News (English) - World Health Organization
World Health Worker Week - April  5 - 11, 2020
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 14:22:13 Z

The COVID-19 pandemic and other global emergencies show us once again the heroic efforts health workers on the front lines make every day to keep their communities—and the world—safe and healthy.  The WHO and the Global Health Workforce Network is pleased to partner with civil society partners—the Frontline Health Workers Coalition and its members—to honor health workers during World Health Worker Week: April 5-11, 2020. The Eighth Annual World Health Worker Week is yet another opportunity to mobilize communities, partners, and policymakers to increase support of health workers worldwide.

The 2020 theme is Leaders on the Front Line. This theme highlights the need to provide greater leadership opportunities for frontline health workers—particularly women health workers, who make up more than 70% of the global health workforce. At the same time, this theme emphasizes how health workers often put themselves on the line, often at great personal risk to themselves and their families, to save and improve lives.

We invite all health workforce stakeholders to join us by raising public awareness and engaging on health workforce issues, and recognize the lifesaving contribution of the health workforce. All activities will be filtered through a World Health Worker Week portal, hosted by the Frontline Health Workers Coalition secretariat at IntraHealth International.

 Some key ways to get involved:

  • Add your voice to the #WHWWeek conversation on social media! Use the WHWW Social Media Guide with key messages, graphics, and suggested tweets.
  • Participate in the WHWW Video Testimonial Series and tell health policymakers why frontline health workers are Leaders on the Line and how we can better support them. It's easy to take part—see the guidance and upload your video.
  • Celebrate World Health Day on Tuesday, April 7. In this International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, World Health Day will shine a light on the vital role nurses and midwives play in providing health care around the world, and call for a strengthening of the nursing and midwifery workforce. Share and promote World Health Day assets here.



WHO urges countries to ensure the continuity of malaria services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:58:07 Z

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the resilience of robust health systems around the world. Recognizing the heavy toll that malaria exacts on vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the region’s fragile health infrastructure, WHO underlines the critical importance of sustaining efforts to prevent, detect and treat malaria.

“As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread, WHO would like to send a clear message to malaria-affected countries in Africa,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “Do not scale back your planned malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment activities. If someone living in a place with malaria develops a fever, he or she should seek diagnosis and care as soon as possible.”

Ensuring access to core malaria prevention measures is an important strategy for reducing the strain on health systems; these include vector control measures, such as insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying, as well as chemoprevention for pregnant women and young children (intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, intermittent preventive treatment in infants and seasonal malaria chemoprevention). Additional special measures could ease the burden on health systems in the context of COVID-19, such as presumptive malaria treatment and mass drug administration.

Any interventions must consider the importance of both lowering malaria-related mortality and ensuring the safety of communities and health workers. WHO will provide guidance for countries to safely maintain essential health services in the context of the COVID-19 response.

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Essential information on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in a dedicated WHO site.

About malaria

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. In 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria worldwide and 405 000 malaria-related deaths. For more on malaria, visit:



WHO to accelerate action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:16:03 Z

The harmful use of alcohol causes approximately 3 million deaths every year and the overall burden of disease and injuries attributable to alcohol consumption remains unacceptably high. The pace of development and implementation of alcohol policies has been uneven in WHO regions, and resources and capacities for implementation of the WHO Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 10 years after its endorsement do not correspond to the magnitude of the problems. On this basis, the WHO Executive Board in its decision EB146 (14) called for accelerated action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. 

The Board considered the report on the political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, particularly Annex 3, entitled “Implementation of the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol,” and the report on the findings of the consultative process on implementation of the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and the way forward.

The Board, in its decision EB146 (14),  requested  the WHO Director-General, inter alia, “to develop an action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol as a public health priority, in consultation with Member States and relevant stakeholders, for consideration by the 75th World Health Assembly through the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board in 2022”, and “to develop a technical report on the harmful use of alcohol related to cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotional activities, including targeting youth and adolescents, before the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board, which could contribute to the development of the action plan”,  as well as “to adequately resource the work on the harmful use of alcohol.

In response to decision EB146 (14), the WHO Secretariat will implement the following:

  • March– April 2020: Commissioning of the scoping review on the harmful use of alcohol related to cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotional activities, including targeting youth and adolescents.  Commissioning background papers for the report development. 
  • ­April-May 2020: Producing zero draft of the working document for development of an action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use with proposed essential elements and components.  
  • ­June 2020: Technical expert meetings organized by WHO headquarters to discuss zero draft of the working document for development of the action plan and the content of the technical report on the harmful use of alcohol related to cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotional activities.  
  • ­July-September 2020: Finalization of the working document for subsequent consultation process. Web-based consultation on the working document for development of the action plan open to Member States, UN organizations and other international organizations, and non-State actors. All relevant feedback received will be published on WHO website. 
  • ­October 2020 – March 2021: Regional technical consultations with Member States on the working document for development of the action plan (2022-2030). 
  • ­March– April 2021: Development of the first draft of the action plan based on the input received on the working document in the process of the regional consultations.
  • April -June 2021: The web-based consultation on the first draft of the action plan open to Member States, UN organizations and other international organizations, and non-State actors.  All relevant feedback received will be published on WHO website. Discussion of the first draft at the Third WHO Forum on alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours attended by technical focal points from Member States, representatives of UN entities, civil society organizations, WHO collaborating centres, and academia. Consultation with economic operators in alcohol production and trade on their contribution to reducing the harmful use of alcohol within their core roles.  An informal consultation with Member States on the first draft of the action plan.
  • ­July-August 2021: Development of the second draft of the action plan based on the feedback received on the first draft during the previous stages of the consultation process. 
  • ­August-November 2021: Briefings on the second draft of the action plan organized at the Regional Committee meetings.  Release of the technical report on the harmful use of alcohol related to cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotional activities, including targeting youth and adolescents, with a summary of main findings and conclusions available in six languages.  A formal meeting of Member States for consideration of the second draft of the action plan. Finalization of the draft action plan taken into consideration feedback and inputs received from Member States and other stakeholders during the consultation process in April -October 2021.  Development and submission of the report by the Secretariat to 150th session of the Executive Board. 
  • ­January/February 2022: The 150th session of the WHO Executive Board will consider the report of the WHO Director-General containing the draft action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.


