Press releases

  • European leaders set new roadmap to achieve 2030 Agenda and improve 900 million people’s health and well-being

    Health leaders gather at the annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. In Budapest, Hungary on 11–14 September 2017 they will take decisions on health priorities that will have an impact on the health and well-being of about 900 million people in the WHO European Region, including in the European Union, central and eastern Europe, the Caucasus and central Asia.

  • Measles continues to spread and take lives in Europe

    Ongoing measles outbreaks in the WHO European Region have caused 35 deaths in the past 12 months. The most recent fatality was a 6-year-old boy in Italy, where over 3300 measles cases and 2 deaths have occurred since June 2016. Several other countries have also reported outbreaks; according to national public health authorities, these have caused 31 deaths in Romania, 1 death in Germany and another in Portugal.

  • As refugee and migrant arrivals steadily increase, WHO invests in Europe’s public health response

  • Europe’s small countries commit to ending childhood obesity

    Countries with a population of less than 1 million – the small states – have some of the highest rates of childhood and adolescent obesity in the WHO European Region. The problem affects more than 1 in 3 school-aged children in the majority of these countries. In order to decisively tackle and jointly address the commonalities of the problem, ministers of health from the 8 small states of the Region today signed the Malta Statement on Ending Childhood Obesity.

  • United Nations agencies urge Europe’s action on 1.4 million annual deaths from polluted environments

    The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) call on European leaders to scale up action to prevent environment-related deaths and diseases affecting their populations.

  • Can Europe exceed the global target and reduce premature mortality by 45%?

    WHO convenes a meeting of experts in Moscow to assess progress and opportunities in tackling cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. Over the past decade, markedly fewer people have died prematurely in the WHO European Region. The decline is considerable, and illuminates a hope that Europe can exceed the bold target of Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by 33% by 2030.

  • New WHO study on health and well-being of Europe’s youth reveals that obesity continues to rise

    A new WHO report, launched today at the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal, reveals that the number of obese adolescents is continuing to rise in many countries across the WHO European Region.

  • Major health gains achieved through working together: 15 years of the South-eastern Europe Health Network and beyond

    Nine south-eastern European countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Israel, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – are set to sign a new, far-reaching cooperation pledge to continue improving the health and well-being of their populations. The signing is expected at the end of the 4th South-eastern Europe Health Ministerial Forum, being held on 3–4 April 2017 in Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova. Chisinau currently holds the rotating Presidency of the South-eastern Europe Health Network.

  • 3 out of 4 people suffering from major depression do not receive adequate treatment

    World Health Day 2017 focuses on depression – the second-largest contributor to disability or health loss and a leading underlying cause for the 128 000 suicide deaths that occur each year in the WHO European Region. The number of people with depressive disorders in the Region amounts to 40 million, with prevalence in countries ranging from 3.8% to 6.3% of the total population, according to newly released WHO global health estimates for 2015.

  • Measles outbreaks across Europe threaten progress towards elimination

    “With steady progress towards elimination over the past 2 years, it is of particular concern that measles cases are climbing in Europe,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Today’s travel patterns put no person or country beyond the reach of the measles virus. Outbreaks will continue in Europe, as elsewhere, until every country reaches the level of immunization needed to fully protect their populations.”

  • TB/HIV co-infections up 40% across Europe over the last five years

    New data released today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe ahead of World TB Day show that new tuberculosis (TB) cases and deaths in the 53 countries of the WHO European Region declined each year by 4.3% and 8.5% respectively between 2011 and 2015. However, vulnerable groups for TB infection, such as people living with HIV, prisoners and migrants, do not benefit from this overall trend. In particular, new TB/HIV co-infections increased by 40% over the same time period. Providing testing to all TB patients for HIV and vice versa, together with counselling and rapid treatment, could reverse the negative trend.

  • First WHO toolkit to strengthen Europe’s health response to migration

    Over one million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. 2016 has become the deadliest year ever for these travellers, with over 4700 people found dead or missing at sea so far. Sudden and large influxes of refugees and migrants can disrupt entire health systems in countries of transit and destination, if these are not adequately prepared. While the health problems of refugees and migrants are similar to those of the rest of the population, many suffer from physical and psychological illnesses associated with exposure to conflicts and violence at departure, as well as from the consequences of the journey and the living conditions on arrival.

  • Russian school-aged children report high degree of life satisfaction

    The latest international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) report, which presents data from the 2013/2014 survey, shows that 82% of Russian adolescents report high rates of life satisfaction. This matches international trends and shows that differences in reported life satisfaction between adolescents in countries in western and eastern Europe have narrowed. Adolescents report significant increases in life satisfaction in Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, as well as the Russian Federation, although figures have stabilized since the last study in 2009/2010.

  • Europe commits to leaving no child behind

    The health status of people in the WHO European Region is advancing, but not all children have the same chances of healthy growth and millions are being left behind. In 20 out of 28 European Union countries, children are at higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than adults.

  • HIV cases reach over 2 million for the first time in Europe

    For the first time, the cumulative number of HIV cases in the WHO European Region increased to over 2 million. More than 153 000 new HIV cases contributed to this figure in 2015 – a 7% increase compared to the previous year and the highest annual number since reporting began in the 1980s. These are the main findings of the new report "HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2015", released jointly by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) ahead of World AIDS Day 2016.

  • Resistant bacteria spreading in hospitals across the European Region, according to a new WHO report

    Antibiotic resistance is widespread in the European Region. In particular, resistant bacteria are spreading in hospitals and health care settings, putting patients at risk of contracting incurable diseases. This is the concerning picture painted by the second Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (CAESAR) report, published by WHO today to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016.

  • New WHO/Europe report calls for urgent action to protect children from digital marketing of food

    For the first time, researchers and health experts have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the concerning situation in the WHO European Region of digital marketing to children of foods high in fats, salt and sugars. The findings are published in a new report from the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives, which calls for immediate action by policy-makers to recognize and address the growing issue of marketing targeted to children via digital media.

  • WHO governing body for the European Region convenes with eight strategic proposals on the agenda

    At the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, to be held in Copenhagen from 12 to 15 September, representatives from the 53 countries in the WHO European Region will debate a set of innovative action plans that affect public health.

  • WHO Europe launches new action plan for noncommunicable diseases, appeals for urgent joint policy action to achieve global goals and targets

    The WHO European Region has made progress in key areas of noncommunicable disease (NCD) control: death rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD) continue to decline, the clear downward trend in smoking continues, and alcohol intake is steadily decreasing. However, this overall European picture masks significant differences within and between countries and population groups; WHO/Europe estimates that the Region will fall short of the global goals of reducing tobacco use and physical inactivity and simply fail to halt the rise in obesity unless action is accelerated.

  • WHO validates elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Armenia, Belarus and the Republic of Moldova

    United Nations agencies congratulate Belarus for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis and Armenia and the Republic of Moldova for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, respectively. During a ceremony in New York City, elimination validation certificates were presented to the ministers of health of the three European countries, who were attending the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on ending AIDS.

  • World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2016: Get ready for plain packaging

    "Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people," says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "It restricts tobacco advertising and promotion. It limits misleading packaging and labelling. And it increases the effectiveness of health warnings." Plain packaging is recommended in WHO FCTC guidelines as part of a comprehensive approach to tobacco control that includes large graphic health warnings and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

  • Zika virus expected to spread in Europe in late spring and summer: overall risk low to moderate

    The overall risk of a Zika virus outbreak across the WHO European Region is low to moderate during late spring and summer, according to a new risk assessment published today by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. While this risk varies across the Region, it is higher in countries where Aedes mosquitoes are present.

  • From over 90 000 cases to zero in two decades: the European Region is malaria free

    The European Region is the first in the world to have achieved interruption of indigenous malaria transmission. The number of indigenous malaria cases dropped from 90 712 in 1995 to zero cases in 2015. Ahead of World Malaria Day 2016, WHO announces that the European Region hit its 2015 target to wipe out malaria, thus contributing to the global goal to “End malaria for good”. Key partners funded malaria elimination efforts in European countries substantially.

