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WHO Chief Alerts Gaza’s Disease Danger

Ghebreyesus went on to say that on top of all this, there was “heightened risk of disease outbreaks”….reports Asian Lite News

Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that overcrowding, lack of food, water, sanitation and basic hygiene are hastening the spread of disease in Gaza.

In a lengthy post on X, the WHO chief said that 1.3 million people are currently living in shelters in Gaza, where a humanitarian pause reached between Israel and Hamas is currently underway.

“Overcrowding and lack of food, water, sanitation and basic hygiene, waste management and access to medication are resulting in a high number of cases of acute respiratory infections (111,000), scabies (12,000), lice (11,000); diarrhoea (36,000), skin rash (24,000), impetigo (2,500), chickenpox (2,500); jaundice (1,100),” he said.

Ghebreyesus went on to say that on top of all this, there was “heightened risk of disease outbreaks”.

“Given the living conditions and lack of health care, more people could die from disease than bombings. We need a sustained ceasefire. Now. It’s a matter of life or death for civilians,” the WHO chief added.

Due to the overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions at UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) shelters in Gaza, there have been significant increases in some communicable diseases and conditions such as diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, skin infections and hygiene-related conditions like lice.

There are also initial reports of disease outbreaks, including Hepatitis.

According to the UNRWA, the war has displaced up to 1.8 million people in Gaza, or nearly 80 per cent of the population.

Nearly 1.1 million IDPs are currently registered in 156 UNRWA facilities across Gaza.

Another 191,000 internally displaced persons are estimated to be staying in 124 public schools and hospitals, as well as in other venues such as wedding halls, offices, and community centres.

On Tuesday, the Gaza city municipality had warned of the health and environmental ramifications of the accumulation of more than 35 tonnes of solid waste in the city.

The solid waste cannot be transferred to the main landfill located in the vicinity of Gaza’s perimeter fence, due to prohibition by the Israeli military, the municipality said.

Meanwhile, concerns about dehydration and waterborne diseases persist due to water consumption from unsafe sources.

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EU Pledges €10M For Afghanistan’s Healthcare

The European Union (EU) said the funding will improve preparedness and response systems for future disease outbreaks as well as health and nutrition emergencies, reports Asian Lite News

In order to support the healthcare system and combat infectious diseases in Afghanistan at a time when the country is facing an economic crisis under the Taliban, the European Union has pledged 10 million euros to the World Health Organization (WHO) to aid the country, Pajhwok News reported.

The funding will improve preparedness and response systems for future disease outbreaks as well as health and nutrition emergencies, according to a statement issued by the EU office in Kabul on Thursday,

The long-lasting cooperation between the EU and WHO has contributed to stronger and more resilient health care in Afghanistan, it said.

The increased financing is intended to improve health care in all 34 provinces, benefiting almost 2 million people. The additional funding expands on the previous EU-WHO collaboration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by integrating and improving diagnostic and infectious disease management and response in Afghanistan, the EU stated, according to Pajhwok News.

Afghan children sit around a fire in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua/IANS)

“The EU is deeply committed to protecting Afghans from disease outbreaks and other health and nutrition emergencies. Building on our ongoing cooperation with WHO in Afghanistan, the new funding helps to strengthen public health across the country and ensure the well-being of Afghans,” said EU Chargee d’Affaires a.i. to Afghanistan, Raffaella Iodice, reported Pajhwok News.

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, the country’s economic situation has deteriorated. The Afghans have repeatedly complained of lack of basic amenities under the Taliban government and the country is now heavily dependent on humanitarian aid. (ANI)

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WHO: China Detects No Novel Pathogens in Respiratory Cases

Some of these increases are occurring earlier in the season than usual, although this is not surprising given the easing of COVID-19 limitations, as seen in other nations…reports Asian Lite News

Following a pressing demand from the World Health Organisation to reveal more information on the surge in respiratory illnesses among children, China said there is no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens.

Some of these increases are occurring earlier in the season than usual, although this is not surprising given the easing of COVID-19 limitations, as seen in other nations.

“No changes in the disease presentation were reported by the Chinese health authorities. Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations, including in Beijing and Liaoning, but only the aforementioned general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens,” the WHO official press release read.

On November 23, the Global Health Body held a teleconference with Chinese health officials from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Beijing Children’s Hospital, which was facilitated by the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention, during which the requested data, indicating an increase in outpatient consultations and hospital admissions of children due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, were provided, the release added.

