The WHO has declared the Zika
virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern following
a surge in the number of cases of babies born with microcephaly
in South and Central America which appear to be linked to Zika virus
infection during pregnancy. The Zika virus is transmitted by the
Aedes aegypti mosquito. The declaration will help free up funds
for urgent research initiatives to find out more about the virus
and develop a vaccine. There have been no cases of Zika virus infection
in the Middle East, but countries in the region have been warned
to take recautions as the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also responsible
for transmitting dengue, is found in some countries in the region.
Another large Arab Heath exhibition
has come and gone in
To mark World Cancer Day on 4 February,
the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional office issued a plea for people to stop smoking,
eat healthy food and keep active. The WHO said the Middle East region
is projected to have the highest growth in cancer in the world over
the next 20 years.
Dubai. The 41st Arab Health Exhibition and Congress saw more than
4000 companies exhibiting their products. We spoke to some of them.
Most were very upbeat about future prospects for business in the
region saying the region was still experiencing rapid growth because
of the continued expansion of healthcare infrastructure.
Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director
for the Eastern Mediterranean, noted that the rise in cancer rates
regionally was due to unhealthy lifestyles, but also limited access
to treatment. He said there are serious gaps in access to treatment
and quality cancer care in many countries of this Region. “Health
systems need to be strengthened by moving towards universal health
coverage which means ensuring health care services to all people
In this issue you’ll find reports
on the above, along with medical news, research reports and new