UN Geneva press briefing - 09 February 2024
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UN Geneva press briefing - 09 February 2024

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9 February 2024


Rolando Gómez, Chief of the Press and External Relations Section at the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, chaired a hybrid briefing, which was attended by spokespersons and representatives of the World Health Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Displacement of children and rises in grave violations and malnutrition in Sudan

James Elder, for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said that 300 days ago to this day, the conflict had begun in Sudan, unleashing a wave of atrocities against the country’s children. The fighting had led to the displacement of four million children. More than 700,000 children were likely to suffer from the deadliest levels of malnutrition in 2024. There had been a five-fold increase in cases of recruitment, rape, and killing of children, compared to just a year before. Some two-thirds of the population did not have access to health care, which was also killing people, stressed Mr. Elder. 

This war was destroying opportunities and would have adverse effects on Sudan’s future for many years to come. Mr. Elder spoke of having met youths whose dreams had been shattered. Many of Sudan’s brightest young minds had to abandon their studies and their hopes were being tarnished. In the absence of a ceasefire, the focus ought to be on safe, sustained, and unimpeded humanitarian access across conflict lines and across borders; and international support to help sustain the essential services that children relied on to survive. In 2024, UNICEF was appealing for USD 840 million to reach 7.6 million of the most vulnerable children in Sudan with humanitarian assistance. Mr. Elder reminded that most health workers had not been paid at all since the beginning of the war 300 days earlier, so they were coming to work to volunteer and help their own communities survive. The people of Sudan were feeling increasingly abandoned by the world. “Where is our collective humanity if we allow this situation to continue,” conclude Mr. Elder.

Rolando Gómez, for the United Nations Information Service, informed that in a press conference the previous day, the UN Secretary-General stated that what was happening was horrible, it needed to stop, and we needed to mobilize the whole of the international community, the neighbors, the countries that have influence on both parties to do everything possible to stop the atrocities. There was no military solution for Sudan, and a ceasefire was needed. 

Responding to questions from the media, Mr. Elder, for UNICEF, explained that he had been in the far east of Chad, speaking to people in refugee camps. He would make day trips to west Darfur, where UN workers were not allowed to stay overnight. Bureaucratic obstacles to aid were very real and cost lives. For example, UNICEF had 27 trucks of mixed supplies ready, but they were blocked because of the fighting and lack of permits to move. Mr. Elder said, that, very worryingly, 700,000 children were expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition this year. Cholera cases had doubled over the past month; the health system was on its knees, stressed Mr. Elder. 

Tarik Jašarević, for the World Health Organization (WHO), replying to a question on the health situation, said that Sudan’s health crisis was made worse by food insecurity. The latest reports on the deteriorating situation indicated that nearly 18 million people – 37 percent of the population – were food insecure, including 4.9 million people who already faced emergency levels of food insecurity. He explained that access to critical health services was severely limited, with 70–80 percent of health facilities in conflict-affected areas either inaccessible or nonfunctional. He stressed that getting funding was of critical importance. Access to healthcare was severely reduced, hospitals in many places were inaccessible and preventing delivery of aid. More details from the WHO are available here. 

Mr. Gómez, for UNIS, quoted the Secretary-General, who had stated that the UN was working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and with the African Union and the Arab League. The Secretary-General hoped that he would have a chance to meet with all of them again at the African Union Summit the following week to see how we can converge our efforts to bring the two generals to the table, to have a ceasefire.

Jens Laerke, for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that the 2024 humanitarian response plan for Sudan was currently four percent funded. Aid access discussions could be held with the two generals’ “empowered representatives”, as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator had explained.

Record gang violence in Haiti

Marta Hurtado, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), informed that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, today issued an urgent warning about the deepening human rights catastrophe in Haiti, after figures showed that January was the most violent month in more than two years. 

The already dire human rights situation had deteriorated even further, amid unrelenting and expanding gang violence, with disastrous consequences for Haitians. At least 806 people, not involved in the violent exchanges taking place, had been killed, injured, or kidnapped in January 2024; of them, 547 had been killed. In addition, some 300 gang members had been killed or injured. Gang violence was affecting all communes in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, as gang members continued to clash for control of territory and had escalated their activities in areas outside the capital. The intensity of clashes might indicate that some gangs had recently received new ammunition.

“Every day that passes, more casualties are being recorded. Now, more than ever, Haitian lives depend on the deployment, with no further delay, of the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti, to support the National Police and bring security to the Haitian population, under conditions that comply with international human rights norms and standards,” said the High Commissioner. “While improvement of the security situation is the prerequisite to breaking the cycle of crises in Haiti, long-term stability will only be achieved through tackling the root causes of poverty, social and economic discrimination and corruption.”

Full statement is here.

Update on the global dengue situation

Dr. Raman Velayudhan, Unit Head, Global Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme, at the World Health Organization (WHO), explained that dengue was the most common viral infection transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes and was mostly found in urban areas within tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide. Majority of dengue cases were mild and did not have symptoms, but for those who did, the most common symptoms were high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rash. There was currently no specific treatment for dengue or severe dengue, so early detection and access to proper medical care would lower the probability of dying due to severe dengue. In 2023, there had been over 5.5 million cases and 5,000 reported deaths worldwide.

The dengue season was now peaking in the southern hemisphere, especially in the Americas.

In the first four weeks of 2024, the Americas had reported 373,709 total dengue cases, of which 132,558 confirmed, 258 severe cases and 57 deaths. Brazil had the highest reported numbers, but it also had one of the strongest surveillance systems in the region. Brazil was also one of two countries in the Americas (along with Argentina) that was introducing the new dengue vaccine in its routine schedule for children 10-14 years old, targeting some 2.5 million children. Dr. Velayudhan informed that the WHO was currently actively supporting the countries to plan and implement priority multisectoral interventions to control the spread of dengue such as strengthening surveillance and conducting risk stratification of countries to prioritize actions; updating guidance and training for clinical management; and strengthening mosquito surveillance and control to guide vector control activities including community participation.

More information on dengue from the WHO can be found here.

Answering questions, Mr. Velayudhan said that the situation in Mexico at the moment was not alarming, and the country had a good monitoring system in place. The situation in Ecuador was not alarmin either, he explained. On another question, Dr. Velayudhan said that the WHO recommendation was to vaccinate children 6-16 years of age in high transmission areas, but it was up to countries to decide how exactly to conduct their vaccination drives. He reiterated that now was the dengue season in the southern hemisphere, and it was too early to know whether there would be a steep increase in the coming weeks and months. The trend in Brazil was somewhat alarming, and the Government had declared an emergency. Regarding the carnival, which was just about to start in Brazil, the WHO recommended primarily using mosquito repellents and wearing long sleeves when possible. There were several vaccines under testing around the world right now, explained Dr. Velayudhan. He said that it was very difficult to find one vaccine to address all different four serotypes of the dengue virus. In the first four weeks of 2024, Brazil, which had done commendably well in many years, had recorded 262,247 cases. Globally, the number for January stood at around 500,000. Regularly updated statistics from WHO/PAHO in the Latin American region can be found here

Criminalization of homosexuality in Iraq

Marta Hurtado, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that the OHCHR was troubled by proposed amendments to legislation in Iraq which, if approved, would impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for engaging in consensual same-sex relations, as well as for certain forms of adultery. OHCHR called on the members of Parliament to ensure that any legislation be fully in line with Iraq’s human rights obligations. OHCHR also called on the Government to halt all planned executions and establish a moratorium on any imposition of capital punishment, with a view to its abolition. 