IPA, WHO and UNICEF launch Read the World on International Children’s Book Day to support children and young people in isolation
Thu, 02 Apr 2020 07:22:23 Z

Geronimo Stilton author to kickstart exclusive children’s book reading initiative amid COVID-19 pandemic

Much-loved children’s authors are joining an initiative to read extracts of their books to millions of children and young people currently living in isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the World is a collaboration between the International Publishers Association (IPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. It kicks off today, on International Children’s Book Day, at 15.00 GMT/17.00 CET with Italian author Elisabetta Dami, creator of the popular character Geronimo Stilton.

“These are uncharted waters for us all, and the psycho-social effects of prolonged isolation and social distancing are yet to be seen and understood,” said IPA President Hugo Setzer. “All of us should take particular care of our mental health at the moment, and especially that of young minds. The IPA wanted to do something positive to bring children and their favourite writers closer, to stimulate their interest in books and to create a carefree moment for families to share during this difficult period of confinement.”

“Children’s lives and routines have been turned upside down in just a few short weeks,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Even when the outside world is out of bounds for now, reading can remind children and young people that the transportive power of books is unlimited.”

“WHO is committed to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on all fronts, especially when it comes to protecting young people,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We understand the fear and anxieties many feel and know how the joy of reading can stimulate young minds, ease tensions and provide hope.”

Elisabetta Dami will read on her personal Instagram account in English from 15.00-15.30 GMT 17.00-17.30 CET. Dami, whose books have sold more than 180 million copies around the world and are published in 50 different languages, will also respond to comments and questions via the platform.

Several other noted children’s authors have agreed to join the Read the World initiative, details of which will be available soon at


About IPA

The IPA is the world’s largest federation of publishers associations. Established in 1896, it is an industry body with a human rights mandate, whose mission is to promote and protect publishing and raise awareness of publishing as a force for economic, cultural and social development. Working in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other supranational bodies, the IPA champions the interests of book and journal publishing at national and supranational level. Internationally, the IPA actively opposes censorship and promotes copyright, freedom to publish (including through the IPA Prix Voltaire), and literacy.

Follow the IPA on Twitter and Facebook



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.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook


About WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for health. It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its Member States usually through the Ministries of Health. The World Health Organization is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. Learn more at

Follow WHO on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook



OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO joint press release: the rights and health of refugees, migrants and stateless must be protected in COVID-19 response
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 11:54:30 Z

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, we are all vulnerable. The virus has shown that it does not discriminate - but many refugees, those forcibly displaced, the stateless and migrants are at heightened risk. 

Three-quarters of the world’s refugees and many migrants are hosted in developing regions where health systems are already overwhelmed and under-capacitated.  Many live in overcrowded camps, settlements, makeshift shelters or reception centers, where they lack adequate access to health services, clean water and sanitation. 

The situation for refugees and migrants held in formal and informal places of detention, in cramped and unsanitary conditions, is particularly worrying. Considering the lethal consequences a COVID-19 outbreak would have, they should be released without delay. Migrant children and their families and those detained without a sufficient legal basis should be immediately released.

This disease can be controlled only if there is an inclusive approach which protects every individual’s rights to life and health.  Migrants and refugees are disproportionately vulnerable to exclusion, stigma and discrimination, particulary when undocumented.  To avert a catastrophe, governments must do all they can to protect the rights and the health of everyone. Protecting the rights and the health of all people will in fact help control the spread of the virus.

It is vital that everyone, including all migrants and refugees, are ensured equal access to health services and are effectively included in national responses to COVID-19, including prevention, testing and treatment. Inclusion will help not only to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, but will also serve to protect public health and stem the global spread of COVID-19.  While many nations protect and host refugee and migrant populations, they are often not equipped to respond to crises such as Covid-19. To ensure refugees and migrants have adequate access to national health services, States may need additional financial support. This is where the world’s financial institutions can play a leading role in making funds available. 

While countries are closing their borders and limiting cross-border movements, there are ways to manage border restrictions in a manner which respects international human rights and refugee protection standards, including the principle of non-refoulement, through quarantine and health checks. 

More than ever, as COVID-19 poses a global threat to our collective humanity, our primary focus should be on the preservation of life, regardless of status.  This crisis demands a coherent, effective international approach that leaves no-one behind.  At this crucial moment we all need to rally around a common objective, fighting this deadly virus. Many refugees, displaced, stateless people and migrants have skills and resources that can also be part of the solution.

We cannot allow fear or intolerance to undermine rights or compromise the effectiveness of responses to the global pandemic. We are all in this together. We can only defeat this virus when each and every one of us is protected. 

Medical Product Alert N°3/2020
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 07:31:45 Z

This Medical Product Alert warns consumers, healthcare professionals, and health authorities against a growing number of falsified medical products that claim to prevent, detect, treat or cure COVID-19. 

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2) has increased demand for medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and reagents, all related to COVID-19, creating an opportunity for ill-intended persons to distribute falsified medical products 

Due diligence is required from all actors in the procurement, use and administration of medical products, in particular those affected by the current crisis of, or related to, COVID-19. 


