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United Nations pledges to fight drug-resistant superbugs

United Nations member countries pledged for the first time on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the threat posed by drug-resistant superbugs in a coordinated effort to curb the spread of infections by pathogens that defy antimicrobial medicines. The pledge during the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York followed years of warnings by global health officials about the rise of drug-resistant infections, which threaten to wipe out all effective antibiotics and antifungal medicines, leaving the world vulnerable to simple infections that once could be easily cured.

Nigeria reports two new polio cases: WHO

Geneva (AFP) – The Nigerian government has reported two new polio cases in the first reemergence of the disease since 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

Uruguay wins case against US tobacco firm

Uruguay won an arbitration case against US tobacco giant Philip Morris, which sued the state claiming its strict anti-tobacco law harmed the cigarette maker's business, both sides said. “The Uruguayan state has emerged victorious and the tobacco company's claims have been roundly rejected,” Uruguayan President Tabara Vasquez said in a televised address. Philip Morris reacted by saying “we respect” the verdict, which is binding in any case.

How can the world improve the lives of women and girls by 2030?

With women and girls facing discrimination and violence in every part of the world, the United Nations last year committed to work toward gender equality in the next 15 years as part of a new set of global goals. The Women Deliver conference, billed as the largest women’s event in a decade, is being held from May 16-19, organized by a global advocacy organization fighting for girls’ and women’s health, rights and wellbeing.

Global elderly population exploding: US report

The number of people globally aged 65 and over is expected to more than double by 2050 as the world's senior population continues to rocket, a US study says. The global population is aging at an unprecedented rate with 8.5 percent of people worldwide — or more than 600 million — now aged 65 and over, said the US Census Bureau report. If the trend continues nearly 17 percent of the global population, or 1.6 billion people, will be in the 65-and-over age bracket by 2050.

Drug resistance adds to India’s tuberculosis menace

After three years of battling tuberculosis, a disease that claimed the lives of his father and younger brother, Sonu Verma, a patient in northern India, hopes a cure for his illness may be within reach. “Only a few more months and my nightmare will end… it will be my rebirth, free from tuberculosis,” the 25-year-old scrap dealer, who has been left visibly lean and weak by the disease, told AFP. As India marks World TB Day on Thursday, it faces an estimated 2.2 million new cases of the disease a year, more than any other country, according to the World Health Organisation.

WHO seeks $56 million for Zika; Brazil microcephaly cases rise

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Wednesday for $56 million to combat the Zika virus, a disease that has been linked to severe birth defects in Brazil and has spread to nearly 30 countries and territories. A public health expert, Lawrence Gostin, said the United Nations health agency had “grossly underestimated” the need as the virus, which has spread rapidly across the Americas, will likely spread to many other regions. The WHO declared the outbreak a global public health emergency on Feb. 1, noting the association of the virus with two neurological disorders: microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome that can cause paralysis.

France restricts blood transfusions over Zika virus

Travelers coming back from any outbreak zones of the Zika virus will need to wait at least 28 days before giving blood to avoid any risk of transmission, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Sunday. Zika, which is rapidly spreading through the Americas and has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites. “Someone who comes from a zone where there is Zika can not give blood for 28 days,” Touraine said in an interview with Europe 1 radio, news channel iTele and Le Monday daily.

Sierra Leone investigating suspected Ebola death: health ministry

Sierra Leone's Health Ministry said on Thursday it was investigating a suspected Ebola death in Tonkolili district, hours after the World Health Organization said transmission of the virus in West Africa had ended. “A suspected Ebola death has been reported in Tonkolili district today,” said a note sent by the ministry to health officials in the country and seen by Reuters.

Obama prods world on climate change, faces pushback at home

PARIS (AP) — Facing pushback at home, President Barack Obama said Sunday that American leadership was helping make gains in the global fight against climate change as he tried to reassure world leaders assembling for a historic conference in Paris that the U.S. can deliver on its own commitments.