  • Europe is closer than ever to eliminating measles and rubella – remaining countries urged to “catch up”

    Thirty-two countries in the European Region have interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella, according to the conclusions of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC), released today.

  • TB elimination at stake unless Europe cares urgently for vulnerable, poor and marginalized populations and migrants

    New data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO/Europe ahead of World TB Day show that an estimated 340 000 Europeans had tuberculosis (TB) in 2014, corresponding to a rate of 37 cases per 100 000 population.

  • New WHO study reveals that while smoking by school-aged children has declined significantly, young people’s health and well-being is being undermined by gender and social inequalities

    A new pan-European WHO survey of schoolchildren reveals that the proportion of 15-year-olds who first smoked at the age of 13 has fallen significantly since 2010. The report goes on, however, to warn that while 80% of respondents report generally high rates of life satisfaction, differences between genders and socioeconomic status are adversely affecting many young people’s health, well-being and lifestyle choices at a critical stage in their development.

  • E-health – when, not if

    A new report on e-Health in the WHO European Region reveals that tangible progress has been made, with clear benefits for many countries. In most Member States, it has become commonplace for technology to be used to deliver health services and public health improvements, such as electronic health records.

  • Highest number of new HIV cases in Europe ever

    With HIV infection diagnosed in over 142 000 people in 2014, the WHO European Region recorded the highest number of newly diagnosed infections in 1 year since the start of reporting in the 1980s. The most recent surveillance data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe indicate that the growth of the HIV epidemic is driven by the eastern part of the Region, where the number of new diagnoses has more than doubled during the past decade.

  • European health decision-makers meet for high-level discussion on refugee and migrant health

    A WHO high-level meeting focused on refugee and migrant health, hosted by the Italian Government, opens today in Rome. The attendees, including ministers of health and high-level representatives from the 53 WHO European countries and other WHO regions, will convene to discuss how countries and partner organizations can improve health care and coverage for refugees and migrants. Participants aim to agree on a common approach and joint action needed to meet the health needs of these vulnerable groups.

  • Addressing the largest single cause of preventable deaths in Europe – cardiovascular disease

    People born in eastern Europe are almost five times more likely to die young due to a heart attack or stroke than those born in western Europe. Since 2000, this disparity in risk of premature death has significantly increased from a fourfold difference at the beginning of the century to the current nearly fivefold difference. These early and preventable deaths due to cardiovascular diseases are the greatest single contributor to the lower life expectancy in the east of Europe compared to the west.

  • Health ministers explore creating a health chain reaction for life

    The life-course approach, meaning looking at health through the life cycle, will take centre stage for the first time in Europe at the WHO Life-course conference in Minsk, Belarus. Ministers of Health and representatives of 53 Member States will join WHO experts to explore a new take on policy-making, focusing on the developmental origins of health and disease, as well as making a compelling case for policies that address health at the transitions in life, across ages and generations.

  • Europeans are living longer, but can it last? European health report 2015

    The latest European health report shows a Europe that has achieved striking successes and is on track to hit several targets, such as reducing premature mortality and setting further national targets for health. The report, which is the WHO Regional Office for Europe's analytical account of the health of the European Region and its progress towards the targets set by Health 2020, WHO's overarching health policy, also reveals a need to find and examine new kinds of evidence to understand the complex relationship between health, well-being and culture.

  • WHO European Region Member States commit to denormalizing tobacco

    Ministers of health from the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region signed up to a roadmap that will make it possible for coming generations to make tobacco a thing of the past. The roadmap was presented to the 65th session of the Regional Committee for Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania,

  • European ministers of health adopt strategy to tackle physical inactivity in 53 WHO Member States

    WHO estimates indicate that, in Europe, more than one third of adults and two thirds of adolescents are insufficiently active. Worldwide, physical inactivity causes 6–10% of cases of coronary heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer and 9% of premature mortality.

  • WHO supports European countries in managing health needs of refugee and migrant influxes

    In response to the growing numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in the European Region, WHO supports countries by offering medical supplies, assessing national preparedness to assist people in need, training personnel at points of entry in public health and migration matters, and providing information materials.

  • WHO European governing body to convene in Vilnius

    The 65th annual session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, the WHO European Region's governing body, will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 14–17 September 2015. Over 260 delegates, including ministers of health and other policy-makers, will attend the meeting as representatives of the 53 Member States of the Region. The Regional Committee is expected to endorse a new strategy on physical activity, a roadmap on tobacco control and an action plan for tuberculosis.

  • WHO/Europe obesity data: clarification

    Earlier today, Dr Joao Breda, Programme Manager for Nutrition, Obestiy and Physical Activity at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, presented the results of an obesity forecast exercise at the European Obesity Conference in Prague. The presentation said that unless immediate action is taken, the proportion of adults who are overweight or obese in Europe will rise by 2030.

  • At least one in three Europeans can be exposed to asbestos at work and in the environment

    About one third of the 900 million people in the WHO European Region live in countries that have not yet banned the use of all forms of asbestos, and this potentially exposes them at work and in the environment. In countries where asbestos is banned, exposure persists from past use. Exposure to asbestos can cause cancer of the lungs, ovaries and larynx; mesothelioma; and asbestosis and the most efficient way to eliminate these diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos. At its closure, the high-level meeting on environment and health in Haifa, Israel, urgently calls upon all European countries to eliminate asbestos-related diseases.

  • Air pollution costs European economies US$ 1.6 trillion a year in diseases and deaths, new WHO study says

    A staggering US$ 1.6 trillion is the economic cost of the approximate 600 000 premature deaths and of the diseases caused by air pollution in the WHO European Region in 2010, according to the first-ever study of these costs conducted for the Region. The amount is nearly equivalent to one tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the entire European Union in 2013.

  • Complex food chain increases food safety risks

    On World Health Day 2015, WHO/Europe estimates that levels of foodborne disease are much higher than currently reported and underlines the need for improved collaboration among sectors to lower the health risks associated with unsafe food.

  • New WHO report shows that transparency and cooperation help to reduce high prices for new medicines

    As the number of new medicines introduced in Europe rises, governments are finding it increasingly difficult to afford them, according to a comprehensive study released today by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The study illustrates the challenges for national health systems, with specific examples, and shows that few countries in the WHO European Region have mechanisms in place to evaluate the cost–effectiveness of new drugs; this hampers the value-assessment and decision-making processes.

  • Each day 1000 people fall sick with tuberculosis in the European Region

    An estimated 360 000 Europeans developed tuberculosis (TB) in 2013 – 1000 people on a daily basis. According to new data published today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the number of TB cases dropped by about 6% compared to 2012, continuing a sustained decline over the last decade across the Region. But rates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB remain at very high levels, particularly in the so-called 18 high-priority countries, which see 85% of all new TB cases in the Region. These countries also account for most of the 38 000 TB-related deaths in 2013.

  • WHO/Europe calls for scaled-up vaccination against measles

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe calls on policy-makers, health care workers and parents immediately to step up vaccination against measles across age groups at risk. This will help to put an end to the outbreaks occurring in countries in the WHO European Region and to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

  • WHO launches tool to help countries reduce marketing of foods with too much fat, sugar and salt to children

    Across the WHO European Region, children are still regularly exposed to marketing that promotes foods and drinks high in energy, saturated fats, trans fatty acids, free sugars or salt. Despite progress in some countries, government action to restrict such marketing remains less than optimal. One of the reasons for this is the challenge of identifying foods whose marketing should be restricted, whether on television, the Internet, billboards or any other channel. A first step in developing policies to restrict marketing to children is to establish the criteria that identify such foods and drinks.

  • Zsuzsanna Jakab appointed WHO Regional Director for Europe for second term

    WHO’s Executive Board, currently holding its 136th session in Geneva, has appointed Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, for a second term. This follows her nomination in September last year by the Regional Committee for Europe, which comprises the health ministers of the Region’s 53 Member States. Dr Jakab will start her new five-year term in February 2015.

