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19 November 2020

WHO Regional Director's statement for virtual press briefing, 19 November

19 November 2020 – I would like to extend a warm welcome to our guests today: H.E. Ms Faeqa Bint Saeed Al-Saleh, Minister of Health of Bahrain, H.E. Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Pakistan, and Dr Faycal Ben Salah, Director General of Health, on behalf of H.E. Dr Fawzi Mahdi, Minister...

29 October 2020

Statement by WHO Director of Programme Management on COVID-19 pandemic

29 October 2020 – Statement for the WHO media briefing by Dr Rana Hajjeh, Director, Programme Management, WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean Dear colleagues, The COVID-19 pandemic in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has reached an alarming juncture. The highest weekly number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic was reported in the week of 18‒24 October. As of 27 October...

22 October 2020

21 October 2020 – The situation with regards to COVID-19 in our Region is grave and concerning. Overall, there is a sharp increase in cases across the Region, with some countries – including Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya – recently documenting their highest single day number of cases since the start of the pandemic. Some countries, such...

14 October 2020

Statement of the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean on the closing of the 67th session of the Regional Committee

13 October 2020 - I am pleased at the outset to welcome Her Excellency Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population of Egypt, and to congratulate Her Excellency on her election as Chair of the 67th session of the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean. The 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean has just concluded. The...

13 October 2020

Cairo 12 October 2020 ‒ The annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean began on Monday, 12 October 2020 with a strong focus on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ministers and representatives from across the Region discussed the impact of the pandemic on health systems and society more generally, and the conference itself was impacted by the pandemic,...

11 October 2020

11 October 2020, Cairo ‒ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean will be held virtually for the first time ever. Health ministers and high-level representatives of the 22 countries of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, along with partner organizations and civil society, will connect online to discuss health issues during...

08 October 2020

Ensuring continuity of learning for all children in-person or remotely is a priority as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the region and disrupting the education process. To watch the music video, download the song and access multimedia products, click here AMMAN, 8 October 2020 - UN Agencies* in the region unveiled today “Rej’et El Sineh” [‘Learning is Back’], a song to...

30 September 2020

30 September 2020 – COVID-19 is now a part of our daily lives. It is affecting the way we work, learn, communicate and manage our relationships. While people are eager to return to their normal lives, the reality is that the situation is not getting any better. New cases globally and in the Eastern Mediterranean Region are increasing. More than one...

15 September 2020

Health worker safety: a priority for patient safety

15 September 2020, Cairo ‒ World Patient Safety Day is celebrated each year on 17 September and the theme of this year’s day is “Health worker safety: a priority for patient safety”. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted huge global challenges and has only increased the daily risks faced by health workers in delivering essential health care services to patients ‒ infection,...

15 September 2020

15 September 2020 ‒ Today, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region is extremely worrying, with more people being infected every day. In some countries, including Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, the significant increase in the number of cases is especially concerning, and highlights an urgent need for more rigorous action. While an upsurge of cases was expected...

10 September 2020

Calls for increased unimpeded access to reach children with vaccination and other essential services Joint press statement by Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, and Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa  Amman/Cairo, 11 September 2020 – “The recent vaccine-derived polio outbreaks confirmed in Yemen and Sudan are consequences of increasingly low...

10 September 2020

10 September 2020 – This week, our Region reached another grim milestone as we surpassed 2 million cases of COVID-19. We are observing developments that remind us again that we must remain extremely vigilant in managing this virus. Several countries that had successfully controlled transmission a few months ago, including Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon, are now seeing an acceleration of cases. Other...

06 September 2020

WHO and partners launch training resource on primary health care practice in the context of COVID-19

6 September 2020, Cairo ‒ A new online training resource on “Primary health care (PHC) practice in the context of COVID-19” has been developed by the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and partners and will be launched tomorrow, Monday, 7 September 2020. The online training aims to support PHC personnel in their efforts to maintain essential services and to...

03 September 2020

3 September 2020 – Our Region is close to approaching a new grim milestone of 2 million COVID-19 cases: as of 1 September, the cumulative number of cases in the Region is now more than 1 936 221, with 51 326 deaths.  Of greatest concern is a new upsurge in cases in a number of countries, highlighting the negative consequences of...

28 August 2020

28 August 2020 – As of 26 August 2020, a total of 1 862 635 COVID-19 cases has been reported in the Eastern Mediterranean Region since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which represents 8.0% of the global burden of more than 23 million cases reported to date. Some countries in the Region have seen an upsurge in COVID-19 cases after...

