Omicron continues to sweep the 🌍. I remain concerned about countries with low vaccination rates, as unvaccinated people are many times more at risk of severe illness & death. I urge everyone to do their best to reduce risk of infection & help take pressure off health systems. pic.twitter.com/CymL7Vxvel
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 18, 2022
Last Friday, WHO recommended two new COVID-19 treatmentsto fight severe illness and death: a rheumatoid arthritis drug called baricitinib and a monoclonal antibody called sotrovimab.
For Tedros, the challenge, once again, is that high prices and limited supply means access is limited.
WHO is currently working with its partners in ACT-Accelerator to negotiate lower prices with manufacturers and ensure supply will be available for low- and middle-income countries.
Next week, the WHO Executive Board, which is made up of 34 Member States, will meet to discuss the world’s health challenges.
The pandemic will remain at the forefront, but Member States will also be discussing the devastating impact of the pandemic on other health issues, and how the backsliding can be stopped.
According to the WHO chief, the agency willbe working to accelerate progress on negotiations around a global pandemic accord.
Cervical Cancer Awareness
On a final note, Tedros noted that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month.
In 2020, an estimated 604,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and about 342, 000 women died from the disease.
The main cause of the disease is infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), an extremely common family of viruses that are transmitted through sexual contact.
There are, however, vaccines that protect against high-risk HPV types, which means it should be one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer.
On Monday, Serbia announced that this year,it will introduce a vaccination programme against HPV, joining the 116 nationswho already do it.