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The health and safety of our community is our top priority. We know that many people are understandably concerned about the current pandemic situation. MCAST is taking increased health and safety measures to address these concerns while ensuring that learning can continue. As the situation continues to develop, please stay updated by visiting for the latest information. You can also visit the circulars section for all the official messages sent to staff and students.



  • Communicable disease threats report, 29 June−5 July 2024, week 27
    by ECDC on July 5, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    This issue of the ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) covers the period 29 June−5 July 2024 and includes updates on SARS-CoV-2 variant classification, swine influenza, an overview of respiratory virus epidemiology in the EU/EEA, parvovirus infection, avian influenza, West Nile virus infections, mass gatherings and botulism.

  • Communicable disease threats report, 22-28 June 2024, week 26
    by ECDC on June 28, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    This issue of the ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) covers the period 22-28 June 2024 and includes updates on cholera, chikungunya and dengue, influenza, West Nile virus, and mass gathering monitoring or the UEFA European Football Championship and Hajj.

  • The advice-making process for school continuity in Norwegian secondary schools during autumn and winter, 2021
    by ECDC on June 20, 2024 at 8:00 am

    This After-Action Review (AAR) investigates the use of evidence in Norway’s advice-making process about school continuity in secondary (13–15 years old) and upper secondary schools (16–18 years old) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Communicable disease threats report, 8-14 June 2024, week 24
    by ECDC on June 14, 2024 at 3:10 pm

    This issue of the ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) covers the period 8-14 June 2024 and includes updates on avian influenza, an overview of respiratory virus epidemiology in the EU/EEA, cholera, West Nile virus infections, measles and mass gatherings.

  • Communicable disease threats report, 1-7 June 2024, week 23
    by ECDC on June 7, 2024 at 2:34 pm

    This issue of the ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) covers the period 1-7 June 2024 and includes updates on SARS-CoV-2 variant classification, cholera, out-of-season increase in norovirus, seasonal surveillance on West Nile virus infections, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), influenza A(H5N2), Oropouche virus disease, and an overview of respiratory virus epidemiology in the EU/EEA.

News (English) - World Health Organization Corporate news releases, statements, and notes for media issued by the World Health Organization.

  • The Gambia’s decision to uphold ban on FGM critical win for girls’ and women’s rights
    on July 15, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Joint statement by UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell, UNFPA Executive Director, Natalia Kanem, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk  “Following the vote today by the National Assembly of The Gambia, we commend the country’s decision to uphold the ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), reaffirming its commitments to human rights, gender equality, and protecting the health and well-being of girls and women. “FGM involves cutting or removing some or all of the external female genitalia. Mostly carried out on infants and young girls, it can inflict severe immediate and long-term physical and psychological damage, including infection, later childbearing complications, and post-traumatic stress disorder.“The Women’s (Amendment) Act, 2015 – a pivotal milestone in advancing gender equality – is the culmination of years of advocacy, community engagement, and education aimed at eradicating this harmful practice and meeting the Sustainable Development Goal targets (5.3). It is, therefore, crucial that these legal protections remain in place. “The decision to maintain the FGM ban aligns with The Gambia's international and regional commitments to prevent harmful practices against girls and women, consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the Maputo Protocol protecting African women’s rights.“In addition to recognizing this critical decision by the national parliament, we commend the tireless efforts of survivors, activists, civil society organizations, and faith-based groups working to end FGM. Upholding the ban supports these grassroots initiatives, which are pivotal in ending all forms of violence, including harmful practices, against girls and women and delivering a safer and healthier future for girls and women in The Gambia and elsewhere.  “The fragility of progress to end FGM cannot be overstated. Assaults on women’s and girls’ rights in countries around the globe have meant that hard-won gains are in danger of being lost. In some countries, advancements have stalled or reversed due pushback against girls’ and women's rights, instability, and conflict, disrupting services and prevention programmes. “That is why legislative bans on FGM, while a crucial foundation for interventions, cannot alone end FGM. Today, more than 73 per cent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 in the country have already undergone this harmful practice, with many subjected to it before their fifth birthday.  “Recent months have emphasized the need for continued advocacy to advance gender equality, end violence against girls and women, and secure the gains made to accelerate progress to end FGM. It also underscores the importance of engaging with communities and grassroots organizations, working with traditional, political, and religious leaders, training health workers, and raising awareness effectively on the harms caused by the practice.  “Supporting survivors of FGM remains as urgent as ever. Many suffer from long-term physical and psychological harm that can result from the procedure, and need comprehensive medical and psychological care to heal from the scars inflicted by this harmful practice.   “We remain steadfast in our commitment to support the government, civil society, and communities in The Gambia in the fight against FGM. Together, we must not rest until we ensure that all girls and women can live free from violence and harmful practices and that their rights, bodily integrity, and dignity are upheld."   About UNICEF UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit:  Follow UNICEF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube    About UNFPA UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. UNFPA's mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, quality maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education. For more information about UNFPA and its work, visit:   About WHO Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for health that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.       About UN Women UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit UN Women, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, New York. Tel: +1 646 781-4400. Fax: +1 646 781-4496. For more information, visit   About UN Human RightsThe Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights. We represent the world's commitment to the promotion and protection of the full range of human rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.For more information, visit:  