They further stated that the rise in respiratory illness has not resulted in patient loads exceeding hospital capacities.

The Chinese authorities advised that enhanced outpatient and inpatient surveillance has been implemented since mid-October for respiratory illnesses covering a broad spectrum of viruses and bacteria, which also for the first time, includes Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

On November 22, WHO requested additional epidemiologic and clinical information, as well as laboratory results from these reported clusters among children, through the International Health Regulations mechanism.

The WHO requested further information about recent trends in the circulation of known pathogens, including influenza, SARS-CoV-2, RSV and mycoplasma pneumoniae, and the current burden on healthcare systems.

“WHO is also in contact with clinicians and scientists through our existing technical partnerships and networks in China,” according to the release.

Since mid-October, northern China has reported an increase in influenza-like illnesses compared to the same period in the previous three years. China has systems in place to capture information on trends in influenza, influenza-like illnesses, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2 and report to platforms such as the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.

The organisation recommended that people in China follow measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness, which include recommended vaccination; keeping distance from people who are ill; staying home when ill; getting tested and medical care as needed; wearing masks as appropriate; ensuring good ventilation; and regular hand-washing.

WHO will continue to provide updates, the release said.

Chinese authorities from the National Health Commission, at a press conference on November 13, reported an increase in the incidence of respiratory diseases in China.

Chinese authorities attributed this increase to the lifting of COVID restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens such as influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia (a common bacterial infection that typically affects younger children), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), as per a release issued by the WHO.

Authorities stressed the need for enhanced disease surveillance in healthcare facilities and community settings, as well as strengthening the capacity of the health system to manage patients. (ANI)

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WHO Aims to Tackle Loneliness Worldwide

According to research, social isolation is common among one in four older people and in five to 15 per cent adolescents. However, these figures are likely to be underestimations…reports Asian Lite News

Loneliness is a pressing health threat, with serious consequences for the health and mental well-being of the elderly and young people worldwide, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday.Social isolation — having an insufficient number of social connections, and loneliness — and the social pain of not feeling connected are widespread.Contrary to the perception that isolation and loneliness primarily affect older people in high-income countries, they impact the health and well-being of all age groups across the world.According to research, social isolation is common among one in four older people and in five to 15 per cent adolescents. However, these figures are likely to be underestimations.

To address it, the UN health body announced a new Commission on Social Connection which will promote social connection as a priority and accelerate the scaling up of solutions in countries of all incomes.“High rates of social isolation and loneliness around the world have serious consequences for health and well-being. People without enough strong social connections are at higher risk of stroke, anxiety, dementia, depression, suicide and more,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a statement.

“This WHO Commission will help establish social connection as a global health priority and share the most promising interventions,” he added.The Commission, to be co-chaired by US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy, and African Union Youth Envoy, Chido Mpemba, will have 11 leading policy-makers, thought leaders and advocates.Running for three years, it will analyse the central role social connection plays in improving health for people of all ages and outline solutions to build social connections at scale.The Commission will consider how connection enhances the well-being of our communities and societies and helps foster economic progress, social development, and innovation.Studies show that lack of social connection carries an equivalent, or even greater, risk of early death as other better-known risk factors – such as smoking, excessive drinking, physical inactivity, obesity, and air pollution.Social isolation also has a serious impact on physical and mental health; studies show that it has been linked to anxiety and depression and can increase risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 per cent.The Commission on Social Connection, supported by a Secretariat based at WHO, will hold its first leadership-level meeting from December 6 to 8, the WHO said.

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WHO Raps Israel

The lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance, those in intensive care and others all face imminent deterioration of their condition or death, warns WHO...reports Asian Lite News

The World Health Organization (WHO) officials who have visited Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital said that the hospital has become a “death zone”. WHO and other UN agencies that visited the hospital said that they are in the process of evacuating the patients there.

The Israeli army has said that Hamas operatives have to be evacuated from Al-Shifa hospital premises. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been maintaining that Al-Shifa hospital premises has been working as a command centre for Hamas and that an underground tunnel network is operated from this hospital premises even though the hospital authorities and Gaza’s Ministry of Health vehemently denied it.

The Israeli army has also recovered the dead bodies of two women hostages near Al-Shifa hospital, indicating that the hospital premises was used as a place to keep the hostages kidnapped from Israel on October 7.

