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Strengthen AIDS response, focus on key population

WHO/Ismail Ferdous

A think tank meeting comprising of experts, partners, civil society and representatives of key population, met in New Delhi on 12-13 February and stressed upon greater efforts and focused attention to addressing HIV transmission among key population.

The meeting outcomes are expected to help realign and strengthen HIV programmes to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized are reached, and no one is left behind – to strengthen AIDs response in the context of Universal Health Coverage.

Timor-Leste students seek stringent anti-tobacco measures

WHO Timor-Leste

Dili, 14 February: Seeking more stringent measures to dissuade youth from taking to tobacco, university students and members of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, Timor-Leste, held a march here on the Valentine Day.

They submitted petitions to the National Parliament, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Commerce and Industry demanding ban on selling of tobacco to and by youth under 17 years. The students also sought a ban on sale of loose cigarettes /per unit. Over 2000 students from across the country signed the petitions.

Big 6 countries of WHO South-East Asia Region meet to close measles’ immunity gap, accelerate elimination efforts

Two of the Region’s countries, Bhutan and Maldives, eliminated measles in 2017, while the others are carrying out largescale immunization drives to achieve the same. Nearly 500 million children in the Region are planned to be reached with measles and rubella containing vaccines in the next two years.

To achieve best possible immunization coverage and accelerate efforts to eliminate measles and control rubella / CRS by 2010, the ‘big six’ countries of the Region met in New Delhi on 31 January 2018 to share their challenges and lessons learnt from various recent achievements and initiatives, to help Member countries close the immunity gap.

Over 350 000 children in Rohingya camps to get additional dose of diphtheria vaccine

WHO Bangladesh

Over 350,000 children in the Rohingya camps and makeshift settlements in Cox’s Bazar are being given an additional dose of diphtheria vaccine, as WHO, UNICEF and partners work with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health to intensify efforts to curtail diphtheria.

Vaccination is one key component of diphtheria response, which also focuses on early detection of suspected cases, providing appropriate treatment, and tracing patients’ contacts and giving them preventive medication and vaccine. WHO is coordinating and supporting the overall diphtheria response with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Nearly half a million children being vaccinated against diphtheria in Cox’s Bazar

WHO Bangladesh/ A. Bhatiasevi

As part of an intensified response to the current diphtheria outbreak, WHO, UNICEF and health sector partners are working with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to vaccinate more than 475,000 children in Rohingya refugee camps, temporary settlements and surrounding areas.

Diphtheria vaccination held in Cox’s Bazar schools

WHO/ A. Bhatiasevi

As schools reopened on 1st January after the winter break, children in Ukhia sub-district of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, lined up to not only receive new books, but also a dose of diphtheria tetanus (DT) vaccine.

School children, living in areas close to the Rohingya camps in Ukhia and Tekhna sub-districts are being administered a dose of DT vaccine, as part of the diphtheria outbreak response.

WHO releases US$1.5 million to fight diphtheria in Cox’s Bazar

WHO Bangladesh / C Bercaru

WHO has released US$1.5 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to scale up health operations in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh over the next six months, to respond to the rapidly spreading diphtheria outbreak among Rohingya population.

The funds will be used to support immunization activities, improve laboratory capacity, support community engagement, contact tracing and case management in health facilities, as well as to provide essential medicines and supplies.

Bangladesh moves to protect Rohingya children from diphtheria


The Government of Bangladesh, with the support of UNICEF, the World Health Organization and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, today launched a vaccination campaign against diphtheria and other preventable diseases for all Rohingya children aged 6 weeks to 6 years living in 12 camps and temporary settlements near the Myanmar border.

Greater Mekong countries pledge to accelerate malaria elimination efforts

Member countries comprising Greater Mekong subregion - Cambodia, China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam – adopted a call for action on 8 December 2017, to accelerated action to eliminate malaria by the year 2030.

The call comes amid concern over resistance of malaria parasites to antimalarial drugs, including artemisinin—the core compound of the best available antimalarial medicines. To date, resistance has been detected in five of the six GMS countries. The best way to address the threat posed by drug resistance is to eliminate malaria altogether from the countries of the Mekong.

Diphtheria is spreading fast among Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh


More than 110 suspected cases, including 6 deaths, have been clinically diagnosed by health partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

WHO is working with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, UNICEF and partners to contain the spread of the highly infectious respiratory disease through effective treatment and adequate prevention.

WHO South-East Asia countries to accelerate efforts to eliminate malaria


Following significant and sustained progress in reducing malaria incidence and deaths in recent years, Member countries of the Region have pledged to further accelerate efforts to eliminate the disease by 2030. Ministers of Health and senior health officials from Member countries signed on a declaration on 29 November 2017 in New Delhi, committing to the cause, as despite progress, the Region has the second highest malaria burden and the highest Plasmodium vivax malaria burden globally.

Phuket Commitment

Alarmed at the increasing incidence of deaths and injuries in road crashes, countries in WHO South-East Asia Region adopted ‘Phuket Commitment’ pledging to accelerate action for road safety, focusing on vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, other two-wheeler riders, cyclists and pedestrians.

World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day. This year’s theme is “Everybody Counts”. The Region has an estimated 3.5 million people living with HIV and experienced a 47% decline in new infections in 2015 compared with 2010. Sustainable Development Goal 3.3 aims to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. To achieve this we have to ensure that everyone has access to HIV prevention, all people living with HIV know their status and are treated.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

1 in 3 women globally are experiencing intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence by a non-partner. At 38%, the WHO South-East Asia Region has the highest regional estimates of violence against women in the world, putting women in our Region most at risk of violence. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women also marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence Campaign.

Bangladesh steps up vaccination for new Rohingya arrivals as measles cases rise

An increase in the number of suspected measles cases among the newly arrived Rohingya and their host communities in southern Bangladesh has prompted the Government and UN partners to step up immunization efforts in overcrowded camps and makeshift shelters close to the border with Myanmar. Nearly 360 000 people in the age group of six months to 15 years, the new Rohingya arrivals in Cox’s Bazar and their host communities, irrespective of their immunization status, would be administered measles and rubella vaccine through fixed health facilities, outreach vaccination teams, and at entry points into Bangladesh.