Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation, according to a new report by WHO and UNICEF.
WHO's latest report spotlights critical gaps in prevention coverage, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 43% of people at risk of malaria in the region were not protected by either a net or indoor insecticide spraying in 2015.
WHO reports remarkable achievements in tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) since 2007. An estimated 1 billion people received treatment in 2015 alone. WHO has observed record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees.
The report addresses two overarching questions: What inequalities in childhood immunization coverage exist in low- and middle-income countries? And how have childhood immunization inequalities changed over the last 10 years?
Since the Zika virus was first identified in a monkey in Uganda in 1947, it has rarely caused illness in humans. When people have become infected with the virus, the disease it causes has generally been mild, with small outbreaks occurring in a relatively narrow geographical band around the equator.
Too few governments levy appropriate levels of tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. They therefore miss out on a proven, low-cost measure to curb demand for tobacco, save lives and generate funds for stronger health services, according to the "WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015".
Lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water, warn WHO and UNICEF in a report tracking access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals.