European Commission determines course for 2016 within the EU Health Programme

Third Health ProgrammeThis week the European Commission has adopted an annual work plan for 2016 within the context of the EU Health Programme 2014-2020. The available budget for grants and tenders in 2016 will be nearly 58 million euro. This money will be allocated to various health-related projects across the EU. Potential beneficiaries that want to qualify for funding are required to respond to the call for proposals of the Consumer, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA). Read more…

Disinfectants such as chlorine are not a necessity for clean and safe drinking water

Water glassA new study that was published in the renowned journal Science this week set out to investigate how qualitative and safe the tap water is in the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. In both Great Britain and the United States, the use of disinfectant residual is required in drinking water, while in the Netherlands such disinfectants are absent when the water is distributed to consumers. The researchers of the study wanted to investigate if and how this affected waterborne disease outbreaks. Read more…

Every dollar spent on vaccinations saves 44 dollars

VaccinesA recently published study in the journal of Health Affairs has used the projected vaccination rates of 94 low- and middle-income countries for the period 2011 to 2020 to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of vaccine usage. The results show that for every US dollar spent on vaccines, societies save up to 44 dollars, making vaccines a worthwhile investment in both monetary and social terms. Read more…

EU countries worried about antibiotic resistance

PillsThe EU member states are collectively trying to address the rising antimicrobial resistance rates. When bacteria are able to endure and survive a treatment with antimicrobial drugs, in this case certain antibiotics, then standard treatments gradually become ineffective and infections will persist, forming a public health hazard. The EU countries are now exploring the possibilities of developing new alternatives for antibiotics. This has been agreed during a meeting of the Council of the European Union this week, where the country ministers of public health and agriculture convened. Read more…

UN Report: WHO needs to reform to improve readiness in emergency situations

WHO logoThe World Health Organization should implement substantial reforms in the near future in order to increase its rapid responsive capacity in emergency situations. Currently, thousands of lives are at risk due to the World Health Organization’s lacking emergency response capabilities. This is the main conclusion in a new UN report on health crises, titled ‘Protecting Humanity from Future Health Crises.’ 

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Emergency WHO committee convenes to discuss Zika epidemic

Zika virus effectThe World Health Organization has arranged for an ‘International Health Regulations Emergency Committee’ to convene Monday 1 February to establish if the outbreak of the Zika virus constitutes as an international public health safety hazard. Reason for the meeting are the alarming infection rates observed in Middle and South America and the steep increase in neurological pathology in infants and neonatal malformations in the region. Read more…

WHO report on reducing childhood obesity

Obese kidThe World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) has released a new report targeting the alarming obesity rates amongst young children worldwide. The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity is particularly worried about the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst very young children under the age of 5. In 2014, approximately 6.1% of children aged under 5 were considered overweight or obese. This corresponds to at least 41 million children in this age category being overweight globally. Read more…

Smartphone-induced sleep deprivation and its implications for public health

Smartphone in bedIn the last 10 years smartphones have conquered a crucial position in mankind’s contemporary existence. We have reached a point where it is quite common for people to spend multiple hours per day on their smartphone, as smartphones play a pivotal role for many of us in communicating with the outside world and in maintaining social relations.  But what exactly are the consequences of our large scale and possibly excessive smartphone usage from a public health perspective? Read more…

EU Health Programme used to finance refugee-related health projects

Refugee boyThe European Commission has assigned €5.5 million from the EU Health Programme to support Member States in addressing health challenges ensuing the refugee crisis. The €5.5 million will be divided over 4 different projects in the EU region. Important stakeholders eligible for a grant include the International Organisation for Migration and Médecins du Monde, as well as many smaller regional stakeholders. Read more…