The first WHO Podcast episode for 2010 focuses on the emergency health response to the severe earthquake that struck Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The earthquake has inflicted large-scale damage, including damage to hospitals and health facilities. In the podcast WHO/PAHO experts talk about the situation and the emergency health response.

What was the impact of the 12 January earthquake?

As of 15 February, the national Civil Protection Agency estimates that 217,366 people died from the 12 January earthquake. More than 500,000 people have left Port-au-Prince for outlying departments, including nearly 100,000 who have gone to Grand Anse and more than 160,000 to Artibonite. The Government estimates that 97,294 houses were destroyed and 188,383 were damaged.

Vaccination campaign against rubella in BrazilNot a single case of rubella has been confirmed in Argentina for the past 10 months, while Brazil's last confirmed case dates from 12 September 2009. That might mean that endemic rubella virus transmission has been interrupted in both South American countries. The news comes from Rubella Watch, a publication of the Pan American Health Organization.

The Pan American Health Organization has published a manual for disaster response teams that focuses—among other themes—on the formulation of plans for communicating with the public during emergencies, as well as techniques for producing, exchanging, and distributing information for humanitarian organizations. The manual can be downloaded from PAHO's Emergency Preparadness and Disaster Relief site.

"Public health is way more than a job for us: it is a passion, a heartfelt commitment, our whole life," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses-Periago, welcoming participants to the South-South Development Solutions Forum on Global Health at PAHO headquarters. She added that "Public health is a sort of a network of networks, where a broad and multifaceted umbrella which protects the well-being of humanity is held up every day by a myriad of individual's actions."