Full press release is available here

Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Responding to questions from the media on the IDF raid on a hospital in Jenin on 30 January, Marta Hurtado, for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that international humanitarian law extended special protection to medical units, which should be respected and protected at all times. They could lose such special protection only if they were used outside of their humanitarian function, which did not seem to have been the case in Jenin. OHCHR could not comment on this specific case in more detail, as it had no more information than was captured in the video from the hospital. However, she pointed out that the day of the event the Office issued a statement in which it was stressed that the killing of the three men looked like a seemingly planned extrajudicial execution. She also pointed out that the statement called on the Israeli authorities to immediately end the unlawful killing of Palestinian in the occupied West Bank. Accountability was needed for all unlawful use of force, stressed Ms. Hurtado. Israel, as the occupying power, had the obligation to conduct an investigation, she explained.

Tarik Jašarević, for the World Health Organization (WHO), said that people should always feel safe in hospitals, where they should be receiving medical care in peace. If people were afraid of requesting health care, that would further limit access to hospitals. Health workers, hospitals, and patients should never be a target and should always be protected, stressed Mr. Jašarević. WHO had documented 721 attacks on health care in the OPT since 7 October; of those, 357 attacks in Gaza had resulted in 645 fatalities.

Replying to another question, Ms. Hurtado reminded that the OHCHR had not received an authorization to renew visas for international staff in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, so there were currently no international staff in the OPT. 

She said that the previous day, the High Commissioner had stated that Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibited destruction by the Occupying Power of property belonging to private persons “except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations”. Destructions carried out to create a “buffer zone” for general security purposes do not appear consistent with the narrow “military operations” exception set out in international humanitarian law. Further, extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime. 

Global Supply Chain Forum

Catherine Huissoud, for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), informed that UNCTAD and the Government of Barbados would organize the first Global Supply Chain Forum in Barbados from 21 to 24 May 2024. At the Forum, policymakers, industry leaders and practitioners would discuss innovative solutions to tackle transport and logistics challenges and harness opportunities for sustainable, inclusive, and resilient supply chains. That would be done through innovative solutions, international collaboration, public-private partnerships and sharing of best practices. Global supply chains help deliver not only goods globally but also the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The forum would focus on the policy actions required to better prepare countries to cope with future shocks to global supply chains. On 13 February at 4 pm, there would be a press conference on this topic with Matthew Wilson, Ambassador of Barbados to the UN in Geneva; Pedro Manuel Moreno, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary General; and Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados. Further information on the Global Supply Chain Forum is available here


Rolando Gómez, for the United Nations Information Service, informed that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women was reviewing the report of the Central African Republic today. 

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights would open on 12 February its 75th session, during which it would review the reports of Romania, Mauritania, Ireland, Iraq, Indonesia, and Sweden.