WHO has received multiple reports regarding falsified in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) and laboratory reagents for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. Please refer to WHO’s Emergency Use Listing for a list of diagnostics approved for clinical use by WHO. To date, eight countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, PR China, Russian Federation, Singapore, Republic of Korea, United States of America) have listed IVDs for COVID-19 diagnosis based on expedited regulatory assessments. Please note that, in the European Union, regulatory compliance for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics are self-declared by the manufacturer.  

To assist Member States and stakeholders, WHO has published the links to these emergency lists, together with contact details. These links provide information on IVDs authorized for use in the jurisdictions of the International Medical Device Regulators Forum, as well as policies and guidance. WHO will provide updated versions as new information becomes available.

End-users are encouraged to check the labelling against the information posted by regulatory authorities upon listing to ensure they are in possession of the genuine product. This information might include product name, product code, expiry date, instructions for use and manufacturer details. 

Unregulated websites supplying medicines and/or vaccines, particularly those concealing their physical address or landline telephone number, are frequently the source of unlicensed, substandard and falsified medical products. WHO has been made aware of various unregistered websites claiming that products on sale can treat or prevent COVID-19. Such products are likely to be falsified medicines. In addition, some websites may appear to provide easy access to legitimate medicines that are otherwise not readily available. End-buyers and consumers should be especially wary of such online scams and exert due diligence when purchasing any medical product, whether online or not.


At this stage, WHO does not recommend any medicines to treat or cure COVID-19. However, the SOLIDARITY trial, led by WHO, is reviewing potential treatments for COVID-19. 

WHO requests increased vigilance from national health authorities, healthcare professionals, members of the public and supply chain stakeholders worldwide to prevent the distribution of these falsified medical products. Increased vigilance should focus on hospitals, clinics, health centres, clinical laboratories, wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies and any other suppliers of medical products. All medical products must be obtained from authentic and reliable sources. Their authenticity and condition of the product should be carefully checked. Consumers are advised to seek advice from a healthcare professional in case of doubt. 

National health authorities are requested to immediately notify WHO if these falsified products are discovered in their country. If you have any information concerning the manufacture, distribution, or supply of these products, please contact

WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products
For further information, please visit our website: 

Joint Statement by QU Dongyu, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Roberto Azevedo, Directors-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:38:28 Z

Millions of people around the world depend on international trade for their food security and livelihoods. As countries move to enact measures aiming to halt the accelerating COVID-19 pandemic, care must be taken to minimise potential impacts on the food supply or unintended consequences on global trade and food security. 

When acting to protect the health and well-being of their citizens, countries should ensure that any trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain. Such disruptions including hampering the movement of agricultural and food industry workers and extending border delays for food containers, result in the spoilage of perishables and increasing food waste. Food trade restrictions could also be linked to unjustified concerns on food safety. If such a scenario were to materialize, it would disrupt the food supply chain, with particularly pronounced consequences for the most vulnerable and food insecure populations. 

Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market. Such reactions can alter the balance between food supply and demand, resulting in price spikes and increased price volatility. We learned from previous crises that such measures are particularly damaging for low-income, food-deficit countries and to the efforts of humanitarian organizations to procure food for those in desperate need.

We must prevent the repeat of such damaging measures. It is at times like this that more, not less, international cooperation becomes vital. In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortage. Similarly, it is also critical that food producers and food workers at processing and retail level are protected to minimise the spread of the disease within this sector and maintain food supply chains. Consumers, in particular the most vulnerable, must continue to be able to access food within their communities under strict safety requirements.  

We must also ensure that information on food-related trade measures, levels of food production, consumption and stocks, as well as on food prices, is available to all in real time. This reduces uncertainty and allows producers, consumers and traders to make informed decisions. Above all, it helps contain ‘panic buying’ and the hoarding of food and other essential items.

Now is the time to show solidarity, act responsibly and adhere to our common goal of enhancing food security, food safety and nutrition and improving the general welfare of people around the world.  We must ensure that our response to COVID-19 does not unintentionally create unwarranted shortages of essential items and exacerbate hunger and malnutrition.

WHO releases guidelines to help countries maintain essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:12:49 Z

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining health systems worldwide. The rapidly increasing demand on health facilities and health care workers threatens to leave some health systems overstretched and unable to operate effectively.

Previous outbreaks have demonstrated that when health systems are overwhelmed, mortality from vaccine-preventable and other treatable conditions can also increase dramatically. During the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures exceeded deaths from Ebola [1,2]

“The best defense against any outbreak is a strong health system,” stressed WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “COVID-19 is revealing how fragile many of the world’s health systems and services are, forcing countries to make difficult choices on how to best meet the needs of their people.”

To help countries navigate through these challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse. This includes a set of targeted immediate actions that countries should consider at national, regional, and local level to reorganize and maintain access to high-quality essential health services for all.

Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population. They also need to comply with the highest standard in precautions, especially in hygiene practices, and the provision of adequate supplies including personal protective equipment This requires robust planning and coordinated actions between governments and health facilities and their managers.

Some examples of essential services include: routine vaccination; reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth; care of young infants and older adults; management of mental health conditions as well as noncommunicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and TB; critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services, among others.

Well-organized and prepared health systems can continue to provide equitable access to essential service delivery throughout an emergency, limiting direct mortality and avoiding increased indirect mortality.   

The guidelines stress the importance of keeping up-to-date information. This requires frequent transparent communications with the public, and strong community engagements so the public   can maintain trust in the system to safely meet their essential needs and to control infection risk in health facilities. This will help ensure that people continue to seek care when appropriate, and adhere to public health advice.

