News in Brief 30 June 2015 (AM)

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Cuba validated for elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis

Cuba has become the first country in the world to receive validation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

The UN health agency estimated that every year, 1.4 million women living with HIV become pregnant.

Untreated, they have a 15 to 45 per cent chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding.

However, the risk drops to just over 1per cent if antiretroviral medicines are given to both mothers and children.

Speaking at a press conference in Washington on Cuba's achievement is Carissa Etienne Director of the Pan American Health Organization.

"I think that we are at a point where we have shown that we are turning the corner and we have done that because of the commitment of many governments, of many Heads of State, of ministries of health, of health care workers, ably supported by many organizations. We have come together and supported countries to ensure that they can meet these targets and that we can set a stage for 0-0-0 which is the UNAIDS goal.

Twice as many displaced people in Libya since September

The number of displaced people within Libya has almost doubled from last September to more than 434,000, due to escalating fighting in different parts of the country.

That's according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which warned that the numbers could be higher since it has limited access in Libya to be able to come up with more accurate figures.

Libya has been plagued by factional fighting since former President Muammar al-Qhadafi was overthrown in 2011.

Governments urged to stop racial and ethnic profiling

Governments across the world have been urged to boost their efforts to stop the widespread practice of racial and ethnic profiling.

The call comes from the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere.

He said the practice of racial and ethnic profiling is a violation of human rights because it discriminates and expands on discrimination already suffered as a result of ethnic origin or minority status.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 2’09″

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