News in Brief 14 December 2017 (AM)

UN peacekeeping chief pays tribute to fallen Tanzanian blue helmets

The head of UN peacekeeping operations has paid tribute to the 14 Tanzanian blue helmets killed last week by suspected rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Jean-Pierre Lacroix participated in a ceremony on Thursday in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, in commemoration of the soldiers who were killed during an attack on a UN base in the eastern DRC on 7 December.

Mr Lacroix said he was there to express condolences to the government and people of Tanzania, and to the families of the fallen peacekeepers.

"This was also an opportunity for me to express the UN's gratitude to Tanzania for the support that it is bringing to peacekeeping, and for its very strong commitment to peace and to peacekeeping, in particular. I think it is important to underline that attacking UN peacekeepers is a war crime and that those responsible for these attacks have to be brought to justice."

The UN peacekeeping chief reported that he had also met with Tanzania's Defense Minister.

He said they both agreed there should be "no impunity" for the perpetrators of the attack.

Health central to sustainable, prosperous future: UN Secretary-General

Health is central to global peace and security, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday.

Antonio Guterres was addressing a forum in Japan that aims to galvanize the international community towards the goal of universal health care.

He called on governments to take action on ensuring health systems that deliver for everyone, everywhere.

"Universal health coverage means just that: care and services for everyone. Equitable access. Quality care. Affordable services. Our goal must be to protect and promote physical and mental well-being for all. Health is both an outcome and a driver of progress. It is at the centre of our vision of a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future. And it is central to the peace and security agenda."

The UN chief said investing in health�particularly of women and young people�builds more inclusive and resilient societies.

Mr Guterres also thanked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his announcement of $2.9 billion for universal health coverage programmes.

Up to 650,000 deaths a year due to seasonal flu: WHO and partners

Respiratory diseases linked to seasonal influenza kill up to 650,000 people each year, according to new estimates published on Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners.

This marks an increase over previous estimates from a decade ago which showed there were between 250,000 to 500,000 flu-related deaths annually, including cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

The new figures are based on more recent data covering a larger, more diverse group of countries, and exclude deaths from non-respiratory illnesses.

Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said "the figures indicate the high burden of influenza and its substantial social and economic cost to the world."

He urged all countries to work together to control flu outbreaks.

Source: United Nations Radio