based on a primary health care approach, monitoring health inequalities to identify and track disadvantaged populations, focusing on evidence & data to formulate equity-oriented approaches and addressing the needs of all groups to ensure all have access to quality services on an equal basis with others.

She called for encouraging countries to engage whole-of-society for effective pandemic preparedness and response, especially multi-level planning for pandemic preparedness which is also linked to health system strengthening, according to WHO press release. Wazed said, “Collaboration and partnerships: regional and multi-sectoral – promoting active involvement of education, economic, social, poverty alleviation and development and different regulatory sectors within overall health planning of member countries. Partnering with multiple sectors to address all determinants of health.”

She spoke about monitoring and progress reporting for building innovative and context-specific data and reporting systems to measure the implementation of strategies and improve decision-making, according to WHO press release. Calling climate change one of the priority area, Saima Wazed said developing preventive and mitigative action mechanisms by integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning. She further said, “Monitoring health impacts of climate & environmental change and prioritizing health sector resilience to climate and environmental change.”

In the statement, Saima Wazed said, “Focus on marginalized and vulnerable groups – by prioritizing their unique needs in health infrastructure planning for providing both preventive and curative services, to truly ensure that no one is left behind.” In a post on X, Wazed said she undertakes this responsibility with humility and with a promise to work with a spirit of cooperation and partnership to implement her vision for the region. Taking to X, she stated, “A short while ago I was formally appointed as the new Regional Director for @WHOSEARO. I undertake this responsibility with humility, and with a promise to work with a spirit of cooperation & partnership to implement my vision for our region.”

“I concluded my remarks to @DrTedros and the @WHO Executive Board saying: “I would like to thank the Member States for the trust they have placed in me, and I thank you in this room for reaffirming their voice and their choice. There is a lot of work to be done, and I am extremely pleased to be starting this journey at this moment, in our headquarters, with all of you. In the coming months, I will call upon your guidance, your advice, your partnership & your friendship. I am excited for all that we can, and will, do together in the years ahead. On behalf of South East Asia, I thank you,” she added. Notably, Saima Wazed has a Bachelor’s degree from Barry University in US’ Florida. She has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a candidate for a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the same university.

Since 2019, Wazed has been an Advisor to the WHO Director-General on Mental Health and Autism and has been a member of WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health since 2014.

In 2017, Wazed was designated Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in WHO South-East Asia. She co-authored WHO South-East Asia Regional Strategy on Autism Spectrum Disorder the same year.
She is an Associate Fellow at the Global Health Program Chatham House, UK, Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs, Dhaka Bangladesh, and Chairperson of the Shuchona Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh, WHO said in a press release.
Wazed was conferred the ‘Excellence in Public Health’ award by WHO South-East Asia Regional Office in 2014. She was conferred the Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal in 2016 by the Dr Ibrahim Memorial Council, Bangladesh, for her work on autism and neurodevelopment disorders.

In 2017, Wazed received the International Champion Award from US organization Shema Kolainu for her work on autism in South-East Asia. In 2019, she was conferred Innovative Women Leaders in Global Mental Health award by the Global Mental Health Programs, Columbia University, US. (ANI)

ALSO READ-WHO weighs AI risks, benefits for healthcare

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WHO weighs AI risks, benefits for healthcare

In generative AI, algorithms trained on data sets can be used to produce new content….reports Asian Lite News

Generative artificial intelligence could transform healthcare through things like drug development and quicker diagnoses, but the World Health Organization warned Thursday of the potential pitfalls in rushing to embrace AI.

The WHO has been examining the likely dangers and benefits posed by AI large multi-modal models (LMMs), which are relatively new and are quickly being adopted in health.

In generative AI, algorithms trained on data sets can be used to produce new content.

LMMs are a type of generative AI which can use multiple types of data input, including text, images and video, and generate outputs that are not limited to the type of data fed into the algorithm.

“Some say this mimics human thinking and behaviour, and the way it engages in interactive problem-solving,” WHO digital health and innovation director Alain Labrique told a press conference.

The WHO said LMMs were predicted to have wide use and application in health care, scientific research, public health and drug development.

