WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on Thursday announced the WHO still considers H1N1 (swine) flu a pandemic, despite the fact “its most intense activity has passed in many parts of the world,” Reuters reports (Lynn, 6/3).
Also In Global Health News: Liberian Debt Relief; Elections In Haiti; Mexico Ends H1N1 Emergency; Male Circumcision In Uganda
IMF, World Bank Endorse $4.6B Debt Relief For Liberia “The International Monetary Fund [IMF] and the World Bank said on Tuesday they supported a $4.6 billion debt relief program for Liberia,” Reuters reports. The debt relief would make available resources for Liberia to use for rebuilding after years of civil…
“Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit,” according to a joint investigation by BMJ in collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, BBC News reports (6/4).
The Canadian government on Thursday announced the country would donate five million doses of H1N1 vaccines to the WHO from the country’s current surplus, the Canadian Press reports (Branswell, 1/28). “[T]he donation will help the Geneva-based international body in its efforts to redistribute the vaccine to developing countries that couldn’t afford their own supplies,” the Globe and Mail reports (Alphonso, 1/28).
Though H1N1 (swine flu) activity worldwide has slowed, the potential of a new wave of infections in the northern hemisphere in late winter or early spring remains viable, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, said Monday at the start of the WHO’s weeklong Executive Board meeting, Reuters reports. The H1N1 pandemic “initially sparked widespread concern about antiviral and vaccine supplies, especially in developing countries, but many nations have cut back their vaccine orders recently because the pandemic has not turned out as deadly as originally feared,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 1/18).
Media Outlets Examine U.S. Plans For Leftover H1N1 Vaccine, Efforts To Keep Flu Vaccine Production On Track
After working to ensure the U.S. had access to enough H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, health officials may now face a new dilemma â€“ a vaccine surplus, the Associated Press reports. “Get ready for a huge flu-shot push as health officials try to rekindle interest in protection against this new influenza strain that, despite plummeting cases, still is threatening lives â€“ even as they reassess just how much more vaccine needs to be shipped,” the news service writes.
During the WHO’s recent executive board meeting, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan reflected on public health gains over the past decade and the challenges that lie ahead, Nigeria’s Guardian reports. Chan commended the international community’s response to H1N1 and global efforts to reduce child mortality, fight malaria and tuberculosis.
WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl on Monday rejected accusations that the organization miscategorized H1N1 (swine flu) as a pandemic, calling such accusations “irresponsible,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. “WHO also dismissed claims it colluded with drug companies to bring economic benefit to the industry by playing up the danger of the new H1N1 [swine flu] influenza strain,” the news service writes.
CDC Encourages Public To Receive H1N1 Vaccine; PBS Examines Arrival Of Vaccine In Developing Countries
During a media briefing Thursday, Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, warned against complacency over the H1N1 (swine flu), and encouraged Americans who had not yet received the H1N1 vaccine to do so, CNN reports.
H1N1 (swine flu) has killed 12,799 people worldwide since the virus first emerged, the WHO said on Friday, United Press International reports (1/8). According to the WHO, more than half of the H1N1-related deaths worldwide occurred in the Americas, China Daily reports (1/9).