  • Europe’s HIV response falls short in curbing the epidemic: 80% more new HIV cases compared to 2004

    The HIV epidemic has continued to spread in Europe since 2004 despite advances in medical treatment and new prevention options. In 2013, more than 136 000 new HIV cases were diagnosed across Europe and Central Asia, according to the most recent data published today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This represents an 80% increase compared to 2004, when almost 76 000 new cases were diagnosed.

  • WHO project to combat noncommunicable diseases with major grant from Russian Federation

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe will expand capacity in dealing with prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases through a major grant from the Russian Federation of 22 million USD over the next five years. The goal is to build capacity in the Region to combat avoidable NCDs through better data, more effective prevention and evidence-based disease management.

  • Pharmacists have decisive role in combating antibiotic resistance, says new WHO European survey

    Pharmacists are among the best positioned to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics, according to a new survey in the WHO European Region. They therefore have a crucial role in combating antimicrobial resistance, along with policy-makers and health practitioners: every player is key. On European Antibiotic Awareness Day, 18 November 2014, WHO advocates increasing the prudent use of antibiotics through pharmaceutical services in Europe.

  • Europe leads the world in eliminating trans fats

    Consumption of trans-fats is strongly associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and has been linked to several cancers. A growing number of countries in the European Region have recognized the potential for significant health gains from taking action to eliminate trans fats, and new data indicates that such action is highly effective in reducing trans fat consumption among the population.

  • Rising numbers of children living in poverty across Europe

    The number of children living in relative poverty is increasing across all Member States in the WHO European Region. The new WHO strategy – Investing in children: the European child and adolescent health strategy 2015–2020, launched today at the 64th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe – identifies the risks for children and adolescents and outlines actions to ensure the health and well-being of all.

  • Zsuzsanna Jakab nominated for second term as WHO Regional Director for Europe

    Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab has been nominated for a second five-year term as the Regional Director of the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) by the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. The Regional Committee is WHO’s governing body for the European Region, and comprises health ministers from the Region’s 53 Member States. The nomination will be submitted to the session of the WHO Executive Board to be held in January 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Board is expected to confirm the nomination, after which Ms Jakab will begin a second term in office on 1 February 2015.

  • WHO European Region advances health on political and social agendas: Health 2020 progress report

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe’s first report on progress in implementing the European health policy framework, Health 2020 demonstrates advances in health and health policy throughout the WHO European Region

  • WHO European governing body set to adopt innovative public health plans and nominate regional head of agency

    On 15 September, the annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe opens, bringing together representatives of the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region to take stock of what has been achieved and to decide what should be done next. During the four-day meeting, about 350 participants will consider the progress made in implementing the WHO European policy framework, Health 2020, and nominate the WHO Regional Director for Europe for a five-year term of office. The Regional Committee is also expected to endorse innovative action plans, negotiated over the last year, on some of the key public health issues in the Region: vaccination, child and adolescent health, prevention of child maltreatment, and food and nutrition.

  • WHO honoured with lung health award for air quality guidelines

    The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, received the award today (6 September 2014) at the annual European Respiratory Society (ERS) Congress in Munich, Germany.

  • Eight small countries in Europe join forces to improve health

    Eight European countries with populations of under 1 million have committed themselves to cooperating on a new project to improve their citizens’ health and well-being, and implement the European policy framework, Health 2020. Health ministers and other high-level officials from the countries participating in the project – Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino – will meet for the first time in San Marino on 3–4 July 2014, to put their plans into action.

  • Implementing the Health 2020 vision in the Nordic and Baltic countries: high-level meeting in Helsinki, Finland

    What policies reduce health inequities? Policy-makers and politicians will identify and share effective policies and interventions at a subregional policy dialogue organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on 16–17 June 2014.

  • Tobacco taxes save lives

    Increasing tobacco prices through taxation is the single most effective policy to reduce tobacco use and save lives. Tobacco use is the leading cause of death, killing around 6 million people globally and 1.6 million in the WHO European Region alone. It is a major contributor to noncommunicable diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease.

  • Alcohol consumption in Europe decreasing but still the highest in the world

    People in the WHO European Region drink almost twice the world average amount of alcohol, the latest WHO figures show. According to a new report, Global status report on alcohol and health 2014, consumption in Europe fell by 10%, from 12.2 L pure alcohol per capita in 2003–2005 to 10.9 L in 2008–2010. Nevertheless, Europe still has the highest alcohol consumption in the world. In response, some Member States are implementing effective policy measures identified by WHO, such as restricting access to retailed alcohol, raising taxes on alcohol and enforcing bans on alcohol advertising.

  • Cycling can create at least 76 600 jobs and save 10 000 lives every year in major European cities

    Over 76 600 people would be employed in green and healthy transport every year and 10 000 lives would be saved if major European cities reached the cycling modal share of Copenhagen. This is the conclusion of a new publication released today by UNECE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

  • 77 000 Europeans fall sick every year with vector-borne diseases

    People living in the WHO European Region do not escape diseases carried by vectors. On World Health Day, 7 April 2014, WHO calls on everyone to protect themselves from vector-borne diseases.

  • Four-fold difference in antibiotic consumption across the European Region – new WHO report

    A new report published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 20 March 2014, is the first to release data on total antibiotic consumption for countries outside the European Union (EU). The data (from 2011) indicate an almost fourfold difference between the lowest and the highest antibiotic users among 42 countries and regions in the WHO European Region (within and outside the EU), and provide a clear picture of the use of different groups of antibiotics.

  • Tuberculosis cases down by 5% each year but Europe failing to cure majority of multidrug-resistant patients

    Across the 53 countries of the WHO European Region, an estimated 353 000 patients fell sick with tuberculosis (TB) in 2012, according to new data published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. The data show an average annual 5% decline in TB incidence across the Region over the last decade.

  • New WHO analysis shows alarming rates of overweight children

    According to a new report published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, being overweight is so common that it risks becoming a new norm in the WHO European Region. For example, up to 27% of 13-year-olds and 33% of 11-year olds are overweight. The country profiles made by the Regional Office give a bleak picture of nutrition, obesity and physical inactivity in the European Region’s 53 Member States. The profiles were launched at a conference in Athens, Greece at the opening event for the Greek Presidency of the European Union (EU).

  • European Conference puts spotlight on Greek health system as it faces the challenges of reform

    Key stakeholders from the Greek and international communities are meeting to discuss how to boost the country’s health sector as part of the Greek health reform. The High-level Conference on the Greek Reforms in the Health Sector: Improving Citizens’ Health will take place in Athens on 12–13 December 2013, and will be attended by high-level officials from the Greek Government and regional authorities, and experts from the public and private sectors, the academic community and civil society. The Conference is organized by the Ministry of Health of Greece in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

  • Aspiring to a tobacco-free future in Europe

    Encouraged by the benefits of reduced tobacco consumption, the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region pledged to accelerate their efforts to fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) by signing the Ashgabat Declaration during the WHO Ministerial Conference on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020, held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on 3–4 December 2013.

  • Tackling cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in 53 countries: health ministers meet in Ashgabat,Turkmenistan

    Tobacco and alcohol use, obesity and physical inactivity are among the principal causes of death in the WHO European Region. Despite progress in tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), more needs to be done, so WHO is bringing together 35 European Member States at the WHO European Ministerial Conference on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020, to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on 3–4 December to find opportunities for regional action and cooperation.

  • HIV infections up by 8% across Europe. More testing and better treatment coverage recommended

    According to new data issued today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO/Europe, more than 131 000 new HIV infections were reported in the WHO European Region in 2012: 10 000 (8%) more than in 2011. This confirms a steady increase across the Region over that year: a 9% rise in countries in eastern Europe and central Asia (EECA) and a less than 1% rise in countries in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA).

  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and WHO/Europe launch first analytical tool to measure disparities in access to water and sanitation

    In the WHO European Region, access to water and sanitation varies widely between countries, provinces and even people in the same communities, regardless of countries’ level of development. A major difficulty in addressing these inequities is the lack of both a detailed picture of the level of access for all population groups and a clear understanding of the main factors in the origin of the inequities. This is especially relevant at times of financial crisis.

