By Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia

The WHO South-East Asia Region is committed to preventing and combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a global health and development threat. AMR occurs when antimicrobial drugs – including antibiotics – are used inappropriately, causing mutations in infectious bacteria that reduce drug efficacy. Globally, unless urgent action is taken, by 2050 AMR will be responsible for 10 million deaths annually at a cost of US$ 100 trillion. If current trends continue, AMR could reduce the GDP of low-income countries by 5%, pushing up to 28 million people into poverty. AMR already kills an estimated 700 000 people every year in what is a “slow tsunami” that is compromising modern medicine and the global economy, and impeding progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Since as early as 2011, the WHO South-East Asia Region has been working to address AMR, which in 2014 was identified as a Flagship Priority. WHO will continue to support all countries in the Region to prevent and combat AMR and avoid the post-antimicrobial future that will otherwise emerge.

The Region has in recent years made substantial progress against AMR, which will be accelerated by a new WHO-convened regional taskforce. All countries are implementing multisectoral national action plans to address AMR. Ten of the Region’s 11 countries have signed on to the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS), which is more than two-and-a-half times the proportion of countries taking part globally. In 2019 the Region continued to be the only WHO region in which all Member States carried out the Tripartite AMR self-assessment exercise. Member States continue to enhance regulatory capacity and antibiotic stewardship, for example by implementing WHO’s AWaRe classification tool. Commendably, all countries participate annually in the world’s most important AMR awareness-raising event – World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

As we begin this year’s campaign, WHO, together with its Tripartite partners the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health, is calling on all sectors to rally around the “One Health” approach required to defeat this global health and development threat. This is especially important as countries and partners continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has the potential to accelerate AMR.  For example, across the Region and world, individuals presenting with mild COVID-19 disease are too often prescribed antibiotics when they do not require them. Health service disruptions have in some cases interrupted TB and HIV treatment, which could lead to selection for drug resistance. Disruptions to vaccination services have the potential to increase the risk of infection from vaccine-preventable diseases, potentially leading to an overuse of antimicrobials. The Region’s remarkable efforts to revive and maintain essential health services and to implement appropriate antimicrobial stewardship must continue to be strengthened.    

Several key interventions are required to integrate the battle against AMR into the wider pandemic response. First, targeted trainings should be deployed to increase the clinical competence of health workers treating COVID-19. Health workers must have the capacity to identify the signs and symptoms of severe COVID-19 and those of a superimposed bacterial fungal disease. They must also be provided the capacity to evaluate the need for medical devices that increase the chance of a health-care-associated infection, and to implement infection prevention and control protocols. Second, the continuity of essential health services must continue to be secured, including a regular supply of quality-assured and affordable antimicrobials. Access for all to antiretroviral and tuberculosis drugs, as well as vaccination, must be a core priority. Third, maximum caution should be exercised in the use of biocides for environmental and personal disinfection. Wherever possible, biocidal agents with a low or no selection pressure for antibiotic resistance should be prioritized. Fourth, research on AMR within the pandemic response must continue to be promoted. High-quality evidence is essential to the development of high-impact innovations.

On the launch of this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, WHO reiterates its commitment to support Member States in the Region to prevent and combat AMR and to avoid the post-antimicrobial future that will otherwise emerge. AMR is a complex problem that affects all of society, and which provides a significant threat to human and animal health, in addition to agriculture and ecosystems. We can only prevail through a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach that unites all stakeholders under the One Health banner, in recognition of the multiple drivers of AMR, our shared vulnerability and our shared capacity to promote change. For a healthier, more sustainable South-East Asia Region, together we must act.

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WHO’s South-East Asia Region comprises the following 11 Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Tempo Timor (New Delhi) -The World Health Organization today cautioned against any relaxation of response actions following the recent slight decline in COVID-19 cases in South-East Asia Region, saying the pandemic continues unbated and our response only needs to be strengthened further to curtail virus transmission.

By Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia

All people require access to quality mental health care and effective treatments that protect and promote overall health and well-being. Globally, nearly one in 10 people have a mental health condition. Depression is a leading cause of disability. An estimated 3 million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol. A suicide occurs every 40 seconds. Most mental health conditions can be effectively treated at relatively low cost. And yet more than a quarter of the world’s population lives in a country where there is less than one psychiatrist for every 100 000 people. In the WHO South-East Asia Region, four out of every five people who require mental health services are unable to access them. The Region has the lowest per capita number of mental health workers. By scaling up investments in quality mental health care, all countries in the Region can significantly enhance mental health, well-being and resilience. Given the immense social and economic impact of COVID-19, countries and partners must act with speed and scale to secure and apply the necessary funds, as underscored by the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign – Move for mental health: let’s invest.