It may be noted that the IDF has said that it has recovered several arms and ammunition and military equipment from within the hospital as well as from nearby buildings.

The ground invasion that commenced on October 27 in retaliation to the massacre and mayhem of October 7 has led to more than 12,000 Palestinians losing their life. Several soldiers including senior officers were also killed on both sides.

“As the United Nation’s agency responsible for public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemns Israel’s repeated orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals treating more than 2000 inpatients in northern Gaza. The forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe,” a statement said.

The lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance: those in intensive care or who rely on life support; patients undergoing hemodialysis; newborns in incubators; women with complications of pregnancy, and others all face imminent deterioration of their condition or death if they are forced to move and are cut off from life-saving medical attention while being evacuated, the world body said.

Health facilities in northern Gaza continue to receive an influx of injured patients and are struggling to operate beyond maximum capacity. Some patients are being treated in corridors and outdoors in surrounding streets due to a lack of hospital beds.

Forcing more than 2000 patients to relocate to southern Gaza, where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number of patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence.

Hospital directors and health workers are now facing an agonizing choice: abandon critically ill patients amid a bombing campaign, put their own lives at risk while remaining on site to treat patients, or endanger their patients’ lives while attempting to transport them to facilities that have no capacity to receive them. Overwhelmingly, caregivers have chosen to stay behind, and honor their oaths as health professionals to “do no harm,” rather than risk moving their critically ill patients during evacuations. Health workers should never have to make such impossible choices.

Columns of sick and injured — some of them amputees — were seen making their way out of Shifa hospital Saturday towards the seafront without ambulances along with displaced people, doctors and nurses, as loud explosions were heard around the complex.

The U.N. assessment team was meanwhile only able to spend an hour inside the hospital due to the security situation. The team, WHO said, described the hospital as a “death zone” and the situation as “desperate”.

“Signs of shelling and gunfire were evident. The team saw a mass grave at the entrance of the hospital and were told more than 80 people were buried there,” the statement said. A lack of clean water, fuel, medicines, food and other essential aid over six weeks had caused the largest and most advanced hospital in Gaza to basically stop functioning as a medical facility, WHO said.

“Corridors and the hospital grounds were filled with medical and solid waste, increasing the risk of infection.” Among the patients remaining in the hospital were 32 babies “in extremely critical condition,” WHO said.

There were also two people in intensive care without ventilation, 22 dialysis patients whose access to life-saving treatment was severely compromised, and many trauma victims. Several patients had died in the past two to three days “due to the shutting down of medical services,” WHO said.

The U.N. health agency said that given the state of the hospital, the team was asked to evacuate health workers and patients to other facilities. “We are working with partners to develop an urgent evacuation plan and ask for full facilitation of this plan,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X, formerly Twitter.

“We continue to call for protection of health and of civilians,” he said, lamenting that “the current situation is unbearable and unjustifiable. Ceasefire. NOW.” WHO said additional missions would go in “over the next 24-72 hours, pending guarantees of safe passage” to help transport patients to the Nasser Medical Complex and European Gaza Hospital in southern Gaza.

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WHO says Gaza’s biggest hospital becoming a cemetery

Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the WHO, said about 600 people remained in the hospital, with others sheltering in hallways, reports the BBC…reports Asian Lite News

Thousands could be trapped inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, which is also tackling power cuts and a lack of fuel due to nearby fighting, while officials have warned of rotting bodies piling up there.

The hospital is “nearly a cemetery”, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

Christian Lindmeier, a spokesman for the WHO, said about 600 people remained in the hospital, with others sheltering in hallways, reports the BBC.

“Around the hospital there are dead bodies which cannot be taken care of or not even be buried or taken away to any sort of morgue,” he said. “The hospital is not working at all any more as it should. It’s nearly a cemetery.”

Doctors have also spoken of bodies piling up and rotting at the hospital.

Dr Mohamed Abu Selmia, Al-Shifa’s manager, said there were about 150 bodies decomposing, “leaving unpleasant odours”.

He said the hospital was under a “blockade”, and that dogs had started eating corpses. The area around the hospital has seen intense fighting in recent days.

US President Joe Biden said he hoped to see “less intrusive action” at the hospital, which he said “must be protected”.

Gaza City has seen an intensification of fighting between Israeli and Hamas forces in recent days, much of which has been taking place in streets close to the hospital. There have been reports of tanks and armoured vehicles being within metres of the hospital gate.