  • A quarter of all women in the WHO European Region experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner

    Today, on the first day of the 16-day global campaign of Activism Against Gender Violence, the City of Vienna, with the European Institute for Gender Equality and WHO/Europe, will raise the anti-violence flag to draw attention in Europe to this hidden epidemic.

  • How to avert a public health emergency. New review provides solutions to bridge the health divide across Europe

    Based on over three years of research by a cross-disciplinary consortium of Europe’s leading scientists, WHO/Europe today launches the "Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European Region", coordinated by University College London’s Institute of Health Equity. The launch is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department of Health.

  • Translating evidence into effective public health policy

    WHO/Europe is taking steps to improve Member States’ ability to use health information to create an evidence base for crucial public health questions. The Autumn School on Health Information and Evidence for Policy-making, a joint venture between WHO/Europe and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) of the Netherlands, is taking place on 7–11 October 2013 in Izmir, Turkey. Alongside it, the first workshop will be held of the multicountry Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet), Europe. Today, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, and the Minister of Health of Turkey, Dr Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, officially opened the Autumn School.

  • Healthy children learn best

    Studies have repeatedly shown that healthy children perform better in school. Researchers have known this for years, yet health and well-being are still not a top priority in most schools.

  • Intensive, productive Regional Committee closes: countries focused on implementation of new health policy framework

    The WHO Regional Committee for Europe, the decision-making body for the WHO European Region, wrapped up its sixty-third session today. Led by ministers and high-level representatives, European countries reached important agreements on a number of key public health issues and the technical and administrative work of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. More than 300 people from 51 Member States in the WHO European Region, international partners and nongovernmental organizations, along with observers, attended the session, which took place on 16–19 September 2013 in Çeşme Izmir, Turkey.

  • Psychiatric services not meeting demand – reform needed

    Across the WHO European Region, about 30% of years lived with disability can be attributed to mental disorders, but fewer than 50% of people with a mental disorder have ever received any kind of treatment and even fewer (10%) receive adequate care. This massive unmet need for treatment – the treatment gap – is the result of a combination of the stigma of mental health and mental health services, lack of accessibility and, when services are available, poor quality. Many people are reluctant to go for help owing to the fear associated with mental disorders and a lack of trust in the quality and effectiveness of treatment and care offered by mental health services.

  • WHO report draws attention to the abuse of 18 million children

    More than 18 million children aged under 18 years suffer from maltreatment in the European Region. Published in a new report from the WHO Regional Office, European report on preventing child maltreatment, these figures are a concern for any policy-maker implementing Health 2020, the new European health policy framework.

  • Health 2020 becoming reality

    Many Member States are now taking up the Health 2020 challenge, reflecting a clear and growing interest in implementing the Health 2020 policy framework in the WHO European Region. At the sixty-third session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, some 300 assembled ministers and stakeholders renewed their commitment to Health 2020. In addition to this, a high-level panel of ministers and delegates shared their plans and experience of implementing the Health 2020 vision within their own countries.

  • Report card for health in Europe: significant progress made, more work needed

    The health of people living in the WHO European Region today is better than ever before. Significant advances have been made recently in specific health areas. Yet despite being a Region rich in knowledge and innovation, and with a long history of public health, not every one of the 900 million people in the Region enjoys the highest possible level of health, and health inequalities threaten further progress.

  • Twice as many years lost due to ill health or premature death in low- and middle-income countries in Europe

    Despite significant progress in life expectancy in recent decades (an overall increase of 5 years over the past 30 years to 76 years on average), WHO data on disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) show a more complex picture of health, with inequalities across the 53 countries in the WHO European Region. According to the 2012 European health report, on average, low- and middle-income countries lose twice as many years to ill health or premature death as high-income countries in the Region.

  • Pharmaceutical innovation must align with patient needs, says new report

    For the first time, more people in European Union (EU) countries are aged over 65 years than under 15 years. Much of the rest of the world, including low-and middle-income countries, is moving in a similar direction. A new WHO report calls for pharmaceutical researchers to adjust their research and development work to take account of this shift.

  • European health ministers pledge to fight obesity

    In the WHO European Region, over 50% of people are overweight or obese and noncommunicable diseases cause 77% of the disease burden. At the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020, held in Vienna, Austria, ministers of health have renewed their commitment to turning this alarming tide by adopting a declaration calling for evidence-based solutions from across the Region. WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab said: “Putting this declaration into practice will mean that Europe embarks on a new wave of policy innovation to reduce obesity and promote health.”

  • Health ministers call for action to combat diet-related noncommunicable diseases

    More than 25 ministers of health have come together in Vienna, Austria to address the role of nutrition in combating noncommunicable diseases in the WHO European Region. The WHO European Ministerial Conference on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases in the context of Health 2020 is a response to obesity and poor nutrition, which play a huge role in noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

  • Lax marketing regulations contribute to obesity crisis in children

    WHO calls for tighter controls on the marketing to children of foods high in saturated and trans fats, free sugars and salt, in order to fight childhood obesity. Tightening restrictions on marketing is central to this fight, according to a new report from WHO/Europe: “Marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children”.

  • Living on the margins drives HIV epidemic in Europe and central Asia. Conclusion of new report

    Social and structural factors – such as poverty, marginalization and stigma – and not just individual behaviours are shaping the HIV epidemic in Europe and central Asia. This is the main conclusion of a new report released today by the World Bank Group, WHO/Europe and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The study systematically reviews evidence on HIV vulnerability and response in all countries of the WHO European Region.

  • Measles costs

    As European Immunization Week 2013 kicks off, WHO urges all 53 participating Member States in the European Region to consider the economic impact of measles and to restore or maintain effective national vaccination programmes, despite the difficulties of the economic downturn.

  • European experts meet to discuss impact of economic crisis on health

    Senior government officials representing the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region will meet in Oslo, Norway on 17–18 April 2013 to review the impact of the economic crisis on health and health systems in the Region, discuss the various policy responses, share lessons learned and agree on ways in which countries can better prepare for the future.

  • World Health Day 2013 – Reducing salt intake is key to reducing high blood pressure and stroke

    Reducing salt intake is one of the easiest ways to reduce high blood pressure and therefore the risks of stroke, and cardiac and kidney disease. Reducing salt intake to less than 5 g per day (the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon) reduces the risk of stroke by 23% and reduces the general rates of cardiovascular disease by 17%. The daily intake of most people in the WHO European Region is about 8–11 g, far above the recommended level.

  • Adequate treatment essential to stop tuberculosis across Europe – WHO/ECDC new report

    Over 1000 patients are estimated to fall sick with tuberculosis (TB) every day across Europe – or over 380 000 yearly – signalling that there is no room for complacency when it comes to TB prevention and control. Marking World TB Day, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and ECDC today released new surveillance data for 2011. The data show that while overall the number of TB cases has come down at a rate of 5% per year, countries in the eastern part of the WHO European Region bear 87% of the burden. These countries also recorded most of the estimated 44 000 TB deaths in 2011. The European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) countries reported over 72 000 cases of TB, which signifies a 4% decrease compared to 2010.

  • Road traffic deaths down by 25% but 92 000 still die each year in the WHO European Region

    The report “European facts and Global status report on road safety 2013” published today by WHO/Europe reveals significant improvement in overall fatalities but also indicates that only half of European countries have adequate road safety laws.

  • New WHO report reveals unequal improvements in health in Europe and calls for measurement of well-being as marker of progress

    While the overall level of health across the WHO European Region has clearly improved, European health statistics show inequities within and between countries, according to the European health report 2012. The report is WHO/Europe’s flagship publication, issued every three years.

  • Alcohol and tobacco use among young people falls in the Russian Federation

    Data published by WHO/Europe show a significant fall in alcohol and tobacco use by young people in the Russian Federation. The latest report from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study shows a decline in the number of 13-year-old girls who smoke at least once a week. Weekly smoking among 15-year-old boys and girls is also decreasing.