25 August 2020

WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari congratulates the African Region on becoming wild poliovirus-free

25 August 2020 - Today, the independent Africa Regional Certification Commission certified WHO's African Region as wild poliovirus-free after 4 years without a case. Finally, the world can breathe a sigh of relief as the scourge of wild poliovirus is certified eradicated from the entire African Region. This historic milestone marks the culmination of decades of work following the launch of...

19 August 2020

Statement by Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director, on World Humanitarian Day

19 August 2020 – Today, on World Humanitarian Day, I would like to acknowledge the bravery and dedication of humanitarian aid workers and heath staff across the Eastern Mediterranean Region and beyond. Health workers and humanitarians in our Region work under some of the most challenging contexts in the world, where many countries are facing political instability, violent conflict, natural disasters,...

19 August 2020

19 August 2020 – Recently, we reached another grim, global milestone, with more than 21 million cases of COVID-19 reported. In our Region, we are on the brink of reaching 2 million cases. But still, it is never too late to turn the outbreak around. There is a lot of hope on the discovery of an effective vaccine for COVID-19, and...

13 August 2020

Cairo/Damascus, August 13, 2020 - The World Health Organization is appalled and saddened to learn of the deaths of 8 children under the age of 5 in Syria’s Al-Hol camp. These deaths are reported to have occurred within 4 days and due to different conditions, including underlying malnutrition, dehydration from diarrhoea, internal bleeding, heart failure, and hypoglycaemia. We are extremely saddened to...

12 August 2020

Lebanon press briefing statement

12 August 2020 – Thank you for joining us for the regional press briefing on the health situation and response to the Beirut blast. Once again, we express our sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones, and to all those who have been injured. People in the city and across the entire country are still reeling from the impact...

06 August 2020

Cairo/Beirut, August 6, 2020 – As the public health impact of the Beirut blast becomes clearer, WHO is calling for US$ 15 million to cover immediate emergency trauma and humanitarian health needs and ensure the continuity of the response to COVID-19 across the country. “We are particularly concerned about overburdened hospital and health workforce capacity, shortages of medicines and medical supplies, and the...

06 August 2020

Statement by WHO's Regional Director on standing with the people of Lebanon following deadly Beirut blast

6 August 2020 – Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our Region was plagued by emergencies. More than 70 million people were directly or indirectly affected by political conflict or natural disasters and in need of humanitarian aid. In the past 6 months, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, the Region was impacted by another large-scale crisis that resulted in...

06 August 2020

Plane carrying WHO trauma and surgical supplies arrives in Beirut, Lebanon

5 August 2020, Beirut, Lebanon – A plane carrying 20 tonnes of WHO health supplies has landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to support the treatment of patients injured by the massive blast that occurred in the city on 4 August. The supplies will cover 1000 trauma interventions and 1000 surgical interventions for people suffering from injuries and burns resulting from the...

31 July 2020

Brazzaville/Cairo, 30 July 2020 – COVID-19 infections in Africa will exceed one million cases in the coming days as the pandemic surges in several hotspot countries. In a little more than 3 weeks, the number of cases on the continent almost doubled to 889 457, with 18 806 deaths. Overall, the pandemic is accelerating with the number of new cases increasing...

29 July 2020

29 July 2020 – Today, 29 July, marks exactly 6 months since the first COVID-19 case was reported in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region. We saw slow initial progress after the first cases were identified in February, but then witnessed an acceleration in May and a peak in cases by the end of June – most likely due to countries relaxing...

28 July 2020

Safe practices during Eid al-Adha in the context of COVID-19

28 July 2020 – On the occasion of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, WHO has issued interim guidance entitled "Eid al-Adha safe practices in the context of COVID-19 pandemic". The document highlights public health advice for social and religious practices and gatherings during Eid al-Adha that can be applied across different national contexts. The guidance informs individuals, families, communities and...

26 July 2020

Statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Mrs Carmela Godeau To effectively tackle COVID-19 and other public health threats, universal health coverage needs to include all migrants and displaced persons, regardless of their legal status 26 July...

19 July 2020

One million patients reported as recovered from COVID-19 in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region

19 July 2020, Cairo, Egypt – More than one million patients in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region have successfully recovered from COVID-19 since the first case was reported on 29 January 2020. “This is a welcome and significantly positive milestone, and reflects the efforts made by countries to protect their populations during these very challenging times,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari,...

16 July 2020

16 July 2020 – The current situation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region remains alarming. This week, cases increased by 10% from last week, with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq reporting almost 70% of all cases. Deaths in the Region also increased by 13%, with the occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic and Libya reporting the largest...

