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COVID-19: Avoid ‘nationalistic footrace’ in choosing vaccines

As governments move to secure COVID-19 vaccines for their populations, choosing these treatments should not be viewed as “some kind of nationalistic footrace”, with some countries winning and others losing, a senior official with the World Health Organization (WHO) told journalists on Friday. 

Dr. Mike Ryan, Director of Emergencies, was responding to a question about public concern over governments deciding to acquire certain vaccines over others. 

Syria: Millions displaced, impoverished and traumatized, Security Council hears

As the end of another year of war looms, “families in Syria remain without respite after almost a decade of conflict”, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Wednesday.

Speaking via videoconference, Humanitarian Affairs chief Mark Lowcock said that millions have been left displaced, impoverished, traumatized and suffering “deep personal loss”. 

To end the pandemic, WHO says $28 billion ACT project is ‘the best deal in town’

An international coalition aiming to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic needs $28 billion, a bargain price for stopping the damage done by a virus that has run rampant for the past year, a senior UN World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday.

“This is the best deal in town. No question. This will pay itself off within 36 hours, once we get international travel and trade mobility moving again”, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the WHO Director General and lead for the coalition, known as ACT Accelerator.

Hunger rising in mountain regions due to biodiversity loss, climate change

Although many of the world’s most important crops and livestock species originate in mountain regions, hunger is rising in these areas due to biodiversity loss and climate change, according to a joint study published on Friday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and partners. 

It found that between 2000 and 2017, the number of mountain people vulnerable to food insecurity in developing countries grew from 243 million to almost 350 million. 

COVID-19 shows ‘urgent need’ for solidarity, UN chief tells Nobel forum

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for global solidarity and greater international cooperation, and must be turned into an opportunity for fundamental change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a keynote address to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum on Friday. 

The event was held the day after the UN World Food Programme (WFP) officially received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its lifesaving work assisting millions of hungry people across the globe. 

COVID-19 vaccines: Donors urged to step up funding for needy countries

Addressing the financing gap to provide COVID-19 vaccines for everyone, everywhere, is an urgent priority, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday, in an appeal for stepped-up funding to support poorer countries. 

This week the United Kingdom began rollout of a vaccine developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech, and more nations are expected to follow suit very soon. 

Water, hygiene woes at health facilities putting lives at risk: UN report

Lack of basic water and sanitation services at health facilities has put about 1.8 billion health workers and patients at higher risk of COVID-19 and other diseases, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have said. 

In a new report, released on Monday, the two agencies also warned that an alarming number of health care facilities do not have access to hand hygiene or segregate waste safely.