Vaccines Saved at Least 154 Million Lives in 50 Years, Says WHO

 World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during an event about expanding health coverage for all during the IMF and World Bank’s 2024 annual Spring Meetings in Washington, US, April 18, 2024. (Reuters)
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during an event about expanding health coverage for all during the IMF and World Bank’s 2024 annual Spring Meetings in Washington, US, April 18, 2024. (Reuters)
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Vaccines Saved at Least 154 Million Lives in 50 Years, Says WHO

 World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during an event about expanding health coverage for all during the IMF and World Bank’s 2024 annual Spring Meetings in Washington, US, April 18, 2024. (Reuters)
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during an event about expanding health coverage for all during the IMF and World Bank’s 2024 annual Spring Meetings in Washington, US, April 18, 2024. (Reuters)

Global immunization efforts have saved at least 154 million lives in the past 50 years, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, adding that most of those to benefit were infants.

That is the equivalent of six lives saved every minute of every year of the half century, the UN health agency said.

In a study published in the Lancet, WHO gave a comprehensive analysis of the impact of 14 vaccines used under the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month.

Thanks to these vaccines, "a child born today is 40 percent more likely to see their fifth birthday than a child born 50 years ago", WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

"Vaccines are among the most powerful inventions in history, making once-feared diseases preventable," he said.

"Smallpox has been eradicated, polio is on the brink, and with the more recent development of vaccines against diseases like malaria and cervical cancer, we are pushing back the frontiers of disease."

Infants accounted for 101 million of the lives saved through immunization over the five decades, said the study.

"Immunization was the single greatest contribution of any health intervention to ensuring babies not only see their first birthdays but continue leading healthy lives into adulthood," WHO said.

'Vaccines cause adults'

Over 50 years, vaccines against 14 diseases -- diphtheria, Haemophilus influenza type B, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, measles, meningitis A, pertussis, invasive pneumococcal disease, polio, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, and yellow fever -- had directly contributed to reducing infant deaths by 40 percent, the study found.

For Africa, the reduction in infant mortality was more than 50 percent, it said.

The vaccine against measles -- a highly contagious disease by a virus that attacks mainly children -- had the most significant impact.

That jab accounted for 60 percent of the lives saved due to immunization, according to the study.

The polio vaccine means that more than 20 million people are able to walk today who would otherwise have been paralyzed.

The study also showed that when a vaccine saves a child's life, that person goes on to live an average of 66 years of full health on average -- with a total of 10.2 billion full health years gained over the five decades.

"Vaccines cause adults," Tedros said.

WHO stressed that the gains in childhood survival showed the importance of protecting progress on immunization.

It highlighted accelerating efforts to reach 67 million children who missed at least one vaccination during the Covid pandemic.

The UN health agency, along with the UN children's agency Unicef, the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Wednesday launched a joint campaign called "Humanly Possible".

It is aimed at scaling up vaccination programs around the world.

"By working together we can save millions more lives, advance equity and create a much healthier and more prosperous world," Violaine Michell of the Gates Foundation told journalists.

Anti-vax threat

But efforts to ensure broader vaccine coverage have increasingly run into anti-vax movements and conspiracy theories circulating on social media.

This was particularly clear during the Covid pandemic, but it has also taken its toll on efforts to avert measles outbreaks.

"There has been a very significant backsliding in the use of the measles vaccine and the coverage that has been achieved in countries around the world, and that is resulting in outbreaks," WHO vaccine chief Kate O'Brien told journalists.

In 2022, the last year for which there are clear statistics, more than nine million measles cases were registered around the world, including 136,000 children who died.

Lack of access to the vaccines was a major concern, said O'Brien, but part of the backsliding was attributable to "misinformation and anti-vax movements".

"The measles vaccine is a safe vaccine, and it's highly effective," she insisted, stressing the need to ramp up efforts against "one of the most infectious viruses that infect humans".



Syrian Refugees in Jordan Receive Mobile Homes from KSrelief

The project provides 500 mobile homes for 500 Syrian families - SPA
The project provides 500 mobile homes for 500 Syrian families - SPA
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Syrian Refugees in Jordan Receive Mobile Homes from KSrelief

The project provides 500 mobile homes for 500 Syrian families - SPA
The project provides 500 mobile homes for 500 Syrian families - SPA

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) secured a new batch of 500 mobile homes for Syrian refugees in Zaatari Camp, Jordan, as part of the center's project to provide mobile homes in the camp.
Governor of Mafraq Governorate in Jordan, Salman Najada, commended the relief and humanitarian efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in supporting the needy people through KSrelief in Jordan.

