UN marks 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth
South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela, who spent most of his life battling the Apartheid system and championing racial equality, would have been 100 years old on Wednesday.
At a special event to celebrate the centenary on Nelson Mandela International Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that “very few people in history have captured the imagination of the world as he did”.
Mr. Guterres said that Mandela “stands today as a beacon for universal values – peace, forgiveness, humility, integrity, passion, respect and service”.
Mr. Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95, was the first democratically elected President of South Africa and the country’s first black Head of State.
He had been in prison for 27 years serving a life sentence for sabotage before being released in 1990.
The Secretary-General said that he was fortunate to have met Mr. Mandela several times, and was tremendously impressed by his vision, his wisdom, his determination and his compassion.
Countries must redouble efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance
Global progress on tackling antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, has been encouraging, but urgent action is needed to close serious gaps.
That’s according to a report released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
AMR is a grave threat to human health and economic development. The report monitors progress in 154 countries and shows there are wide variations in how it’s being tackled.
Some, including many European countries, have been working on AMR policies for more than four decades, while others have only recently started to address the problem.
Promising developments include 105 countries now operating a surveillance system for reporting drug-resistant infections in human health, and 123 countries have developed policies to regulate the sale of antibiotics.
However, implementation of these policies varies and unregulated medicines are still available in places, such as street markets, with no limits on how they are used.
The report also highlights an urgent need for more investment and action particularly in the animal and food sectors.
“Countries need to do more to reduce the unregulated and excessive use of antimicrobials in all agriculture sectors,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
New HIV infections rising in 50 countries
UNAIDS issued a stark wake-up call on Wednesday, saying that time is running out to reach the 2020 targets for HIV.
New HIV infections are rising in some 50 countries, while AIDS-related deaths are not falling fast enough.
A new UNAIDS report has found that gains made for children are not being sustained.
New HIV infections among children have declined only 8 per cent in the past two years, with just over half of all children living with HIV receiving treatment and 110,000 children dying from AIDS-related illnesses last year.
The report also noted that discrimination by health-care workers, law enforcement, teachers, religious leaders and others is preventing young people and people living with HIV from coming forward to receive HIV prevention, treatment and other sexual and reproductive health services.