1. Elston, J. W. T., Cartwright, C., Ndumbi, P., & Wright, J. (2017). The health impact of the 2014–15 Ebola outbreak. Public Health, 143, 60-70.

2. Parpia, A. S., Ndeffo-Mbah, M. L., Wenzel, N. S., & Galvani, A. P. (2016). Effects of response to 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak on deaths from malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, West Africa. Emerging infectious diseases, 22(3), 433.


For interviews please contact:  Tarik Jasarevic

To access the full guidance please visit:

For further information and guidance on COVID-19 please visit:



Medical Product Alert N°2/2020
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 07:46:02 Z

This Medical Product Alert relates to a confirmed falsified human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in vitro diagnostic medical device (IVD) that has been identified circulating in Guyana and Kenya.

Through its Global Surveillance and Monitoring System (GSMS) for substandard/falsified medical products, WHO was informed that at least 8,240 falsified rapid diagnostic tests to detect HIV-1/2 have been distributed in Guyana at end-user level. The product is Uni-Gold™ HIV and claims to be manufactured by
Trinity Biotech plc. Subsequent reports revealed that the same falsified product is also circulating in Kenya.

Uni-Gold™ HIV is a single-use rapid diagnostic test – an immunoassay for the qualitative detection of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in serum, plasma and whole blood. Uni-Gold™ HIV is intended for use in point of care settings as an aid in diagnosis of HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection.

The WHO testing strategy recommends three HIV reactive test results to confirm an HIV-positive status in a patient. The use of this falsified Uni-Gold™ HIV, subject of WHO medical product alert n°2 of 2020, is likely to lead to delayed diagnosis of HIV status.

Table 1: Specific details of the falsified product Uni-Gold™ HIV, subject of WHO Medical Product Alert n°2 of 2020

Product Name

Uni-Gold™ HIV

Lot Number


Expiry Date

5 DEC 2020

Stated manufacturer

Trinity Biotech

The packaging of this falsified HIV test kit is in English.

The genuine manufacturer (Trinity Biotech plc) has confirmed that:

  • They did not manufacture the falsified product in Table 1.
  • Genuine lot HIV7120026 was made by Trinity Biotech plc and expired in 2019.
  • The expiry date is incorrect and does not correspond with their batch manufacturing records.

Photographs and advice to the public are available below.

Figure 1 – Falsified Uni-Gold™ HIV, lot number HIV7120026, displaying falsified expiry date


Falsified UniGold HIV Images 1 and 2 Alert

Figure 2 – Falsified Uni-Gold™ HIV, displaying labelling inconsistencies

Falsified UniGold HIV Image 3 Alert


Advice on action to be taken by end-users:

  • Please check to see if any Uni-Gold™ HIV test kits in your facility have lot number HIV7120026.
  • If you are in possession of these falsified test kits with lot number HIV7120026:
  1. Please do not use.
  2. Please immediately contact the organization that supplied you with the product (either your HIV testing programme, nongovernmental organization or local distributor).
  3. Please contact Trinity Biotech plc

Phone : +353 1 276 9800

E-mail :

  1. Please contact your national health authorities

All medical products must be obtained from authentic and reliable sources. Their authenticity and condition should be carefully checked.

Advice on action to be taken by national health authorities:

WHO requests increased scrutiny within the supply chains of all countries, particularly at testing sites (health facilities, community-based), clinical laboratories, medical stores/warehouses, and at the facilities of relevant economic operators (agents, authorized representatives, distributors, wholesalers, etc.).

If these falsified test kits with lot number HIV7120026 are discovered, please do not use.

National health authorities are asked to immediately inform WHO, if these falsified products are discovered in their country using the WHO IVD complaint form.

If you have any information concerning the manufacture, distribution, or supply of this product, please contact


WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products

For further information, please visit our website:   

New WHO Guide to help countries expand access to essential medicines
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 16:27:25 Z

WHO’s   new user guide for countries, ‘Selection of medicines at country level’, is based on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines. It sets out the key actions countries should undertake to develop and update their own national essential medicines lists based on the treatment needs of their populations and their capacity to reimburse payments for medicines.

The document also aims to support countries in progressing towards universal health coverage. Today, approximately half of the world’s population is unable to  access essential medicines. The large majority of these people live in poorer countries, but rising prices of new medicines are also becoming a challenge for health systems in wealthy countries.

A careful selection of essential medicines is the first step in ensuring a population can obtain the quality-assured medicines it needs at an affordable price.  Countries need to do more to ensure that all people and communities can access highly effective medicines. WHO’s new manual is a resource to do just that. 

The document, intended for policy makers in charge of national medicines and reimbursement lists, aims to increase transparency on how essential medicines are selected. Most national lists of essential medicines have several differences when compared with WHO’s model list, which lists only medicines of proven safety and efficacy. Some national lists include medicines that bring little extra benefit to patients. Decision-makers should refer to the WHO global list to gauge the public health value of listing certain medicines for their populations.

The essential medicines concept 

Essential medicines are: 

  • those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population
  • selected with due regard to disease prevalence and public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness
  • intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times in adequate amounts, in the appropriate dosage forms, with assured quality and adequate information, and at a price the individual and community can afford.  

The essential medicines concept is global and forward-looking. It incorporates the need to regularly update medicines selections to reflect new therapeutic options and changing therapeutic needs; the need to ensure drug quality; and the need for continued development of better medicines, medicines for emerging diseases and medicines to meet changing resistance patterns.

Achieving universal health coverage and equity in public health depends on access to essential, high-quality and affordable health related technologies for all. To achieve access for all by 2030, at least two billion more people will need to have access to essential health services by 2030.

