World Health Assembly Current Affairs - 2019

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14 June: World Blood Donor Day observed

The World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) was celebrated around the world on 14 June 2019. Theme for 2019 was- Safe blood for all.

About World Blood Donor Day

Background: In May 2005, during 58th World Health Assembly (WHA), ministers of health from all around the world unanimously declared their commitment and support towards voluntary blood donation and with resolution WHA58.13, they designated World Blood Donor Day as an annual event which will be held each year on 14 June.\

Melbourne Declaration: Later in 2009, experts in field of transfusion medicine, policy-makers and nongovernmental representatives from over 40 countries formulated Melbourne Declaration, which established a goal for all countries to obtain all their blood supplies from voluntary (unpaid) blood donors by 2020.

Why This Date? It is to commemorate the birthday anniversary of Karl Landsteiner (an Austrian biologist, physician, and immunologist) on June 14, 1868. He is known for Development and classification of blood group system (ABO), discovery of Rhesus (Rh) factor, discovery of poliovirus among others. He is also known as the father of transfusion medicine.

Objective: To raise awareness about the need for regular safe blood donations for ensuring that all individuals/communities have access to affordable as well as timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and all blood products. It is also celebrated to thank voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gifts.

Significance: The day serves as an important occasion for all governments, national health authorities and national blood services all over the world to provide adequate infrastructures so as to increase collection of blood from regular unpaid blood donors.

Importance: Blood plays vital role in treatment of wounded during emergencies like natural disasters, accidents and armed conflicts. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal care. Most importantly for a country to have an effective health system, access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a must.

About WBDD 2019

Host Country: The host country for this years’ World Blood Donor Day is Rwanda and the global event were held in Kigali, Rwanda on 14 June 2019.

WBDD 2019 Theme: is Blood Donation and Universal Access to Safe Blood Transfusion, as a component of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The slogan- Safe Blood for All, was also adopted to raise awareness about universal need for safe blood in delivery of health care. The theme also strongly encourages more people worldwide to become blood donors and donate blood regularly.

ICMR head wins Dr. Lee Jong-wook Prize for Public Health

Professor Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) jointly won the 2019 Dr Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

He won the award for his achievements as an innovator, clinician, researcher and trainer.

About Dr Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health

  • It was established in 2008.
  • Awarded to: institutions, individuals, governmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), who have made an outstanding contribution towards public health.
  • Objective: Prize aims to reward work the done that has extended far beyond the call of normal duties. It is not intended as a reward for excellent performance of duties normally expected of an official position of a governmental or intergovernmental institution.
  • It is an annual award which is conferred at a special ceremony held during the World Health Assembly.
  • Cash Prize: It consists of a plaque from Founder and a sum of money which will not exceed US$ 100 000.