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Lancet Commentary Cautiously Optimistic About Public Health System In Haiti

In this Lancet commentary, John Vertefeuille, Scott Dowell, Jean Domercant and Jordan Tappero of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examine the state of the public health system in Haiti three years after a 7.0 earthquake struck the country, writing, “Haiti is starting to show that its health services…

U.N. Warns Humanitarian Needs Growing In Syria; 2.5M People Need Emergency Food Aid

“The United Nations food relief agency [on Tuesday] warned that humanitarian needs in Syria — especially for food — are growing, with serious bread and fuel shortages across the war-torn country,” the U.N. News Centre reports (1/8). “The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said nearly 2.5 million people — most of them…

Humanitarian Conditions Deteriorating In CAR, Aid Groups Warn

“A rebel takeover of several key towns in the Central African Republic (CAR) has placed additional strain on humanitarian conditions that were already precarious due to years of armed conflict,” IRIN reports (1/4). “Humanitarian groups have expressed alarm at the lack of access to more than 300,000 civilians caught up in the fighting,” the Guardian notes, adding, “The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and the [U.N.] security council have condemned the attacks and called on the rebels to halt hostilities” (Tran, 1/4). “In many areas, basic health care and education are provided by aid groups or not at all,” IRIN writes (1/4). “The Central African Republic has been wracked by political unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960,” the Guardian notes (1/4).

Onset Of Winter, Lack Of Aid Workers Threaten Delivery Of Syrian Humanitarian Aid

Noting that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “estimates that 25 percent of Syria’s population needs humanitarian relief,” Rachel Brandenburg, a U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) program officer for the Middle East, writes in a USIP blog post, “Within Syria and around its borders, residents and those who’ve fled the fighting face dangerous shortages of food, fuel, medical supplies, and shelter.” She says the onset of winter will increase the need for shelter, clothing, and food. Brandenburg notes that two plans call for $1.5 billion in aid during the first half of 2013, but she adds aid workers are in short supply. “As of early December, only 20 international and 100 Syrian national WFP staff remained in-country to support an operation aimed at feeding 1.5 million Syrians,” she says (1/3).

3 Years After Devastating Earthquake, Haiti Remains In Fragile State

“On the eve of the third anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, the country remains in a fragile state,” a New York Times editorial states. “Billions of dollars in aid and lofty promises to ‘build back better’ have brought it only so far,” but “[a] recent article by Deborah Sontag of the Times showed, in disheartening detail, the distance between hope and reality,” the editorial continues, and recounts a number of challenges highlighted in the article, such as a slowing of flood aid and “the tendency of humanitarian aid organizations to go back to what they had been doing before the earthquake, in areas like sanitation, health, education and transportation.”

Fewer People Expected To Go Hungry In Africa In 2013, But More Children Face Malnourishment

“Despite good rains across much of the Sahel this year, 1.4 million children are expected to be malnourished — up from one million in 2012, according to the 2013 Sahel regional strategy,” IRIN reports. “The strategy, which calls on donors to provide $1.6 billion of aid for 2013, says fewer people are expected to go hungry in 2013 — 10.3 million instead of 18.7 million in 2012,” the news service writes.

U.N. Appeals For $1.5B In Humanitarian Aid For Syria

“The United Nations and its humanitarian partners [on Wednesday] appealed for $1.5 billion to assist civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria over the next six months, including those inside the country as well as those taking refuge beyond its borders,” the U.N. News Centre reports (12/19). “The twin appeals are for $519.6 million to help four million people within Syria and $1 billion to meet the needs of up to one million Syrian refugees in five other countries until July 2013,” Reuters writes (Nebehay/Charbonneau, 12/19). “Collectively they comprise the largest short term humanitarian appeal ever,” a UNOCHA press release states (12/19).

New Issue Of GHD-NET’s Health & Foreign Policy Bulletin Available Online

The November 2012 issue (.pdf) of the Global Health Diplomacy Network’s (GHD-NET) Health & Foreign Policy Bulletin is now available online. Among other topics, the issue examines antiretroviral drug adherence among conflict-affected and displaced populations, discusses non-communicable disease control and prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean, and highlights UNAIDS’ World AIDS Day report: Results (November 2012).

Exploring New USAID Resilience Guidance Goals

On the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) blog, Ashley Chandler, deputy policy director at the USGLC, discusses USAID’s new guidance on Building Resilience to Recurrent Crisis, writing that the policy “is about using existing development dollars more effectively in disaster prone regions, so that less humanitarian assistance is needed in the future.” She asks, “But what’s the ultimate goal?” and continues, “USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah says success will be measured by whether USAID is able ‘to put ourselves out of business’ by reducing the number, volume, and length of time of the ‘infusions of humanitarian assistance needed in the future.'” Chandler concludes, “As America strives to get our own fiscal house in order, the fact of the matter is that we’re also nearing a critical mass for relief and development funding. Meaning, ‘doing more of the same,’ to quote Administrator Shah, is no longer an option. Nor should it be” (12/12).