The UN health agency outlined five broad areas where the technology could be applied.

These are: diagnosis, such as responding to patients’ written queries; scientific research and drug development; medical and nursing education; clerical tasks; and patient-guided use, such as investigating symptoms.

While this holds potential, WHO warned there were documented risks that LMMs could produce false, inaccurate, biased or incomplete outcomes.

They might also be trained on poor quality data, or data containing biases relating to race, ethnicity, ancestry, sex, gender identity or age.

“As LMMs gain broader use in health care and medicine, errors, misuse and ultimately harm to individuals are inevitable,” the WHO cautioned.

They could lead to “automation bias”, where users blindly rely on the algorithm — even if they have good grounds to disagree.

On Thursday the WHO issued recommendations on the ethics and governance of LMMs, to help governments, tech firms and healthcare providers take advantage of the technology safely.

The WHO said it did not want to wait for roll-out in healthcare settings to discover the flaws and then try to fix them afterwards.

“Generative AI technologies have the potential to improve health care but only if those who develop, regulate and use these technologies identify and fully account for the associated risks,” said WHO chief scientist Jeremy Farrar.

“We need transparent information and policies to manage the design, development and use of LMMs.”

The WHO said liability rules were needed to “ensure that users harmed by an LMM are adequately compensated or have other forms of redress”.

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Vivek Murthy Renamed US Ambassador to WHO Board

The 46-year-old’s nomination was re-sent as his confirmation to the position had been pending in the Senate since October 2022….reports Asian Lite News

Indian-American Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has been named again to serve as the US’s representative on the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) by President Joe Biden.

The 46-year-old’s nomination was re-sent as his confirmation to the position had been pending in the Senate since October 2022.

He will serve in his new position alongside his continued duties as the country’s Surgeon General, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

In March 2021, he was confirmed by the US Senate to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the US and had previously served on the same post under then President Barack Obama.

As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public, the White House noted.

The first Surgeon General of Indian descent, Murthy is focused on drawing attention to and working across governments to address a number of critical public health issues. This includes the growing proliferation of health misinformation, the ongoing youth mental health crisis, well-being and burnout in the health worker community, and social isolation and loneliness.

As the Vice Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Murthy also commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations.

Born to immigrant parents from Karnataka, Murthy was raised in Miami and is a graduate of Harvard, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Management.

Before entering government service, Murthy co-founded VISIONS, a global HIV/AIDS education organisation, and the Swasthya Project — a rural health partnership that trained women in South India to become community health workers and educators.

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UAE President, WHO Chief Discuss Health Challenges in Gaza

The WHO Director-General congratulated His Highness on the successful hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the UAE at the end of last year….reports Asian Lite News

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

During the meeting at Qasr Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, both sides explored cooperation between the UAE and the WHO, emphasising the importance of bolstering international health cooperation, especially in light of the serious impact of diseases and pandemics on development, security, and stability worldwide.

The WHO Director-General congratulated His Highness on the successful hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the UAE at the end of last year. He praised the significant attention given to the health sector at COP events for the first time in the conference’s history, noting its positive impact on addressing the health consequences of climate change.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed appreciation for the efforts of His Highness and his initiatives in combating diseases and epidemics on a global scale and for the role of the UAE in supporting the organisation and its global health programmes. He also commended the UAE’s effective efforts in providing humanitarian and health support to the Gaza Strip, highlighting the UAE’s initiative to host 1,000 children from the area along with their families for treatment in UAE hospitals. This is in addition to hosting another 1,000 cancer patients for healthcare, as well as establishing a fully-equipped field hospital in the Gaza Strip.

The meeting was attended by H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC); H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Al Ain region; H. H. Sheikh Saif bin Mohammed Al Nahyan; H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; Lt. General H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; H.H Sheikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation; H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Adviser to the UAE President; H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Office of Development and Martyrs Families Affairs at the Presidential Court; H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Advisor for Special Affairs at the Presidential Court; Dr. Maha Barakat, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Health, as welll as several sheikhs and high-ranking officials.

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