Finally, Mr. Gómez informed that Lunar New Year would start on 10 February, on which occasion the Secretary-General had issued a video message. On 11 February, it would be the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Good morning.
And thank you for joining us here at the
UN office of Geneva for this press briefing today,
the ninth of February.
We have
quite a number of important issues to discuss.
Today we have Sudan, We have Iraq, We have Haiti.
We have the global dengue situation and we have
the Global Supply chain forum also coming up.
So we'll start off immediately with James Elder of UNICEF.
Who's got an update on Sudan.
Well, I thank you. Hi. Good morning, everyone.
300 days ago today, a wave of atrocities were unleashed.
Uh, upon the Children of Sudan.
Here is some of what's happened in that
in that, uh, 300 days first,
the world's largest displacement of Children has been seen in Sudan.
4 million Children have been displaced.
just over 13,000 Children displaced every single day for the past 300 days.
Safety gone, worldly possessions gone. Hope fading.
the consequences of the past 300 days mean that more than 700,000 Children
are likely to suffer the most dangerous form of malnutrition This year,
won't be able to treat more than 300,000 of
those without improved access and without additional support.
In that case, tens of thousands would likely die.
Third, there's been a fivefold increase in
verified cases of killing, sexual violence and recruitment from a year ago
that equates to a terrified number of Children killed, raped or recruited.
Uh, and these numbers are, of course, the tip of the iceberg.
Fourth, two thirds of the population now lack access to basic healthcare.
This, then,
is a war that's destroying health and nutrition systems,
and that is killing people.
This is a war destroying the concept of respect for the laws of war,
and that is killing people.
This is a war destroying families,
ability to fend for themselves and protect themselves, and that is killing people.
But this is also a war destroying opportunity,
and that destroys a country.
The true cost of war isn't measured just in casualties,
but also in the loss of intellectual capital.
And this war risks con
condemning Sudan to a future bereft of learning, innovation,
and hope.
I was last in Darfur
20 years ago.
When I returned this past week,
I heard many stories of deaths from nutrition and deaths from violence,
but I also met countless twentysomethings for whom dreams had died.
Those youth were small Children when the massacres occurred in Darfur
20 years ago.
Somehow their families kept them safe from that horror.
In the preceding 20 years, they have latched on to life.
Those I met both in Darfur and the newly arrived refugees in Chad
had studied or were studying economics, medical science,
IT, engineering and so on.
However, in the chaos of war,
the brightest minds have been forced to abandon their studies.
Their ambitions have been shattered
as a 20 to 22 year old Haider, as she said to me in Darfur,
and I quote,
I had a dream to study medical science. I was living that dream.
Now I have nothing.
I do not dream.
Sadness is my friend
Ahmed, 20 now in for China.
I cannot afford to dream here.
How, then, to get out of this nightmare and reawaken those dreams?
Those in power need to negotiate a ceasefire and ensure aid is no longer blocked.
Two. The region needs to show leadership.
Thirdly, donor countries need to show compassion and humanity and funds,
but with no sign of a ceasefire.
We have to focus instead on two things.
Safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access across conflict lines
and international support to help sustain the essential
services that Children rely on to survive.
Currently we have neither.
In 2024
UNICEF's appealing for $840
million to help just over 7.5 million of the most vulnerable Children in Sudan
despite the magnitude of needs. Last year in 2023 the funding UNICEF
sought for nearly three quarters of Children in Sudan was not forthcoming.
But amid so many Children being overlooked,
it's important to remember what families and communities are doing.
Most health workers in Sudan have not been paid
a penny since the war started 300 days,
but so many of them come to work day after day to help their communities.
Communities in Chad, where I spent quite a bit of time,
are already desperately sh short of food and water.
They share everything they can with refugees,
towns double in size over the space of a week.
People are using every ounce of strength and resilience to support
their own communities and those arriving yet the people of
S of Sudan are increasingly feeling abandoned by the world.
When it comes to the Children and the youth of Sudan,
the world needs to stop turning a blind eye.
Thank you.
Thank you, James.
And maybe if I can just take this opportunity to echo what the Secretary-general.
Said yesterday during his press conference
on his priorities for the year.
Referring to the situation in Sudan, Uh,
the Secretary-general said the situation is absolutely horrible.
It needs to stop.
We need to mobilise the whole of the international community, the neighbours,
the countries that have influence on both parties
to do everything possible to stop these horrible atrocities.
There is no military solution for Sudan.
According to the Secretary General's press conference yesterday,
we now turn to you for questions
in the room on the platform.
Ok, we have a question from Lisa Schlein, the Voice of America. Lisa, over to you.
Uh, thank you, Rolando. And good morning, James.
Um, could you
tell me a little bit more about the visit that you had? I mean, how long
were you there? You seem you mentioned that you were also in Chad. So,
uh, where did you actually go? I mean, how much access were you able to get,
uh, anywhere, uh,
in in the country?
Uh, outside. I suppose. In Chad it was easier. But if you could,
um, talk about that and, um
Well, a lot impressed you. So I'm gonna ask you what the most thing was that
impressed you. But is any
any aid getting in anywhere
in, uh, in the country? How are people
coping in this absolutely horrible situation?
And then, uh uh, is is somebody there, uh, from the World Health Organisation?
um, it would be useful to get,
um, a a little greater insight about the health situation there. You,
James mentioned it, but perhaps we could get a little bit more about
the facilities that are available to treat people whether
anyone can actually get there and so forth.
Thank you,
Lisa. Hi there. Good morning. Thanks so much.
on those three things, Uh, yeah, myself. So I was I flew into,
uh, the capital germana
of Chad, and then to the Far East,
Uh, Farhana
and Andre, where I was in refugee camps for,
uh, three days, um,
speaking to those people who newly arrived and those people who came,
uh, at the start, 300 days ago and many of them in June. July.
then each day, uh, for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,
I think of those, Yes, those three days. I would go in at sort of 6 a.m.
with our regional with our field chief for one of the
Darfur's and the emergency coordinator,
uh, we would go into
Jaina and to Zeleny,
both both in West Darfur,
one of them 3040 kilometres away and one of them 2.5 hours away.
at the moment still, uh, UN workers can't stay overnight in, um
in Sudan. And that obviously makes makes a response more and more difficult.
Um, but it still it gave it, gave access to go in and to speak to people in
Um, and, of course, to many people who were in those camps in
in Chad,
aid is getting in.
Uh, if I just speak from UNICEF's point of view,
and colleagues may speak from other agencies, of course.
You know, UNICEF
is the provider of RUTF that magic therapeutic food.
and so we continue to to take that into Sudan in whatever way we can,
uh, quite increasingly commonly through that border with Chad.
Um, immense support from the government of Chad, uh, to be able to do that,
and we start to even rehabilitate, you know, things like I.
I saw solar systems that communities had set up of of water systems.
Lisa of you know, 60 solar panels. Again, the looting and devastation is immense.
So now that re that rehabilitation, that reconstruction
has to start with communities of that devastation,
physical and and psychological devastation of
what they've what they've seen destroyed.
So, yes, it is.
But when we talk about the bureaucratic and the security obstructions to aid,
they're very real, Lisa and they they are costing lives to give up one ex
one examples.
has 20,000 cartons of RUT FA carton you can equate to a child.
Uh, that's a that's scientifically how long they would need
20,000 cartons of that in
Abeid ELOBE ID for two months.
That's been blocked due to fighting and no approval from all parties to access.
Um, we've had 27 trucks of UNICEF's supplies, mixed supplies,
I think another 10 from,
um WFP and and others from, uh, WHO and IC RC though they can speak to that.
That that is, that's critical.
Uh, we need much more than
lip service from all parties about, uh, bureaucratic and security.
Uh, obstruct obstructions. They they cost lives
and that that needs to stop. And, of course, a ceasefire.
But what we can at least push more so
on right now is is getting through those obstructions.
