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WFP Investigating Fraud Allegations In Somalia; U.N., Oxfam Call For Increased Assistance

The World Food Programme (WFP) does not plan “to reduce aid to Somalia following allegations that international food shipments there are being diverted,” the Associated Press reports. WFP spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume “told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that the WFP investigation so far has no evidence of a large-scale fraud scheme,” the news agency writes (8/16). Noting it has “strong controls … in place” in Somalia, “WFP said it was ‘confident the vast majority of humanitarian food is reaching starving people in Mogadishu,’ adding that AP reports of ‘thousands’ of bags of stolen food would equal less than 1 percent of one month’s distribution for Somalia,” the Associated Press writes in another article (8/15).

Examining The Use Of The 'ABC Safe Sex' Campaign In Botswana

In this World Policy Blog post, Julie Mellin, editorial assistant at the World Policy Journal, reflects on her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana to examine the “ABC (Abstain, Be Faithful and Condomize) … safe sex” campaign, “[o]ne of the campaigns most highly funded by the international community (especially…

Experts Fear Shrinking DOD Budget, Shifting AFRICOM Focus Could Threaten HIV Prevention Programs

A shrinking Department of Defense (DOD) budget and a shift in the focus of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) to “more traditional military threats” to national security, such as “preventing terrorist safe havens on the continent,” could affect the department’s HIV prevention programs, Stars and Stripes reports. While officials say there currently is no intent to cut HIV prevention programming, “those initiatives will come under more scrutiny as AFRICOM operates in a tougher budget environment, according to command officials,” the news service writes.

U.S. 'Can Be Proud' Of Past, Future Investments To Improve Food Security

“Outside of immediate crisis relief,” such as the administration of measles vaccinations or oral rehydration therapy for children affected by diarrheal diseases, the U.S. government’s “past investments clearly are paying off” in the fight against drought and famine the Horn of Africa, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. “U.S.-supported early-warning networks identified the famine threat a year ago,” the government is working with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. to lessen the risk of corruption and looting of food aid, and “the multi-year, multi-agency Feed the Future program [is] stimulat[ing] research into making plants more nutritious and crops more drought-resistant,” he notes.

U.S., International Support For Somali Refugees Making A Difference

Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, U.S. representative to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, writes about her recent visit to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog. “There is something remarkable about seeing how U.S. contributions – both from our government and the private sector – can be transformed into something as concrete and life-saving as a simple meal for a little girl. Washington has committed around $580 million to the relief effort. Hopefully that will save a lot more children here in Dadaab and around the Horn. The international community has provided around $1.4 billion, but it’s not enough – I know that and we continue to push for more support from other donors. But it is a start and it is making a real and lasting difference,” she writes (8/12).

UNHCR Reports 10 Children Dying Daily And Women Facing Risk Of Rape In Ethiopian Refugee Camps

“Ten Somali children under the age of five are dying every day of hunger-related causes in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, according to the U.N. refugee agency,” the Guardian reports (Rice, 8/16). UNHCR “said high child mortality levels had been compounded by a suspected measles outbreak at the 25,000-capacity Kobe camp,” but children are now receiving vaccinations, according to BBC News (8/16).

New Quick Malaria Diagnostic Test May Help Reduce Overtreatment

“Health workers often treat patients for malaria even when a test indicates a different cause of the illness,” a behavior seen across sub-Saharan Africa “that worries many health experts,” PRI’s The World reports. “Prescribing malaria medication to patients who don’t need it wastes precious resources in a country already dealing with drug shortages … leav[ing] patients untreated for the real cause of their sickness. And it can lead to drug resistance, making malaria parasites harder to eliminate when people really do contract the disease,” according to The World.

VOA News Examines Ethics Of Clinical Drug Testing In African Nations

VOA News examines the ethics of conducting clinical drug trials in developing countries, particularly in Africa. Several international ethical frameworks outline guidelines for clinical trials, “including the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki and the WHO’s Good Clinical Practice Guidelines,” but they are not mandatory, the news service writes.

NPR Interviews Author Of Study On Emerging HIV Epidemic Among MSM In MENA

NPR’s health blog “Shots” interviewed Laith Abu-Raddad of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, co-author of a recent study published in PLoS Medicine that showed “[m]ore than five percent of men who have sex with men are infected by HIV in” the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), about “the challenges of researching such a taboo topic.” Abu-Raddad discusses his motivations for pursuing the study, data collection challenges and surprises in the data, the blog notes (Thrasybule, 8/19).

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