Sexual abuse of children and adolescents is a gross violation of their rights and a global public health problem. It adversely affects the health of children and adolescents. Health care providers are in a unique position to provide an empathetic response to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused. Such a response can go a long way in helping survivors recover from the trauma of sexual abuse.
WHO has published new clinical guidelines Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused aimed at helping front-line health workers, primarily from low resource settings, in providing evidence-based, quality, trauma-informed care to survivors. The guidelines emphasize the importance of promoting safety, offering choices and respecting the wishes and autonomy of children and adolescents. They cover recommendations for post-rape care and mental health; and approaches to minimizing distress in the process of taking medical history, conducting examination and documenting findings.
To read more about this on the WHO website go to: WHO | Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused
This year on World Polio Day the WHO European Region is celebrating the 15th anniversary of being certified free from poliomyelitis (polio). Achieving this back in 2002 was a vital step forward for both the Region and the world on the path towards global eradication of this crippling disease. While this target is now closer than ever before, the threat from polioviruses still hangs over the Region, and maintaining and improving vaccination coverage is as important as ever.
According to Professor David Salisbury, Chair of the Global Certification Commission and European Regional Certification Commission for Poliomyelitis Eradication, “The threat from polioviruses and the possibility of outbreaks remains very real. The Region must not ease up on either its actions or its political commitment to preserving its polio-free status.”
To read more about this on the WHO Europe website go to: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/poliomyelitis/news/news/2017/10/15th-anniversary-of-polio-free-certification-in-the-european-region-but-the-hard-work-to-prevent-future-cases-is-not-over
Advanced therapy medicinal products are new medical products based on genes (gene therapy), cells (cell therapy) and tissues (tissue engineering). These advanced therapies herald revolutionary treatments of a number of diseases or injuries, such as skin in burns victims, Alzheimer’s, cancer or muscular dystrophy. They have huge potential for patients and industry.
The lack of an EU-wide regulatory framework in the past led to divergent national approaches which hindered patients’ access to products, hampered the growth of this emerging industry and ultimately affected EU competitiveness in a key biotechnology area.
The EU institutions agreed on a Regulation on advanced therapies (Regulation (EC) 1394/2007) designed to ensure the free movement of advanced therapy products within Europe, to facilitate access to the EU market and to foster the competitiveness of European companies in the field, while guaranteeing the highest level of health protection for patients.
To read more about advanced therapy medicinal products on the European Commission website go to: Advanced therapies – European Commission
While many research institutions, care centres, non‐ governmental organisations, and governments within the EU conduct programmes and practices centred on mental health, it can be difficult to find information about them and to ensure their use and scale up in other settings. Good practices are a valuable resource contributing to sharing of knowledge and experience, and facilitating improvements in mental health by encouraging their adaptation and implementation.
The EU Compass for Action on Mental Health and Well‐being has been commissioned by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea) to collect, exchange, and analyse information on policy and stakeholder activities in mental health.
To read the booklet in full on the Europa website go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/mental_health/docs/2017_mh_work_schools_en.pdf
Based on data reported to ECDC between 2004 and 2015, 312 501 new HIV diagnoses were reported in younger adults (15 to 49 years of age) in the EU/EEA, resulting in an average reported incidence of new diagnoses of 11.4 per 100 000 population. During this 12-year period, 54 102 cases were reported among older adults aged over 50 years translating into 2.6 per 100 000 population. The rate of newly reported cases increased by 2% each year among older adults since 2004, when 3 132 diagnoses were notified in this age group. By 2015, around every one in six (17%) of newly diagnosed HIV in Europe were among people aged over 50, accounting for 5076 reported cases.
To read more about HIV diagnoses among people over 50 go to the ECDC website: https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/ecdc-study-nearly-one-six-new-hiv-diagnoses-europe-are-among-people-over-50
A report on the sustainable use of pesticides Directive adopted by the European Commission takes stock of progress made by the EU Member States in applying measures to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticides. It covers a wide range of topics such as aerial spraying, information to the public or training of professionals. The report indicates insufficient implementation of the Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.
While the Directive offers the potential to greatly reduce the risks derived from pesticide use these improvements are limited and insufficient to achieve the environmental and health improvements the Directive was designed to achieve. This is largely due to the implementation of the Directive that remains patchy.
To read more about the sustainable use of pesticides and the Directive go to the European Commission website: https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pesticides/sustainable_use_pesticides_en
This European initiative shall increase our understanding of how best to improve the health of people who are living in vulnerable and isolated situations across Europe. The project targets specific vulnerable and isolated populations such as children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds; those living in rural/isolated areas; those with physical, mental and learning disabilities or poor mental health; the long-term unemployed; the inactive; the ‘in-work poor’; older people; victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence; people with unstable housing situations (the homeless); and prisoners.
Due to their circumstances, these groups may be more at risk of poor health and/or face barriers in accessing healthcare services. The project will assess their particular health needs and challenges, as well as identify best practices to support them and ultimately improve their health.
To read more about this project, funded by the European Parliament, go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/social_determinants/projects/ep_funded_projects_en#fragment0
The mid-term evaluation of the first three years of the implementation of the third Health Programme 2014-2020 reveals that the European Commission has made major progress towards reaching the programme’s objectives.
Most notably, the Commission has helped to:
- establish 24 European Reference Networks for rare disease patients who can now benefit from the best expertise available in Europe,
- increase Member States’ capacity-building potential to respond to outbreaks such as Ebola and Zika viruses,
- and strengthen the EU’s migration policy by helping EU countries cope with the health needs of migrants and refugees and training health professionals and support staff.
Other achievements of the health programme include sharing of good practices in areas as diverse as alcohol reduction, cancer screening, HIV/AIDS and TB prevention, additional support for EU health legislation on medicinal products and medical devices, the eHealth Network activities and Health Technology Assessment.
To read the mid-term evaluation in full go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/programme/docs/2014-2020_evaluation_midtermreport_en.pdf
For the first time, WHO is undertaking a strategy entirely focused on the health and well-being of men and boys. A group of experts from a range of fields and disciplines related to men’s health came together on 5 September 2017 at UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark, to launch the development of the strategy for the WHO European Region.
The strategy will be supported by a report reviewing the evidence on topics such as addressing premature mortality, the intersection between masculinities and existing inequalities, health systems responses to men throughout the life-course, and the role of men in promoting gender equality in health. The report will provide a framework to guide and inform the development of country-specific policy responses to improve men’s health.
To read more about this breakthrough for men’s health on the WHO/Europe website go to: WHO/Europe | Gender – Breakthrough for men’s health: WHO and experts kick off development of strategy and report
Health-care systems must serve all people at all ages and leave no one behind – this idea is embedded in the core vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the world marks International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, WHO will launch new guidelines on integrated care for older people (ICOPE) to support the work of Member States towards creating more integrated, person-centred health and long-term care for people at all ages.
The guidelines, which will launch during a high-level meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on 2 October 2017, offer evidence-based guidance to health-care providers on the appropriate approaches at the community level to detect and manage important declines in physical and mental capacities, and to deliver interventions in support of caregivers.
To read more about this initiative on the WHO/Europe website go to: WHO/Europe | Healthy ageing – Living longer, healthier lives – working towards integrated, people-centred care for older persons