and I think you asked just in terms of people I met, um,
I would share very quickly. One anecdote.
I think this gives a sense of the nutrition crisis, but also what people are doing.
was is 24. She's a nutritionist. I met her
in Darfur.
She was seven months pregnant.
Lisa When, uh, she gave birth, the stress brought on an early pregnancy.
As we so frequently see
as she was giving birth. Uh, her home was hit,
so she came under fire, I think from the air,
uh, she gave birth. She then walked for days with her newborn.
Her newborn was badly malnourished by the time
she got to a UNICEF stabilisation centre.
In her words, Lisa, as a nutritionist as a mother.
She was ashamed that her child was in this state.
I obviously I thought her actions were heroic. And her N.
Now her child now is on the mend.
Many other mothers, rather than being in that situation,
are are burying their Children.
Thank you.
Thank you, James. We have a question with Peter Kenny of all Africa Global media.
can we unmute Peter, please.
OK, I think, uh, there may be a problem with
Peter's audio.
uh if I could take this opportunity to invite any other colleagues online who
may want to add about their own agency's efforts in terms of humanitarian,
uh, relief, Of course.
The Secretary general again just referred to this situation in particular,
saying we need we need a cease fire.
We need conditions to deliver aid. Uh, across the globe.
Go ahead.
Uh, Gabby.
Thank you, James. Uh, just AAA quick question regarding, um,
the most dangerous form of malnutrition.
You said that 700,000 Children are likely,
to suffer from this most dangerous form.
What is this most dangerous form of hunger? Is there any way to define it?
Um, and
are there maybe less dangerous? forms of hunger
That also might be, uh,
causing issues here if you have more details on on that classification.
Thank you.
Yeah. Sorry. Most dangerous I. I tried to be, you know, use normal language.
They, uh,
you, uh, 3.5 million Children are projected to suffer acute malnutrition.
The most dangerous form, the one that makes a child 10 times more likely to die from
getting, you know, a malaria or cholera is severe acute malnutrition.
last year the number was 2023 600,000. It is increasing.
We are We are getting very close to record numbers. So 700,000
Children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition, and then this year,
they are the ones who require that regular support, which is both RUTF.
Which is why we need a pipeline.
We had a pipeline of RUTF going through the country requires
access, requires funding
and, of course,
requires people on the ground to be able to
distribute that all those things have come under challenge.
Distribution and pipeline is one of the things UNICEF
most, um, aggressively sought to to
to to
to take on and has done so quite successfully because you may recall, last year
the RUTF factory, the one place in Sudan that made RUTF, was burnt down,
so that added to our challenges.
But we have a secured pipeline so far for June.
But June is very close when you think it takes three months
or more in this environment to get RUTF into the country.
So it's perilous for that. And that's a crazy number of kids.
OK, we I think while we're waiting for Peter Peter,
if I If you're having a problem with your audio,
please feel free to put your question in the chat and I'll be happy to recite that.
We'll go back to Lisa, who may have a follow up. Go ahead, Lisa.
Yeah, well, I, I did ask whether there was a, uh,
WHO representative there who could speak about the health situation.
in the meantime, James, um, I gather a lot of Children are dying from, uh,
the malnutrition that they're not getting the treatment that they need and that,
uh uh, that the lack of health care
is affecting other people as as well,
who may have chronic illnesses or diseases I see Tariq is
coming. So that's good. Thank you.
Yeah. Luckily, I have the expert to To my right,
I do know that the number of cholera cases has more than
doubled in the last month with more than 10,000 suspected cases and
292 deaths. But you're absolutely right.
It's a It's a health system O on its on its knees. So you have,
Lisa, We use these terms so frequently the perfect storm and so forth. But,
yes, you have a devastated health system, an ongoing conflict. Um,
incredible numbers of severely malnourished Children,
um W
woefully depleted aid,
um, and obstructions to that aid.
Now there is only so much that communities can do
among one another.
And with whatever support that the UNICEF S and WH OS give to avoid, as we say,
quite likely tens of thousands of Children
dying from this. And I think it's a very important question.
You asked Lisa because of course we will talk of verified deaths,
and that is very important to look at those grave violations.
It's also I. I think
thinks very important to look at those Children
who lose their lives through,
um, disease and through severe acute malnutrition
because of this war.
Hi. Thanks. Thanks, Lisa. And I think you have seen the
the press release that has been sent yesterday by our regional colleagues,
who is the Mediterranean about the situation
in Sudan. But I'll just
give you a few lines and some numbers on the disease burden.
So the
Sudan's health crisis is made much worse by food insecurity,
and the latest report indicated nearly 18 million
people 37% of the population are food insecure,
James was already speaking. Now let me
give you some numbers on the diseases.
Since the ongoing cholera outbreak was declared in September 2023
11 of Sudan's 18 states have reported cholera,
with 10,500 cases and 300 deaths recorded by 31 January 2024.
While cases appear to show decreasing trend overall,
the actual number of cases and that may
be much higher since surveillance system accuracy is affected
by the access limitation.
few more A few more
numbers that I
here is beside the cholera.
There are reports of measles, malaria, dengue
and other diseases
that I reported from several
states and I have some numbers as of 26
January and I'll be happy to send these numbers.
There were 4650 suspected cases of measles,
with 106 associated deaths reported from 11 states.
More than 7000 precisely 7850 suspected cases of dengue. And we
will have our colleague Rahman, who will speak about global dengue situation,
Uh, just a bit later. There were also
malaria cases,
and, uh and, uh, there were also,
cases of respiratory diseases. So the situation is really difficult.
And as James was mentioning, definitely the access is one of the issues,
but also the scale of this crisis myself.
I also worked in Darfur
20 years ago. And
when you just think about
the share this space is that
that colleagues doing human
work have to go and the lack of lack of infrastructure it's really, really difficult
to provide services. But again, hopefully,
hopefully, colleagues
and other agencies,
I'm sure, will do everything to
try to
what James was saying really about the severe acute malnutrition it's
these babies can recover very quickly.
If there is, if there is a possibility to provide them with therapeutic, feeding
babies in a matter of a few days can go from the brink of debt to
be playing
these centres. So I think it's really important that we get funding that is needed
because this is something that
Sudan is. Unfortunately, it's not always
it's not always
something that is being funded at the level it should be.
Thank you both very much.
And I, I could, uh, on behalf of Peter who poses his question in the chat. Peter.
All Africa global Media asks. Is the situation in Sudan than anarchy?
Do we have to get to get permission from each
side at each point that aid must be provided?
Who is blocking where? I don't know if either of you can address that, but maybe
just to mention again referring to what the secretary general said yesterday,
he notes that of course the UN, as has been the case,
is working with I AD the Intergovernmental Authority on Development
and with the African Union and the Arab League,
uh, whom he hopes to meet with, uh next week at the Africa Union summit. He says,
uh, to see how, uh, we can converge our efforts to bring these two generals.
That's Burhan and
Daallo to the table,
uh, to have a cease fire and to finally create conditions
also for an effective humanitarian aid delivery.
Uh, this is again, according to the Secretary General,
Um, I don't know if either of you can address any, uh,
any further about access and, uh, permissions.
Peter, I don't think this I I'm sorry.
I don't think this will help you, hugely, just to reiterate that that
both all parties have, um,
have restricted the movement of aid. Um,
so the the the operating context could not be more difficult.
The fighting continues.
You're at catastrophic levels of need,
the funding nowhere near matches these.
And then when we get aid with brave partners on the ground to move it,
it can frustratingly and and life threateningly not move for two months,
not all aid.
I certainly saw stabilisation centres with all the type of,
um support that that is required.
But I also saw hospitals where
the S, the
the supplies that were in trucks several 100 kilometres away would have saved
lives in those hospitals that that that cost lives to be concise,
just maybe, maybe to add that 70 to 80 per cent of hospitals in
conflict affected states are