He underscored the significant role played by the center in addressing the economic, social, and financial challenges facing Syrian refugees in Jordan.
The mobile housing project aims to offer suitable housing for the Zaatari camp's most vulnerable Syrian refugee families. It involves providing 500 mobile homes for 500 Syrian families, given the increase in the camp's population due to new arrivals and newly married residents.
The project is part of the humanitarian and relief efforts of the Kingdom, implemented through its humanitarian arm, KSrelief, to assist Syrian refugees and enhance their living conditions in various refugee locations.


Saudi National Products Exhibition Concludes in Qatar

The exhibition also saw the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding under the auspices of the Saudi-Qatari Business Council - SPA
The exhibition also saw the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding under the auspices of the Saudi-Qatari Business Council - SPA
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Saudi National Products Exhibition Concludes in Qatar

The exhibition also saw the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding under the auspices of the Saudi-Qatari Business Council - SPA
The exhibition also saw the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding under the auspices of the Saudi-Qatari Business Council - SPA

The first edition of the Saudi National Products Exhibition in Qatar concluded with the participation of over 80 Saudi companies from the industrial, food, health, and commercial sectors.
The three-day exhibition helped to strengthen the brand image of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's exports and highlight its position in global markets, which is in line with the goals of Vision 2030 to increase non-oil exports.
Alongside the exhibition, various events and activities were organized to attract visitors, showcase the quality of national industries, and generate innovative ideas across different sectors. A dialogue session titled "Saudi Women and Their Excellence in Business" was held during the exhibition, focusing on the role of governments in supporting women in business, sharing their experiences and successes, and emphasizing Vision 2030's significant role in enhancing women's participation in economic development, SPA reported.
The exhibition also saw the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding under the auspices of the Saudi-Qatari Business Council. Notably, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Saudi Investor Innovation Company and the Qatari Kate Real Estate Group, aiming to collaborate in the field of shopping centers. Additionally, an agreement was signed between Asma Turki Home and Al-Najah Company to enter the Qatari markets, and another agreement was signed between BTOUCH EVENT and EVENT VQ Company for event and exhibition organization exchange.
The first edition of the Saudi National Products Exhibition in Qatar was held under the patronage of Saudi Ambassador to the State of Qatar Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan. The event witnessed the participation of government agencies, including the Ministry of Investment, the Saudi Export Development Authority (SAUDI EXPORTS), and the Federation of Saudi Chambers, as well as a prominent presence from businessmen and interested parties in Qatar.


GEA Issues Over 1,673 Licenses for Entertainment Activities during Q1 of 2024

GEA Issues Over 1,673 Licenses for Entertainment Activities during Q1 of 2024
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GEA Issues Over 1,673 Licenses for Entertainment Activities during Q1 of 2024

GEA Issues Over 1,673 Licenses for Entertainment Activities during Q1 of 2024

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) issued more than 1,673 licenses for various entertainment activities during the first quarter of 2024, signaling an increase of 28% from the same period last year.
The licenses the GEA issued included all entertainment and supporting activities, particularly entertainment events and shows, and live shows in restaurants, cafes, amusement parks, and entertainment centers, operating entertainment facilities, managing the work of artistic and entertainment talents, organizing and managing crowds, and selling tickets for entertainment activities. It also issued 97 licenses for new entertainment destinations.

The entertainment events the authority licensed during the first quarter of this year covered various regions in the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The city of Riyadh witnessed 216 entertainment events, Makkah 101 events, the Eastern Province 76 events, the Qassim region 37 events, followed by Asir and Jazan which hosted region 23 and 16 events, respectively.

The total number of visitors to the events in all regions of the Kingdom reached more than 11 million.


Saudi Arabia Joins International Agency for Research on Cancer

Photo by SPA
Photo by SPA
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Saudi Arabia Joins International Agency for Research on Cancer

Photo by SPA
Photo by SPA

The UN World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) officially celebrated welcoming Saudi Arabia as a new member during the 66th session of the agency’s Governing Council, held in Lyon, France.
Saudi Health Council Secretary General Dr. Nahar Al-Azemi said Saudi Arabia’s joining of the IARC reflects the nation’s leading role in the field of disease prevention and control, SPA reported.
The move also emphasizes the Kingdom’s pioneering efforts in containing the spread of cancer and its complications through a rigorous scientific approach, Al-Azemi added.
He highlighted the Saudi government’s great emphasis on dealing with cancer, addressing various preventive, therapeutic, and social aspects of the disease.
Fahad Al-Ruwaily, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to France and designated permanent representative of the Kingdom to UNESCO, and the participating Saudi delegation led by Al-Azemi attended the celebration.


