In a new policy brief, titled “COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health”, the Secretary-General presents a series of recommendations to ensure that mental health services are fully included in pandemic response and recovery plans.
Mental health is at the core of our humanity, he said, but after decades of neglect and underinvestment in these services, the pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress. Even when the pandemic is brought under control, he added, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities.
The Secretary-General calls for an expansion of programmes currently available. He adds that policies must support and care for those affected by mental health conditions, as well as protect their human rights and dignity. Governments, civil society and health authorities should urgently come together to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, he says.
He also calls on governments to announce ambitious commitments on this at the forthcoming World Health Assembly.
In his own video message to support the new policy brief, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, said that if there was ever a time to invest in mental health, it is now. He added that we must use this opportunity to build services that are fit for the future, inclusive, community-based and affordable.
More than 140 current and former world leaders, as well as Nobel laureates, UN officials and experts, have signed an open letter calling on all governments to unite behind a so-called people’s vaccine against COVID-19. This appeal, which was coordinated by UNAIDS and Oxfam, comes ahead of the virtual meeting of the health ministers at the World Health Assembly starting May 18th.
Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Lake Tanganyika lies along its southwestern border. The capital cities are Gitega and Bujumbura.
Burundi gained independence in 1962. Roughly 85% of the population are of Hutu ethnic origin, 15% are Tutsi, and fewer than 1% are indigenous Twa. The official languages of Burundi are Kirundi and French, Kirundi being recognised officially as the sole national language.
Lesotho, a high-altitude, landlocked kingdom encircled by South Africa, is crisscrossed by a network of rivers and mountain ranges including the 3,482m-high peak of Thabana Ntlenyana. On the Thaba Bosiu plateau, near Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, are ruins dating from the 19th-century reign of King Moshoeshoe I. Thaba Bosiu overlooks iconic Mount Qiloane, an enduring symbol of the nation’s Basotho people.
It is by far the largest of the world’s three independent states completely surrounded by the territory of another country; with Vatican City and San Marino being the other two.
Lesotho was previously the British Crown Colony of Basutoland, but it declared independence from the United Kingdom on 4 October 1966. It is now a fully sovereign state and is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest.
The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over three million of Libya’s seven million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.
Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I. Parts of Libya are currently split between rival Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments, as well as various tribal and Islamist militias.
Libya is a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC. The country’s official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.
The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. Manila is the capital.
Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.
A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins.
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
Yemen, officially the Republic of Yemen, is a country at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula, occupying 527,970 square kilometres. The coastline stretches for about 2,000 kilometres.