not functioning anymore. So the
access to healthcare has been severely reduced. And
that, for example,
in Al
Jazeera State
we had we had to stop our operations due to
security concerns. And obviously Darfur
is of great concern
hospitals are inaccessible and there is an insecurity
that is preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Thanks both. OK, Lisa, um,
once again for Voice of America. Go ahead, Lisa.
Yeah. This is for you, Rolando. Just a sort of a couple of catch up questions, please.
Uh, there was the launch of the response plans.
I was wondering I don't know whether J, um,
Jens is there or not, But
whether any pledges have been coming in, uh, what sort of hopefulness
there might be in terms of getting the money that is needed?
And then also, Griffiths spoke of
about, uh, the,
uh, discussions.
The meetings that he had with the, uh,
with the generals and the prospect of possibly having,
uh, negotiations. Uh, going.
He said that they agreed to this, but that he was still waiting.
Well, is he still waiting? Is there any movement on this front or not? Thank you.
Yeah. Thanks, Lisa. Of course, I would refer you to yen for the details.
I mean, I just recited what the hopes of the Secretary General are to
try to get the two generals to the table.
But, of course, I remind you of this very important, uh,
announcement made, uh,
just two days ago here in Geneva by Mr Griffiths and Mr Grandi.
and they are to remind you colleagues who we're calling or asking
for a combined $4.1 billion for the most urgent humanitarian needs.
Mo some monies, as had been announced here and that this seat
had already been pledged. I think the EU. Was 11 group that had pledged money.
But indeed, I would
refer you to Jens for the details on
on the monies that, uh, might be, uh, be coming forward.
But of course, this is drastically underfunded.
Uh, as, as just recited here by my colleagues. Um, but again,
yens might have more details. I don't believe he's online. Um, if you are yens.
Uh, put your hand up, but I don't see her here.
Do we have further questions on Sudan for our colleagues here?
OK, Jens does put his hand up. So Jens, please. Over to you?
Yeah. Thank you, Rolando. And, uh, thank you.
Um, Lisa in, in terms of of funding, as you know, it was a launch of the plans.
It was not a pledging conference, but sure. You know that,
Um, I just checked on the on the inside Sudan, um, plan.
And you have the numbers, um, on on the size of that, it's 4% funded, 4%.
So, um,
that's that's where we're at, um,
in terms of the,
um of the discussions and the contacts that have been with the with the two sides.
No, there is no updates. Uh, in the past, uh, day
on on that. I just want you, uh, to remind you that Mr Griffiths also said it was
contacts with the generals, but
discussions in the humanitarian Forum
uh, and will most likely be
with what he called empowered representatives. So perhaps not generals in person.
Uh, but their representatives, empowered to negotiate and
discuss uh, on their behalf.
Great. Thanks very much for chiming in yens.
Further questions on Sudan.
No, I don't see. That's OK. So thank you very, very much.
James, Uh, Tarek is maybe if you can stay here because I know we have
going back to WHO shortly. But before that, we'll turn to Marta Hurtado
of the UN. Uh, the High Commissioner for Refuge. Uh, human rights.
Pardon me?
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, where I used to work, in fact,
so over to Marta,
has updates on Iraq and Haiti starting with Iraq over to you
like we are both
making mistakes this morning. One morning, Ian.
Happy New Year to everyone. I haven't been here since. So
let's start again on Iraq.
We are troubled by proposed amendments to legislation in Iraq which, if approved,
would impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for engaging in conceptual
same sex relations as well as for certain forms of adultery.
We call on the members of Parliament to ensure that any
legislation is fully in line with Iraq's human rights obligations.
This was among the issues raised with deep
concern by the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Volker Turk with Iraqi authorities during his
mission to Iraq in August last year.
For countries which have not abolished the death penalty,
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
which Iraq ratified in 1971
strictly limits the death penalty to the most serious crimes,
which entails crimes of extreme
gravity involving international intentional killings.
The proposed amendments are all the more alarming in the context of Iraq,
given its widening use of the death penalty.
More than a dozen prisoners who were executed at the end of 2223
and reports have been received indicating that the execution
of hundreds of prisons have been recently authorised.
We call on the government to halt all planned executions and establish a
moratorium on any imposition of capital punishment with a view to its abolition.
Thank you very much, Marta, We have a question for you. From Moussa of Alma
Eddin Moussa.
See? Play.
Uh, mercy.
Do we have any questions on Iraq before we?
No, I don't see this case.
Let's maybe before we go back to you, Moussa,
let's maybe continue with Marta in this case, who has
an update as well. On Haiti.
The monthly record for gang violence killings in Haiti. Specifically
you might have received or about to receive a press release.
Uh, we are issuing on Haiti.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker
on Friday issued an urgent warning about
the deepening human rights catastrophe in Haiti after
figures showed that January was the most violent month in more than two years.
The already dire human rights situation has deteriorated even further amid
unrelenting and expanding that violence
with disastrous consequences for Asians,
said Turk.
At least 806 people not involved in violent exchanges taking place were killed,
injured or kidnapped in January.
In addition, some 300 gang members were killed or injured,
bringing the total number of people affected to 1108
more than three times the number recorded in January 2023.
Gang violence is affecting all communes in the
Port au Prince metropolitan area as gang members continue
to clash for control of territory and have
escalated their activities in areas outside the capital.
The intensity of clashes, which in some cases have lasted several hours,
may indicate that some gangs have risen and received new ammunition.
People in areas controlled by gangs have been targeted directly.
Gangs also continue to use sexual violence against women and girls as a weapon
and spread fear by sharing on social media,
gruesome photos and videos of killed individuals and women being raped.
The impact of this torrent of violence on
Children continues to be of particular concern.
In 2023 167 Children were killed and injured by bullets.
Some were executed by gangs or so called self
defence groups for the suspect support for rivals.
The recruitment of Children into gangs remained extremely worrisome
in this context of widespread violence.
In recent weeks, there have been anti government street protests and civil unrest
supported by opposition political parties.
In at least 24 towns across the country, including the capital,
schools, public services and local businesses have been forced to close.
Recently, armed elements have emerged,
including some members of the so called
protected area security breach in French regard
the security
an informal entity established several years ago by a body in charge of
While some protests have turned violence with public and private buildings trans.
There are also persistent concerns about the necessary
and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement.
There's more, uh, details in the note, but you will receive it later,
so I leave it there.
Great. Thanks very much. Martha.
I think maybe we'll just ask Maya is your question on
No, my question is not
OK. I'm sorry.
Put the volume up,
OK? In this case, uh,
let's go back to Musa.
In this case, if there are no questions on, uh, on Haiti, OK,
we'll take a question from Nina of a FP in the room.
Uh, thank you. Hi, Martha.
Uh, I was just wondering if you had a breakdown, uh, of the numbers, uh,
of how many people were killed among those who,
uh, because you have killed, injured and kidnapped. If you have a breakdown.
Thank you.
So in January, out of the 1008 victims of killings injuring kidnapping
was 547 victims of killings,
295 victims of injury
and 266 victims of kidnappings.
Thanks for that Clarification. Marta.
Any other questions on either Iraq, Iraq or Haiti before we take other questions.
OK? Excuse me. I don't see That's the case. Mussa
Uh, bonjo
and commando uh, Israel
the, uh,
uh uh
uh uh
uh, This,
uh uh uh
international humanitarian law extends special protection to medical units
which must be protected and respected at all times.
We always say
and medical units lose such special protection as a
result of being used outside the humanitarian function with a
look. That was the case in Jenin.
So I referred to my previous comment. International humanitarian law
extend special protection to medical
like I, uh I
know that we it has been some confusion with you and with us.
I'm happy to, uh, call you later when I am out of the podium to talk about, uh, this, uh,