13 July 2020

13 July 2020 – Influenza surveillance systems in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have proven to be invaluable in supporting the detection of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Within the existing influenza surveillance systems, health workers collect samples from patients seeking treatment for influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections. In all countries of the Region, established sentinel influenza surveillance sites...

08 July 2020

Africa records over 500 000 COVID-19 cases

Brazzaville/Cairo, 8 July 2020 – COVID-19 infections in Africa today surpassed 500 000, and there is concern as a growing number of countries are experiencing a sharp rise in cases. So far, in less than 5 months, the virus has claimed 11 959 lives, overtaking the 11 308 lives lost in the world’s worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Cases...

08 July 2020

COVID-19 presents opportunities for greater collaboration on the SDGS, says WHO’s Regional Director

8 July 2020 – At a recent webinar on the Region’s response to COVID-19, organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and WHO, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari said that the COVID-19 pandemic had presented an opportunity for greater collaboration between all sectors to work together on achieving the ambitious...

01 July 2020

Yesterday, 30 June marked six months since WHO received the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in China The six-month mark of the outbreak coincides with reaching 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths world-wide. Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is speeding up. A few days ago, our Region passed its...

29 June 2020

29 June 2020 – In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the phenomenon of an ‘infodemic’ has escalated to a level that requires a coordinated response. As WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned the world of this threat of an ‘infodemic’, it is getting harder for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance needed due to an overabundance...

28 June 2020

Over one million COVID-19 cases reported in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region

Cairo, 28 June 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed more than one million cases of COVID-19 in the 22 countries of WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region. As of 11:00 today, 1 025 478 cases and 23 461 deaths have been recorded from the Region, which spans from Morocco to Pakistan. While cases in Europe have been largely declining, countries...

28 June 2020

Saudi Arabia limits number of pilgrims taking part in this year's hajj

28 June 2020 – The Government of Saudi Arabia has announced that this year's hajj will proceed with a limited number of pilgrims of different nationalities residing within the country.  This decision was made based on a risk assessment and analysis of different scenarios in line with WHO guidelines for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19 to protect the safety...

25 June 2020

EU, WHO to strengthen Sudan’s COVID-19 response and health system

Khartoum, 24 June 2020 — The World Health Organization welcomes a generous contribution of 11.5 million Euros from the European Union to fight COVID-19 in Sudan and improve the country’s overall health system. The large-scale 2-year project will benefit an estimated 42 million people in Sudan, including internally displaced people and refugees. As part of the ongoing COVID-19 response, the project...

21 June 2020

20 June 2020 – Almost 6 months into our response to COVID-19, we continue to learn many things about this new disease. With millions of cases now reported, we have a wide body of research to draw from—which is both a blessing and a challenge. Sifting through case studies, evaluating data, and revising earlier recommendations is part of that challenge. Scientists,...

17 June 2020

UN and partners launch guidelines to address the needs of most vulnerable groups during COVID-19

Cairo, 15 June 2020 - Vulnerable groups, particularly women, displaced people, migrants, older persons and people with disabilities, may experience the most harmful impacts of COVID-19. This is due to many factors including discrimination and stigma, their exclusion from effective surveillance and early-warning systems as well as their limited access to primary healthcare services. Their particular needs must be...

11 June 2020

Transmission of COVID-19 by asymptomatic cases

11 June 2020 - Global research on COVID-19 continues to be conducted, including how the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted. Current evidence suggests that most transmission occurs from symptomatic people through close contact with others. Accordingly, most recommendations by WHO on personal protective measures (such as use of masks and physical distancing) are based on controlling...

10 June 2020

10 June 2020 – More than 7 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO globally, and more than 400 000 deaths. As of yesterday evening, countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have reported a total of almost 670 000 cases and more than 15 000 deaths, making up almost 10% of the global caseload. While cases across Europe...

07 June 2020

World Blood Donor Day, 14 June 2020

Every year on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The first World Blood Donor Day was observed in 2004, which was followed by its designation as an annual global event by the fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in 2005. World Blood Donor Day is now celebrated each year throughout the world to raise awareness of the...

01 June 2020

COVID-19: Keeping Morocco’s mothers and babies safe

1 June 2020 – In an online conference on a Wednesday afternoon in May 2020, the background noise is particularly revealing. Shouts of children and gurgles of babies echo as women and men in Morocco adjust their microphones and headsets. For the next 2 hours, these birth specialists — hundreds of Moroccan nurses, midwives, and doctors — will be trained...