  • Newly found health effects of air pollution call for stronger European Union air policies

    Long-term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) can trigger atherosclerosis, adverse birth outcomes and childhood respiratory diseases, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) review released today. The review of evidence on health aspects of air pollution (REVIHAAP) also suggests a possible link with neurodevelopment, cognitive function and diabetes, and strengthens the causal link between PM2.5 and cardiovascular and respiratory deaths. The research was carried out at the request of the European Commission in the framework of the 2013 review of the European Union (EU)’s air policy.

  • Investing in response essential to curb HIV transmission in Europe

    New data for 2011 show that more than 121 000 new HIV cases were reported in the WHO European Region, including more than 28 000 in the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA). This indicates an increase for the Region from the previous year, which highlights the importance of sustaining interventions, even in times of economic austerity, to curb the continuing HIV transmission across Europe.

  • Self-prescription of antibiotics boosts superbugs epidemic in the European Region

    Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Viruses, which antibiotics do not affect, cause 9 out of 10 sore throats and 10 out of 10 cases of influenza. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily weakens their ability to work against infections when they are needed. This enables bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. On European Antibiotic Awareness Day 2012 (1), WHO advises the public to use antibiotics only when and as prescribed by a doctor.

  • Romania boosts efforts against drug-resistant tuberculosis

    Today, Romania launches a four-year national plan to fight tuberculosis, during the visit of the WHO Regional Director for Europe and the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. The Romanian national action plan to prevent and manage multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a timely response to a growing public health threat, to which over 80 000 people in the WHO European Region fall victim each year.

  • Health ministers adopt European policy for health and well-being

    Today the WHO European Region adopted a sustainable policy to protect and promote the health of its 900 million citizens, particularly the most vulnerable. The comprehensive new policy, called Health 2020, was endorsed by the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, WHO’s governing body for the Region, during its meeting in Malta.

  • 53 countries to set new European health roadmap for 2020 and beyond

    Health ministers and senior officials from the 53 countries in the WHO European Region are gathering in Malta next week to vote on an ambitious long-term WHO European policy for health and well-being, Health 2020.

  • European Region marks tenth anniversary of polio-free certification

    Today, the WHO European Region marks 10 years since it was certified free of poliomyelitis (polio). Stopping transmission of indigenous wild poliovirus in the 53 countries in the Region was a landmark in the effort to eradicate polio globally, and helped accelerate international momentum towards that goal.

  • Central Asia in the spotlight: growing HIV epidemic among people who inject drugs

    In the WHO European Region, people who inject drugs are particularly at risk of being infected with HIV. Concern is increasing in five central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), where more than half of newly diagnosed HIV infections occur among such people. This is the focus of the first meeting organized by WHO/Europe to address HIV prevention in this group in the central Asian republics.

  • Kills when used as prescribed – tobacco industry successfully targets girls with new marketing tactics

    A lethal combination of new media and a new market is threatening public health, with creative marketing tactics leading to a striking rise in smoking prevalence among women and girls in the WHO European Region. Tobacco-industry interference is the theme for World No Tobacco Day 2012.

  • WHO report reveals teenagers do not get a fair deal on health

    Widespread inequalities mean that many young people in the WHO European Region and North America are not as healthy as they could be, according to a new report on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

  • Media advisory: European Immunization Week 2012

    The WHO European Region marks the seventh European Immunization Week (EIW) from 21 to 27 April 2012. For the first time since its inception, EIW will have the support and participation of all 53 countries of the Region.

  • Are patients in control of their health care? European conference promotes patient-centred health systems

    Health systems are usually organized to deliver care to patients with the professional at the centre. But this traditional view of the relationship between patients and doctors is being review at the first European Conference on Patient Empowerment, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark on 11–12 April 2012.

  • World Health Day 2012 – Active ageing adds healthy life to years

    Europe’s population is living longer than ever before. Average life expectancy at birth in the 53 countries in the WHO European Region is over 72 years for men and around 80 for women. While birth rates and total population numbers are declining in some parts of the Region, the proportion of people aged ≥65 years is forecast almost to double between 2010 and 2050.

  • Adults in Europe consume three standard alcoholic drinks per day on average

    People in Europe consume more alcohol – 12.5 litres of pure alcohol equivalent per year on average – than in any other part of the world. How frequently, where and in what context alcohol is consumed influence the effect it has on health. “Alcohol in the European Union”, a new report by WHO co-sponsored by the European Commission, reveals significant subregional patterns of consumption and health effects across the European Union (EU).

  • Princess Mathilde of Belgium to visit Albania as WHO special representative: focus on frontline health workers and immunization

    The Belgian Court and WHO/Europe today announced that Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde, WHO’s Special Representative for Immunization, will visit Albania from 28 to 30 March 2012 to meet with and advocate for frontline health care workers.

  • New report: tuberculosis (TB) on the retreat in Europe, though concerns remain about drug-resistant strains and treatment failure

    To mark World TB Day, 24 March 2012, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO/Europe launch their joint report, “Tuberculosis surveillance and monitoring in Europe 2012”.

  • WHO launches expanded European Centre for Environment and Health in Bonn, Germany: new report on environmental health inequalities

    One citizen out of five dies from environment-associated diseases in the WHO European Region. The environmental burden of ill health varies significantly across the Region, however, ranging from 14% to 54%. Within countries, the poor can be exposed to environmental risks five times more often than their wealthier peers, a new WHO report concludes.

  • WHO Rome office closes at the end of 2011

    The Rome office of the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health is due to close at the end of December 2011. WHO’s work on environment and health in Europe remains a priority and is being consolidated in Bonn, Germany and Copenhagen, Denmark. This will allow the WHO Regional Office for Europe to maintain and strengthen its technical capacities in this area for the benefit of the 53 Member States of the European Region.

  • European countries must take action now to prevent continued measles outbreaks in 2012

    A new report today describing the large scale of measles outbreaks in European countries underscores their serious public health and economic implications. The World Health Organization European Region’s report emphasizes the urgent actions European countries should take to prevent measles outbreaks in 2012 and beyond, particularly with the approaching high season for measles transmission.

  • HIV cases continue to rise in Europe: WHO European Region launches new action plan to bring the epidemic under control

    The HIV epidemic is still not under control, according to a new surveillance report issued today. Over 118 000 cases of HIV were diagnosed in Europe in 2010, according to new data from 51 of the 53 of Member States in the WHO European Region, which were released today by WHO/Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Over three quarters of newly reported infections were from the eastern part of the Region.

  • Antibiotic resistance: what is not measured, is not done. Surveillance to be strengthened throughout Europe

    The two most common antibiotic-resistant bloodstream infections – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and resistant Escherichia coli – caused 8215 excess deaths (5503 and 2712, respectively) in 31 European countries in 2007.

  • WHO: “Be vaccinated against influenza and protect yourself against serious illness”

    As the influenza season is set to begin, WHO reminds Member States and their citizens that vaccination is the best tool available to prevent serious illness and death.

  • Measles virus continues to spread in the European Region: WHO calls on countries to step up response

    Member States in the WHO European Region continue to struggle with the uninterrupted spread of measles, reporting more than 26 000 confirmed cases in the first seven months of 2011. This represents a 276% increase from a comparable period in 2007.

  • WHO European Region aims to wipe out malaria in 4 years: Roll Back Malaria partners target strongholds of the disease

    Eliminating malaria by the end of 2015 in at least 8–10 additional countries globally, and thus from the entire WHO European Region, is one of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s objectives. A new WHO report, “Eliminating malaria: learning from the past, looking ahead”, clearly indicates that the 53 countries that make up the European Region are very close to reaching the goal.

  • No tobacco at EURO 2012

    The 14th Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Football Championship (EURO 2012) will be totally tobacco free. UEFA’s decision to ban tobacco from the world’s third largest sporting event sends a strong message to football fans everywhere, reaffirming the link between football and good health.

  • Deaths of 30 000 women can be prevented – WHO/Europe calls for more action on cervical cancer

    Last week, over 100 experts and policy-makers from 42 countries and 7 partner organizations gathered in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss the prevention of cervical cancer in the WHO European Region. This cancer kills 30 000 women in Europe every year – a preventable and unacceptable cost to society. An effective vaccine now exists to protect women against human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer, and effective screening programmes can trigger life-saving action before the disease starts.