case specifically,
uh, but
to refer what my colleagues have said up until now,
we are not in a position to comment.
Uh uh on this specific, uh,
case because we were in there and with the information we have
is the same that all of you have seen in the videos.
And as you know, we can only, uh, express, uh, with, uh, about, uh
as, um, events that we have been able to, uh, verify It has not been the case.
That's why we haven't give you an specific answer to you on this case,
but happy to speak, uh,
outside the microphone. Thank you.
OK, we have few more hands for you. Perhaps. May is this also for, uh for Marta?
Oh, go ahead, please.
Uh, Martha, I know that, uh, the, uh, High Commissioner for human Rights, Volker
is going to be visiting San Francisco Silicon Valley next week.
Uh, I think it's an invitation from the European Commission.
Uh, can you give us a little bit more details who he's going to meet?
Um, and what is in the agenda of these meetings?
And how long is he staying in in Silicon Valley?
If I may, I will give you all this information as well later on.
My colleagues are currently working on it on the agenda.
I know the High Commission is going to meet plenty of stakeholders
in San Francisco. Of course he is going to race a I hate speech
and all these really concerning matins regarding human rights and technology.
But I can give you a detailed programme when we we have it and we'll share with you.
Uh, of course. No problem about it.
Thank you.
Thanks much. We look forward to receiving that.
Uh, John Zar
Yes. Uh
Good morning, Martha. It's John.
Go ahead, John.
Good morning.
OK, great.
Yes. Hi. It's a follow up question to Musa.
do you have a big team? Uh, in, uh, the OPT a human rights team.
And you have your head of the team in
neighbouring Jordan who periodically goes into the OPT.
Uh, have none of your staff been able to get any information from the
Palestinian authorities. I think in this case,
the information was released by the Ministry of Health of the OPT.
Uh, and I My question is also to Tariq on the podium.
Tariq, you have a mechanism
in the WHO on attacks on health where
you independently verify, uh, attacks on health.
Um, what has been the case with this, uh,
uh, incident that Mussa raised?
Uh, the if your team have been able to independently verify
and if you have any information
on the attacks on health yesterday in NASA hospital, where I understand
a person was, uh, injured,
seriously injured inside the hospital by a reportedly a sniper from the ID F forces.
OK, on your first question, John, uh, we don't have a big team in the
PT because, as you know,
we haven't received the authorization to renew the visas for the international
staff that we had in Israel and Israel unoccupied Palestinian territory.
So currently, there is no any international
in the territory.
The head of the office has been granted exceptional visas to go to Gaza.
He went recently. You had
interviews with him. But currently there is not any international staff
with respect to the national staff.
They have been fleeing as anyone else in the
There are people that live in Gaza with their families,
and they are not present there.
And the staff working in the West Bank do it as better as they can.
But as I said before, we need to
ourselves. Uh what? Uh uh, before speaking up
on, uh, as well on this, um, case of the hospital, uh, we did issue, uh,
a comment on on it.
I have it in front of of, uh, my eyes. And, uh, what we said is, um,
it seemed to be an extrajudicial execution
and, uh,
in, uh, counter tourism operation.
uh is the information that we had at
the moment we haven't had any further information.
That's why we haven't, uh, express ourselves on this matter again,
John. So
I think
we addressed this question. One of the press conferences this
attacks within the health facilities can only create fear,
and people in hospitals should always feel safe.
Those should be safe havens where people come to get
medical care and should not be afraid
for their lives. So if people feel fear
to go to health hospitals to health
facilities, hospitals, health centres,
obviously that reduces the access to healthcare
can have consequences on the health of the population. Mark already spoke about
that health facilities are protected under international humanitarian law,
and we keep really repeating our appeal
to all parties in the conflict to respect that health workers, ambulances,
hospitals, patients should never be a target and should be protected.
I'll just give you the latest figures. We do have on the
number of attacks that, as you know, we are documenting by
getting information from different sources.
will repeat again who
is monitoring, verifying and reporting these attacks.
But we do not attributing blame. We do not have capacity, no mandate
to know what weapons have been used and who has committed those attacks,
so so far has documented 721 attacks on healthcare
in the
occupied Palestinian territory since
October 7th out of those 721 357 attacks in Gaza,
resulting in 645 fatalities and 818 injuries.
attacks have affected 98
healthcare facilities,
including 27 hospitals damaged out of 36 and affected 90 ambulances,
including 50 which sustained damage.
Other 364 attacks happened in the West Bank,
resulting in 10 fatalities and 62 injuries.
These attacks in the West Bank have affected 44 health facilities,
including 15 mobile clinics
and 24 9 ambulances. Happy to send this
information by email,
that would be great. Thank you so much. Tarek
and I think Marta has additional information on Jenin if you could Thank you. Yes.
Just to be clear, I will read out the comment.
I was referring to that we issued following the Jenin attack. We specifically said
that the Israeli security force
claim that, um
sorry. Yeah.
Claim that three men,
the three men that were killed were planning
attacks against Israelis and hiding the hospital.
also claimed that one of them had a gun, a claim denied by hospital staff.
No change of fire was reported.
Under applicable international human rights law,
firearms may only be used when strictly necessary to prevent an
imminent threat to life of serious injury and is otherwise unlawful.
The UN Human Rights Office calls on the Israeli authorities to immediately
end the unlawful killing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank,
which the office has increasingly documented after seventh of October,
and to provide accountability for all unlawful use of force.
If you recall, on the 28th of December, we released a report on the West
Bank and settlements violence against citizens of the West Bank.
We can share with you again at the time.
If I recall correctly,
was more than 200 people killed might be more by now so we can ask our colleagues
in the
occupied Palestinian territory office and share those numbers with you.
And let me recall as well that before the seventh of October, already,
the number of killings and violence in the West Bank was really
high and a record number for the last 15 or 20 years.
So already the violence in West Bank was striking before the seventh of October.
But we can share with you these numbers when we get them,
and as well let me use the opportunity as we are speaking about
that you have seen. We issued yesterday
a comment by the High Commissioner on the widespread destruction
by Israeli defence forces of civilian infrastructure
and how worried we are.
So again, let me repeat what it is written in this in
this press release
and highlight the Article 53 of the four Geneva Convention prohibits
destruction by the occupying power of property belonging to private persons,
except where such destruction is rendered
absolutely necessary by military operations.
Destruction carried out to create a buffer zone for general
security purpose do not appear consistent with the narrow military operations
extensive destruction of property not just
by military necessity,
and carry out unlawfully and deliberately amounts to
a grave breach of the fourth Geneva Convention.
So this was put out yesterday by us, and the high commissioner is really,
really worried about such destruction.
Thank you.
Thank you very much. Uh, Marta
is this, uh, a follow up for Marta?
uh, the
specifically on being dressed up or not? I don't have the answer, but I can
talk to my colleagues on the wilful killing or
wilful killing or if it's
a summary execution
or not. What I read is the law. There is not an imminent threat.
Arms should not be used. And these people, regardless of that they were patients
or they were had committed crimes. No one can shoot at a person that doesn't have
an arm and doesn't.
And it's not a threat. So it looks like it was done in.
Not the way it should have been done, but again,
that we can say up until now that it appears. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Uh, Martha.
Was that your hand up and just went back down?
Ok, um, I thought I saw a hand, so I don't see. Oh, there it is again. Gabby
Yes. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Orlando.
Yeah, My question. Maybe to Tariq or Martha. Uh,
who is going to investigate? Who are the perpetrator?
Perpetrators of the attacks against health
facilities and hospitals and health staff.
Who is going to investigate? I mean,
on accountability.
Yeah. Thank you. Yeah.
