A study published today on antimicrobial resistance and the causes of non-prudent use of antibiotics carried out by Nivel (NL) as part of the EU-funded project ARNA, estimates that 7% of antibiotics taken in the EU are taken without a prescription. The highest rates of non-prescription use of antibiotics are in Romania (20%) and Greece (16%) with high rates also found in Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Spain. Over the counter selling of antibiotics in pharmacies and the use of leftover antibiotics were found to be the main causes.
The study gives a number of policy recommendations, for example:
- A multi-faceted approach with interventions and policies that target both patients and healthcare professionals
- Education and awareness raising, e.g. media campaigns for citizens staring with school children, and education programmes for health professionals
- Better enforcement of laws in EU countries where antibiotics are available over the counter without prescription.
Read the study on antimicrobial resistance in full on the europe.eu website.
The Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health will be held on 13–17 November 2017, in Dublin, Ireland with the theme: building the health workforce of the future. The Forum welcomes participation from representatives in the education, health, labour/employment and finance sectors. The Forum will feature high-impact decision-makers, leaders and investors representing all stakeholder groups to discuss and debate innovative approaches towards advancing the implementation of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 and the recommendations of the United Nations High level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.
For more information about the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health on the who.int website.
Pregnancy can be a precarious time in a woman’s life. By ensuring high-quality and people-centred health services for mothers-to-be, health systems make a valuable investment, with benefits that go well beyond pregnancy. Pregnancy offers an opportunity for health-care providers to work across sectors to address many aspects of health, leading to a reduction in disease and death and improvements to well-being. The information given to pregnant women is passed from mothers to their children and wider families, from generation to generation, and is a prime example of the life-course approach, as health behaviour at this critical time in life influences health behaviour and affects health later in life.
Prenatal classes in Georgia are turning pregnancy into a life-course opportunity for health.
Tinatin Gagua, head of an antenatal care clinic in Tbilisi, Georgia stated:
“When we started our training in 2011, antenatal care was a brand new concept in Georgia. Doctors were not used to spending time informing pregnant women about their pregnancies and their babies’ health. We were trained to give classes to groups of pregnant women. Being in a group made a great difference because it helped women to ask questions and socialize with their peers.”
More information about the WHO’s recommendations on antenatal care on the who.int website.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among light-skinned populations. The chief environmental cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR exposure comes mainly from the sun, but over the past three decades there has been an increase in the use of artificial sources of UVR in the form of artificial tanning devices, such as sunbeds, stand up booths and facial tanners. This deliberate exposure to UVR is increasing the incidence of the major types of skin cancer.
The World Health Organization has produced a document intended for government health authorities, to assist in the development of public health interventions in relation to the use and management of sunbeds. The document provides a summary of health effects as well as a catalogue of interventions that have been used to reduce risks associated with artificial tanning. It is supplemented by a WHO database on sunbed regulations.
Artificial tanning is a recent phenomenon. Sunbeds and other tanning devices emitting artificial ultraviolet radiation (UVR) were developed in the 1960s but it was not until the 1980s that people began to use tanning beds in large numbers. During the 1990s, the artificial tanning industry grewrapidly in Northern Europe, Australia and the Americas. With increasing exposure by young people,often women, to artificial ultraviolet radiation, the health risks soon became apparent. Artificialtanning is now seen as a public health issue accounting for about half a million new cancer diagnoseseach year in the United States of America, Europe and Australia. Evidence of an association between artificial tanning and risk of skin cancer clearly shows that the risk is highest in those exposed to artificial tanning in early life.
More information on public health interventions to manage artificial tanning devices on the who.int website.
World Health Organization (WHO) data from 28 countries – representing approximately 70% of the global hepatitis burden – indicate that efforts to eliminate hepatitis are gaining momentum. The data reveals that nearly all 28 countries have established high-level national hepatitis elimination committees (with plans and targets in place) and more than half have allocated dedicated funding for hepatitis responses.
This WHO Global Hepatitis Report describes, for the ﬁrst time, the global and regional estimates on viral hepatitis in 2015, setting the baseline for tracking progress in implementing the new global strategy.
Find out more about the WHO’s 2017 Global Hepatitis Report on the who.int website.
Using Indonesia as an example, the World Health Organization (WHO) showcases a range of tools for gathering data needed about the health state of all population subgroups including the most disadvantaged.
In Indonesia in 2012, immunization programs had eliminated tetanus in three of the sprawling archipelago’s four regions, but lower vaccination rates in the poorest West Papua region meant that the disease remained a major threat there.
One of the key products in the package is the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT), a software application which was launched by WHO last year. It enables countries to analyse, interpret and report data on health inequalities in order to shed light on where investments are needed to expand services to those who don’t have them and to improve their health.
Find out more about the the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit on the who.int website.
The World Health Organization (WHO), finds that more countries have implemented tobacco control policies, ranging from graphic pack warnings and advertising bans to no smoking areas. About 4.7 billion people – 63% of the world’s population – are covered by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure, which has quadrupled since 2007 when only 1 billion people and 15% of the world’s population were covered. Strategies to implement such policies have saved millions of people from early death. The report, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, focuses on monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies. It finds that one third of countries have comprehensive systems to monitor tobacco use. While this is up from one quarter of countries monitoring tobacco use at recommended levels in 2007, governments still need to do more to prioritize or finance this area of work.
For more information about this report on the global tabacco epidemic from who.int website.
The World Health Organization (WHO) HIV drug resistance report 2017 shows that of the 36.7 million people living with HIV worldwide, 19.5 million people were accessing anti-retroviral therapy in 2016. The majority of these people are doing well, with treatment proving highly effective in suppressing the HIV virus. But a growing number are experiencing the consequences of drug resistance. In 6 of the 11 countries surveyed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, over 10% of people starting antiretroviral therapy had a strain of HIV that was resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines.
The Organization warns that this growing threat could undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV infection if early and effective action is not taken.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on how Europe should promote digital innovation in health and care, for the benefits of citizens and health systems in Europe. The input will feed into a new policy Communication to be adopted by the end of 2017, as announced in the recent review of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.
Mariya Gabriel and Carlos Moedas stated:
‘We are dedicated to improving European citizens’ quality of living by improving Europe’s health, care and research systems by using digital technologies to their full potential. This consultation will help us identify ways to offer citizens, medical professionals and researchers better access to health data, prevention, rapid response to pandemic threats, personalised treatments and care. We are considering new digital initiatives to deliver on the free movement of patients and data, to support the modernisation of national health systems, and to bring together scattered evidence and innovative knowledge from across Europe. At the heart of our policies, citizens and their wellbeing are our first priority.’
The consultation will collect information on three main pillars:
- Citizens’ secure access to their health data and the possibility to share it across borders, clarifying citizens’ rights and enhancing interoperability of electronic health records in Europe;
- Connecting and sharing data and expertise to advance research, personalise health and care, and better anticipate epidemics;
- Using digital services to promote citizen empowerment and integrated person-centred care.
Citizens, patient organisations, health and care professionals, public authorities, researchers, industries, investors, insurers and users of digital health tools are all invited to share their views via EU Survey until 12 October 2017.