WHO

Cigarette plain packs to 'go global'

The body said moves to introduce standardised packaging in the UK, France and Australia will influence policy around the globe.

But the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association said policy was being "driven more by dogma than hard fact".

Around six million deaths each year are linked to smoking.

Plain, or standardised, packaging has a uniform colour across all brands except for health warnings. Any brand names are in small, non-distinctive lettering.

WHO revises sex guidelines for Zika prevention

This is even if you have no symptoms of the disease, the World Health Organization said today. Previous guidance suggested taking precautions or abstaining for only four weeks.

Men who have had any Zika-like symptoms such as rash, fever, red eyes and painful joints or muscles should practice safe sex or consider abstaining for at least six months, the organization says.

No quick fix for TB in PNG, says WHO

It said while there can be no quick fix, work was being done to try and control the problem.

WHO warns of rising betel nut and tobacco use

The WHO said both substances are known carcinogens and using them together worsens their impact and heightens addictiveness.

The WHO's technical officer for non-communicable diseases in Suva, Ada Moadsiria, said betel nut use is also thought to exacerbate diabetes and increase the likelihood of heart attacks.

"It can make the management of diabetes much harder. And for people who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, what can happen is a substance in betel nut is thought to actually result in more fat accumulation in the arteries, thereby making it worse."

Global malaria target met amid sharp drop in cases

According to a new United Nations report: “Global malaria control is one of the great public health success stories of the past 15 years,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). “It’s a sign that our strategies are on target, and that we can beat this ancient killer, which still claims hundreds of thousands of lives, mostly children, each year.”

Meningitis epidemic threat in West Africa, but few vaccines

The first large-scale outbreak of the C strain in decades has already killed 800 of 12,000 infected people in Nigeria and in neighboring Niger this year, according to the World Health Organization.

"We've never seen this before with meningitis C," William A. Perea, coordinator of WHO's Control of Epidemic Diseases Unit, said of the resurgence of the strain.

Pacific nations should look at fat tax

The World Health Organisation ranks eight Pacific island countries among the world's top 10 most obese nations.

Unless drastic measures are introduced the region is headed for disaster, says the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's director-general, Colin Tukuitonga.

"Small fragile health systems in the region just won't be able to cope," Dr Tukuitonga told AAP.