  • South-eastern European health ministers tackle killer diseases together; health in all policies: how is it done?

    Health ministers from south-eastern Europe are devoting two days to considering how to involve other crucial sectors in reducing death and disease in their countries. The Third Health Ministers’ Forum will meet in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 13–14 October 2011, and be attended by health ministers and high-level officials from the 10 countries in the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN).

  • Media advisory: Third Health Ministers Forum, 13-14 October 2011

    Health ministers and high level officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Israel will hold their Third Ministerial Forum in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 13-14 October 2011.

  • Media advisory: Multidrug resistant TB “out of control” if we don’t act now

    You are invited to the launch of WHO/Europe’s new Road map to prevent and combat drug resistant tuberculosis.

  • What happens when a woman goes to prison? New checklists aim to reduce the price she pays

    A new joint publication by WHO/Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime addresses the special needs of women by providing checklists for decision-makers, senior prison managers and prison health staff to monitor the status of health care provided to women in prison.

  • Health in Islamic states: ministers meet to plan the next 10 years

    An ambitious ten-year action plan on health is on the table of the Islamic Conference of Health Ministers, which is meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan on 29 September – 1 October 2011. The Conference aims to improve and strengthen solidarity among Member States and cooperation among Islamic countries in the field of health care.

  • New WHO/Europe centre on noncommunicable diseases opens in Athens

    At a ceremony today in Athens, Greece, a new centre on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) was opened by Andreas Loverdos, Minister of Health and Social Solidarity of Greece, and Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

  • Europe fights back: WHO’s new action plan tackles antibiotic resistance

    Today, in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, 53 countries will discuss adopting a new European strategic action plan on antibiotic resistance. Developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe following extensive consultation with experts and policy-makers and based on the latest research, the action plan builds on the momentum created by World Health Day 2011, with its slogan of “No action today, no cure tomorrow”.

  • New research gives impetus to WHO plan to halt HIV spread

    At the sixty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, being held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 12 to 15 September 2011, the WHO Regional Office for Europe will present an action plan to Member States to halt the increasing spread of HIV in the WHO European Region.

  • European Member States show new resolve in tackling multidrug-resistant TB

    This week, at the sixty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, the 53 countries that make up the governing body for the WHO European Region are set to endorse an ambitious and rigorous action plan to combat multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (M/XDR-TB).

  • European Region has heaviest drinking in the world

    The 53 countries in the WHO European Region meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan from 12 to 15 September 2011 are endorsing a plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. In this Region, alcohol is the second largest risk factor for the death and disease burden, just after tobacco use.

  • Europe at forefront of global movement against major diseases

    In 2011, the world is waking up to a major threat to health and to economies. European governments are defining the actions they must take to control it. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes account for over 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in the WHO European Region. In advance of a United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on the subject next week, the health ministers of Europe are today set to discuss the core actions needed to control these diseases, in the face of the double burden of disease and financial crisis.

  • Governance for health: how do we respond to today’s complex health challenges?

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe today announced the findings of a comprehensive study that explores current thinking and innovative practices related to governance for health in the 21st century. The study also makes recommendations on how governments can strengthen governance for health through collaboration. Ministers of health and other high-ranking health officials from the 53 countries of the WHO European Region will discuss the study’s findings and recommendations at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan from 12 to 15 September 2011.

  • 53 European countries tackle killer diseases and public health: what the future holds for health, and how to beat diseases now

    Public health is a matter of public concern. On every proposal before the WHO European Region’s governing body, meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan on 12–15 September 2011, WHO/Europe has conducted wide consultation with technical experts, Member States, civil-society and partner organizations, and the online public.

  • Media advisory: WHO/Europe's action plan on drug-resistant tuberculosis could save 120 000 lives

    European ministers from 53 countries are set to endorse a new action plan to address MDR-TB the week of 12-15 September 2011 at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Baku, Azerbaijan.

  • Polio kicked out of Europe: European Region to retain polio-free status, but constant vigilance is needed

    The European Regional Certification Commission for Poliomyelitis Eradication (RCC) announced yesterday that Europe will retain its polio-free status after the importation of wild poliovirus type 1 in 2010. At their 25th meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark this week, the RCC noted that wild poliovirus transmission has been interrupted. No new cases have been reported since September 2010 because countries have taken effective action.

  • Press invitation from WHO/Europe

    The sixty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, WHO’s governing body for the Region, will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan on 12–15 September 2011.Health ministers and high-level policy-makers from the 53 Member States in the Region, from Iceland and Ireland to Israel and Uzbekistan, will be joined by representatives of partner organizations and civil society.This is a unique opportunity to meet the European health community as it makes decisions, and to report from a country that very few journalists cover.

  • Festival-goers and sports fans alerted to need for measles vaccination as cases mount

    The WHO European Region continues to struggle with measles outbreaks, with 38 countries reporting more than 12 000 cases to WHO/Europe from January through May 2011. Unless people are immunized, a summer calendar filled with large public events could exacerbate the situation and expose more children and adults to the disease.

  • "Lipstick" cigarette packages woo young women, while countries hesitate to use graphic warnings

    The new WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic reveals that only 13 out of 53 countries in the WHO European Region, most of them in the European Union, require cigarette packets to carry pictorial warnings about the dangers of smoking, and most of these graphic images cover less than half of the package. Of the remaining 40 countries, 27 stipulate that packets carry warnings of various kinds, but graphic images are not yet required, and the others call for weaker warnings. No country in the Region uses large and clear health warnings, on the front and back of packets, that highlight specific illnesses, as agreed in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

  • New evidence from WHO: inadequate housing causes more than 100 000 annual deaths in Europe

    Inadequate housing accounts for over 100 000 deaths per year in the WHO European Region and causes or contributes to many preventable diseases and injuries, including respiratory, nervous system and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. This is the main conclusion of a report, "Environmental burden of disease associated with inadequate housing", released today by WHO/Europe.

  • New WHO/Europe report: an estimated 10 000 old people physically abused every day

    Every year at least 4 million older people in the WHO European Region are estimated to suffer physical abuse: being slapped, punched, kicked, burned, wounded with a knife or locked in their rooms. Research also indicates that as many as 2500 older people may die at the hands of family members. These are the main findings of the new European report on preventing elder maltreatment, released today by WHO/Europe at the 3rd European Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, in Budapest, Hungary. The report gives the first description of the size, causes and consequences of elder maltreatment, and provides an overview of good practice in prevention.

  • Food safety remains a constant challenge, says WHO

    Food safety remains a constant challenge for all of us. The enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) outbreak in Germany has reinforced the importance of speed, coordination, information-sharing and preparedness.

  • Tobacco-control legislation: already saving lives

    The evidence shows that tobacco legislation is working. Confounding its early critics, it is already saving lives and improving health across the WHO European Region. Studies from countries that enforce bans on smoking in public places are finding reductions in heart attacks. Exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to cardiovascular diseases, cancer and tuberculosis, and the scientific literature indicates that, just a few months after the implementation of smoke-free laws, the hospitalization rates for myocardial infarctions decrease by 20–40%.

  • Germany investigates outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome

    An outbreak of severe illness is causing concern in Germany, where 3 women have died and 276 cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) have been reported since the second week of May. HUS, which can lead to kidney failure, is a complication of an infection by particular Escherichia coli bacteria. While most E. coli bacteria are harmless, a group called enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) can produce toxins, known as Shiga toxins or verotoxins, which damage blood cells and the kidneys.

  • Road safety saves lives and money

    Road-traffic crashes kill over 350 Europeans every day, or over 120 000 per year. Almost half of them are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists, and 6 out of 10 are aged 5–44 years. This unacceptable toll is particularly high in low- and middle-income countries. At the 2011 summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, Germany, WHO/Europe is launching the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 in the WHO European Region, along with the Global Plan for the Decade, which sets out how countries can save money, as well as lives.

