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Millions of children at risk of missing out on routine vaccines− DG WHO

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TEDROS Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) says hundreds of millions of children are at risk of missing out on routine vaccines for tuberculosis, pneumonia, measles, polio, cholera, diarrhea and others as COVID-19 pandemic ravages on.

Many countries are running low on HIV medicines due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ghebreyesus said on Thursday in his opening remarks during a member state briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The virus has upended health systems in some of the world’s wealthiest nations, while some countries that have mounted a successful response have been of modest means,” he said.

“We know that when countries take a comprehensive approach based on fundamental public health measures – such as find, isolate, test and treat cases, and trace and quarantine contacts – the outbreak can be brought under control.”

He however, lamented that in most of the world, ‘the virus is not under control’, adding, ‘It is getting worse.’

Ghebreyesus stated that more than 11.8 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO and more than 544,000 lives have been lost.

“And the pandemic is still accelerating. The total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”

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Ghebreyesus also pointed out that refugees are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic, already facing limited access to adequate shelter, water, nutrition, sanitation and health services.

“COVID-19 could push them over the brink,” he said.

He added that in countries rich and poor, around the world many more people are now going hungry, saying “we can see poverty visibly now, with estimates from the World Food Programme that global hunger could increase to more than 270 million people. These are not numbers: these are people.’’

While recalling the resolution reached at the first virtual World Health Assembly by 194 member countries called, WHO DG called  on member states to implement a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to ensure a more coherent, fairer and effective global response for a fair distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

 

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