Geneva, 25 August 2023(TDI): The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) addressed several critical health issues during a media briefing held today on Global Health Issues.

The Director-General reiterated the standing recommendations issued by WHO two weeks ago for countries on the long-term management of COVID-19.

COVID-19 remains a global health threat despite declining data, with increasing reports of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths in some countries.

All nations are urged to strengthen surveillance, sequencing, and reporting to assess the risk of new variants such as EG.5 and BA.2.86.

The Director-General emphasized the importance of implementing these recommendations to save lives and prevent the burden of long COVID.

Moreover, the Director-General discussed the global situation of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox. More than 90,000 cases and 156 deaths have been reported to WHO from 114 countries over the past year.

Concerns about under-reporting in several countries were raised. Outside Africa, most cases are among men, particularly men who have sex with men.

While global cases have decreased since August of the previous year, a significant rise in cases in Asia over the last two months and ongoing reports in Africa were noted.

Recommendations from a review committee to manage mpox in the long term were outlined.

The Director-General underscored the importance of engaging communities in health responses and the need to strengthen WHO’s collaboration with civil society.

He announced the launch of the WHO Civil Society Commission, designed to advise WHO on improving its collaboration with the communities it serves.

Also Read: WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023

During the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting in India last week, the Director-General unveiled the Global Initiative on Digital Health.

He emphasized the significance of digital technologies for health and the challenges posed by fragmentation due to the proliferation of new digital tools.

The Global Initiative on Digital Health aims to address this fragmentation by converging and convening global standards and best practices, putting countries at the center of digital health solutions.

The Director-General acknowledged the first-ever global summit on traditional medicine.

He emphasized WHO’s commitment to developing the scientific basis for the safe and effective use of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine worldwide.

The Director-General highlighted the role of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India, launched last year, in building evidence and data to inform policies, standards, and regulations for the equitable use of traditional medicine.

The World Health Organization remains dedicated to addressing global health challenges and working closely with countries and communities to safeguard public health and well-being worldwide.