  • Measles outbreaks spread across Europe: European Immunization Week offers chance to promote immunization

    Thirty countries in WHO’s European Region have reported a marked increase in measles cases, with 6 500 so far in 2011. Epidemiological investigations and genotyping by laboratories confirm exportation of the virus among several countries in the Region and to other regions of the world.

  • Increasing movement of displaced populations in the Mediterranean countries of the European Union: future challenges for health systems

    The high-level meeting “Increasing movement of displaced populations in the Mediterranean countries of the European Union: future challenges for the health systems” ended yesterday with a series of concluding remarks.

  • Complacency kills. Antibiotic resistance still on the rise in Europe

    Every year in the European Union alone it is estimated that over 25 000 people die of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, mostly acquired in hospitals. In the wider WHO European Region, which encompasses 53 countries, the full number is not known as data are not available, but the signs suggest that the situation is even worse. Doctors and scientists across the Region fear that with the reckless use of antibiotics, resulting in the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, we could return to a pre-antibiotic era where simple infections do not respond to treatment, and routine operations and interventions may become life-threatening.

  • Conclusions of the health mission in Lampedusa

    A two-day joint mission to the island of Lampedusa by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe was completed on 29 March 2011. It concluded that the public health situation in Lampedusa, where displaced people have arrived from northern Africa, is a cause for concern, although hitherto there have been no unusual infectious or other diseases detected among the newly arrived population.

  • New evidence from WHO on health effects of traffic-related noise in Europe

    Traffic-related noise accounts for over 1 million healthy years of life lost annually to ill health, disability or early death in the western countries in the WHO European Region. This is the main conclusion of the first report assessing the burden of disease from environmental noise in Europe, released today by WHO/Europe. Noise causes or contributes to not only annoyance and sleep disturbance but also heart attacks, learning disabilities and tinnitus.

  • First Lady of Georgia becomes Goodwill Ambassador for WHO/Europe

    At an official ceremony on Monday 28 March 2011, WHO/Europe welcomed the First Lady of Georgia, Mrs Sandra Roelofs, as WHO Goodwill Ambassador in the European Region for the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

  • WHO and the European Commission agree future common action in key areas

    Senior officials and technical experts from WHO and the European Commission (EC) met in Brussels on 24–25 March 2011 to outline and agree how the two partnering organizations will work more closely together in priority areas of shared interests.

  • Extreme weather events threaten safe drinking-water and sanitation

    Coping with the growing needs of water and sanitation services in cities is one of the most pressing issues of the century. A new book, Guidance on water supply and sanitation in extreme weather events, is presented by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the occasion of this year’s World Water Day “Water for Cities”.

  • Drug-resistant tuberculosis continues to spread: new report. Concern about childhood tuberculosis

    A new report, Tuberculosis surveillance in Europe 2009, a joint publication from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe to mark World TB Day 2011, provides evidence for concern about the spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and the persistence of TB among children. Concerted action is being undertaken in developing a regional MDR TB plan as well as addressing childhood TB.

  • European Member States plan for health in 2020

    Governments are facing new and difficult challenges that affect the health of their populations. It is time not only to coordinate a coherent response to the current situation but also to plan for the next 10 years, using the evidence on which approaches and solutions work best. WHO/Europe has been mandated by the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region to develop a new health policy framework for Europe, called Health 2020, and the all-important first consultation on it starts today.

  • WHO welcomes proposal for legislation for a smoke-free Hungary

    On Friday, 25 February 2011, a group of members of the Hungarian Parliament, with Government support, submitted a motion for legislation that would make public places, restaurants, bars and workplaces in the country smoke free. Debate on this proposal starts in Parliament today, 28 February. WHO/Europe welcomes this initiative.

  • WHO/Europe and Italy discuss European health support for people affected by the crisis in north Africa

    The crisis is evolving quickly, and the Minister of Health for Italy, Professor Ferruccio Fazio, was in Copenhagen on Sunday, 27 February 2011 to discuss with the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, how WHO/Europe can work with Italy to address the public health challenges faced by people affected by, and fleeing from, the crisis in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

  • World Cancer Day – WHO stresses importance of physical activity for cancer prevention

    In a new set of global recommendations on physical activity for health, WHO offers guidance to governments on the dose–response relationship between the frequency, duration, intensity, type and total amount of physical activity needed to prevent noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in various age groups.

  • First WHO indoor air quality guidelines on indoor chemicals now released

    A new volume of the global guidelines for indoor air quality is released today. WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: selected pollutants results from the contribution of over 60 international scientists to a project coordinated by WHO Regional Office for Europe and presents for the first time evidence and guidance to protect health globally from the impact of indoor chemicals.

  • European countries urge greater action on chronic disease prevention, control

    Ministers and officials from around 40 European countries today ended a two-day consultation on global and regional efforts to prevent and control the increasing deaths and suffering caused by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), as well as their effects on economies and development.

  • Landmark declaration signed on the health of children with intellectual disabilities

    Today, health policy-makers from the 53 countries in the WHO European Region signed a declaration expressing their commitment to improving the lives of children and young people with intellectual disabilities by improving their access to high-quality health care.

  • WHO and European countries to discuss growing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases

    High-level representatives of almost 40 governments in the WHO European Region will meet in Norway tomorrow to strengthen efforts to prevent and control the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

  • European countries set targets for giving everyone access to safe and affordable water and sanitation

    Reducing economic barriers to access to safe drinking-water is one of the key objectives of the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health, which starts today in Bucharest, Romania.

  • WHO releases two major reports

    WHO headquarters has just released two major global reports: the 2010 world health report, launched in Berlin on 22 November at a ministerial conference on health financing hosted by the Government of Germany; and a new report on health inequities in urban settings, released in Kobe, Japan last week.

  • New European guidelines on sexuality education: experts say sexuality education should start from birth

    The first detailed European guidelines to help public health decision-makers develop appropriate curricula for sexuality education have been issued.

  • Acclaimed scientists join senior advisory group on health inequities in Europe

    Nobel-Prize-winning economist Professor Amartya Sen will be among the many globally acclaimed experts joining a senior advisory group to assist a research project mapping health inequities in the 53 countries in the WHO European Region.

  • Vaccine recommendations for winter influenza season

    WHO/Europe has released interim recommendations on influenza vaccination for the 2010/2011 winter season.

  • Forty young Europeans murdered every day: new WHO report shows these deaths can be avoided

    Violence claims the lives of 40 young people every day in the WHO European Region – over 15 000 each year – according to new data from WHO; 4 out of 10 of these homicides are perpetrated with knives.

  • WHO and European Commission adopt joint declaration

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission adopted a joint declaration today, seeking to strengthen policy dialogue and technical cooperation on public health.

  • WHO Regional Committee for Europe to convene in Moscow

    Health ministers and decision-makers from 53 countries will lay ground for a new pan-European health policy.

  • WHO calls for united action against HIV in Europe

    Speaking at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, WHO experts today drew attention to the glaring disparities between countries in western and eastern Europe in providing access to HIV services for people living with HIV.

  • Certification commission helps Europe keep up its guard against polio

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe held the 23rd Meeting of the European Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication in Copenhagen, Denmark on 28–29 June 2010.

  • Health care a priority for thousands affected by Kyrgyzstan violence

    The World Health Organization is coordinating the international health response to the humanitarian crises in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, where delivering health care to thousands of displaced people remains a major challenge.

  • World No Tobacco Day - May 31, 2010: Women are huge potential market for the tobacco industry

    Tobacco advertising targeting women has gained prominence around the world, recruiting increasing numbers of women and girls as tobacco consumers, the WHO Regional Office for Europe warns, ahead of World No Tobacco Day (31 May 2010).

  • WHO responds to polio outbreak in Tajikistan

    The World Health Organization has deployed a team of experts to investigate a polio outbreak in the south-west of Tajikistan, in the area bordering Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

  • European Immunization Week: 46 countries in Europe recommit to eliminating measles

    The WHO European Region has seen a dramatic reduction in reported measles cases, from 200 000 in 1994, to 30 000 in 2003 and 7 375 in 2009. Nevertheless, there have been significant setbacks in recent years.

