Reflection: The EU’s activities in 2015

European CommissionThe European Commission has published a report summarising the European Union’s activities and achievements in 2015. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker reflects on 2015 as being a year where the world closely watched the EU and how it dealt with a series of unprecedented crises, such as the terrorist attacks in Paris in January and November and the massive influx of refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Juncker furthermore states that other important developments that characterise 2015 include the financial and political instability of Greece, unacceptably high unemployment rates throughout the EU and the fact that 195 countries reached political agreement and adopted the first ever universal, legally binding deal to address climate change.  Read more…

Discussion paper: The EU’s role in Global Health

EarthWe have published a new discussion paper debating the European Union’s responsibilities, capacities and willingness in the field of global health. Healthcare governance already is a vastly complex policy domain within the borders of the European Union, partly due to conflicting political agendas and heterogeneity in health systems across the different member states. These issues become even more prominent when the EU mingles in health affairs of a more global nature.  Read more…

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…