First Red Sea Fashion Week Starts on Ummahat Islands

The event aims to establish Saudi fashion's presence in relevant international forums and position the Kingdom's fashion as a major contributor across various sectors of the fashion industry globally. SPA
The event aims to establish Saudi fashion's presence in relevant international forums and position the Kingdom's fashion as a major contributor across various sectors of the fashion industry globally. SPA
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First Red Sea Fashion Week Starts on Ummahat Islands

The event aims to establish Saudi fashion's presence in relevant international forums and position the Kingdom's fashion as a major contributor across various sectors of the fashion industry globally. SPA
The event aims to establish Saudi fashion's presence in relevant international forums and position the Kingdom's fashion as a major contributor across various sectors of the fashion industry globally. SPA

The first Red Sea Fashion Week (RSFW) kicked Thursday from Ummahat Islands, promising three days of style and glamour at the St. Regis Red Sea Resort.
The RSFW, organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission, is a cultural and economic milestone for the fashion industry in the Kingdom, representing a prominent initiative that integrates Saudi fashion into the global market, SPA reported.
The event aims to establish Saudi fashion's presence in relevant international forums and position the Kingdom's fashion as a major contributor across various sectors of the fashion industry globally. It recognizes the significant impact of fashion as a contributor to national economies.
Fashion Commission chief executive Burak Cakmak expressed the goal of the RSFW to create a platform that fosters cultural exchange and celebrates creativity. He added that the cultural event highlights the commission's steadfast commitment to driving the fashion industry forward in the Kingdom.
He further emphasized the commission's dedication to creating an appealing environment where talented individuals, both male and female, from the nation can connect with experienced international figures and reputable entities in the industry.
With a meticulously planned schedule, the RSFW features an impressive lineup of Saudi and global brands that can adorn the nation’s platforms, showrooms, and forums at the local, regional and global levels, Cakmak said.
The Fashion Commission's strategies and plans revolve around nurturing local talents and integrating them into the global fashion scene, Cakmak said, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 to enrich the cultural fabric of the Kingdom.
Cakmak stressed the commission's eagerness to keep up with these objectives that also expand local economic horizons, with culture playing a vital role in the national product and contributing to the overall development of the country's economy.


WHO: 10,000 Daily Deaths in Europe from Excessive Salt Consumption

WHO: 10,000 Daily Deaths in Europe from Excessive Salt Consumption
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WHO: 10,000 Daily Deaths in Europe from Excessive Salt Consumption

WHO: 10,000 Daily Deaths in Europe from Excessive Salt Consumption

WHO Europe warned in a recent report of lethal levels of salt consumption and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

It said most people in European region consume far too much salt, and more than one in three adults aged 30–79 has hypertension.

The nw WHO/Europe report “Action on salt and hypertension” called for an integrated approach to reduce salt intake and improve detection and control of hypertension to protect people’s health.

The report said cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the predominant cause of disability and premature death in the European Region, causing over 42.5% of all deaths annually, saying it equals to 10, 000 deaths every day.

According to the report, men are almost 2.5 times more likely to die from CVDs than women. There is also a geographic divide – the probability of dying young (30–69 years) from a CVD is nearly five times as high in eastern Europe and central Asia compared to western Europe.

“CVDs and hypertension are largely preventable – and controllable,” said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

“Four million, a staggering figure, is the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases every single year – primarily in men, particularly in the eastern part of our WHO region. These are the facts, but this is something we can change. We know what works, but time and time again, we fall short of implementing evidence-based approaches, resulting in unacceptably high levels of avoidable deaths. Implementing targeted policies to reduce salt intake by 25% could save an estimated 900 000 lives from CVDs by 2030.”

Excessive salt consumption is the main driver of hypertension and, subsequently, deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other CVDs. Street food and processed foods are often the main culprits.

The report said that regulating the amount of salt in processed foods has the potential to have a positive impact on people’s health.


Richest Woman in Australia Demands National Gallery Remove Her Portrait

Gina Rinehart (right) and a portrait of her by Archibald prize-winning artist Vincent Namatjira. - AAP/Getty Images
Gina Rinehart (right) and a portrait of her by Archibald prize-winning artist Vincent Namatjira. - AAP/Getty Images
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Richest Woman in Australia Demands National Gallery Remove Her Portrait

Gina Rinehart (right) and a portrait of her by Archibald prize-winning artist Vincent Namatjira. - AAP/Getty Images
Gina Rinehart (right) and a portrait of her by Archibald prize-winning artist Vincent Namatjira. - AAP/Getty Images

The mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has demanded the National Gallery of Australia remove her portrait from an exhibition by the award-winning artist Vincent Namatjira.

