A man helps another put on protective goggles.

With coronavirus transmission on the rise in most Latin American countries, there is a small window of opportunity for Governments to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the impact on health systems and save lives. PAHO, the specialized health agency for the Americas that also serves as the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), is working with Governments to protect their health personnel. It is vital that countries decide what social distancing measures need to be implemented and for how long.

screening temperature of passengers at airport

The World Health Organization has played a crucial role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, ever since the first cases were identified in Wuhan in December. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus outlined five ways the agency is leading the global response: helping countries to prepare and respond; providing accurate information; ensuring vital supplies reach frontline health workers; training and mobilizing health workers; coordinating the search for a vaccine.

Three nurses from around the world

In this International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, World Health Day is reminding everybody of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy. Nurses and other health workers are at the forefront of COVID-19 response - providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, leading community dialogue to address fears, and even collecting data for clinical studies. Quite simply, without nurses, there would be no response. With women representing 70 percent of the health workforce globally, special attention should be given to gender equality in the time of COVID-19.

Mobile phone taking photos

The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub offers tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and to obtain accurate health information.

Secretary-General António Guterres chairs a meeting on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Epidemics can be reversed, but only with the highest level of political commitment. WHO has asked the international community for US$675 million to fight the virus. The United Nations has dedicated US$15 million to fund essential activities such as monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases and supporting national laboratories. A United Nations Crisis Management Team has been established with WHO in the lead. UNDP is playing a key role in the wider UN response.

If you do not have any respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask. When used alone, masks can give you a false feeling of protection and can even be a source of infection when not used correctly.

Najmo Fiyasko Finnbogadóttir stands on a deck overlooking a breathtaking view of water and mountains.

“Mom why are you hurting me?”

sugary drinks

Childhood obesity is a complex public health issue – caused by many factors, it intersects significantly with socioeconomic status. As obesity can establish behaviours at a young and vulnerable age, countries have a duty to protect children from a phenomenon that can become a health burden for the rest of their lives. On World Obesity Day, 4 March, WHO Europe highlights the success Portugal has had in tackling childhood obesity – one of the main health challenges in the WHO European Region – with their sugary drinks tax. Taxation is often an effective way of nudging behaviour change and is far more successful than targeting or shaming individuals.

mother and baby

No single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures, finds a landmark report released today by a Commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world. The Commission was convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and The Lancet. The report, A Future for the World’s Children?, finds that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children. 

hands breaking cigarette

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005. It has since become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United Nations history. The Convention was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation.

illustration of passenger and thermometer

As COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, continues to spread, the World Health Organization is addressing some misconceptions and misinformation surrounding the contagious disease, which first appeared in December 2019, in the Chinese city of Wuhan.  Here are some of the questions answered: 

  • Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus? 
  • Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus? 
  • How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

Inform yourself and spread the word!

Traffic congestion in Kabul

Sweden is hosting the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on 19–20 February 2020. The theme of the conference is Achieving Global Goals 2030. The event is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, and ministers from more than 80 countries are attending. Representatives of industry,  research and international organizations are also participating. The Conference is an opportunity for delegates to share successes and lessons from the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 and to chart future strategic directions for global road safety.

A midwife strokes the forehead of a baby whilst the mother affectionately looks at the child.

Bringing Midwifery Back to a Northern Canadian Community

United Nations chief António Guterres says the World Health Organization's characterization of the COVID-19 health emergency as a pandemic “is a call for action – for everyone, everywhere” adding that as we fight the virus “we cannot let fear go viral.” The United Nations is actively addressing the global COVID-19 outbreak on several fronts - from situation reports and technical guidelines, through funding and partnerships, to advice for the public. You can find information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.

cancer patient and medical staff

The World Health Organization (WHO) has spelled out the need to step up cancer services in low and middle-income countries. WHO warns that, if current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. The greatest increase in new cases will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where survival rates are currently lowest. Yet, progress in poorer countries is achievable. WHO highlights a wide range of proven interventions to prevent new cancer cases.