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The way forward

The World Health Assembly was held in Geneva in May where global healthcare leaders set out an ambitious plan for a new era of healthcare. In a wideranging and important speech, Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, noted the great achievements that have been made in the past 15 years and clearly pointed to the challenges humanity faces with regards healthcare. In this issue - read her speech and check the key resolutions adopted by the Assembly.

In the wake of a swathe of attacks on medical facilities and health workers in Syria and Yemen, the Security Council - the highest council in the United Nations - unanimously adopted an important resolution, demanding countries and their militaries respect and protect hospitals and health workers in conflict zones.

In a hard-hitting statement, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, said: "All too often, attacks on health facilities and medical workers are not just isolated or incidental battlefield fallout, but rather the intended objective of the combatants. This is shameful and inexcusable."

The Red Cross's Peter Maurer said: "Attacking a hospital, threatening a doctor, coercing a nurse to give preferential treatment to armed fighters, hijacking ambulances, using patients as human shields - these are not collateral damage. These are not sad realities we have to get used to. They are abominations to fight and trends to roll back."

In our focus on paediatrics in this issue we look at hepatocyte transplantation in children, which offers a promising alternative to orthotopic liver transplantation. We also highlight new research into the discovery of a disease gene for severe paediatric heart disease. The researchers say the gene should be checked in routine diagnostic screening to identify affected children and their families.

Also in this issue, we speak to Dr Mohamad Sayegh, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at American University of Beirut about, and the progress being made with, AUBMC's 2020 vision to provide world-class healthcare to the people of Lebanon.

We also speak to Dr Asem Mansour, the CEO and Director General of King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman about the large expansion currently underway at of one of the region's leading cancer facilities.

In the news, the World Bank launched a Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), an innovative, fast-disbursing global financing mechanism designed to protect the world against deadly pandemics. Positive results from an early trial for an HIV vaccine, provides hope for an effective vaccine for HIV. It will now be tested in a larger trial. And a novel malaria vaccine has been shown to protect a small number of healthy adults in a phase 1 trial. This promising vaccine will also be tested in larger trials.

 

Callan Emery
Editor
editor@MiddleEastHealthMag.com

(Jul-Aug 2016)

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