28 May 2020

From the Regional Directors of UNICEF, FAO, WFP and WHO Amman/Cairo, 27 MAY 2020 – “Governments and partners across the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) are working around the clock to protect communities from coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While these efforts are saving many lives, they are having a critical impact on food supply chains and the availability, access and affordability...

20 May 2020

20 May 2020 – The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all the severe and unimaginable impact that a public health threat can have on individuals, communities and nations. We have often said that infectious diseases respect no borders, and that an outbreak in one country can threaten the health security of the Region and beyond. Today, we are witnessing...

17 May 2020

A joint communiqué by the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, the International Association of Dental Students and the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation COVID-19 in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has become a global pandemic affecting and challenging the lives of millions of people and communities all over the world....

13 May 2020

Statement on COVID-19 by WHO's Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari

12 May 2020 - Today marks 134 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported from China, and 105 days since the first case was reported from our Region. During this time, almost 4 million people around the world have been infected, including almost 300 000 people who have tragically died. Both in our personal and professional lives, all of...

04 May 2020

World Hand Hygiene Day: Nurses and midwives, clean care is in your hands!

5 May 2020 – World Hand Hygiene Day will be celebrated on 5 May 2020. This year’s campaign theme, “SAVE LIVES: Clean your hands”, aligns with the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The campaign aims to recognize nurses and midwives as front-line heroes who deserve acknowledgement, appreciation and protection, and to highlight their critical role in infection...

02 May 2020

Statement by WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean on COVID-19 in Yemen

Collective action and commitment is the only way to mitigate the pandemic 2 May 2020 - To date, there are seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the south of Yemen, including two deaths, as declared by national authorities. No other cases have been officially reported to WHO, although we anticipate the virus is actively circulating throughout the country. Best practices have shown...

28 April 2020

Statement by WHO's Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari on our collective fight against COVID-19

28 April 2020 Dear colleagues and friends Ramadan Kareem. Thank you for joining us once more as we continue our collective fight against COVID-19. Over the past few weeks, this fight has become even more challenging with the appearance of the virus in countries such as the Syrian Arab Republic, Libya and Yemen. Decades and years of conflict — sometimes coupled with natural...

25 April 2020

WHO urges countries to continue lifesaving immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic

24 APRIL 2020 | Cairo –  Any suspension of immunization services or hesitancy to use them during the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a resurgence of diseases that have largely been controlled thanks to safe and effective vaccines. That is the warning from WHO's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean as World Immunization Week (24–30 April 2020) begins.  Immunization is one...

22 April 2020

Statement by WHO's Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari on Ramadan during the pandemic

22 April 2020 Dear family, friends and colleagues in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and around the world. This weekend, around a billion and a half Muslims worldwide will welcome the start of the holy month of Ramadan. While the social and religious traditions associated with this month are well established, the global pandemic currently affecting us all is unique and unprecedented. This month,...

15 April 2020

Statement by WHO's Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

16 April - In Across the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting unprecedented pressure on health workers, health systems, governments, NGOs, the UN system, and most urgently, on communities and families. As much as I am filled with the same fear and distress that so many others feel at the continuance and uncertainty of this pandemic, I take great...

08 April 2020

Brazzaville/ Cairo, 7 April 2020 – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has risen to more than 10 000 and caused more than 500 deaths. While the virus was slow to reach the continent compared to other parts of the world, infection has grown exponentially in recent weeks and continues to spread. Reaching the continent through travellers returning from...

05 April 2020

World Health Day 2020: Let’s show our support for nurses and midwives

7 April 2020 – The theme of this year’s World Health Day is “Support nurses and midwives”. It acknowledges the critical role that nurses and midwives play in keeping the world healthy and is a call to world leaders to invest in nurses and midwives as part of their commitment to health for all.  Nurses and midwives are the backbone...

02 April 2020

2 April 2020 – In just one week, the number of COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has almost doubled, from 32 442 cases on 26 March to 58 168 on 2 April. New cases have been reported in some of the most vulnerable countries with fragile health systems. Even in countries with stronger health systems, we have seen a...

27 March 2020

27 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt – 21 out of 22 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region are now reporting cases of COVID-19, including new reports of 5 confirmed cases in Syria and one confirmed case Libya. The past weeks have seen some of the most developed health systems in the world struggle with their response to COVID-19. The emergence of the...

26 March 2020

WHO delegation concludes COVID-19 technical mission to Egypt

26 March 2020 — A team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded a COVID-19 technical support mission to Egypt on 25 March 2020. The objectives of the mission were to understand the current situation; review ongoing response activities; provide on-site technical support as needed; and identify strengths and gaps to guide response priorities. “After several days of intensive...

