Health

WHO invites us to learn about the development of vaccines. From clinic trials and emergency use listing to production, transportation, storage and final administration by local health workers – follow the journey of a vaccine.

A woman lies in bed next to her newborn.

This week, as countries around the world celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, the United Nations calls on all stakeholders to support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.

baby receiving oral vaccine

23 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccines through routine health services in 2020, the highest number since 2009 and 3.7 million more than in 2019. WHO/UNICEF data shows that a majority of countries last year experienced drops in childhood vaccination rates. Up to 17 million children – likely did not receive a single vaccine during the year, widening already immense inequities in vaccine access. Most of these children live in communities affected by conflict, in under-served remote places, or in informal or slum settings where they face multiple deprivations including limited access to basic health and key social services.

Boys sit on a barrier of the river while another is doing a mid-air flip into the river.

In 2019, an estimated 236,000 people died from drowning, making drowning a major public health problem worldwide. In 2019, injuries accounted for almost 8% of total global mortality. Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. World Drowning Prevention Day (25 July) serves as a global advocacy event to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities and to offer life-saving solutions to prevent it. Read more on the multi-sectoral action on proven measures to avoid drowning accidents.

A woman measures the circumference of a girl’s arm

Close to 2 million people are estimated to have been internally displaced by the conflict in Tigray, now in its eighth month. Some are staying within communities, others are sheltering in overcrowded public sites like schools. Brukti and 15 other trained nurses volunteer at the small makeshift health centre at one of these sites. About 20 to 30 patients come to the health centre every day. Resources are scarce across the board and the displaced rely heavily on help from the local community. The UN Refugee Agency, and partners support the camp coordination and management.

Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, like COVID-19, bird flu, malaria or Ebola. Nuclear-derived techniques can be used to track pathogens as they move from animals to humans to help the world respond better to any future outbreaks.

No one is safe until everyone is safe. The recent surge of infections in India was a wake up call for the world, as less than 1% of vaccines have reached the developing world. This is why UNICEF is calling on wealthy countries to donate their excess COVID-19 vaccines now.

man doing tree pose on mountain top

As the world continues to battle COVID-19, yoga offers a “unique” way to destress and boost immunity, allowing the mind and body to connect in a state of “cellular quiet”. That’s according to Doctor Krishna Raman, who’s taking part in a major International Day of Yoga event on Monday, organized by the Indian mission to the UN. He spoke to UN News’s Sachin Gaur, and explained his work on integrating Western medicine with yoga, and how the practice helps support wider social well-being.

people gathered around expert

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, according to WHO’s latest estimates. Among young people aged 15-29, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death. In 2019, more than 700,000 people died by suicide: one in every 100 deaths, prompting WHO to produce new guidance to help countries improve suicide prevention and care. Currently only 38 countries are known to have a national suicide prevention strategy. To support countries in their efforts, WHO has released guidance for implementing its LIVE LIFE approach to suicide prevention.

People inside a dumpsite watch as some trash burns.

Effective and binding action is urgently required to protect the millions of children, adolescents and expectant mothers worldwide whose health is jeopardized by the informal processing of discarded electrical or electronic devices, according to a new WHO report. As many as 12.9 million women work in the informal waste sector, which potentially exposes them to toxic e-waste and puts them and their unborn children at risk. Meanwhile more than 18 million children and adolescents are actively engaged in the informal industrial sector, of which waste processing is a sub-sector. 

A collage of images of people waiting for or getting the vaccine.

Scientists have developed safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines much faster than was first predicted. However, that progress will be in vain if we cannot ensure they are made quickly available for everybody, everywhere. This requires a combination of urgency, political will, technology, money, and manufacturing, logistical and administrative capacity. UNDP is committed to working closely with the UN family and partners to ensure everybody receives a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible. Not only is it the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense.

World Blood Donor Day 2021 is focused on young people and their contribution to saving lives by donating blood. This year’s slogan, “Give blood and keep the world beating”, underscores the energy young people bring to their communities and highlights the way blood donations keep the world healthy and hearts beating. It also reinforces the global call for more people all over the world to donate blood regularly and contribute to better health.

young woman covering her face

A survey conducted by UNFPA ahead of Menstrual Hygiene Day, reveals that first menstruation for women and girls in Arab states is often accompanied by fear, shame, lack of information, and even stigma and mistreatment.

health worker holding vaccine syringe

In an op-ed ahead of the G7 Summit, leaders of the IMF, the World Bank, WHO and WTO state that there will be no broad-based recovery without an end to the health crisis and that access to vaccination is key to both. Despite impressive progress on the vaccination front, increasingly, a two-track pandemic is developing, with richer countries having access and poorer ones being left behind. They call for a stepped-up coordinated strategy, backed by new financing at an estimated $50 billion, to vaccinate the world.

kids on bike

The bicycle has been in use for at least two centuries and is still going strong. It is simple, affordable, reliable, clean and climate-friendly and has become a symbol of sustainable transportation, as well as sport and recreation. This has been recognized by the UN General Assembly, which declared 3 June World Bicycle Day, to foster environmental stewardship and health. The UN welcomes initiatives to organize bicycle rides at the national and local levels as a means of strengthening physical and mental health and well-being and developing a culture of cycling in society.