In an effort to make the Model List of Essential Medicines more readily accessible, WHO recently developed an electronic version of the list, bringing the traditional EML to computer screens, tablets and smartphones in a freely accessible, downloadable, online database.

Link to manual: Selection of essential medicines at country level

Link to e-EML: Model List of Essential Medicines

World TB Day 2020 Newsletter
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:11:31 Z

Latest news and updates from WHO

Dear colleagues and friends,

World TB Day, this year, comes at a sobering time – as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand in solidarity with those affected, those at the frontlines of the fight to combat COVID-19, as well as those who continue efforts to support those ill with longstanding health problems like TB, HIV and other diseases. However, we cannot forget the millions and their families who battle TB every day and lose their lives to this ancient disease – which remains the world’s top infectious killer.

As eloquently emphasized by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his press briefing on COVID-19 yesterday, “I’d like to remind everyone that although COVID-19 is dominating the world's attention-there is another respiratory disease that is both preventable and treatable, but kills 1.5 million people every year - that disease is tuberculosis"

“It’s Time”, the focus for World TB Day this year is therefore on urgently accelerating the TB response to save lives and end suffering, even in times of crisis. This will be essential if we are to reach the targets and commitments made by Heads of State at the 2018 UN High Level Meeting on TB. 

We have made important strides against the TB epidemic to date.

We announced last year, that more people received life-saving treatment for tuberculosis in 2018 than ever before, largely due to improved detection and diagnosis. Globally, 7 million people were diagnosed and treated for TB - up from 6.4 million in 2017 – enabling the world to meet one of the milestones towards the United Nations political declaration targets on TB and the WHO Director-General Flagship Initiative Find.Treat.All End TB jointly with Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund. This has been a big win for the TB community.

WHO is working with countries to roll out important guidelines, including a comprehensive package on TB preventive treatment released today, and updated MDR TB guidelines to promote the use of all-oral regimens for patients with drug-resistant TB which would be helpful – particularly at this point, when visiting health centers is a challenge. Furthermore, WHO has developed a note to guide and urge countries to ensure continuity of TB services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are strengthening our collaboration with civil society - more information is highlighted in the WHO Civil Society Taskforce Progress Review released today.

Youth mobilization is being ramped up through the WHO 1+1 Youth Initiative to end TB and the Global Youth Declaration to End TB. Multisectoral accountability is being promoted in countries through our framework and we have finalized a new global strategy on TB research and innovation, that will be reviewed by the World Health Assembly.

Yet, the gains we have made are at risk - if there is any slackening of commitment and action, especially in times of crisis.

We are at a crossroads and we need to unite forces to take the path of success that will save lives and end suffering.

I was especially heartened today, to see the TB community coming together like never before. We all took our events to the virtual realm due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The WHO Online Talk Show held this afternoon, had a powerful line up of speakers that included, TB survivors and advocates, civil society, high level government representatives, heads of agencies, researchers and partners. As of this evening we have surpassed 10,000 views on YouTube. I also participated in townhalls organized by Stop TB Partnership. Our joint efforts have indeed ensured a continuing spotlight on those affected by TB, and clearly shows that no matter what the barrier, we can surpass it if we work together.

I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you all virtually – and recommit to champion End TB efforts till we reach the finish line.

It’s time to deliver on our promises and ensure no one is left behind.

It’s time to End TB!

Dr Tereza Kasaeva
Global TB Programme
World Health Organization

World TB Day Talk Show

In the backdrop of the global battle against COVID-19, WHO organized a special online talk show to mark World TB Day 2020. The talk show had a powerful line up of speakers from among TB survivors and advocates, civil society, high-level government representatives, heads of agencies, researchers and partners. The video was streamed live on WHO’s Youtube channel crossing over 10,000 views in a few hours. Watch the talk show video

Spotlight on TB Preventive Treatment

New WHO recommendations to prevent tuberculosis aim to save millions of lives

24 March 2020 News release

Geneva –  New World Health Organization (WHO) guidance will help countries accelerate efforts to stop people with tuberculosis (TB) infection becoming sick with TB by giving them preventive treatment. A quarter of the world‘s population is estimated to be infected with TB bacteria. These people are neither sick nor contagious. However, they are at greater risk of developing TB disease, especially those with weakened immunity. Offering them TB preventive treatment will not only protect them from becoming sick but also cut down on the risk of transmission in the community. Read more

The full package is available below and at our World TB Day Campaign Page

WHO Civil Society Taskforce on TB: Progress Review

The WHO Civil Society Taskforce provides a platform for meaningful engagement of civil society, building on the commitment of the Director-General, with emphasis on harnessing the untapped potential in engagement with civil society and affected communities al all levels. To mark World TB Day 2020, the Task Force has released a Progress Review highlighting key achievements since its formation in 2018.

Access link here

WHO eTB guidelines: A digital platform to promote adolopment of TB recommendations

WHO Global TB Programme / McMaster University

The WHO Global Tuberculosis (TB) Programme, in collaboration with McMaster University, Canada, is developing a smart platform to improve access to and use of all WHO recommendations on TB prevention and care. The WHO eTB guidelines platform will facilitate the adoption, adaptation and implementation (“adolopment”) by countries of recommendations across the continuum of care. This digital platform will provide a variety of users – TB programme managers, healthcare workers including nurses, researchers, patients and affected communities - with easy access to all essential information about WHO-s current policy guidance on TB.

The first set of recommendations on TB preventive treatment were released on this new platform on World TB Day.