26 March 2020

WHO, Saudi Arabia join forces to fight COVID-19 nationally, regionally and globally

25 March 2020, Riyadh — The World Health Organization (WHO), with support from Saudi Arabia, is working to combat COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and beyond. On 23 March, Saudi Arabia helped airlift WHO medical equipment and supplies from WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai to Aden, Yemen. The shipment, which included personal protective items for health workers, laboratory screening tests,...

19 March 2020

Djibouti joins global action to prevent COVID-19 as first case is confirmed in the country

Djibouti City, 18 March 2020 - The Ministry of Health of Djibouti has confirmed the country’s first case of COVID-19. Health authorities reported the patient as a Spanish national who arrived on a military flight and was directly put in quarantine with no contact with the Djiboutian population. Other Spanish military passengers are being quarantined with support from the French...

19 March 2020

Press conference, 18 March 2020 Dear colleagues and friends, Thank you for joining us here again today for the latest updates on COVID-19, as well as updates on some the work that has been happening on a regional level to help countries manage this pandemic. In the past weeks since many of you were last here, there has been many developments in terms...

12 March 2020

Statement by Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

12 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt - Today in our Region, 9960 cases in 16 countries have been reported, including 366 deaths reported in 5 countries (as of 3 pm Cairo local time). Almost all the deaths were patients aged 60 years or above, who had pre-existing conditions that were exacerbated when they contracted the virus. We are concerned about the increasing...

11 March 2020

First Regional Health Forum for

11 March 2020 –  Representatives of 12 United Nations agencies gathered for the First Regional Health Forum on 4 March 2020 at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean to review countries' experience in implementation of the “Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All” in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, identify the Region’s role in catalysing impact...

03 March 2020

Statement by the Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean

3 March 2020, Cairo, Egypt - 1682 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in 14 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region as of 2 March, 6pm Cairo local time. These include 66 deaths reported in Islamic Republic of Iran. While the numbers inside China have been rapidly declining, the sudden increase in cases in countries outside China, including in our Region, is...

16 February 2020

Update on COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Cairo, Egypt, 16 February, 2020 - The World Health Organization announces a total of nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region as of 16 February 2020. Eight cases were reported in by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention between 29 January and 9 February, and one case was reported by the Egyptian Ministry of Health...

04 February 2020

World Cancer Day 2020: a call to step up cancer services

4 February 2020 – On this day, we are spelling out the need to step up cancer services to save the lives of millions. Worldwide, 9.6 million people die from cancer every year. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, cancer is the fourth leading cause of death. The rate is expected to almost double in the next two decades, from an estimated...

29 January 2020

Cairo, Egypt, 29 January 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed the first cases of 2019-nCoV in the Eastern Mediterranean Region in the United Arab Emirates. This follows earlier confirmation by the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the United Arab Emirates on 29 January. Four members of the same family from Wuhan City in China arrived in the...

27 January 2020

WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region scales up preparedness for novel coronavirus

27 January 2020, Cairo, Egypt – In light of the continued global situation related to the transmission of novel coronavirus, WHO’s Regional Office continues to work closely with Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to ensure that national preparedness and response efforts are accelerated in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). A total of 1320 confirmed cases have...

19 December 2019

Number of males using tobacco globally on the decline, showing that government-led control efforts work to save lives, protect health, beat tobacco

WHO launches new report on global tobacco use trends 19 December, 2019 | Geneva: For the first time, the World Health Organization projects that the number of males using tobacco is on the decline, indicating a powerful shift in the global tobacco epidemic. The findings, published today in a new WHO report, demonstrate how government-led action can protect communities from tobacco,...

12 December 2019

WHO launches regional nutrition strategy to help countries #beatNCDs 12 December 2019 – Malnutrition, in all its forms, is negatively impacting the health, well-being and sustainable development of people of all ages in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, particularly in those countries affected by conflict in which people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity, undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. In the Region,...

12 December 2019

Universal Health Coverage: Keep the Promise

12 December 2019 - On Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, WHO has called on leaders in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to make sure that everyone has access to the health services they need despite the many challenges facing the Region. According to recent research, essential health services are less widely accessible in the Eastern Mediterranean Region than in many parts of...

21 November 2019

21 November 2019 – In light of recent comments on social media, the World Health Organization (WHO) clarifies that it does not engage with tobacco companies and does not support visits to tobacco company facilities in any way. WHO’s Constitution, rules, and regulations, including its Framework of engagement with non-State actors, prohibit engagement in activities that have a negative impact on WHO’s...

