Health Highlights: May 19, 2015

By on May 19, 2015

Health Highlights: May 19, 2015

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U.S. Announces Plan to Boost Bee Populations

The U.S. government is introducing measures it hopes will reverse declining honeybee populations.

The plan includes restoring 7 million acres of bee habitat on federal lands over the next five years, boosting spending on bee research from $34 million to $82.5 million in the upcoming budget year, and taking a closer look at neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been temporarily banned in Europe, the Associated Press reported.

Bees play a crucial role in the pollination of many crops and contribute more than $15 billion in value to the U.S. economy, but their numbers have been falling due factors such as pesticides, disease, mites and declining nutrition, according to scientists.

A federal survey found that beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year, but later recovered their bee numbers by dividing surviving hives, a federal survey found, the AP reported.

The measures show that the federal government finally understands that land use is crucial for healthy bee populations, University of Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk said.

“From my perspective, it’s a wake-up call,” Bromenshenk wrote in an email to the AP. “Pollinators need safe havens, with adequate quantities of high-quality resources for food and habitat, relatively free from toxic chemicals, and that includes pollutants as well as pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.”


WHO Creating $100 Million Emergency Fund For Health Emergencies

A $100 million emergency fund is being created by the World Health Organization to deal with health emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The WHO was overwhelmed by that outbreak because the demands place on the agency were more than 10 times greater than anything it had faced in its history, according to Director General Margaret Chan, BBC News reported.

Speaking at the WHO’s annual meeting in Geneva, Chan announced the creation of a new “unified” program to deal with major health crises.

“I do not ever again want to see this organisation faced with a situation it is not prepared, staffed, funded, or administratively set up to manage,” she said. “I plan to complete these changes by the end of the year.”

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014 and it’s believed that more than 11,000 people have died so far, BBC News reported.

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