Israel accuses Hamas of operating a command-and-control centre in tunnels underneath the hospital, which Hamas and the hospital deny. It also accuses Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, of “preventing humanitarian solutions”. Israel’s army has also said that while there are clashes close to Al-Shifa, there is no shooting at the hospital itself nor a siege, and that anyone wanting to leave can do so.

The Hamas-run health ministry has said there are at least 2,300 people still inside the hospital – up to 650 patients, 200 to 500 staff and around 1,500 people seeking shelter.

‘Hamas fighters hiding in hospital basement’

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Read Adm Daniel Hagari has said that Hamas has kept Israel hostages at a hosipital basement, and it has evidence including photographs of the same.

Hagari further said that the Israeli Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit and the 401st Armoured Brigade have raided Gaza City’s Rantisi Hospital, which treats children, and that Hamas operatives were hiding there.

“Underneath the hospital, in the basement, we found a Hamas command and control centre, suicide-bomb vests, grenades, AK-47 assault rifles, explosive devices, RPGs, and other weapons, computers, money, etc,” Hagari said.

“We also found signs that indicate that Hamas held hostages here,” he said, adding, “This is currently under our investigation,” but that the IDF has intelligence to verify it.

“Additionally, we found evidence that Hamas came back from the massacre (in southern Israel) on October 7 to this hospital, among others, after butchering Israelis in their homes,” he added.

“Hamas hides in hospitals. Today, we will expose this to the world,” he added.

Hagari also said that the IDF has been working to enable the safe evacuation of patients from Rantisi over the last week, as well as from other hospitals in northern Gaza.

“Israel helped the hospital managers evacuate the Gaza patients to a safer hospital,” he said, adding that the IDF has been informed that “the last 18 patients in the Rantisi Hospital had safely evacuated to a safer hospital.”

“This is because our war is against Hamas, not against the people in Gaza. Especially not the sick, the women, or the children,” IDF spokesman Hagari said.

“Our war is against Hamas, who use them as human shields,” Hagari added.

In the basement of Rantisi, the footage showed a Hamas armoury with grenades, bombs, and RPGs. He highlighted the dangers to patients of explosives in hospitals. The footage also showed a motorcycle in the basement that he believes was driven here, presumably with a hostage.

Nearby, he also portrayed what he claimed were several indications that hostages were held here, including an improvised toilet and other infrastructure to hold hostages, The Times of Israel reported.

Israeli forensic teams were on their way to the hospital to investigate the evidence, Read Adm Hagari said.

He added that they might have evacuated the hospital with the patients.

He also indicated that other Gaza hospitals were also being used by Hamas. “The world should know that,” he said, adding, “It’s a war crime, a crime against humanity and a crime against international law.”

“We will free our hostages from Gaza, and free Gaza from Hamas — for the sake of the people of Israel, for the people of Gaza as well, and the world.”

The IDF spokesperson also claimed that he took some foreign correspondents with him and that they came under fire as they were leaving.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen Herzi Halevi, IDF Chief of Staff, assured residents during a Northern Command assessment in Safed, pledging robust action plans in response to recurrent rocket and missile attacks by Hezbollah and allied factions.

“We are preparing strongly with action plans for the north. Our mission is to bring security. The security situation will no remain such that the residents of the north do not feel safe to return to their homes,” The Times of Israel quoted Halevi as saying.

The IDF also said that Halevi approved plans of action and instructed the Northern Command to maintain a high level of readiness. (ANI)

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Bangladesh’s Saima Wazed Takes the Helm at WHO Southeast Asia

Wazed is a clinical psychologist and the daughter of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina….reports Asian Lite News

Bangladesh’s Saima Wazed has been nominated to lead the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region.

Member countries on Wednesday voted to nominate her as the next Regional Director of the United Nation’s health body, according to WHO South East Asia Region Office.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea DPRK, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste participated in the voting in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The member states voted to nominate Wazed during a closed meeting on the third day of the 76th session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia. Myanmar, the other member, did not attend the meeting.

Wazed is a clinical psychologist and the daughter of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Saima secured eight votes to win the nomination over the other candidate, Dr Shambhu Prasad Acharya, a senior WHO official nominated by Nepal, who received two votes.

The nomination will be submitted to the WHO Executive Board during its 154th session, taking place on January 22-27 next year in Geneva, Switzerland, the WHO SEAR Office said.