20 November 2019

WHO establishes Commission on Social Determinants of Health for the Eastern Mediterranean Region

20 November 2019, Cairo, Egypt – The World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is pleased to announce the establishment of a Commission on Social Determinants of Health to lead action on the social determinants of health in the Region with the aim of achieving health equity. It aims to establish a comprehensive evidence base of health inequities,...

14 November 2019

14 November 2019, Casablanca, Morocco – The fifth meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance (EMARIS) network, organized by WHO and hosted by the Ministry of Health of Morocco, is taking place this week in Casablanca, Morocco, from 12 to 15 November. This year’s meeting also coincides with the Second Scientific Conference on Acute Respiratory Infections. Participants of...

11 November 2019

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

11 November 2019 ‒ World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global campaign – celebrated this year from 18 to 24 November – to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance, and encourage best practices among the general public, health care workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis that threatens a century...

17 October 2019

Sixty-sixth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean concludes with 6 resolutions to address major health issues and enhance country capacities

17 October 2019, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran -- The WHO Regional Committee concluded its 66th session, held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, with the endorsement of 6 important resolutions covering critical health issues that Member States had discussed over the past 4 days, and endorsing the WHO Regional Director’s annual report on the work of WHO in the...

16 October 2019

Strengthening primary health care to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Statement from Dr Ahmad Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director and Mr Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director Tehran, 16 October 2019 ‒ “Very recently during the United Nations General Assembly and in Astana last year, we came together to reaffirm that primary health care is the foundation for achieving universal health coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a discussion today on...

15 October 2019

The 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean opens in Tehran

Tehran, 15 October 2019 ‒ The 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean was inaugurated today in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, in the presence of HE Dr Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean and HE Dr...

09 October 2019

9 October 2019, Cairo ‒ Health ministers and high-level representatives of the 22 countries of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, partner organizations and civil society will take part in the Sixty-sixth Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean, in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, from 14 to 17 October 2019. The opening session, on Tuesday 15October, will be attended...

09 October 2019

WHO mobile clinics deployed to Islamic Republic of Iran

Tehran, 9 October 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered 3 fully equipped mobile clinics to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran. “These mobile clinics will provide health services and save lives in communities beyond health centres and health posts both in good times and during the crisis,” said Dr Christoph Hamelamann, WHO...

23 September 2019

Broken food systems and poor diets are increasing rates of obesity

23 September 2019 – Levels of overweight and obesity are rising across all ages in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East and North Africa Regions. In many middle- and high-income countries, half of adult women (50.1%) and more than two in five men (43.8%) are overweight or obese. In some countries, over 15% of children and more than...

17 September 2019

WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean concludes visit to Somalia

17 September 2019 – WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari has concluded his first visit to Somalia, where he launched the country’s roadmap to universal health coverage (UHC) together with the Federal Minister of Health, and met with representatives of United Nations agencies, health leaders and partners, internally displaced Somalis, and health workers to review the...

17 September 2019

On World Patient Safety Day “Speak up for Patient Safety”

17 September 2019 – On 17 September 2019, the world celebrates the first ever World Patient Safety Day under the theme “Patient safety: a global health priority”. The global campaign aims to create awareness of patient safety and WHO encourages everyone to speak up for the right of people to safe health care. World Patient Safety Day is also a call...

05 September 2019

Islamic Advisory Group expresses concern on interrupted vaccination activities and calls on international community to join hands to end polio

5 September 2019, Cairo, Egypt ‒ The Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG) held its sixth annual meeting reaffirming its commitment to global polio eradication efforts and reiterating its trust in the safety and effectiveness of the poliovirus vaccine as a preventative and life-saving tool that protects children. The meeting was hosted in Cairo by His Eminence Dr Ahmed El-Tayyeb,...

02 September 2019

WHO statement on attacks against health care in north-west Syria

Cairo, 2 September 2019 – WHO is gravely concerned about reported attacks on 7 health care facilities in the north west of Syria from 28 to 30 August 2019. Attacks on 4 facilities have been verified according to WHO reporting standards, and 3 are in process of verification. The facilities include 4 hospitals and 2 primary health care centres that were functional at the...

19 August 2019

WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region celebrates women on health front lines

Cairo, 19 August 2019 – On this year’s World Humanitarian Day, WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean recognizes the contribution of women humanitarians working on the front line in emergencies. “Particularly in our Region, which is severely affected by emergencies, it is critical that women’s role and contribution in emergencies is recognized,” said Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional...

12 August 2019

WHO statement on successful conclusion of hajj 1440/2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) would like to congratulate the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Health for successfully hosting the hajj season 1440/2019 without a single public health event or disease outbreak being reported among pilgrims performing the hajj. In addition, WHO expresses its deep appreciation to all the health care heroes and volunteers for their dedication in...

