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Obese children to outnumber severely underweight by 2022 – WHO

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

One in five children is now obese or overweight.

Thin or weak children have long been the enduring image associated with poor nutrition in developing countries, while obesity is considered the curse of rich nations. However, a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO)showed an obvious shift in this trend.

WHO released a report published in the lancet which shows that obesity rates among five to 19-year-olds Rose Tenfold in the past four decades, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016.

In line with the observance of World Obesity Day today, the world agency offers recommendations of policy actions for countries to tackle obesity and overweight in young children.

“These actions are all feasible for all countries to tackle ending obesity and overweight in children. Countries will start at different places, perhaps in the schools, perhaps in the physical activity, perhaps in the public education and awareness and the regulatory and marketing, but all countries can tackle obesity through these six recommendations,” said WHO Program Manager Fiona bull.

The report said that 0.7 percent of children were obese in 1975, compared to 5.6 percent of girls and 7.8 percent of boys in 2016.

If the trend continues, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately to severely underweight by 2022, according to the analysis of the weight and height measurements of nearly 130 million people – the largest ever epidemiological study, according to WHO.

“Being an overweight child or adolescent means you are more likely to be an overweight adult and it is also more likely to lead to early onset of conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Overweight in childhood and adolescence also causes social psychological problems for the children themselves, more stigmatism, more bullying, less optimal school performance,” said WHO team leader Leanne Riley.

The study showed that there are now 124 million children and adolescents in the world who are obese and an additional 214 million overweight children and adolescent.  — United Nations Multimedia


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WHO recommends testing before use of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Boxes of anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia are placed inside a freezer for storage at the Manila Health Department in Sta Cruz, metro Manila, Philippines December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

PARIS/CHICAGO (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday Sanofi’s vaccine against dengue should only be used after testing on individuals to assess whether they have ever been exposed to the infection.

After a two-day meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, experts at the U.N. agency recommended extra safety measures for the medicine, sold as Dengvaxia.

“We have now clear information that the vaccine needs to be dealt with in a much safer way by using it exclusively in people already infected with dengue before,” Alejandro Cravioto, Chair of the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, told reporters.

“It requires for the people to be tested through a system that is not currently available but that we feel will be developed in the next years,” he said.

Sanofi said in a statement: “We are confident in Dengvaxia’s safety and its proven potential to reduce dengue disease burden in endemic countries.”

Sanofi also said it would “continue to work with the international public health community and endemic countries, to ensure the best usage of the vaccine.”

The French drugmaker warned in November that Dengvaxia, first approved in late 2015, could increase the risk of severe dengue in some cases in people who had not been previously exposed to the disease.

Mosquito-borne dengue is the world’s fastest-growing infectious disease, afflicting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It causes half a million life-threatening infections and kills about 20,000 people, mostly children, annually.


Dengvaxia, the world’s sole licensed vaccine against dengue, is at the center of a health scare in the Philippines where the government suspended its use last year amid safety fears.

The company has repeatedly said it knows of no deaths resulting from the medicine.

Joachim Hombach, executive secretary of WHO’s SAGE group, said: “For us, the primary consideration is to assure our recommendation makes public health sense in terms of ensuring the use of vaccine will maximize public health benefit and minimize risk.”

“It is very important we signal ways in which this vaccine could be used,” he said, adding that it was up to the company to decide how to deal with this.

Hombach defended the WHO’s initial recommendation that the vaccine could be used in children aged 9 and older in places where 70 percent of the population had previously been exposed to the virus, and were likely to benefit from the vaccine.

He said the WHO pointed out a gap in data on the use of the vaccine in people who had never been exposed to the virus, and asked Sanofi to study the impact of the vaccine on children who had never been exposed to the virus.

That study resulted in Sanofi’s announcement last November.


Executives at Sanofi have denied any wrongdoing and insist on the benefits the medicine brings as a whole.

In a interview with Reuters last month, David Loew, head of Sanofi Pasteur, the group’s vaccines division, said Sanofi remained committed to Dengvaxia.

He added Sanofi was holding discussions with external partners and universities to come up with a test which would be applicable before vaccination. Such a test, however, would take at least two years to bring to the market, he said.

Dengvaxia has been approved and registered in 19 countries and is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency.

Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical, the United States National Institute of Health and Brazil’s Butantan Institute are developing rival products.

Initially seen as potential $1-billion-a-year-plus product, Dengvaxia net sales stood at 3 million euros ($3.71 million) in 2017 as Sanofi was forced to buy back unused doses. The company took a charge of 87 million euros in the fourth quarter.

($1 = 0.8090 euros)

Editing by Jane Merriman

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WHO, PH to promote breast cancer awareness among Filipinos in East Timor

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization (WHO) logo is pictured at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, January 25, 2015.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippine Embassy have launched a program that aims to promote breast cancer awareness among Filipino workers in East Timor.

Ambassador Abdulmaid Muin said the program would help educate Filipinos in East Timor on the ways to prevent getting the said disease and how to help those who are suffering from it.

“Reminders to females here to be careful of breast cancer. Believe what the doctors say. Be concerned of this dreaded disease,” said the ambassador.

“When you feel that there is any abnormality, you have to go and seek for medical checkup so that we can detect early stage of cancer,” WHO specialist gynecologist and obstetrician – Timor-Leste country office Dr. Amitha Thapa said.

Filipinos who attended the event have expressed support for the said program, and noted that it provided them with valuable insight into the deadly disease . — UNTV News & Rescue

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WHO to issue revised report on Dengvaxia

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Dr. Gundo Weiler, representative of WHO-Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — After the series of Senate hearings on the controversial Dengvaxia immunization program in the country, the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (WHO-SAGE) gradually revised their report and recommendation on the Dengvaxia vaccine.

WHO wants to clarify the use, efficacy and the intended recipients of Dengvaxia.

According to Dr. Gundo Weiler, representative of WHO-Philippines, the revised report and recommendation may be released in the next quarter of 2018.

“The SAGE came out with detailed question and answer document, to contextualize this original position paper and then the next step will be to revise the position paper itself.

WHO has stated that Dengvaxia cannot be given to children who are seronegative or those without prior dengue infection.

‘They have already changed by virtue of the question and answer document in which the SAGE group, confirmed that they would recommend using the vaccine only if there has been evidence for previous infection or exposure to dengue for a vaccine. This is already the new recommendations,” said Weiler.

In 2016, the WHO released its position paper regarding the use of Dengvaxia but they have to revise it to make it clear to the public.

WHO advised the public to cooperate in dengue prevention control and immediately seek doctor’s advise once an individual experiences symptoms of dengue to prevent acquiring a severe infection of the disease.

This is part of the preventive measures that will be taken while there is still no anti-dengue vaccine available for the public.  — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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