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CORONAVIRUS – State of the world: Incorporate a gender focus into responses to COVID-19, …..World Health Organisation appeals to govts

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The World Health Organization has released a policy brief on gender and COVID-19, which encourages countries to utilize the female gender adequately in combating the Coronavirus pandemic. Director-General of the organization (WHO)  Dr. Tedros Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, revealed this in a statement forwarded by the WHO media team also stated that researchers are working at breakneck speed both to understand the virus and also to develop potential vaccines, medicines and other technologies.

Policy brief on gender and COVID-19, encourages countries to incorporate a gender focus into their responses. It includes six key asks for governments:

  • First, when recording cases, collect both age and sex-disaggregated data;
  • Second, prevent and respond effectively to issues of domestic violence, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic;
  • Third, encourage availability and access to sexual and reproductive health services;
  • Fourth, protect and support all health workers, approximately 70 percent of the whom are women;
  • Fifth, ensure equitable access to testing and treatment for COVID-19;
  • And finally; sixth, ensure responses are both inclusive and non-discriminatory.

The brief further enjoins governments to maximise effectiveness and ensure that no one is left behind, tackling the pandemic requires a gender-responsive, equity-oriented and human rights-based approach. Other highlights of the WHO DG’s speech emphasize that:

  • The world needs to unleash the full power of science, to deliver innovations that are scalable, usable, and benefit everyone, everywhere, at the same time.
  • Working at breakneck speed both to understand the virus and also to develop potential vaccines, medicines and other technologies.
  • Traditional market models will not deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe.
  • Encourages world leaders to come together to develop a new global access policy

The Access to COVID-19 Accelerator is uniting efforts on many fronts to ensure we have safe, effective and affordable therapeutics and vaccines in the shortest time possible. These tools provide additional hope of overcoming COVID-19, but they will not end the pandemic if we cannot ensure equitable access to them. In these extraordinary circumstances, we need to unleash the full power of science, to deliver innovations that are scalable, usable, and benefit everyone, everywhere, at the same time. Traditional market models will not deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe.

SOLIDARITY: Solidarity within and between countries and the private sector is essential if we are to overcome these difficult times. Now is the moment where leaders must come together to develop a new global access policy and an operational tool, which will turn the many good intentions expressed in recent weeks into reality.  We are seeing some good examples where companies are coming out with solidarity approaches – from open licensing and support, to tech transfer via the new Tech Access Partnership, to commitments not to increase prices in times of shortages.

WHO recognizes the wide-ranging efforts and initiatives aimed at incentivizing innovation while also ensuring access for all. These will be important topics next week at the World Health Assembly. At the beginning of the pandemic, President Alvarado asked me to set up a health technology repository for vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and any other tool that may work against COVID-19. WHO has accepted this visionary proposal from his excellency President Alvarado of Costa Rice and will, in the next few weeks, launch a platform for open, collaborative sharing of knowledge, data and intellectual property on existing and new health tools to combat COVID-19.

 WHO; INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE FORGE ALLIANCE: In another development, WHO and International Olympic Committee team have agreed on measures to improve health through sport An agreement to this effect has been signed World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today signed an agreement to work together to promote health through sport and physical activity.

“I am pleased to formalize this longstanding partnership with the International Olympic Committee,” said Dr Tedros Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “WHO works not only to respond to disease but also to help people realize their healthiest lives and this partnership will do exactly that. Physical activity is one of the keys to good health and well-being.” The DG stated that: ‘’This collaboration is timely. The current COVID-19 pandemic is particularly affecting people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The agreement has a special focus on preventing NCDs through sport. Physical activity helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer). Other areas of collaboration include working with host countries to ensure the health of athletes, supporters and workers at the games as well as addressing NCD risk factors, including water quality and air pollution. The two institutions will also work to ensure that the games leave a healthy legacy in host countries through enhanced awareness of the value of sport and physical activity.

The two organizations also intend to work together promote grassroots and community sports programmes that have a further reach within the general public, particularly among girls, older people and people living with disability who may find it harder to keep active and healthy.: “Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programmes because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases.”

Globally, WHO estimates that 1 in 4 adults is not active enough and more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active. The new partnership will bring together the sports and health sectors at international, regional and national levels to reach global goal of increasing physical activity by 15%, as set out in the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity