This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Sanitation workers shunned, wellbeing threatened, says UN health agency
The plight of sanitation workers in the developing world should be addressed urgently, the UN said on Thursday, warning that their rights, health and dignity are at risk.
Ahead of World Toilet Day next Tuesday, the World Health Organization, WHO, highlighted the dangers for the millions of people who clean toilets, sewers and septic tanks, insisting that while the workforce performs an essential public service, their own health is compromised and they are often shunned.
“Workers often come into direct contact with human waste, working with no equipment or protection to remove it by hand, which expose them to a long list of health hazards and diseases”, WHO said in a statement accompanying a new report.
Focusing on cases from low and middle-income countries, it outlines how the often marginalized an abused workforce is largely “invisible” and calls on governments to provide safer and more dignified work environments.
Mosquito sterilization to stem diseases
Staying with WHO, the UN health agency said on Thursday that half the world’s population is now at risk of dengue, a mosquito-borne tropical disease.
However, a laboratory technique that sterilizes male mosquitoes using radiation will soon be tested in the field, as part of global health efforts to control this and other diseases, including the chikungunya and Zika viruses.
The Sterile Insect Technique involves rearing large quantities of sterilized male mosquitoes in dedicated facilities, and then releasing them to mate with females in the wild.
As they do not produce any offspring, the insect population declines over time.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News