WHO eTB guidelines platform


TB and COVID-19

24 March 2020 News release

Geneva -  As the world comes together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that essential health services and operations are continued to protect the lives of people with TB and other diseases or health conditions. Health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained. Read more

Let's never forget: It's time to end TB

Ksenia Schenina

Ksenia Schenina

24 March 2020 Photo story

On World TB Day 2020, the theme - “Its time” - stresses the urgency to end the TB epidemic. TB survivor and advocate, Ksenia Schenina, talks about her struggle with the disease, the persistence of stigma and the role that remembrance can play in fighting it.   Through her TB memorial project, she aims to remember those who passed away from this terrible and ancient disease. “We do it to show what kind of people they were – what kind of things they liked, what kind of music they listened to and what their favorite movies were; if they liked fishing or dreamt of a flight to space,” she says. Read more


To end TB, we must invest in research and innovation

24 March 2020 Commentary

If the world is to get anywhere near ending TB, a disease that killed more than 1.5 million people in 2018, something significant needs to change.

TB remains the world’s leading infectious killer and yet, in the last 50 years, only three new drugs and regimes have been developed to combat the disease. “What we need is more research and more tools in the pipeline; better diagnostics, more effective vaccines, and safer, shorter drug regimes,” explains Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Programme. Read more

Emily: A Day in the Life of a TB Nurse

Maria Emily C. Ballesteros

Watch this story of Emily, a nurse managing the tuberculosis (TB) program of the City Health Office in Tuguegarao City. Her dream for Tuguegarao is to one day see zero TB cases and that no one dies from this infectious disease. Nurses and healthcare workers play a critical role in TB prevention and care. It’s time to invest in them to improve healthcare for all. We thank all the nurses, midwives and healthcare workers working to #EndTB! Watch the video

Updates and messages

New research tool supports scale-up of digital technologies to End TB

24 March 2020 TDR news item

National anti-tuberculosis efforts are increasingly involving digital technologies, such as mobile applications to support treatment adherence and electronic surveillance systems that enable real-time monitoring of a country’s TB situation. Read more

World TB Day 2020: It's Time for solidarity

24 March 2020 HIV/TB news item

At this unique time in history when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO Department of Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes stands in solidarity with governments and communities as they seek to maintain health services and continue to address the needs of patients suffering from HIV and tuberculosis (TB).  Read more

New, shorter treatment to prevent TB to be rolled out in five high TB burden countries

24 March 2020 news item

Three-month regimen expected to prevent TB in those at highest risk of developing the disease, including people living with HIV and children under the age of five Today, the Aurum Institute and its partners, as part of the IMPAACT4TB project, announced that five high-burden TB countries will roll out a new, shorter drug regimen (known as 3HP) to prevent TB. The announcement comes as countries around the world mark World TB Day, which takes place every year on March 24th. Countries that will initially provide the new regimen with funding from Unitaid, U.S. PEPFAR and the Global Fund include Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. More than 120,000 patient courses of 3HP will be delivered by the project to 12 countries in 2020. An additional 1 million patient courses are expected to reach low- and middle-income countries by the end of the year, through the combined support of Unitaid, Global Fund, the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF) and PEPFAR. Read more

Information sharing on COVID-19
Sun, 29 Mar 2020 08:10:08 Z

WHO’s focus at all times is to ensure that all areas of the globe have the information they need to manage the health of their people. In a recent interview, the WHO official who headed the joint international mission to China, did not answer a question on Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO Member States, not WHO staff. However, WHO is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts

The Taiwanese caseload is low relative to population. We continue to follow developments closely. WHO is taking lessons learned from all areas, including Taiwanese health authorities, to share best practices globally.

With respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, the WHO Secretariat works with Taiwanese health experts and authorities, following established procedures, to facilitate a fast and effective response and ensure connection and information flow.

  • There is a Taiwanese International Health Regulations Point of Contact, who receives IHR (2005) communications and has access to the Event Information Site (EIS) Platform (a password-protected database and information exchange mechanism supporting the IHR (2005)). 
  • The Taiwanese Field Epidemiology Training Program is a member of the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (also known as “TEPHINET”). WHO shares Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network alerts and requests for assistance with TEPHINET, and those messages are cascaded to the TEPHINET members.
  • Two Taiwanese public health experts participated in the Global Research and Innovation Forum organized by WHO on 11-12 February 2020, thus contributing, alongside other world scientists, including from mainland China, to critical research questions and to finding ways to work together to advance the response.

    WHO staff work around the world to respond to this pandemic with the best evidence-based guidance and operational support available for all people, based on public health needs.  Membership in WHO and status issues are decided by Member States and the rules they set at WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly.

    Information about COVID-19 can be found here:


WHO Director-General calls on G20 to Fight, Unite, and Ignite against COVID-19
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:42:03 Z

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, addressed Heads of State at today’s extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit focused on COVID-19. 

He told them, “You have come together to confront the defining health crisis of our time: We are at war with a virus that threatens to tear us apart - if we let it.“

He welcomed the G20‘s initiative to find joint solutions and work together: “This is a global crisis that requires a global response.”

 “Fight, unite, ignite“

Dr Tedros’ call was clear. First, he urged leaders to fight without excuses, without regrets – thanking countries who have already taken steps and urgently asking that they do more.

Second, he encouraged them to unite, stressing that no country can fight this alone, and calling on all countries to build on the solidarity already sparked by the crisis.

Third, he exhorted them to ignite a global movement to ensure this never happens again. 

