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Global health news briefs - February 2021

January / February 2021 | Volume 20 Number 1

WHO issues genomic sequencing guide

The growing global investment in applying genomic sequencing to rapidly diagnose, monitor and track the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 has spurred the WHO to release guidance on how to maximize these efforts. The publication includes practical considerations for implementing genomic sequencing programs and an overview of public health objectives.

Refugees’ survey shows COVID impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a highly negative impact on the living and working conditions of refugees and migrants, according to a WHO study. Of the more than 30,000 refugees and migrants around the world who were surveyed, more than half reported greater levels of depression, fear, anxiety and loneliness.

Measles cases, deaths continue global rise

In 2019, global measles cases increased to over 860,000 and deaths rose to more than 207,000, according to a report jointly issued by the U.S. CDC and the WHO. Measles deaths have steadily increased by 50% since achieving a record low in 2016. Insufficient vaccination of the world’s children is to blame, the study said.

Toolkit launched to combat TB

WHO and TDR have developed an interactive web-based toolkit that supports national tuberculosis programs and other partners to conduct implementation research designed to evaluate digital technologies for TB care. The resource guides users through the steps to conceptualize, budget and prepare for an IR study.

WHO reveals leading causes of death

Noncommunicable diseases now make up seven of the world’s top 10 causes of death, according to the WHO’s Global Health Estimates report, which provides data from 2000 to 2019. Heart disease remains the number one killer, while diabetes and dementia have now entered the top 10.

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