10 August 2019

Hajj health and safety boosted by new Health Early Warning System

Mina, Saudi Arabia, 10 August 2019 — Authorities in Saudi Arabia are deploying a new health surveillance system to help keep people protected from communicable diseases during the annual hajj pilgrimage. For the first time, the Global Centre for Mass Gatherings Medicines of the Saudi Ministry of Health is using the Health Early Warning System (HEWS), which ensures the early detection...

01 August 2019

WHO Regional Director's statement on Pakistan

Cairo, Egypt, 1 August 2019 — I have just returned from my third, and most fruitful and memorable visit to Pakistan as WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. The 4 days I spent in the country this week were truly effective and productive. I had the chance to visit different areas in the country, including Larkana, where the current HIV...

28 July 2019

Despite progress, increased action needed to help people quit deadly tobacco products Cairo, Egypt, 28 July 2019 – Many governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco. Today, 5 billion people are living in countries that have introduced effective tobacco control measures such as smoking bans and graphic warnings on packaging – 4 times more people than a decade ago....

24 July 2019

Statement on Iraq by Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean

Cairo, Egypt, 24 July 2019 – I recently concluded a 4-day visit to Iraq where I saw firsthand a health system transitioning from emergency response to reconstruction, rehabilitation and resilience, while at the same time addressing the health needs of millions of vulnerable Iraqis and refugees. The country’s new national health priorities, including health financing, environmental health and sanitation, and universal health...

07 July 2019

30 June 2019, Cairo, Egypt – The time has come to speak out once more about attacks on health care in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region. Since the beginning of 2019, our Region has witnessed an average of more than one attack every day: hundreds of health workers have been killed, injured or assaulted, hospitals have been damaged and destroyed, and ambulances have...

25 June 2019

First meeting of the Regional Parliamentary Forum for Health and Well-being opens in Tunis, Tunisia

25 June 2019, Tunis, Tunisia ‒ Yesterday in Tunis, the first meeting of the Parliamentary Forum for Health and Well-being, taking place from 24 to 26 June 2019, opened in the Parliamentarian Academy affiliated to Tunisia’s Assembly of the Representatives of the People. It is the first ever WHO-supported meeting to be hosted in a Parliament. This first meeting brings together...

20 June 2019

Kampala, Uganda, 20 June 2019 – Egypt has announced that it would be providing hepatitis C testing and treatment for one million people in 14 African countries. Speaking at the opening of the African Hepatitis Summit 2019, currently underway in Kampala, Uganda, HE Dr Hala Zaid, the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, stated that the initiative would be implemented with...

13 June 2019

World Blood Donor Day 2019: save lives by donating blood regularly

13 June 2019 – On the occasion of World Blood Donor Day 2019, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari emphasized that everyone in the world had the right to access safe blood transfusion, when and where it was needed. Access to safe blood and blood products is essential for universal health coverage (UHC) and a key...

07 June 2019

June 7, 2019 - Cairo: WHO is gravely concerned about the recent impact of violence in Sudan on people in need, health workers and medical facilities. Incursions into hospitals in Khartoum have resulted in emergency services being shut down, the unwarranted transfer of patients, injuries to five medical staff and patients, and threats to others. Health care workers appear to have been...

29 May 2019

Don’t let tobacco take your breath away

Quit now and say no to second-hand smoke Cairo, Egypt, 31 May, 2019 ‒ On this World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on people to quit tobacco smoking and say no to second-hand smoke to protect their lungs. Tobacco is harmful in all its forms. It kills over 8 million people every year. Tobacco smoking and...

28 May 2019

WHO declares countries measles and rubella free

Amman, Jordan, 28 May 2019 – The Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has declared that measles and rubella have been eliminated from both Bahrain and Oman, and that Islamic Republic of Iran has eliminated rubella and is about to eliminate measles. The RVC met in Amman, Jordan, on 15–16 May 2019 to...

12 May 2019

Nurses and midwives are essential to achieving “Health for All by All”

12 May 2019 ‒ Every year, International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May. This year’s campaign focuses on nurses as a voice to lead achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), attainment of health as a human right and achievement of universal health coverage (SDG 3.8) to ensure that no person is left behind without access to health care...

08 May 2019

8 May 2019, Cairo, Egypt: The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemns continuing attacks on health facilities in north-western Syria. Since 28 April, in just 9 days, 12 health structures have been hit.  On 5 May, 3 facilities were struck in one day alone, including 2 major hospitals that provide secondary health care in the area. One of the structures, a surgical unit, was supported by WHO. Three health care workers lost their...

