WHO Can Stop an Epidemic

According to the New York Times, this season's particular flu virus doesn't respond-at all-to the standard flu medicine, Tamiflu. I admit to...

According to the New York Times, this season's particular flu virus doesn't respond-at all-to the standard flu medicine, Tamiflu. I admit to shivering when I hear medical experts saying things like "It's quite shocking" and "We've never lost an antimicrobial this fast. It blew me away." Thirty six thousand Americans die every year from the flu, so it's no joke. But the last paragraph of the Times piece is particularly chilling:"And while seasonal flu is relatively mild, the Tamiflu resistance could transfer onto the H5N1 bird flu circulating in Asia and Egypt, which has killed millions of birds and about 250 people since 2003."That is disturbing because the LA Times reports last week that, after a two-year lull, avian flu is back and killing people again. In the past, pandemic health experts have warned that this "H5N1" avian flu virus could well become transmissible from human to human, and then we'd be in big trouble. The flu from the turn of the 20th century, also an avian flu, killed the percentage equivalent today of two million Americans. Its victims turned blue and coughed up blood.

Areas reporting confirmed occurrences of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry and wild birds since 2003, status as of December, 15, 2008. From the WHO See the full size version here. In response to the outbreaks of avian flu, public health agencies around the world have been stockpiling Tamiflu. So the idea of an avian flu virus that cannot be treated with Tamiflu is, well...yikes.All of this makes me wonder why the World Health Organization is virtually unheard of in the U.S (and it has only 1,203 fans on Facebook compared to, say, over 600,000 fans for Red Bull). The WHO tracks global epidemics like avian flu and another nightmare pathogen, Ebola. It also more or less eradicated polio and helps developing countries with their healthcare systems.The rules are that if there is an outbreak of contagious disease in your country, you have to share samples of the virus with the WHO That way, the WHO can get scientists to track and analyze the bug (and ideally develop a vaccine), and it can help coordinate a response among public health officials to prevent the spread. No other group can do this-if Washington asked for those samples, many countries would refuse.The WHO is an encouraging, and too rare, example of countries getting over their differences to solve a common problem. The WHO is underfunded and needs reform, but it stands between us and some lethal future pandemic. President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Obama's pick for healthcare czar-Senator Tom Daschle-should be sure to support it, talk it up and push to make it as effective an organization as it can be.Guest blogger Nina L. Hachigian is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.

This article was produced in partnership with the United Nations to launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of cooperation in building the future we want.

When half of the world's population doesn't share the same opportunity or rights as the other half, the whole world suffers. Like a bird whose wings require equal strength to fly, humanity will never soar to its full potential until we achieve gender equality.

That's why the United Nations made one of its Sustainable Development Goals to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." That goal includes providing women and girls equal access to education and health care, as well as addressing gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

While there is still much work to be done, history shows us that we are capable of making big leaps forward on this issue. Check out some of the milestones humanity has already reached on the path to true equality.

Historic Leaps Toward Gender Equality

1848 The Seneca Falls Convention in New York, organized by Elizabeth Lady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, is the first U.S. women's convention to discuss the oppression of women in sociopolitical, economic, and religious life.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation to grant national voting rights to women.

1903 Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is also the only woman to win multiple Nobel Prizes, for Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911.

1920 The 19th Amendment is passed in the U.S. giving women the right to vote in all 50 U.S. states.

1973 The U.S. Open becomes the first major sports tournament of its kind to offer equal pay to women, after tennis star Billie Jean King threatened to boycott.

1975 The first World Conference on Women is held in Mexico, where a 10-year World Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women is formed. The first International Women's Day is commemorated by the UN in the same year.

1979 The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also known as the "Women's Bill of Rights." It is the most comprehensive international document protecting the rights of women, and the second most ratified UN human rights treaty after the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland becomes the first woman to be elected head of state in a national election.

1993 The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first international instrument to explicitly define forms of violence against women and lay out a framework for global action.

2010 The UN General Assembly creates the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to speed progress on meeting the needs of women and girls around the world.

2018 The UN and European Union join forces on the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is redoubling its commitment to reach all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality. But it will take action and effort from everyone to ensure that women and girls are free from discrimination and violence. Learn more about what is being done to address gender equality and see how you can get involved here.

And join the global conversation about the role of international cooperation in building the future by taking the UN75 survey here.

Let's make sure we all have a say in the future we want to see.

via WFMZ / YouTube

John Perez was acquitted on Friday, February 21, for charges stemming from an altercation with Allentown, Pennsylvania police that was caught on video.

Footage from September 2018 shows an officer pushing Perez to the ground. After Perez got to his feet, multiple officers kicked and punched him in an attempt to get him back on the ground.

Perez claims he was responding to insults hurled at him by the officers. The police say that Perez was picking a fight. The altercation left Perez with a broken nose, scrapes, swelling, and bruises from his hips to his shoulder.

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