The 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) next week will see all eyes on the WHO again after a turbulent couple of years. Condemned for its failings in the global response to Ebola, stuck in a process of reform that everyone agrees is needed but no-one knows how, and on the brink of declaring yellow fever a public health emergency of international concern, things are hotting up for the election of the new Director General.
I leave the region with all the usual feelings, heavy feelings, the same ones people much brighter and more eloquent than me have described through the years. I just have one small, unfurling seed of optimism; knowing that if water could be disentangled from the war, it presents a genuine opportunity for co-operation and relationship building between neighbours. In all the gloom there is a glimmer of hope and it's right there, in the water.
Efua Dorkenoo, OBE, known affectionately to many, as 'Mama Efua' was a shining light in the movement to end FGM, dedicating her life to the eradication of the practice. Often referred to as the mother of the end FGM campaign, she fought for decades and battled to ensure that FGM stopped being a minority issue that was ignored to an issue was recognized as a priority by governments and policy makers around the world.
Newspapers and broadcasters already self-censor when reporting suicides. That is because studies have shown that detailed reports of suicide lead to copycat cases. Perhaps it is time, then, for the media to help reduce the impact of Ebola by showing a little restraint. Tales of desperate, gruesome deaths make better newspaper copy than tales of survival, but they also fuel the hopelessness that can kill those unlucky enough to contract the virus.
I was part of a recent humanitarian mission that delivered emergency assistance to children and families in six hard-to-reach villages in northwestern Aleppo governorate. For some families living in this remote area near the Turkish border, it had been almost two years since they had received humanitarian supplies...
This week sees the publication of From Promises to Progress, a new report on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), a group of 17 infectious diseases that between them affect over 1.4 billion of the poorest people in the world.
Let me tell you, HeiaHeia is the answer to all of us who lack the will power to get a grip of ourselves to start moving that body. HeiaHeia is some sort of fitness Facebook in which we can keep track of and share everything sporty we do.
As representatives of the World Health Organization Member States arrive in Geneva this week for the 65th World Health Assembly, I feel a cautious optimism about the future, and the future health of Africa. With two female heads of state in Africa - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia and Joyce Banda in Malawi - women's health and gender equality are no longer marginalised, they have become central to a nation's potential for development and prosperity. National level attention to women's health and opportunity has become the standard against which our collective progress is judged.