After that, Wazed will take office on February 1 for a five-year term and be eligible for reappointment once. (ANI)

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WHO Urges China for Transparency on COVID-19 Origins

Critics accused the WHO of being lenient in response to China’s initial slow reaction, which they contend allowed the virus to spread globally. …reports Asian Lite News

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on China to offer greater transparency regarding the origins of Covid-19 and expressed readiness to dispatch a second investigative team to examine the matter. The genesis of the pandemic remains unclear almost four years after the initial cases were reported in Wuhan, China, Financial Times reported.

“We are urging China to provide full access, and we are encouraging countries to raise this issue in their bilateral discussions, urging Beijing to cooperate,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding “We have already formally requested information from them and are also prepared to send a team if they grant us permission to do so.”

These comments from the WHO chief come as health authorities update vaccines in response to a surge in Covid-19 cases. While scientists agree that the world is no longer in the acute phase of the pandemic, the global health body emphasised the need for nations to enhance surveillance of the highly mutated BA.2.86 and other Omicron subvariants, according to Financial Times, a British daily business newspaper.

Next week, world leaders will discuss pandemic preparedness during high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Tedros revealed that he travelled to Beijing in January 2020 to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to allow the first WHO mission of experts to investigate Covid-19. This mission, led by Bruce Aylward of the WHO, marked the initial foray into China to examine the virus’s origins.

Two primary theories about the virus’s origins are under consideration: a zoonotic jump from animals to humans through Wuhan’s wet markets or contagion originating from an accidental release from the city’s virology laboratory. However, no scientific consensus has been reached, and Tedros emphasized that all possibilities remain “on the table,” stating, “Unless we have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot make definitive conclusions. But I believe we will find the answer. It’s just a matter of time.”

Regarding his meeting with President Xi, Tedros explained, “I met with the president and the officials beneath him initially hesitated to permit us to send a team. So I had to travel there to explain why it was so crucial.”

A day after Tedros returned to Geneva, the WHO declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the highest designation possible. It was only lifted in May of this year, as reported by Financial Times,

Critics accused the WHO of being lenient in response to China’s initial slow reaction, which they contend allowed the virus to spread globally. Tedros rejected this assertion, stating that the organization collaborated with China when it took measures to control the virus and openly criticized Beijing when it hindered the investigation into the virus’s origins.

The WHO conducted its first investigation into the origins of Covid-19 in China in early 2021 but returned with an inconclusive and widely criticised report, citing a lack of cooperation from Beijing. Tedros stated, “Regarding the origin study, when they refused to give us full access, we began private discussions, and when they continued to resist cooperation, we made it public.”

He emphasized the importance of uncovering the virus’s origin, stating, “If we determine the origin, we can prevent the next outbreak. This is a matter of science. It would be morally wrong not to know what happened.”

Tedros noted that “the pandemic was politicized from the beginning.” In mid-2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump temporarily withdrew funding and threatened to withdraw the United States from the WHO amid increasing scrutiny of the virus’s outbreak. Such actions complicated efforts to establish “global solidarity” in managing the public health crisis, according to Tedros.

While there are still no answers for “all those who have suffered from this pandemic,” Tedros highlighted that the Covid-19 crisis has prompted many governments to recognize the value of enhancing the resilience of their healthcare systems. “In many countries, health was not considered central to development, and it was viewed as an expense,” he said. “Now, after the pandemic, people are starting to realise that it is an investment that can prevent future pandemics,” Financial Times reported. (ANI)

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WHO chief lauds India’s health coverage during G20 meet

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said that more than 70 delegates from different countries are participating in the G20 Health Ministers’ meeting and side event in Gandhinagar here…reports Asian Lite News

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) praised India for advancing health coverage and schemes.

Dr Tedros made the remarks while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the ongoing G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

At the begining of his address, Dr Tedros thanked India for its gracious hospitality and visionary leadership in hosting the G20 Summit.

“I commend India for their steps in advancing Universal Health Coverage and the Ayushman Bharat scheme which is the world ‘s largest health assurance initiative,” the WHO chief said.

He also recalled his visit to a Health and Wellness Centre and lauded the services being provided there. “I visited a Health and Wellness Centre here in Gandhinagar and was impressed by the primary healthcare services being provided to 1000 households by the HWC,” he added.

He also hailed the telemedicine facilities provided in Gujarat and thanked India’s G20 Presidency for the Global Digital Health Initiative to be launched on Saturday.