  • Global childhood immunization levels stalled in 2023, leaving many without life-saving protection
    on July 14, 2024 at 11:53 pm

    Global childhood immunization coverage stalled in 2023, leaving 2.7 million additional children un- and under-vaccinated compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to data published today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.The latest WHO and UNICEF estimates of national immunization coverage (WUENIC) – which provide the world’s largest and most comprehensive dataset on immunization trends for vaccinations against 14 diseases – underscore the need for ongoing catch-up, recovery and system-strengthening efforts.“The latest trends demonstrate that many countries continue to miss far too many children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Closing the immunization gap requires a global effort, with governments, partners, and local leaders investing in primary healthcare and community workers to ensure every child gets vaccinated, and that overall healthcare is strengthened.”According to the findings, the number of children who received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) in 2023 – a key marker for global immunization coverage – stalled at 84% (108 million). However, the number of children who did not receive a single dose of the vaccine increased from 13.9 million in 2022 to 14.5 million in 2023.More than half of unvaccinated children live in the 31 countries with fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings, where children are especially vulnerable to preventable diseases because of disruptions and lack of access to security, nutrition, and health services.Additionally, 6.5 million children did not complete their third dose of the DTP vaccine, which is necessary to achieve disease protection in infancy and early childhood.These trends, which show that global immunization coverage has remained largely unchanged since 2022 and – more alarmingly – has still not returned to 2019 levels, reflect ongoing challenges with disruptions in healthcare services, logistical challenges, vaccine hesitancy and inequities in access to services.Low vaccine coverage already driving measles outbreaksThe data further show that vaccination rates against the deadly measles disease stalled, leaving nearly 35 million children with no or only partial protection.In 2023, only 83% of children worldwide received their first dose of the measles vaccine through routine health services, while the number of children receiving their second dose modestly increased from the previous year, reaching 74% of children. These figures fall short of the 95% coverage needed to prevent outbreaks, avert unnecessary disease and deaths, and achieve measles elimination goals.Over the last five years, measles outbreaks hit 103 countries – home to roughly three-quarters of the world’s infants. Low vaccine coverage (80% or less) was a major factor. In contrast, 91 countries with strong measles vaccine coverage did not experience outbreaks.“Measles outbreaks are the canary in the coalmine, exposing and exploiting gaps in immunization and hitting the most vulnerable first,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is a solvable problem. Measles vaccine is cheap and can be delivered even in the most difficult places. WHO is committed to working with all our partners to support countries to close these gaps and protect the most at-risk children as quickly as possible.”Global HPV vaccine coverage among girls increased substantiallyThe new data also highlight some brighter spots in immunization coverage. The steady introduction of new and under-utilized vaccines, including for human papillomavirus (HPV), meningitis, pneumococcal, polio and rotavirus disease, continue to expand the breadth of protection, particularly in the 57 countries supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  For example, the share of adolescent girls globally who received at least 1 dose of the HPV vaccine, which provides protection against cervical cancer, increased from 20% in 2022 to 27% in 2023. This was largely driven by strong introductions in Gavi-supported countries, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The use of the single-dose HPV vaccine schedule also helped boost vaccine coverage."The HPV vaccine is one of the most impactful vaccines in Gavi’s portfolio, and it is incredibly heartening that it is now reaching more girls than ever before,” said Dr Sania Nishtar, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “With vaccines now available to over 50% of eligible girls in African countries, we have much work to be done, but today we can see we have a clear pathway to eliminating this terrible disease.”  However, HPV vaccine coverage is well below the 90% target to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem, reaching only 56% of adolescent girls in high-income countries and 23% in low- and middle-income countries. A recent poll of over 400 000 users of UNICEF’s digital platform for young people, U-Report, revealed that over 75% are unaware or unsure of what HPV is, underscoring the need for better vaccine accessibility and public awareness. When informed about the virus, its link to cancers, and the existence of a vaccine, 52% of respondents indicated they want to receive the HPV vaccine but are hindered by financial constraints (41%) and lack of availability (34%).Robust local action needed to reach everyone, everywhere with vaccinesWhile there’s been modest progress in some regions, including the African region and low-income countries, the latest estimates highlight the need to accelerate efforts to meet the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) targets of 90% coverage, and no more than 6.5 million ‘zero-dose’ children globally by 2030.The IA2030 Partnership Council calls for increased investment in innovation and ongoing collaboration. The council also recommends partners step up their support for country leadership to improve routine immunization as part of their integrated primary health care programmes, backed by robust political support, community leadership, and sustainable funding.     Notes to editorsAbout the dataBased on country-reported data, the WHO and UNICEF estimates of national immunization coverage (WUENIC) provide the world’s largest and most comprehensive dataset on immunization trends for vaccinations against 14 diseases given through regular health systems - normally at clinics, community centres, outreach services, or health worker visits. For 2023, data were provided from 185 countries.About the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030)The IA2030 is a global strategy endorsed by the World Health Assembly aiming to ensure everyone, everywhere, at every age benefits from vaccines for improved health and well-being by 2030. It focuses on increasing vaccine coverage, equity, sustainability and pandemic preparedness while promoting life-course immunization and integrating immunization with other health services.About WHODedicated to the health and well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere, an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for health that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. About UNICEF UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit: Follow UNICEF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. 