The image, arguably an unflattering picture of Australia’s richest woman, is one of many portraits unveiled at the Canberra gallery as part of the Archibald prize-winning artist’s first major survey exhibition, The Guardian reported.

The National Gallery has rebuffed efforts to have the picture taken down and said in a statement that it welcomed public dialogue on its collection and displays.

“Since 1973, when the National Gallery acquired Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, there has been a dynamic discussion on the artistic merits of works in the national collection, and/or on display at the gallery,” it said.

Before going on show in Canberra, the painting was on public display in Adelaide for months during the exhibition’s initial run at the Art Gallery of South Australia from October 2023 until January 2024.


Former Inmates' Garden Showcases at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Photo by Getty images
Photo by Getty images
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Former Inmates' Garden Showcases at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Photo by Getty images
Photo by Getty images

A garden designed and built by women who are in prison or have recently been released will be exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The indoor garden will be a recreation of the greenhouse at HMP East Sutton Park, in Kent, where inmates trained.

Kali Hamerton-Stove, director of The Glasshouse project, said it helped women prepare for their release and tackled reoffending rates.

She said the exhibit was an "incredible opportunity" to showcase their work, BBC reported.

The exhibit will feature house plants nurtured by women in prison and items representing their "dreams and hopes".

Stove said it is "amazing" that women get to "design and build an exhibit based on their experience".

She said it is also amazing they will be around horticultural specialists and "incredibly inspirational people" at the show.

She said the project focused on ensuring women had "skills ready to enter the workforce and society" after they were released from prison.


Cruise Saudi Announces Commercial Launch of ‘AROYA Cruises’

The ship can accommodate more than 3,362 passengers. SPA
The ship can accommodate more than 3,362 passengers. SPA
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Cruise Saudi Announces Commercial Launch of ‘AROYA Cruises’

The ship can accommodate more than 3,362 passengers. SPA
The ship can accommodate more than 3,362 passengers. SPA

Cruise Saudi, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) specializing in developing the cruise sector in the Kingdom, has announced the commercial launch of its cruise line "AROYA Cruises.”

“As the first Arabian cruise line, AROYA Cruises is proud to lead the way with its authentic Arabian experience offered to guests at sea and on land,” Cruise Saudi said in a statement.

“It also stands out for its unique design, which reflects Arabian generosity and Saudi Arabia's hospitality by providing exceptional experiences that focus on comfort and luxury for its guests,” it added.
AROYA Cruises is a 335-meter floating resort with 1,678 cabins, including balcony cabins overlooking the sea, as well as luxury suites and villas.

The ship can accommodate more than 3,362 passengers and includes 20 entertainment venues across 18 decks that provide shopping at AROYA's shops, performances in the 1,018-seat theater, and shows and movies for children.

AROYA Cruises also offers exclusive VIP experiences, with spacious and premium suites, outdoor lounges and exceptional dining experiences.

Tourist trips are scheduled in the Red Sea in December 2024, with visits to the AROYA Cruise's private island as well as destinations to Egypt and Jordan.


Indonesia Raises Alert to Highest Level for Ibu Volcano

A handout photo made available by Indonesian's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation shows thick grey ash and dark clouds spewed from Mount Ibu in North Maluku province, Indonesia, 15 May 2024. EPA/PVMBG
A handout photo made available by Indonesian's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation shows thick grey ash and dark clouds spewed from Mount Ibu in North Maluku province, Indonesia, 15 May 2024. EPA/PVMBG
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Indonesia Raises Alert to Highest Level for Ibu Volcano

A handout photo made available by Indonesian's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation shows thick grey ash and dark clouds spewed from Mount Ibu in North Maluku province, Indonesia, 15 May 2024. EPA/PVMBG
A handout photo made available by Indonesian's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation shows thick grey ash and dark clouds spewed from Mount Ibu in North Maluku province, Indonesia, 15 May 2024. EPA/PVMBG

Indonesia's volcanology agency on Thursday raised the alert level of the Ibu volcano in North Maluku province to the highest on its scale after a series of recent eruptions.

The agency in a statement also warned nearby residents against coming near the volcano, located on the remote island of Halhamera.

Mount Ibu erupted on Monday, spewing thick grey ash and dark clouds 5,000 meters into the sky for five minutes, officials said.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, has 120 active volcanoes. It is prone to volcanic activity because it sits along the “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.