World Hepatitis Day, which this year falls on 29 July 2018, is an annual event organised by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), with the aim of raising awareness of the global threat of hepatitis. This year’s theme is ‘Find the missing millions’, a campaign which highlights the estimated 300 million people across the globe who are living with viral hepatitis but are unaware of their infection and are not receiving care. Unless these people are detected and treated, they face the risks of liver disease, liver cancer and of spreading the infection to others.
The WHA are launching a three-year programme to find the missing millions and aim to have diagnosed 30% of people by 2020 and 95% by 2030. The WHA hope to achieve this by raising awareness globally, influencing national testing policies, encouraging people to be tested and improving linkage to care.
In Scotland, a short-life working group, chaired by Prof John Dillon (University of Dundee and NHS Tayside) and Dr Esther Aspinall (Glasgow Caledonian University and NHS Ayrshire & Arran), has been commissioned to generate specific recommendations to intensify the effort to identify people who remain undiagnosed with hepatitis C and ensure that people who are already diagnosed find it easy to access therapy, particularly in community settings. The group is due to report their recommendations in the autumn of 2018.
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) finds that countries are making significant steps in tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR), but serious gaps remain that require further action.
The report examines surveillance, education, monitoring and regulating consumption and use of antimicrobials in human health, animal health and production as well as plants and the environment. Observing progress in 154 countries, the report reveals wide discrepancies. Some, including many European countries, have been working on AMR policies in human and animal sectors for more than 40 years, whereas others have only recently started to take action.
Source: WHO, 18 July 2018
The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) OpenFoodTox database on chemical hazards has been updated and now includes data on over 4,750 chemical substances. The database is also more accessible thanks to an improved interface with more features for exploring the data.
The new version of the database also updates over 1,816 health based guidance values, such as acceptable and tolerable daily intakes. The data has been extracted from an additional 132 EFSA assessments in areas such as pesticides, contaminants, food ingredients, food and feed additives.
OpenFoodTox provides summary toxicological data used by EFSA for the setting of safe levels (reference points and reference values) of food and feed chemicals in humans, animals and the environment.
Source: EFSA, 19 July 2018
On 19 July 2018, the UK Government published its new strategy for tackling climate change. The second National Adaptation Programme 2018 to 2023 (NAP) sets out an ambitious strategy for dealing with the effects of a changing climate.
The strategy comes after the Climate Change Risk Assessment was published in January 2017 and addresses the risks affecting communities across England. It also sets out the government’s on-going investment and work to tackle these risks.
As part of the NAP, the government has set out a strategy for inviting infrastructure operators to report on the actions they are taking to adapt to climate change. The government will work with sectors and provide support to organisations as they develop their reporting processes, which will help them understand and take action to address the impacts of climate on their businesses.
In the last reporting cycle, 86 organisations completed adaptation reports. They identified very clearly the climate risks their industry is facing, presented the risks and opportunities arising and set out actions they are implementing to adapt. For instance, they include work on flooding adaptation, on reviewing critical industry standards and an ongoing monitoring of climate impacts.
The NAP sets out to complement the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which demonstrates how the UK can benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through the creation of new technologies and businesses.
Source: UK Government, 19 July 2018
A new partnership has been formed between the UK’s ornamental aquatic industry and scientists, who have come together to develop a method to detect illegal cyanide fishing, a banned method in which fish are stunned using diluted cyanide.
The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) are reviewing existing science and exploring new methods to ensure fish sources for the trade are not caught using cyanide.
Ornamental fish outnumber other pets in the UK with over 100 million fish kept in aquariums and garden ponds by 14% of the UK population.
Source: Cefas, 12 July 2018
Senior officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission (EC) met on 29 June 2018 for a meeting focused on strengthening the organisations’ collaboration on public health, reviewing on-going joint initiatives and discussing shared future priorities.
The meeting covered a range of topics, including universal health coverage, health emergencies, immunisation, antimicrobial resistance, air quality and more. The implementation of the 2015 Vilnius Declaration, which sets out the basis of the ongoing cooperation between DG SANTE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO Europe), will be discussed over the coming year.
The two bodies agreed to further improve cooperation on several issues including strengthening health systems and universal health coverage, health emergencies and healthier populations.
Source: WHO Europe, 19 July 2018