Viral hepatitis kills approximately half a million people every year in the 11 countries of WHO’s South-East Asia Region. An estimated 100 million people are currently infected with hepatitis B virus and another 30 million with hepatitis C virus. These chronic infections have the potential to progress to cirrhosis and cancer of liver.
Every day, about 800 women die worldwide from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. Severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the commonest cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 31% maternal deaths in Asia. Safe blood transfusion is one of the key life-saving interventions identified to protect these mothers and their newborns.
On World No Tobacco Day (31 May), WHO urges countries to raise taxes on tobacco products to discourage users and prevent others from becoming addicted to tobacco. According to 2012 data, WHO estimates that a 50% increase of tax on tobacco, all countries can reduce the number of smokers by 49 million within the next 3 years and ultimately save 11 million lives.
May 5 is the internationally recognised day for highlighting the work of midwife. In the years leading up to 2015, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has been using the overarching theme “The World Needs Midwives Now More Than Ever” as part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the need for midwives. The theme for 2014 is “Midwives changing the world one family at a time". Evidence shows that midwifery care is one of the most effective ways to combat maternal, newborn and infant mortality. WHO continues to work with and provide technical support in enhancing the access of women and newborns to quality midwifery services.