as an occupying power,
has the obligation to investigate any crime it is committing on occupied
Palestinian territory.
I think that's pretty clear. Thank you very much. Um, for that, Marta,
for the questions
for Marta. No, I don't see the case, So thank you
very, very much for joining us here.
Tarek, thank you for staying with us.
Uh, I'll I'll give you the honour of maybe introducing, uh, your guest.
Uh, who is going to address?
Uh, the an update on the global dengue
Thank you. Thank you very much. So we have a pleasure to
have again. Dr
who is our lead on dengue.
You had the opportunity to speak to him a couple of months ago,
we really thought that it would be
good to provide you with an update on the global dengue situation,
so I'll give the floor immediately
thank you very much. Uh,
I hope you you can hear me.
It is indeed a pleasure to brief you and
give you Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Just a brief background.
Dengue is a most common viral infection transmitted
to humans through the bite of a mosquito.
And this infection is most common in urban areas and
Puran areas in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Majority of the cases are mild
and sometimes there is no symptoms.
But for those who have the symptoms, they are usually high fever, headache,
body ache, rashes,
uh, and nausea.
They recover in 1 to 2 weeks time.
But there are cases, especially those who get dengue for the second time,
which we call secondary infection.
They may need hospital care because they may have a severe, uh, dengue
and which has specific warning signs. And if we have severe dengue,
naturally you need, uh, specialist care in the hospital.
The there is currently no specific treatment for dengue or severe dengue,
so early detection and proper medical care is the key
and it definitely reduces the mortality due to dengue. At
present, about 4 billion people are at risk of this disease.
In 2023 we reported around 5.5 million cases
and 5000 deaths due to dengue in over 80 countries.
The situation
the the region of the American region was one of
the worst hit and they had recorded 4.5 million cases,
one of the highest in the in history, of which there were about 2280 deaths.
And uh, the cases most of them were reported from Brazil, which was around 3 million.
Uh, though the case fatality rate was 0.4%
main vector of dengue, which is the Aedes mosquito,
they have silently expanded their range and they have
crossed many countries and today they are present in over 100 and 30 countries.
And this expansion is continuing mainly in the
Mediterranean region,
southern parts of south me,
af South America,
uh, parts of Africa.
And this is facilitated by environmental changes and climates,
climatic conditions which are extremely suitable for their breeding.
The dengue season is currently peaking in the Southern Hemisphere,
especially in the American region,
and the El Nino phenomenon is still ongoing
and the trend of 2023 is continuing at present
and we are quite concerned about
In the first four weeks of 2024 the American region has reported over 373,000 cases,
of which 258 were severe
and 57 deaths were reported. All four serotypes have been detected in the region.
Most of these cases are from Brazil, followed by Paraguay, Colombia,
Mexico and Nicaragua.
Brazil has one of the strongest surveillance system in the region and it's a real
model for many countries and the dengue cases
are reported as suspected probable and confirmed.
Brazil is one of the two countries in the region of the Americas,
UH who have who are going to introduce the new
vaccine. CgA,
which is produced by Takeda
in its routine schedule for Children between 10 to 14
in 512 municipalities with over 100,000 population
and, uh, they are targeting to vaccinate around 2.5 million Children
now in terms of
action considering all these factors.
Whos assessed the risk of dengue globally
and has put uh dengue at a higher level
and supporting all countries around the world to control
the current outbreak and prepare the countries to respond
to any future outbreaks.
As the monsoon and weather patterns change from region to region.
WHO is currently supporting countries to plan and implement priority multi
to control the spread of dengue,
such as strengthening surveillance,
conducting risk stratification
and prioritising action. We are also helping countries in training
clinical experts and updating their guidelines,
strengthening mosquito surveillance and control
to guide vector control activities,
including community participation.
And WHO is also leading the Global Arbovirus Initiative, an integrated strategy
to tackle all arbo
viruses, which includes dengue,
chikungunya, zika and yellow fever.
And this is mainly to
address the issue of monitoring risks, UH, risks preventing preparedness,
detecting and response, and building a coalition of partners.
The advice WO
gives to countries is, uh and partners and communities to work together
to be alert and be prepared to detect any transmission and other
of dengue and other mosquito borne disease in the tropical area.
The general population can also lower their risk
of dengue by avoiding mosquito bites by using
insect repellents or screening their houses,
and even
especially during the day,
because most of these mosquitoes bite during the daytime
and they need to support communities to reduce and eliminate risk.
especially reducing mosquito breeding in and around your
homes at places of your work schools,
et cetera.
So I'll stop there. If there's any question, I'll be happy to answer. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Uh, doctor, we have a question for you from.
Oh, OK. I think, uh, Jamel disappears. So
Gabriel Sotomayor of El processor
of Mexico.
Yes, thank you. Very.
Thank you very much for this briefing. And what what are your main concerns?
Concerns regarding Mexico. How is the situation there?
Thank you.
Well, the Mexico, uh, has recorded a few cases so far, and we are not. We are probably,
um we really need to monitor.
And I must say that Mexico also has one of the very good surveillance systems.
I have personally seen it.
So they will be able to detect and, uh, act on it, uh, to control the outbreak.
So at the moment, it is not alarming But we hope, uh,
things will be under control and we are monitoring
the situation.
Thank you very much. Doctor, We have a questionnaire from Paula Dupraz
Dobias of Geneva Solutions. Paula?
Yes. Uh, hello.
Um, I wanted to ask about Ecuador because, uh uh, it doesn't I mean,
you didn't mention it in the
the num, the the names of countries in South America or in Latin America, but, um
uh, given the El Nino phenomenon, there's,
uh there's been concern that there as well Well, as in Peru with the,
with the rains and flooding that there, the situation may be exacerbated.
I also wanted to ask you,
uh, and if you have, uh,
comments about the situation that in in Ecuador regarding thing.
But I also wanted to ask
about, um any, um, response by, uh, WHO or other,
um, humanitarian organisations, uh, in Ecuador right now, uh, given the, uh,
security situation.
Um, if, uh, if you and perhaps any other colleagues could comment, uh, on that, uh,
I don't know if, uh, if ocha or,
um UN HCR um are able to comment about the situation in in
Thank you, I.
I think um, later,
I can provide you the exact figure of dengue because we are still updating our
table. Uh, as I said, uh, Ecuador is not in the top five countries
at the moment, but we are monitoring it.
We have our staff, uh, office based in Ecuador, closely monitoring that,
Um, yeah. On the security situation, I will ask other agencies to help. Thanks.
You are using this as an opportunity to invite other colleagues.
Should you have anything to add on the situation in Ecuador, please, uh,
just put up your hand.
Uh, but in the meantime, we'll turn to Isabel
Sacco of Spanish Trans Agency.
Yes. Good morning. Thank you.
I would like to know, um, on the availability of vaccines if, um, there are enough,
amount of stocks of vaccines to
to res
respond to any outbreak or in Latin America.
And if, um,
it would be, uh, a need to expand the immunisation
programmes. Uh, or, uh, regarding dengue.
Thank you,
in terms of vaccines, Uh, frankly, this question, uh,
we have to address to the company which is currently Takeda.
They are basically scaling up their production.
We are told that they have provided 3.2 million doses to Brazil
and, uh, other, uh, countries
if they are requested, We we really don't know. So this is something,
uh, we we have to get it from the company and I. I will try to get it in a couple of days.
Uh, so we really don't know their capacity at the moment. We know they are scaling up,
but, uh, they haven't provided us exact figures.
and I really don't know which countries are opting for, uh, vaccinating,
because our WHO recommendation
given by our strategic advisory group is to vaccinate Children in the
age group of 6 to 16 years in high transmission areas.
So that is very specific to this vaccine.
And so it's it's up to countries to decide, um,
where they want to target their intervention.
Thank you very much. Uh, before we go to the Jamil. Uh,
Isabel, did you have a follow up
to your question?
Yes. Yes. Thank you.
Um, tell Tell me, uh, would you or would, uh, WHO describe
