WHO / COVID-19 BRIEFING UPDATE

30-Mar-2020 00:04:10
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Ghebreyesus today said that even though the world is in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis, “essential health services must continue. Babies are still being born, vaccines must still be delivered, and people still need life-saving treatment for a range of other diseases.” WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 BRIEFING UPDATE
TRT: 4:10
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 MARCH 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – RECENT – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1.Wide shot, exterior, WHO emblem outside headquarters

30 MARCH 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, WHO officials giving presser in empty room
3. Med shot, Tedros speaking
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Even though we're in the midst of a crisis, essential health services must continue. Babies are still being born, vaccines must still be delivered, and people still need life-saving treatment for a range of other diseases.”
5.Med shot, Tedros speaking
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We call on countries to work with companies to increase production; to ensure the free movement of essential health products; and to ensure equitable distribution of those products, based on need. Specific attention should be given to low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”
7. Wide shot, Tedros speaking
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Some countries have strong social welfare system and some countries don't. And I'm from Africa, as you know, and I know many people, actually have to work every single day to win their daily bread, and governments should take this population into account.”
9. Wide shot, Ryan speaking
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Micheal Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Everyone's talked about the curve up and everyone talks about the stabilization, the question is how do you go down and going down isn't just about a lockdown and let go. To get down from the numbers, not just stabilize, requires a redoubling of public health efforts to push down. Not, it won't go down by itself. It will be pushed down, and that's what we need countries to focus on.”
11. Med shot, Ryan speaking
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Micheal Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“So that we're clear, there is no proven effective therapeutic or drug against COVID-19. However, there are a number of drugs that have shown promise, either in previous treatment of Corona viruses, like MERS or SARS, in the fight against HIV, or in other situations. And there is some preliminary data from non-randomized studies, observational studies that indicate that some drugs and some drug cocktails may have an impact.”
13. Wide shot, press briefing room
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Micheal Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Some of those drugs may impact the length of disease. Some may impact the severity of disease, and the dosage of dosages of those drugs when they're given to what patient, at what stage of the diseas, has not been standardized, and we've never had a comparison group where we've had a randomized approach to treatment with a drug or not treatment with a drug. It is very important that we continue to accelerate the implementation of the randomized control trials that have already begun all over the world, including the WHO coordinated Solidarity 1 Trial.”
15. Wide shot, reporters
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Micheal Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of mask by the mass population has any particular benefit. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse or wearing a mask properly or fitting a property or taking it off and all the other risks that are always associated with that.”
17. Wide shot, press briefing room
STORYLINE
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Ghebreyesus today said that even though the world is in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis, “essential health services must continue. Babies are still being born, vaccines must still be delivered, and people still need life-saving treatment for a range of other diseases.”

Speaking at a press conference today (30 Mar) in Geneva, Tedros called on “countries to work with companies to increase production; to ensure the free movement of essential health products; and to ensure equitable distribution of those products, based on need. Specific attention should be given to low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

He said, “many people, actually have to work every single day to win their daily bread, and governments should take this population into account.”

Also at the press conference, WHO’s Micheal Ryan said, “everyone's talked about the curve up and everyone talks about the stabilization, the question is how do you go down and going down isn't just about a lockdown and let go. To get down from the numbers, not just stabilize, requires a redoubling of public health efforts to push down. Not, it won't go down by itself. It will be pushed down, and that's what we need countries to focus on.”

He also said, “so that we're clear, there is no proven effective therapeutic or drug against COVID-19. However, there are a number of drugs that have shown promise, either in previous treatment of Corona viruses, like MERS or SARS, in the fight against HIV, or in other situations. And there is some preliminary data from non-randomized studies, observational studies that indicate that some drugs and some drug cocktails may have an impact.”

Ryan continued, “some of those drugs may impact the length of disease. Some may impact the severity of disease, and the dosage of dosages of those drugs when they're given to what patient, at what stage of the disease, has not been standardized, and we've never had a comparison group where we've had a randomized approach to treatment with a drug or not treatment with a drug. It is very important that we continue to accelerate the implementation of the randomized control trials that have already begun all over the world, including the WHO coordinated Solidarity 1 Trial.”

He also said that there is “no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of mask by the mass population has any particular benefit. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse or wearing a mask properly or fitting a property or taking it off and all the other risks that are always associated with that.”

WHO today released guidelines to help countries maintain essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Organization has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse. This includes a set of targeted immediate actions that countries should consider at national, regional, and local level to reorganize and maintain access to high-quality essential health services for all.

Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population. They also need to comply with the highest standard in precautions, especially in hygiene practices, and the provision of adequate supplies including personal protective equipment This requires robust planning and coordinated actions between governments and health facilities and their managers.

Some examples of essential services include: routine vaccination; reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth; care of young infants and older adults; management of mental health conditions as well as noncommunicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and TB; critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services, among others.

Well-organized and prepared health systems can continue to provide equitable access to essential service delivery throughout an emergency, limiting direct mortality and avoiding increased indirect mortality.

The guidelines stress the importance of keeping up-to-date information. This requires frequent transparent communications with the public, and strong community engagements so the public can maintain trust in the system to safely meet their essential needs and to control infection risk in health facilities. This will help ensure that people continue to seek care when appropriate, and adhere to public health advice.
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