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News in Brief 18 July 2023

News in Brief 18 July 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Health risks on the rise as heatwave intensifies across Europe: WMO

The dangers associated with the heatwave that’s engulfing the northern hemisphere aren’t over yet, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned on Tuesday.

In an alert, the UN agency said that heatwaves are amongst the deadliest natural hazards and WMO Senior Heat Advisor, John Nairn, told reporters that extreme temperatures are poised to grow in frequency, duration and intensity.

Here he is in Geneva, explaining the dangers of high overnight temperatures:

“Repeated high night-time temperatures are particularly dangerous for human health because the body is unable to recover from sustained heat. This leads to increased cases of heart attacks and death.”

According to a recent report by the UN agency, 60,000 additional people died due to extreme heat in Europe last summer - despite the continent's strong early warning and health action plans. 

WMO said that it was urgent to adapt infrastructure to withstand prolonged high temperatures and to raise vulnerable people’s awareness of the risks.

Child vaccination makes unequal post-COVID recovery across regions

Children’s immunization rates have started to rebound following a historic backslide during the COVID-19 pandemic, but low-income countries are being left behind, UN agencies said on Tuesday.

According to new data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), immunization services around the world reached four million more children in 2022 compared with the previous year. 

Over 14 million children did not receive a single dose of their diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) vaccine last year - that’s an improvement over 2021, but still above pre-pandemic levels.

Here’s WHO’s Director of Immunization Dr Kate O’Brien speaking about global inequalities in immunization coverage:

“All regions, except for the Africa region, have made progress in recovery for DTP. Low-income countries made virtually no progress towards recovery. And for the measles vaccine, in low-income countries, measles coverage has fallen for a third year in a row.”

UNICEF recalled that last year, 59 countries reported a total of 80 measles outbreaks. Delays in catching up on vaccination against the disease will mean more outbreaks putting more children’s lives at risk, the agency said.

More than 90 per cent of world’s women live in countries with large gender gap: UNDP, UN Women

Fewer than one per cent of women and girls worldwide live in countries with high levels of women's empowerment and high gender parity.

That’s the message from UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), in a report published on Tuesday which shows that more than 90 per cent of the world's female population, or 3.1 billion women and girls, live in countries characterized by a large gender gap in key areas such as education and health.

In 85 out of 114 countries analysed in the report, women’s power and freedom to make choices and seize opportunities remain largely restricted. More than half of these countries score highly on the human development index, but the report said that this does not “automatically translate” into more gender equality. 

New measures of global gender parity and of women’s empowerment presented in the report show that women achieve, on average, 72 per cent of what men achieve across key human development indicators.

The report’s authors called for the data to be used to inform urgent policy action towards parity on health, education, access to childcare and participation in public life.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

  • Health risks on the rise as heatwave intensifies across Europe: WMO

  • Child vaccination makes unequal post-COVID recovery across regions: WHO, UNICEF

  • More than 90 per cent of world’s women live in countries with large gender gap: UNDP, UN Women
Audio Credit
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
Unsplash/Rafael Garcin