Window of opportunity to act, World Health Organization says

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the steps taken by China to fight the virus at its epicentre were the best way of stopping its spread.

Meanwhile, China's envoy to the UN in Geneva told nations not to over-react.

At least 427 people have died with more than 20,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

The WHO has declared a global health emergency over the outbreak but said the virus did not yet constitute a "pandemic" - the worldwide spread of a new disease. Officials say 425 people have died in China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Whole world 'must take action', warns WHO

Dr Mike Ryan praised China's response to the deadly outbreak, saying: "The challenge is great but the response has been massive."

The WHO will meet on Thursday to discuss whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency.

The Chinese city of Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak.

But the virus has spread across China and to at least 16 countries globally, including Thailand, France, the US and Australia.

More than 130 people have died in China and close to 6,000 have been infected.

UN agencies tell Pacific to vaccinate against measles

They said this should to happen before travelling internationally, attending major events or community gatherings.

Vaccination provided the best protection against measles and parents should get their children immunised, the agencies said.

In October, Samoa and Tonga both declared measles outbreaks.

Both UNICEF and the WHO said they were continuing to provide resources to Pacific states to respond to the measles threat.


WHO recognizes burnout as medical condition

The decision, reached during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, which wraps up on Tuesday, could help put to rest decades of debate among experts over how to define burnout, and whether it should be considered a medical condition.

In the latest update of its catalogue of diseases and injuries around the world, WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Pacific Community's Tukuitonga nominated for top WHO role

Mr Tukuitonga tweeted he was honoured to be nominated by New Zealand and Pacific health ministers, alluding to it being time for change.

WHO encourages pledges to use antibiotics responsibly

World Health Organization is encouraging countries to participate in the ‘Race to Million Pledges’ Initiative in a bid to fight the practice of misusing antibiotics.

PNG is part of the race and has collected 254 pledges following the launch of the World Antibiotic Awareness Week yesterday in Port Moresby.

The pledge is a way of getting the support of the public to make a commitment to encourage their peers or family to use antibiotics responsibly and to use good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of germs, thus, limiting the need for antibiotic.

WHO cancels Robert Mugabe goodwill ambassador role

"I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

He had previously praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.

But critics pointed out that Zimbabwe's healthcare system had collapsed in recent years.

During the first 20 years of his 37-year rule, Mr Mugabe widely expanded health care, but the system has badly been affected by the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy since 2000.

Mugabe named goodwill ambassador by WHO

New WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health.

But critics say that during Mr Mugabe's 37-year rule Zimbabwe's health services have deteriorated, with staff regularly unpaid and medicines in short supply.

Dr Tedros, who is Ethiopian, is the first African to lead the WHO.

He was elected with a mandate to tackle perceived politicisation in the organisation.

Dr Tedros replaced Margaret Chan, who stepped down from her 10-year post in June.

Child Immunisation Week launched in Boera

Papua New Guinea has less than 75 per cent of immunisation coverage, while these two districts and a few others have even lower rates with the Hiri and Kairuku scoring only 44 per cent.

Having a low immunisation coverage rate means a high percentage of children are not protected against preventable diseases such as measles, pneumonia, Tuberculosis, whooping cough, hepatitis B, diphtheria and meningitis.

Syria conflict: Aleppo evacuation corridors needed, WHO says

A spokeswoman said there were only 35 doctors left to care for hundreds of trapped patients, and that the number of casualties was rising.

Medical supplies are also running out, and there is a shortage of blood.

Russian-backed Syrian government forces launched an assault on eastern Aleppo on Thursday after a truce collapsed.

Eastern parts of the city are held by rebels.