 The Region has in recent years made steady progress to improve access to mental health care and treatment as part of its Flagship Priorities on addressing noncommunicable diseases, scaling up emergency risk management and achieving universal health coverage. Most Member States have developed national mental health policies that have been integrated into national health policies. Specific regional strategies on suicide prevention, autism spectrum disorders and the harmful use of alcohol continue to be rolled out, with a focus on strengthening services at the primary level and promoting multisectoral buy-in. The Region continues to be a global leader in the provision of mental health and psychosocial support services in emergency settings, for which WHO’s mhGAP Programme has proven particularly valuable. Access for all to need-specific, culturally sensitive mental health care following an acute event is vital to promoting a strong social and economic recovery and to ensuring that mental health care is mainstreamed at all levels of service delivery.   

 The vast social and economic impact of COVID-19 highlights the critical need for all countries in the Region to invest in quality mental health care, which must be part of an overall increase in health spending. Across the Region, services for mental health care – including access to psychiatric medicines – have in recent months experienced significant disruptions, which WHO has been supporting Member States to overcome through innovative service delivery models such as telemedicine and via novel ways of securing access to medicines such as door-step deliveries. WHO continues to strengthen the capacity of health workers to detect, manage and treat mental health issues through virtual trainings and webinars, and will continue to facilitate the identification of best practices that can be adapted and rolled out to scale, especially at the community level. The Region’s recently adopted Ministerial Declaration for a Collective COVID-19 Response highlights the ongoing need for countries to maintain essential health services, including for mental health, to strengthen the response and build health system resilience into the recovery and beyond. 

 In this International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, special efforts must be made to protect and promote the mental health and well-being of health workers, which has come under great pressure in the ongoing pandemic response. To prevent burnout, minimize stress and enhance the mental well-being of health workers, facility administrators should appropriately balance working hours and rotate workers from higher-stress to lower-stress functions. Personal protective equipment must be readily accessible to all. Administrators must ensure that financial resources are available to call up additional staff and pay overtime and sick leave. Leaders across sectors must continue to apply a zero-tolerance approach to social stigma, verbal aggression and violence directed at health workers, and must continue to celebrate and support the health workforce.

 There is no health without mental health, for which sustained and scaled up investments are needed. WHO will continue to provide its full support to countries and partners in the Region to strengthen the provision of need-specific, culturally sensitive mental health care and treatments throughout the COVID-19 response and into the recovery and beyond, in line with its strategic preparedness and response plan, the Region’s Flagship Priorities, WHO’s “triple billion” targets and Sustainable Development Goal 3. With crisis comes opportunity, and we must seize this World Mental Health Day to accelerate progress on ensuring all people in the Region can access the mental health care and effective treatments they require to stay healthy, well and resilient. For a healthier, more sustainable social and economic future, together we must act – and invest – now.

Tempotimor| (GENEVA) – The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on governments and health care leaders to address persistent threats to the health and safety of health workers and patients.

Tempotimor (Díli)- Organizasaun Mundiál Saúde (OMS) oferese ekipamentus jinástika ualu (8) ba Munisípiu Díli, ho intensaun, atu evita moras oi-oin iha Timor-Leste inklui tensaun.

Bangkok, 7 September 2020: Participating in the Seventy Third Regional Committee Session of WHO South-East Asia on 9 – 10 September, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Ministers from Member countries of the WHO South East Asia Region will discuss measures to curtail the outbreak, ways to maintain essential health services and transition to the ‘new normal’.

TempoTimor (Bangkok) - Tuir komunikadu imprensa ne'ebe fo sai husi OMS informa ba ministru sira husi nasaun sira iha Rejiaun Sudeste Aziatiku ne'ebe partisipa iha Sesaun Komite Rejionál OMS Sudeste Aziátiku ba dala Hitunulu resin tolu iha loron 9 – 10 Setembru, iha pandemia COVID-19 nia laran katak, "Ministru Saúde hosi Membru estadu hosi Rejiaun OMS Sudeste Aziátiku sei diskuti kona-ba medida atu restrita surtu ne’e, maneira oinsá atu mantein servisu saúde esensiál no ‘tranzisaun’ ka muda ba ‘normál foun’.

Tempotimor (Dili) - Fundasaun Alibaba liuhusi Repúblika Populár Xina no Organizasaun Mundiál ba Saúde (OMS) apoiu tan maskára N95 ho totál 10.800 no maskára serurjika hamutuk 60.000 ba Ministériu Saúde (MS) Timor Leste, relasiona ho surtu Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).

TempoTimor (Dili) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a new course in Tetum which focusses on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for COVID-19. The course is designed to ‘educate health workers to be prepared and ready to respond to COVID-19,’ to teach them about interventions that ‘limit human to human transmission,’ and ‘how to identify, isolate and report suspect and confirmed cases,’ said Roderico Ofrin, WHO Regional Emergency Director. 

By : World Health Organisation 

In Timor-Leste, the last confirmed case of COVID-19 recovered on May 15, 2020. The majority of 24 confirmed cases was in well-defined clusters in government identified quarantine centres. All have made an uneventful recovery. There have been no deaths due to coronavirus in the country.

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