The number of deaths from pregnancy or birth complications has dropped by one-third over the past two decades thanks to midwife trainings, improved family-planning services and improved care at health care facilities, but 1,000 women still lose their lives every day, the World Health Organization says. Ninety-nine percent of maternal deaths still occur in the developing world where poverty and access challenge families' ability to get proper care. The current rate of decline is insufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality rates, the WHO warned.
The H1N1 flu virus has claimed 2,827 lives so far but has shown no signs of mutation to a more deadly form, the World Health Organization says. About 250,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu have been registered, and WHO expects 2 billion people eventually might be infected.
Drug-resistant cases of the H1N1 flu remain isolated and do not represent a major shift in the disease's course, the World Health Organization says. So far all cases that have shown resistance to Tamiflu have been successfully treated with other antiviral medicines.
Millions of people every year contract cholera, but due to stigma and misunderstanding, less than a tenth of cases are reported, the World Health Organization said Monday. Governments need to do more to prevent cholera outbreaks through improved water and sewage systems and better education about hygiene practices.
Following the bird flu deaths of five Chinese, the World Health Organization advised caution during China's Lunar New Year holiday, but found no reason for undue alarm. "What we are seeing is so far within our expectations and broadly matches previous years," said a WHO spokesman. "There is no evidence of an epidemic.