  • World Health Day 2010: Tackling health inequalities should be a priority

    WHO is launching a global campaign to raise awareness of the impact of increasing urbanization on the health and lifestyles of people around the globe.

  • New report by ECDC and WHO/Europe: tuberculosis rates and treatment remain a concern

    Two leading organizations dealing with health surveillance in Europe – the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) – have released their second annual joint report Tuberculosis surveillance in Europe 2008.

  • European governments adopt comprehensive plan to reduce environmental risks to health by 2020

    Governments from northern, western, central, southern and eastern Europe adopted a declaration today pledging to reduce the adverse health impact of environmental threats in the next decade.

  • European countries to agree new targets to fight environmental threats to health

    The Ministerial Conference taking place between 10 and 12 March in Parma, Italy brings together over 800 participants, including ministers of health and of the environment, representatives of the European Commission, intergovernmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, scientists and youth delegates.

  • Up to 40% of cancer cases could be prevented

    People can significantly reduce their cancer risk by avoiding risk factors (such as tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure and obesity) and adopting healthier lifestyles

  • New leader at the helm of WHO’s Regional Office for Europe

    Zsuzsanna Jakab will take up her post as the new WHO Regional Director for Europe on 1 February 2010. Mrs Jakab will succeed Dr Marc Danzon, who has held the post since 2000.

  • Findings of new WHO study: 70% of deaths on European roads occur in poorer countries and 40% are among pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists

    Two out of three road traffic deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study from the WHO Regional Office for Europe published today.

  • Georgia’s health system performance: significant steps taken but challenges remain

    Conclusions of a new report prepared by the Georgian Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank experts.

  • Protecting children from a forgotten but deadly disease: WHO releases global action plan to prevent and treat pneumonia

    WHO estimates that bacterial pneumonia – caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and Streptococcus pneumoniae – leads to about 19 500 deaths each year.

  • The unintentional punishment: time in prison should not lead to infection with HIV or tuberculosis

    At any given time, over two million people are imprisoned in penal institutions in Europe.

  • One in five Europeans is regularly exposed to sound levels at night that could significantly damage health

    WHO Regional Office for Europe launches its Night noise guidelines for Europe. The book provides ground-breaking evidence on how exposure to night noise can damage people’s health, and recommends guideline levels to protect health

  • New nominee for WHO Regional Director for Europe

    Zsuzsanna Jakab has been nominated as the new WHO Regional Director for Europe at the annual meeting of the WHO European Region’s governing body held this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • No compromise on pandemic vaccine safety in the pursuit of quick delivery

    Pressure to meet demands for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 vaccine must not compromise safety standards, WHO experts stressed today.

  • How can health systems navigate through difficult economic times?

    The current economic crisis has already affected or threatened both the standards of living of millions of individuals and families in the WHO European Region and the revenue base for health and social protection schemes, states a new report released today.

  • WHO publishes first indoor air quality guidelines on dampness and mould

    Today, WHO publishes its first guidelines on indoor air quality, addressing dampness and mould. (1) They are the result of a rigorous two-year review of the currently available science by 36 leading experts worldwide, coordinated by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

  • Influenza A (H1N1): WHO announces pandemic alert phase 6, of moderate severity

    Today, based on assessment of all available information and following expert consultations, WHO raised the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) alert level from phase 5 to phase 6.

  • Warnings on tobacco packages work.

    Health warnings on tobacco packaging that combine text and pictures are one of the most cost-effective ways to increase public awareness of the serious health risks of tobacco use and reduce consumption.

  • Influenza A(H1N1) in the WHO European Region

    As of 14 May, 34 countries worldwide had reported a total of 7457 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) to WHO, including 65 deaths.

  • World Malaria Day 2009

    Owing to intensive anti-malaria interventions, the number of reported malaria cases in the WHO European Region has fallen by more than 150-fold since 1995.

  • European Immunization Week 2009 goes online

    The WHO Regional Office for Europe invites the media to play an active role in promoting the new European Immunization Week (EIW) campaign site and the video, which is launched on 22 April 2009.

  • Earthquake in Abruzzo Region of Italy Earthquake in Abruzzo Region of Italy

    As rescue workers continue to search the rubble, the full scale of the earthquake and its aftershocks that struck the town of L’Aquila and surrounding villages is becoming clearer. Latest figures from the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Policy and the President of the Abbruzzo Region indicate that 251 people have died, 1179 were injured and 25 000 have lost their homes and are temporarily displaced.

  • Addressing the global economic crisis while fighting inequalities

    Copenhagen, Oslo, 2 April 2009

  • The WHO Regional Office for Europe and EuroPharm Forum step up collaboration on pharmacy practice for mental health, obesity and palliative care and acknowledge the role of pharmacists in health systems

    Copenhagen, 30 March 2009

  • WHO calls for scaling up of measles vaccination. Children in affluent European countries have a higher risk of infection

    Copenhagen, 26 February 2009

  • Healthy indoor environments protect children’s health

    Copenhagen and Luxembourg, 28 January 2009

  • Sustainable and healthy transport can help boost economies

    Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Geneva, 22 January 2009

  • Injuries affect poor children most

    Copenhagen, Rome, 10 December 2008

  • Newly reported HIV cases on the rise in Europe

    Copenhagen, Stockholm, 1 December 2008

  • 250th anniversary of the I. M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy

    Moscow, 18 November 2008

  • Science for policy, policy for science: bridging the gap

    Copenhagen and Madrid, 20 October 2008

  • European city leaders pledge to involve health and health equity in all local policies

    Copenhagen and Zagreb, 18 October 2008

  • World Food Day event to discuss health implications of climate change

    Copenhagen, Rome, 14 October 2008

  • More than 10-fold difference in number of psychiatrists across Europe

    Copenhagen, London, 10 October 2008

  • Complex and persistent health issues in spotlight as WHO Director-General and Georgian President address WHO governing body in Tbilisi

    Copenhagen, Tbilisi, 17 September 2008

  • WHO governing body to make decisions affecting health systems

    Copenhagen, Tbilisi, 16 September 2008

  • European ministers sign groundbreaking charter on health systems

    Tallinn, Copenhagen, 27 June 2008

  • Breakthrough in public health debate at ministerial conference

    Tallinn, Copenhagen, 26 June 2008

  • Analysing Estonia’s health system for further improving its performance

    Brussels, Copenhagen, Tallinn, 25 June 2008

  • WHO report launched at Ministerial Conference calls for joint action to manage migration of health professionals

    Tallinn, Copenhagen, 24 June 2008

  • Does better health lead to better wealth?

    Copenhagen, Tallinn, 23 June 2008

  • Young people’s health and health-related behaviours

    Copenhagen, 17 June 2008

  • Global campaign targets tobacco industry’s efforts to capture a new generation of smokers

    Copenhagen, 2 June 2008

  • No evidence to link death of young Ukrainian to vaccine

    Kyiv, 30 May 2008

  • WHO, UNICEF and CDC regret the Government of Ukraine’s decision to suspend the National Measles and Rubella Vaccination Campaign

    Copenhagen, Kyiv, 20 May 2008

  • Is physical activity a reality for all?

    Copenhagen, 8 May 2008

  • Can hospitals be encouraged to perform better?

    Copenhagen, Tallinn, 5 May 2008

  • Immunization and the paradox of success

    Copenhagen, 21 April 2008

  • Protecting health from climate change

    Copenhagen, 4 April 2008

  • Who is steering Europe towards better health?

    Copenhagen, Rome 3 April 2008

  • Every hour, 49 people are diagnosed with and 7 die from tuberculosis. Are health systems failing to save them?

    Copenhagen, 17 March 2008

  • Europe strengthens its commitment to preserve children’s futures through healthy environments

    Copenhagen, Milan, Rome 10 March 2008

  • WHO appeals for assistance to Tajikistan affected by cold and emergency crisis

    Copenhagen, Dushanbe, 22 February 2008

  • Tajikistan: severe cold and energy supply crisis threatens health

    Copenhagen, 12 February 2008

  • Report shows action on environment has potential to prevent disease

    Vienna, Copenhagen, 13 June 2007