20 WHO NEWS l BioSpectrum WHO to work more towards non-communicable diseases Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently announced the establishment of a new High- level global Commission on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). The announcement came at the 64th Session of WHO’s Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean being held in Islamabad. The commission’s aim is to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s biggest causes of death and extend life expectancy for millions of people. The commission will support ongoing political efforts to accelerate action on cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and respiratory disease, as well as reducing suffering from mental health issues and the impacts of violence and injuries. The High-level global Commission will be chaired by Dr Sania Nishtar, a prominent global advocate for action against NCDs, former Federal Minister of the government of Pakistan and civil society leader. Dr Nishtar has also previously served as co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target. | November 2017 | www.biospectrumindia.com WHO delivers million antibiotics for fighting Madagascar plague WHO has delivered nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and released $1.5 million dollars in emergency funds to fight plague in Madagascar. WHO has delivered 11,90,000 doses of antibiotics to the Ministry of Health and partners this week, and a further supply of 244,000 doses is expected in the days ahead. The different types of drugs will be used for both curative and prophylactic care. These are enough to treat up to 5000 patients and protect up to 100,000 people who may be exposed to the disease. The medicines are being distributed to health facilities and mobile health clinics across the country with the support of the Ministry of Health and partners. WHO is also filling critical shortages in disinfection materials and personal protective equipment for health professionals and safe burials. WHO and the Ministry of Health are training local health workers on how to identify and care for patients, and how to trace people who have had close contact with symptomatic patients so that they may be given protective treatment. WHO has rapidly released $1.5 million from it emergency funds to allow for immediate support to the country until more substantial funds are received. WHO is appealing for $5.5 million to effectively respond to the outbreak and save lives. WHO releases guidelines for managing obesity in children With increasing evidence that childhood obesity is a global epidemic affecting even the poorer nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines on how trained professionals can better identify youngsters in need of help. India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June this year. Doctors say identification of obesity in children is the main issue as often parents think a chubby child is a healthy child. The WHO guidelines titled “Assessing and managing children at primary healthcare facilities to prevent overweight and obesity in the context of the double burden of malnutrition” provides updates for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). The guideline includes counselling, dieting and assessment of eating habits along with the usual weight and height measurements. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is disseminating the WHO guideline to all its members. The prevalence of obesity in children reflects changing patterns towards unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. A study published in Paediatric Obesity says India will have over 17 million children with excess weight by 2025. Urbanisation, increased income, availability of fast foods, educational demands, television viewing and gaming have led to a rise in the consumption of foods high in fats, sugar and salt and low physical activity.