He welcomed G20 leaders‘ commitment “to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic” to protect lives and livelihoods, as well as restore confidence and shore up stability currently threatened in trade and other sectors, and to commit to take all necessary health measures and seek to ensure adequate financing to contain the pandemic and protect people, especially the most vulnerable.“

The G20 committed to support and further strengthen WHO’s mandate in coordinating the response, and called for full funding of WHO‘s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

G20 members pledged to work together to increase research and development funding for vaccines and medicines, strengthen international scientific cooperation, and leverage digital technologies.

In turn, they tasked WHO and other relevant organizations with assessing gaps in pandemic preparedness and report the findings of this assessment to the G20 Finance and Health Ministers, in order to establish a global initiative on pandemic preparedness and response together.


Schistosomiasis elimination: refocusing on snail control to sustain progress
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 08:41:20 Z
It is likely that countries endemic for schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and soil-transmitted helminthiases (intestinal worms) will be able to treat 75% of school-aged children by 2020 – the target set by the NTD Roadmap developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012. In 2017, almost 99 million people were treated. This includes 81.1 million school-aged children, representing 68% coverage worldwide. For intestinal worms, 598.1 million children were treated -188 million preschool-aged and 410.1 million school-aged children - representing 69% coverage worldwide.
International working group on Ethics & COVID-19
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 14:42:06 Z

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic raises a number of difficult ethical issues, related to e.g. clinical trials, social distancing, priority-setting, health-care workers’ rights and obligations etc. WHO has established an international Working Group on Ethics & COVID-19 in order to develop advice on key ethical questions that Member States need to address.

Related document

Distilling existing guidance to support COVID-19 Research & Development [pdf, 263kb]


Ensuring continuity of TB services during the COVID-19 pandemic
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 18:12:24 Z

GENEVA  As the world comes together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that essential health services and operations are continued to protect the lives of people with TB and other diseases or health conditions. Health services, including national programmes to combat TB, need to be actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained.
In the lead- up to World TB Day, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General emphasized in a news release, “COVID-19 is highlighting just how vulnerable people with lung diseases and weakened immune systems can be. The world committed to end TB by 2030; improving prevention is key to making this happen.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) Global TB Programme, along with WHO regional and country offices, has developed an information note, in collaboration with stakeholders. This note is intended to assist national TB programmes and health personnel to urgently maintain continuity of essential services for people affected with TB during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by innovative people-centred approaches, as well as maximizing joint support to tackle both diseases.
“We stand in solidarity with those affected by COVID-19 and those at the frontlines of the fight to combat the disease,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the WHO Global TB Programme. “We need to act with urgency to ensure that in line with our vision of Health for All, no one with TB, COVID-19 or any health condition will miss out on the prevention and care they need.  It’s time for action.”


World TB Day 2020: It’s Time for solidarity
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:32:24 Z
WHO calls for continued collaboration in countries across health programmes for harmonized and integrated policies and service delivery, and engagement with communities and other sectors.
WHO Information Note: Ensuring continuity of TB services during the COVID-19 pandemic
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:38:11 Z
WHO Global TB Programme, along with WHO regional and country offices, has developed an information note, in collaboration with stakeholders to assist national TB programmes and health personnel to urgently maintain continuity of essential services for people affected with TB during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New WHO recommendations to prevent tuberculosis aim to save millions of lives
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:01:13 Z

Geneva –  New World Health Organization (WHO) guidance will help countries accelerate efforts to stop people with tuberculosis (TB) infection becoming sick with TB by giving them preventive treatment.

A quarter of the world‘s population is estimated to be infected with TB bacteria. These people are neither sick nor contagious. However, they are at greater risk of developing TB disease, especially those with weakened immunity. Offering them TB preventive treatment will not only protect them from becoming sick but also cut down on the risk of transmission in the community.  

As we mark World TB Day 2020, the disease remains the world’s top infectious killer. In 2018, 10 million people fell ill with TB worldwide and 1.5 million people lost their lives to this disease.

“COVID-19 is highlighting just how vulnerable people with lung diseases and weakened immune systems can be,“ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The world committed to end TB by 2030; improving prevention is key to making this happen. Millions of people need to be able to take TB preventive treatment to stop the onset of disease, avert suffering and save lives".

Dr Tedros highlighted the importance to continue efforts to tackle longstanding health problems, including TB during global outbreaks such as COVID-19. At the same time, programmes already in place to combat TB and other major infectious diseases can be leveraged to make the response to COVID-19 more effective and rapid.

Although some progress has been made towards targets set at the UN high-level Meeting on TB in 2018, TB preventive treatment has been largely neglected. Global leaders committed to ensuring access to TB preventive treatment to at least 24 million contacts of people with active TB and 6 million people living with HIV by 2022.  To date only a fraction of that target has been reached, with countries putting less than 430,000 household contacts and 1.8 million people living with HIV on TB preventive treatment in 2018.*

TB remains the top cause of death among people with HIV. TB preventive treatment works synergistically with antiretroviral therapy to prevent TB and save lives. Reinvigorated efforts by governments, health services, partners, donors and civil society will be needed to increase access to TB preventive treatment to the levels targeted.

The new consolidated guidelines recommend a range of innovative approaches to scale up access to TB preventive treatment:

  • WHO recommends a scale-up of TB preventive treatment among populations at highest risk including household contacts of TB patients, people living with HIV and other people at risk with lowered” immunity or living in crowded settings.
  • WHO recommends an integration of TB preventive treatment services into ongoing case finding efforts for active TB. All household contacts of TB patients and people living with HIV are recommended to be screened for active TB. If active TB is ruled out, they should be initiated on TB preventive treatment.
  • WHO recommends that either a tuberculin skin test  or interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) be used to test for TB infection. Both tests are helpful to find people more likely to benefit from TB preventive treatment but should not become a barrier to scale-up access. Testing for TB infection is not required before starting TB preventive treatment in people living with HIV, and children under 5 years who are contacts of people with active TB.
  • WHO recommends new shorter options for preventive treatment in addition to the widely used 6 months of daily isoniazid. The shorter options that are now recommended range from a 1 month daily regimen of rifapentine plus isoniazid to 3 months weekly rifapentine plus isoniazid, 3 months daily rifampicin plus isoniazid, or 4 months of daily rifampicin alone.