“I commend the telemedicine services being provided here, which provide prescriptions and treatment locally. It is an excellent example of transforming healthcare. I also thank India G20 Presidency for taking leadership in the Global Digital Health Initiative which will be launched tomorrow,” Dr Tedros said.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said that more than 70 delegates from different countries are participating in the G20 Health Ministers’ meeting and side event in Gandhinagar here.

The three-day G20 Health Ministers’ meeting under G20 India Presidency will culminate on August 19.” More than 70 delegates from different countries are participating in the G20 Health Ministers’ meeting and side events. “We are showing India’s Health model to the people and they are appreciating it. The Modi government has seen the health sector with a holistic approach,” Mr Mandaviya said.

The G20 Health Ministers’ meeting under G20 India Presidency is being held during from August 17 to 19 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

India assumed the presidency of the G20 on December 1, 2022, and is currently part of the G20 Troika comprising Indonesia, India and Brazil. India’s G20 Presidency marked the first time that the troika is consisting of three developing and emerging economies.

The focus of the G20 Health Minister’s Meeting will be on the three key priorities of the G20 Health Track, including health emergencies prevention, preparedness and response with a focus on anti-microbial resistance and One Health framework; Strengthening cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector with a focus on access and availability to safe, effective, quality and affordable medical countermeasures (Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics); and Digital Health innovations and solutions to aid universal health coverage and improve healthcare service delivery.

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I am happy to be called Tulsi Bhai: WHO Chief

Ghebreyesus said that he liked the name as the plant is a medicinal plant….reports Asian Lite News

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that he liked being called “Tulsi Bhai” considering the prominence of the plant.

Ghebreyesus said that he liked the name as the plant is a medicinal plant.

Speaking to reporters after his visit to a Health and Wellness Centre in Adraj Moti Village in Gandhinagar, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Tulsi Bhai, I like the name because the plant is a medicinal plant. By the way, I just planted Tulsi here in the wellness center and I’m really happy to do that because it has many benefits to take care of our forest and to contribute to make sure that our world is green. So, I don’t see it only as medicinal, but I think given the climate change we’re witnessing now, planting trees is very important. So I am really glad to be part of that. So, I’m happy to be called Tulsi Bhai, given the prominence of the plant.”

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed WHO Chief Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has arrived in India to participate in the WHO Global Summit on Traditional Medicine set to be held in Gandhinagar on August 17-18.

Responding to the Ministry of Ayush’s post on X, formerly known as Twitter, PM Modi stated, “My good friend Tulsi Bhai is clearly well prepared for Navratri! Welcome to India, @DrTedros!”

PM Modi’s remarks came after WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus played ‘dandiya’ upon his arrival in Gujarat. In a video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, by the Ministry of Ayush, the WHO chief can be seen playing dandiya to the tunes of Gujarati folk music.

While sharing the video on X, the Ministry of Ayush wrote, “A warm welcome to the WHO Director-General, @DrTedros, also known as Tulsi Bhai, the endearing name conferred upon him by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi. And swagatam, esteemed delegates to the historic WHO Summit on Traditional Medicine.”

In another post, the Ministry of Ayush wrote, “We begin the celebrations with an unforgettable welcome to our distinguished guests in true Indian tradition with music and dance ! Watch them dance to the vibrant beats of Gujarati folk music and immerse themselves in the warmth of Indian hospitality.”

Notably, the WHO chief was given the name “Tulsi Bhai” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit held in Gandhinagar in April last year.

Upon his arrival in India on Wednesday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on X posted, “Delighted to be in #India for the @WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, the Ministerial Meeting on Ending TB in @WHOSEARO and the G20 Health Ministers Meeting. Namaste India!”

Organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-hosted by the Ministry of Ayush, the WHO Summit on Traditional Medicine is set to take place in Gandhinagar on August 17-18. The summit will take into account the vast experience and expertise of India.

The event will serve as a platform for experts and practitioners to delve into the latest scientific advancements and evidence-based knowledge in the sector, with the ultimate goal of ensuring health and well-being for all, according to the Ministry of Ayush press release.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will inaugurate the event in the presence of Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya and Minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal. G20 health Ministers, Regional Directors of WHO and eminent invitees from countries across WHO’s six regions are expected to grace the event along with scientists, practitioners of traditional medicine, health workers and members of civil society organisations, according to the press release. (ANI)

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