this, uh, situation that you are seeing, uh, regarding today in
Latin America as a crisis as a concerning situation or as a normal pattern, Um,
given the the season, the P, uh, that this is the normal season for the thank you.
Thank you very much. Actually, this is the season for dengue.
There's no question about it because it's
a summer in the Southern Hemisphere and you
have your rains and things and it is an ideal condition for mosquitoes to breed.
This is definitely the season.
Now, whether this is going to have a steep increase,
we really don't know we are in the early stages.
Now we know there is El Nino phenomenon happening in the region.
We also know that there are places which could have, um,
which had severe drought in those areas.
people store water and this breeds mosquitoes
and even in flooded conditions again,
it favours the mosquitoes.
So we just need to watch, uh, how this season
spans out in the next few weeks
before we can give you any assessment whether this is really a crisis.
But at the moment, the trend in Brazil is a little alarming. It is increasing,
and the government has even declared an emergency,
which is already in the media. So yes, it is The graph is definitely
high in Brazil. But we hope other countries it may not be so, but
it very much depends on weather patterns as
well as the transmission by the mosquito.
Thank you, Doctor. Speaking of Brazil, we turn now to our colleague.
Our Brazilian correspondent Jamil
has a question.
Yes? Rolando? Can you hear me?
Yes. Yes,
ahead. So,
bear with me. I have a number of questions on dengue in Brazil.
Uh, so the first one,
the carnival starts tomorrow in Brazil. Is there any specific recommendation?
Uh, from WHO regarding dengue
and a
massive event that is much bigger than, um,
New Year's World Cup Olympic Games. Anything that you can imagine.
Uh, is there any specific, um, recommendation? Secondly,
why is it
that the world has only one company producing,
uh, dengue vaccine? Where is WHO
In the mobilisation of, uh, private sector, et cetera,
Uh, in the production of vaccines.
Third on the numbers.
Uh, can you repeat again the numbers of 2024? I think you said 370,000 cases
and two 158 in Brazil. From where? When
to when Exactly.
And finally last question.
Is this
a situation in Brazil
that is a consequence
of, uh, political choices in health during the years of bolsonaro?
Or it has nothing to do, uh, with political choices. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Uh, for a range of questions.
Uh, so in terms of carnival, basically, the WHO.
Has advice, Uh, on this, uh, personal protection.
Mainly, we encourage people who are involved in the carnival to use, uh, repellents
and, uh, protect themselves.
And, of course, those who are, uh, who can cover up, uh, with the long sleeves.
It is even better.
But repellents are definitely a a, uh, a way to
protect yourself from day bitting mosquitoes.
The second issue regarding in the companies producing vaccine.
Now, you must remember that PDA
vaccine is a second one.
The first one was Sanofi
vaccine, which had a limited efficacy because,
um, it works better in people who had dengue once.
And Sanofi,
um, has since not been scaling up production,
mainly because this challenge remains that they
have to test anyone before they vaccinate.
So it is. Uh, it was the first candidate.
The second is, uh, Q dengue
then, of course, we We have a range of, uh, vaccines under trial,
one of which is actually
in Brazil. The
vaccine, which is an NIH product which was licenced.
And we understand that vaccine is
giving real positive results,
and we are waiting for their final report for recommendation.
So there are candidates and there there are other candidates, uh,
in other countries as well, all in various stages of studies,
and we are encouraging it to to come to
the WHO Strategic Advisory Group for review and recommendation.
In terms of dengue vaccine. The challenge is the
basic issue is dengue.
There are four serotypes or very four closely related viruses.
It is a very difficult to find a vaccine which addresses all four.
And this has been the challenge for the past 50 years.
It is not an easy solution. So it is like having a single key for four locks,
not easy.
the problem is,
most of these vaccines have varying levels of efficacy against these four viruses.
Four different closely related virus.
So if you want a good vaccine, we have to
have at least 60 70% protection against these four and we
are happy that some of these candidate vaccines are showing that.
And we hope more vaccines will come,
uh, in in in the coming years.
And we are expecting one or two even this year later this year.
in terms of numbers now,
the number I have is back basically for the first four weeks of this year.
And there is, uh, Brazil has 262,247 cases.
And, uh, this was the number given to me.
And, uh, we can give you the latest figure later because,
as you know, our, uh, regional office PAHO has a website which is more or less live,
constantly updated,
so we can give you more accurate numbers.
Uh, in terms of consequence, I wouldn't wish to comment on this because this health,
uh, delivery system and how it is managed it is very much a a government priority.
But I must say that Brazil has done commendably well for many,
many years in addressing dengue,
facilitating the introduction of vaccines and even,
um, try carrying out this large scale vaccination right now,
they have also been pivotal in testing new vector control methods.
So there has been a lot of initiative from Brazil, and we we look to Brazil's
data mainly for many of our recommendations and things.
We also have collaborating centres in Brazil.
uh, the overall Brazil has done well, but we need more.
And this is a very difficult disease because it's urban,
and, uh, it is facilitated by a day biting mosquito.
And we really have four different viruses. So you may
get infected in your lifetime with one or two or three of these.
So this is our challenge,
and we need to protect ourselves and make
a comprehensive approach to deal with this.
Thank you.
Thanks to you, Doctor, is Tarik.
And thank you for sending the notes. Uh, I think Jamil
has a follow up for you, Doctor.
Yes, very quick.
Uh, you said that we may have one or two new vaccines by the end of the year.
Which ones are they?
And, uh, secondly, you mentioned the name number for Brazil to 262,000.
But what is the International num or the world number for that same period?
Thank you so much.
Thank you. Uh, actually, from the
Brazil and the American region is one of the best we have in reporting.
And their, uh, reporting system is something we are trying
to develop in all regions of WHO. And we will launch a,
uh, a dashboard soon, which is we are under development,
but, uh, the regions of the American region has really got a very good dashboard,
uh, which you can see on the website.
Now, the global number is around 500,000 cases so far.
Um, but, uh, as I said in the American region because of their reporting,
they account for 373,000 cases.
Now, um,
the on on the vaccine, we know that
banan trial, uh, data is expected any time this year.
And we are also told that there is a a trial going on,
uh, somewhere in, uh in India also, and in few other countries, which, uh,
the national regulatory authorities are screening. So we will.
We hope some of those, uh, candidates will also come to WHO later this year.
So this is the data we have at the moment.
Thank you.
Thanks to you.
Further questions
for Doctor VLA. Are you done
I don't see that's the case.
So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you
very much for the important work in shedding light on this
important situation of the global dengue situation. In fact,
OK, Catherine
has an announcement for us.
you have
and we
see to
questions for Catherine.
No, I don't see that's the case. So thank you. Once again, Mr
uh, we have, uh, just a couple of announcements, uh,
in terms of the human rights treaty bodies,
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
will be reviewing the Central African Republic today,
and on Monday, the Committee on the Economic, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
will open its 75th session,
which will last for three weeks, during which, uh, the committee will review
reports of Romania, Mauritania, Ireland, Iraq, Indonesia and Sweden.
There's a media advisory that we shared with you
Uh, V
Conference de
of, uh,
And then just the last, uh, note is a couple of observances,
which I'd like to flag tomorrow Is
the lunar New Year.
And there's a video message from the secretary general
through which he says he sends his warmest greetings
as we usher in the Year of the Dragon.
The dragon symbolises energy, wisdom, protection and good luck,
and we need these qualities to rise to today's global challenges.
Indeed we do.
And then Sunday we have the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Among other things,
the secretary general notes that from climate
change to health to artificial intelligence,
the equal participation of women and girls in scientific discovery
and innovation is the only way to ensure that science works for everyone.
So those messages were shared with you.
Any questions for me?
No, I don't see the case. So I wish you a very nice weekend
and happy Lunar New Year.