  • WHO launches unique training course to enable parliamentarians in global health security
    on July 12, 2024 at 3:17 pm

    The World Health Organization has released "The Role of Parliaments and Parliamentarians in Strengthening Health Security Preparedness", an online training course. This essential resource aims to equip parliamentarians with the knowledge and tools necessary to enhance global health security efforts.

  • WHO prequalifies the first self-test for hepatitis C virus
    on July 10, 2024 at 9:29 am

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has prequalified the first hepatitis C virus (HCV) self-test which can provide a critical support in expanding access to testing and diagnosis, accelerating global efforts to eliminate hepatitis C.

  • MeDevIS platform announced to boost access to medical technologies and devices
    on July 8, 2024 at 8:37 am

    World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced an online platform called MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System), the first global open access clearing house for information on medical devices. It is designed to support governments, regulators and users in their decision-making on selection, procurement and use of medical devices for diagnostics, testing and treatment of diseases and health conditions.The MeDevIS platform includes 2301 types of medical devices used for a broad-ranging health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes as well as infectious diseases such as COVID-19. “The number of medical technologies used in health care is growing, as is their complexity, which can make it challenging for health care practitioners and patients to navigate,” said Dr Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products. “We aim to provide a one stop shop of international information, which can be invaluable for those making decisions on life-saving medical technologies, especially in resource-limited settings, and to improve access”.There are over 10 000 different medical devices that are being used for protection, prevention, diagnostics, treatment or rehabilitation of health issues globally. These include multiple simple and complex medical technologies ranging from pulse oximeters, digital thermometers, single-use syringes and medical masks to various diagnostic laboratory tests and other medical equipment including electrocardiograms, endoscopes, all imaging radiology technologies, and technologies used for treatments such as hemodialysis units and defibrillators, implantable prothesis, cardiac stents and complex radiotherapy equipment. However, currently there are multiple, separate sources of information produced by major international organizations, regulatory bodies, and donor agencies, making it difficult for users to discern and utilize the most reliable data. In MeDevIS, users can check devices they require, including type, level of health care systems to support the device (such as community or specialized hospitals), scope of the device, and infrastructure required, among other categories. MeDevIS replaces paper-based literature search across multiple publications with non-standard device names which can add to the complexity. Along with providing a single platform, MedevIS also aims to help make the naming of the medical devices simpler. MeDevIS references two international naming systems for medical devices - the European Medical Device Nomenclature (EMDN), mostly used in European countries for registration in the European database, and the Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) used in regulatory agencies in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA and other Member States. The naming systems include coding and definitions and can be used in every country to facilitate registration for regulatory approval, procurement and supply, inventories in health facilities, tracking and pricing. “The MeDevIS platform can be useful for national policy-makers to develop or update their own national lists for procurement of health technologies and devices and can contribute to the progress towards universal health coverage,” said Dr Deus Mubangizi, WHO Director for Health Products Policy and Standards in the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division. “It can also help agencies in health insurance and reimbursement policies for patients.”This is the first time WHO has developed such a global repository on medical devices, based on its experience with the WHO Priority Medical Devices List (MDL), which itself was based on the experience of creating the WHO Essential Medicines List (EML). Approaching its 50th anniversary in 2025, EML is regarded as a pillar of public health in countries across the world, supporting health progress and touching billions of lives. WHO will be continually improving the MeDevIS platform, engaging multiple stakeholders and partners and expanding it with additional technologies and devices used in various health areas, including in pandemic and emergency settings. Note to Editors:The MeDevIS platform became operational in March 2024 for the purpose of consultation with WHO Member States. Following the consultation, it is being publicly released via an online webinar “Nomenclature of medical devices: EMDN & GMDN” on 8 July 2024 at 14:00-15:00 CEST.