WHO and European Commission adopt joint declaration

During the annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Moscow, Russian Federation, the WHO and the European Commission adopted a joint declaration, seeking to strengthen policy dialogue and technical cooperation on public health. The joint declaration calls for a more cohesive effort to improve health security throughout the WHO European Region. The declaration highlights the need for closer monitoring of health inequalities across the European Region and for exploring ways to combat them. It also underscores the importance of formal education in building healthy lifestyles. A coordinated effort will be made to facilitate the development of a new European health policy for the WHO European Region: an integrated framework for tackling existing health challenges on the wider European continent.

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Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, and Mr John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy (Photo: WHO/D. Ternovoy)

Concern over birth defect rates in China

Every year about 800,000 to 1.2 million Chinese babies are born with defects, indicating that a baby with defects is born every 30 seconds in China. Only between 20 and 30 percent of these infants can live a relatively good life after early diagnosis and proper treatments, while 30 to 40 percent will die shortly after birth. In addition, around 40 percent will have to live with permanent disabilities. According to Jiang Fan, deputy director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, the best way to reduce such birth defects would be to prevent their occurrence in the first place. In 2009 the Chinese Ministry of Health decided to launch a health program to provide free folic acid supplements for 12 million rural women of child-bearing age, to help prevent birth defects in their future babies. In April 2010 a pilot was initiated to provide rural couples with free pre-pregnancy health checks.
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Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that about 30 million families have children with some defects

Aaron Fotheringham masters double back flip

With the help of a 60-foot bungee cord Aaron Fotheringham managed to perform a double back flip in his wheelchair. The 18-year-old from Las Vegas, who goes by the nickname Wheelz, started out by going to a skate park with his older brother Brian who rides a BMX bike. After looking on for a while, he decided to join his brother in the fun. His initial goal was becoming the first person in a wheelchair to land a single back flip. After reaching his goal in 2006, he decided to aim a bit higher this year. He hooked up with Nitro Circus and started practising for their live tour. It took a lot of training until he was finally able to land a double back flip during an extreme sports camp. “I don’t think of myself as being in a wheelchair. I’m on a wheelchair. I ride it like it’s a bike,” Fotheringham told CNN. “Just go out there and live. Just have fun.”
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Aaron Fotheringham celebrates landing his first double back flip in a wheelchair

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