“As people around the globe come together to commemorate World TB Day, WHO is calling on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, donors, partners and the industry to unite forces and step up the TB response - notably for TB preventive treatment - to ensure no one is left behind,” said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme. “The new WHO guidance shows the way forward for millions to rapidly access new tools and shorter, safer options for preventive treatment. The time for action is now.”

TB preventive treatment is an affordable intervention that can prevent families from sliding into poverty and preserve the health and economy of whole communities. WHO anticipates that as new and safer drugs come onto the markets, and as prices fall, it will become a highly-cost effective way to save millions of lives.




WHO works closely with Member States including the US Government and technical and funding partners such as UNITAID to enhance access to shorter TB preventive treatment regimens. UNITAID-supported projects such as IMPAACT4TB and Cap-TB projects enabled by WHO with partners in Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe are leading the way. The new treatment options are also now more affordable, thanks to the significant price drop of rifapentine - a key drug - facilitated recently by UNITAID, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and global biopharmaceutical company Sanofi, along with forthcoming arrangements underway with generic manufacturers.


The new consolidated WHO guidelines come with an operational handbook to help guide countries step-by-step as they take TB preventive treatment to scale. This includes guidance on how to prioritize and invest from demand creation for TB prevention to supervision and monitoring of the programme.

The guidelines and operational handbook are also accompanied by an innovative mobile application – Prevent TB –to help health-care workers manage TB preventive treatment in their communities. Its online dashboard allows programme managers to visualize and monitor data in real time. The application can be customized by countries to suit their specific settings and is currently being adopted in India and Philippines.


The new guidelines and tools are being released ahead of World TB Day. World TB Day is observed on March 24 each year to raise public awareness and understanding about the world’s deadliest infectious killer – TB and its devastating health, social and economic impact on people around the world. Under the theme “It’s Time”, the spotlight this year is on urgently accelerating the TB response to save lives and end suffering.

*Erratum - an error in this sentence was corrected on 25 March


Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:00:16 Z


Geneva, 23 March 2020: FIFA, the international governing body of football, and the World Health Organization (WHO) have teamed up to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) by launching a new awareness campaign led by world-renowned footballers, who are calling on all people around the world to follow five key steps to stop the spread of the disease. 

The “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell. 

“FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the virtual launch of the campaign at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. “Be it through campaigns or funding, FIFA has stood up to the coronavirus, and I am delighted that world football is supporting WHO to kick out the coronavirus. I have no doubt with this type of support that together we will win.” 

“We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”

Twenty-eight players are involved in the video campaign, which is being published in 13 languages.

Sami Al Jaber (KSA), Alisson Becker (BRA), Emre Belözoğlu (TUR), Jared Borgetti (MEX), Gianluigi Buffon (ITA), Iker Casillas (ESP), Sunil Chhetri (IND), Youri Djorkaeff (FRA), Han Duan (CHN), Samuel Eto’o (CMR), Radamel Falcao (COL), Laura Georges (FRA), Valeri Karpin (RUS), Miroslav Klose (GER), Philipp Lahm (GER), Gary Lineker (ENG), Carli Lloyd (USA), Lionel Messi (ARG), Mido (EGY), Michael Owen (ENG), Park Ji-sung (KOR) , Carles Puyol (ESP), Célia Šašić (GER), Asako Takakura (JPN), Yaya Touré (CIV), Juan Sebastián Verón (ARG), Sun Wen (CHN) and Xavi Hernández (ESP).

A video campaign, which will be published on player and FIFA digital channels, is also being provided as individual localized files to the 211 FIFA member associations and media agencies, together with a graphics toolkit for implementation on social media to further pass the message. 



“It starts with your hands,” says Alisson Becker, WHO Goodwill ambassador for health promotion, Liverpool FC and Brazil goalkeeper, and The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper, 2019. “Please wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution.”

Such frequent washing with soap and water, or preferably with an alcohol-based hand solution, kills viruses that may be on your hands. It is simple, but it is very important.


“Cover your nose and mouth with a bent elbow or tissue when you sneeze or cough,” says Carli Lloyd two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner from the United States. “Dispose of tissue immediately and wash your hands.”

Droplets spread the coronavirus. By following respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from contracting viruses, such as cold, flu and coronavirus.


“Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the virus from entering your body,” adds FC Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019, and a multiple FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.

Hands touch too many surfaces and can quickly pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your face, from where the virus can move inside your body, making you feel unwell.


“In terms of social interaction, take a step back,” says Han Duan, who represented China PR 188 times in an international career that spanned 11 years. “Stay at least one metre distance from others.”

By maintaining such social distancing, you are helping to avoid breathing in any droplets from someone who sneezes or coughs in close proximity.

Feel – know your symptoms:

“If you feel unwell, stay home,” concludes Samuel Eto’o, former FC Barcelona and Cameroon striker, who represented his country 114 times. “Please follow all instructions provided by your local health authorities.”

If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.

Keep informed as local health authorities provide the latest information on the situation in your area. Please follow their specific instructions, and call in advance to allow them to direct you to the appropriate local health facility. This serves to protect you and to help prevent the spread of virus and other infections.

FIFA have also pledged $10 million to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

For more information, please consult @WHO and follow the latest information online