05 May 2019

United Nations Global Road Safety Week: Leadership for Road Safety

7 May 2019 – The Fifth United Nations Global Road Safety Week, under the theme “Leadership for road safety”, is taking place from 6 to 12 May 2019. This major worldwide campaign was requested by the United Nations General Assembly in April 2018 in resolution A/72/271 on improving global road safety. Road safety continues to be a grave public health and...

02 May 2019

Global Hand Hygiene Day 2019:

Global Hand Hygiene Day will be celebrated worldwide on 5 May 2019. This year, the focus will be the importance of good hand hygiene practices as part of improving patient safety globally to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), under the theme “Clean care for all – it’s in your hands”. Hand hygiene is part of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures....

24 April 2019

Statement by WHO Regional Director on World Malaria Day

24 April 2019 – Malaria-endemic countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region have made significant progress. Malaria cases and deaths in the Region fell by more than 60% between 2000 and 2015, thanks to increased coverage of malaria control interventions. In the same period, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco were certified free from malaria, while Egypt and Oman are preparing...

23 April 2019

World Immunization Week 2019 stresses the importance of working together to leave no one behind

23 April 2019, Cairo – World Immunization Week will be celebrated both globally and regionally from 24 to 30 April 2019، using the slogan “Protected Together: Vaccines Work!” to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective...

11 April 2019

3 million people now in need of immediate health care assistance Cairo, April 11, 2019 – As the number of people impacted by the recent flooding in Islamic Republic of Iran increases, WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean expressed his condolences to families who have lost loved ones. He also reiterated that the support already provided by his agency will continue...

07 April 2019

World Health Day 2019: WHO and partners join hands in solidarity for universal health coverage

7 April 2019, Cairo – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean joins the world today in marking World Health Day 2019 focusing on primary health care as the path towards universal health coverage. World Health Day 2019 places a special emphasis on equity and solidarity – on raising the bar for health for everyone, everywhere by...

27 March 2019

27 March 2019 ‒ As part of its effort to address violence against women and girls, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is launching an Arabic version of the WHO package on health system response to violence against women and girls. In releasing this evidence-based guidance, WHO seeks to ensure that preventing and responding to violence against women and...

21 March 2019

World TB Day 2019: It’s time for action! It’s time to End TB.

21 March 2019, Cairo, Egypt ‒ On the occasion of World TB Day, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said that WHO called on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health care providers, and national/international partners to act now to detect and treat all tuberculosis (TB) cases to end the global epidemic and ensure that no...

03 March 2019

Global Ministerial Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, calls to promote patient safety in low- and middle-income countries

3 March 2019 ‒ The Fourth Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety is being held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 2 to 3 March 2019, with a focus on patient safety in low- and middle-income countries that shoulder two thirds of the global patient harm burden. Patient safety in health care is a serious global public health concern and a major...

17 February 2019

High-level meeting on institutional capacity for use of evidence in health policy-making

17 February 2019, in Beirut, Lebanon ‒ The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is convening a major event to bridge the gap between academic research, other valid sources of evidence and policy-making to improve population health in the Region. The high-level meeting on institutional capacity for the use of evidence in health policy-making is taking place...

17 February 2019

Global conference calls for action to prevent suffering and disability from mycetoma

17 February 2019| Khartoum | Cairo |Geneva ‒ Delegates attending the Sixth International Conference on Mycetoma in Khartoum, Sudan, have endorsed a “call for action” urging the global community to work together with multilateral agencies, partners, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to address the devastating consequences of this disease. Mycetoma, a neglected tropical disease, mainly affects poor, rural populations, particularly people...

21 January 2019

21 January 2019, Cairo, Egypt ‒ The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is holding an intercountry consultative meeting for nutrition focal points from 22 to 24 January 2019, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UNICEF and the World Food Programme. Participants, including representatives from Member States and a range of stakeholders, will...

20 January 2019

20 January 2019, Amman, Jordan ‒ Around 80 experts and participants representing key senior stakeholders from Member States of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region will take part in a consultative meeting on strengthening health information systems from 21 to 23 January 2019 in Amman, Jordan. The consultation aims to identify and address critical gaps and needs in national health information systems...

09 January 2019

WHO Director-General and WHO Regional Director conclude joint official visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan; polio eradication high on agenda

9 January 2019 – WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari highlighted WHO’s commitment to the final push to eradicate polio on a 4-day visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan – the only 2 countries where wild poliovirus cases were reported last year. They also commended the governments of both countries for their efforts to provide...