Zika virus: Policy implications and practical considerations

The ongoing issues related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the Zika  virus are still emerging, however the policy implications have certainly taken shape. The President’s recent budget includes an $1.8 billion request from Congress to respond to the Zika virus, which is a mosquito-borne illness discovered in Uganda in 1947 but has since spread across Asia and to the Americas.

WHO issues $56 million plan to combat Zika virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that $56 million were needed to combat the Zika virus until June, including for the fast-tracking of vaccines, diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads.
The funds, including $25 million for the WHO and its regional office, would also be used to control the mosquito-borne virus that has spread to 39 countries, including 34 in the Americas, and has been linked to birth defects in Brazil.

Three lessons from Ebola can help us fight the Zika virus

Hot on the heels of the Ebola outbreak that wreaked havoc in West Africa, the Zika virus — a flu-like illness that normally causes mild symptoms but can be severe — is quickly spreading throughout Latin America. Brazil, which is at the epicenter of the current outbreak, estimates close to 1 million cases.

Polio worker shot as Pakistan holds countrywide vaccination drive

Gunmen shot and wounded a Pakistani polio worker in the eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday, the latest in a string of attacks against eradication teams in a country that accounts for more than 70 percent of the world's cases of the virus.
More than 100,000 health workers fanned out across Pakistan this week, stepping up a drive to eliminate the polio virus this year from one of its last bastions, despite threats from militants against the vaccination teams.

Polio campaign to target almost 5m children

Striking what they hope will be a death blow against polio, health officials are preparing for a nationwide assault. The Supplementary Polio Immunisation Campaign will take place from February 20 to 22, National Immunisation Day (NID).
The campaign will target 4.6 million under-fives, administering both oral polio vaccine and inactivated polio vaccine, says the Department of Public Health.
Epidemiology director Dr Than Htun Aung said there was enough vaccine for all, but this was the last time.

WHO sees Zika link proven in weeks as U.S., India lead vaccine race

Suspected links between the Zika virus and two neurological disorders, microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome, should be confirmed within weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
A sharp increase in birth defects in Brazil has triggered a global health emergency over the mosquito-borne virus and spurred a race to develop a vaccine and better diagnostic tests.

Lessons from Thailand: integrating HIV services into national health schemes

In the late 1990s, the Thai Government started offering free antiretroviral medicines to several thousand people. Apiwat Kwangkaew, currently Vice-Chair of the Thai Network for People Living with HIV, was one of the lucky ones.
“Twenty years ago I got really sick because of AIDS. I didn’t think I was going to make it,” said Mr Apiwat. Within a few months of starting treatment, he was healthy again.
“What was really tragic was that antiretroviral medicines existed, but my friends and other people living with HIV were not accessing them,” he said.

Thaïlande : les leçons de l'intégration des services anti-VIH dans les régimes de santé nationaux

Dès la fin des années 1990, le gouvernement thaïlandais avait commencé à proposer des médicaments antirétroviraux gratuits à plusieurs milliers de personnes. Apiwat Kwangkaew, actuel Vice-président du Réseau thaïlandais des personnes vivant avec le VIH, fut l'un de ces chanceux individus.
« Il y a une vingtaine d'années, je suis tombé vraiment malade à cause du sida. Je pensais que je n'allais pas m'en sortir », raconte M. Apiwat. Mais au bout de quelques mois après avoir commencé le traitement, il était de nouveau sur pieds.

Nigeria: The Cost of Lassa Fever

The pain seems not to be over yet for a nursing student from Ondo State, as she battles to save her mother from the Lassa Fever virus, having lost her father and brother to the dreaded disease within two weeks.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 22 and 27 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 5 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.
Details of the cases