News in Brief 13 November 2017 (PM)

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Laboratory worker testing antibiotics on a resistant infection. Photo: PAHO/Joshua Cogan

World Antibiotic Awareness Week tackles major threat to global health

The international community is this week shining a spotlight on what the World Health Organization (WHO) considers "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today."

The UN agency and its partners are using World Antibiotic Awareness Week, from 13-19 November, to highlight the need to "urgently" change the way these medicines are used and prescribed.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections.

However, misuse or overuse of these medicines can result in antibiotic resistance.

As a result, a growing number of infections are becoming harder or even impossible to treat, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood-poisoning, gonorrhoea and foodborne diseases.

WHO and its partners are using the week to reach out to health professionals, governments, farmers, veterinarians, the food and feed industry, and the general public in efforts to prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance.

For example, individuals are being urged to only use antibiotics when prescribed by a health professional, and to prevent infections through measures such as regular hand washing, preparing food hygienically and practicing safer sex.

Yemen blockade leading to severe shortages: UN

The blockade in Yemen is resulting in severe shortages of commercial and aid materials reaching the country, UN humanitarians said on Monday.

The entire population is dependent on food, fuel and medicine imports, which enter the country primarily through seaports, they added.

Meanwhile, more than 17 million Yemenis – or more than two-thirds of the population – are already food insecure.  Furthermore, the country is currently in the grip of the world's worst cholera outbreak.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more details.

"Without the import of critical commodities through a lifting of the blockade on all ports, including Hudaydah and Saleef, the situation will deteriorate further. And as a point of reference the World Food Programme tells us that there are 111 days until the current stocks of rice runs out and 97 days until the current stocks of wheat runs out.  More than two-thirds of people in Yemen in need and more than 80 per cent of all cholera cases are located in the areas closest to Hudaydah and Saleef sea ports. Only al Wadea land crossing in Hadramaut governorate and Aden sea port are open for to commercial imports. However, the port at Aden does not have the capacity for commercial and humanitarian cargo, and unless the Red Sea ports in Hudaydah and Saleef are opened immediately, the UN will not be able to feed 7 million people every month.”

Scale up efforts to reduce 1.2 million traffic deaths a year: UN envoy

Transport ministers meeting in New Delhi, India have reaffirmed their commitment to implementing global development targets related to road safety.

They have also called on car manufacturers to sign up to a UN agreement on minimum vehicle safety standards.

The pledges are part of the Delhi Declaration, the outcome document adopted during the two-day 18th International Road Federation World Road Meeting, which ends on Tuesday.

In his remarks to the gathering, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, pointed out that more than 1.2 million people die in road accidents every year, with 50 million more left seriously injured.

He recalled that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for road fatalities and injuries to be halved by 2020, and to ensure affordable access to sustainable transport systems for all by 2030.

"If we are to make progress towards the global targets, a dramatic upscaling of our efforts is urgently required," he stated.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 4’02″

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