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U.N. Agencies Respond To Flooding In Horn Of Africa

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “reports heavy rains and flooding in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are causing havoc among thousands of displaced Somalis in the region” and “flood-damaged roads are hampering relief efforts to thousands affected by the heavy rains,” VOA News reports (Schlein, 11/4). “UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing in Geneva that the agency has distributed 4,500 assistance kits so far, which include plastic sheets, plastic buckets and soap,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/4). “In addition to providing emergency relief for floods, other U.N. agencies continue to increase their efforts to help Somalis who suffer from famine and insecurity,” VOA notes (11/4).

Targets For Somalia Aid Likely To Be Missed In 2011, U.N. Draft Report Says

“Despite a massive increase in humanitarian operations and international funding since famine was formally declared 100 days ago, the relief effort in Somalia is expected to miss almost all its key targets for 2011, a draft United Nations report reveals,” the Guardian reports, adding, “[m]alnutrition rates have more than doubled, less than 60 percent of the 3.7 million people targeted have received monthly food assistance, and only 58 percent of a targeted 1.2 million people received critical non-food aid items.”

IDSA Conference Panel Addresses Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

In a two-part series, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog summarizes the presentations of a panel of experts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) 49th Annual Meeting in Boston Sunday, who examined the origins of and responses to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The first part examines…

WHO Warns Of Water-Borne Disease Risk For Thailand Flood Victims

The WHO on Saturday said hundreds of thousands of flood victims in Thailand are at risk of water-borne diseases and infections, though no major outbreaks have been reported, Agence France-Presse reports. “The spread of communicable diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory illness and conjunctivitis among displaced flood victims in shelters was a key concern, the country’s WHO representative Maureen Birmingham told AFP,” adding, “Flood-affected people also faced an increased risk of skin fungal infections and leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread through contaminated water,” according to the news service (10/23).

Donors Need To Look Beyond Emergency Funding To Long-Term, Strategic Solutions

“Americans are among the most generous people in the world, giving more money to charities than citizens of any other nation in the world,” but “[m]uch of our charity goes to disaster relief,” entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson writes in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post’s “Black Voices.” She adds, “I believe we can do more. We need to think long-term and become true partners in reshaping history. We need to boldly invest in innovative responses to Africa’s problems that are relevant locally, and that put Africans in the driver’s seat of determining the future of their continent.”

U.S. NGOs Call For Obama Administration To Explain Delays In U.S. Food Aid To North Korea

“As South Korean President Lee Myung-bak continued his state visit to the United States on Friday, a group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) wants the Obama administration to explain what they call unconscionable delays in deciding whether to resume U.S. food assistance to North Korea,” Reuters reports. “Rising global commodities prices coupled with summer floods and typhoons have compounded the emergency this year, and the United Nations estimated in March that more than six million North Koreans urgently need food help,” the news agency writes.

Preparing For Future Disasters 'Saves Lives, Property And Money'

In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Kasey Channell, the acting director of the Disaster Response Team for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, reports on the importance of preparing for future disasters as the world observed International Day for Disaster Reduction on Thursday, writing “Before the next disaster hits, now is the time to recommit to making smart investments that save lives, property, and money. Whether at home or abroad, measures to improve response, increase disaster management capacity, and plan and prepare, can have dramatic dividends.”

U.S., South Korea Continue To Delay Food Aid To North Korea Despite 'Proven' Ability To Monitor Food Distribution

In this Christian Science Monitor opinion piece, Jim White, vice president of operations at Mercy Corps, and Matt Ellingson, director of program development at Samaritan’s Purse, who “co-led a team from five U.S.-based aid organizations that traveled to North Korea to deliver flood relief supplies” last month, ask why the U.S. and South Korea continue to delay food aid to North Koreans affected by the country’s food crisis despite the fact that “aid groups have a proven ability to monitor the way food is distributed in North Korea.”

CDC Report Lays Out 'Lessons Learned' From Haiti's Cholera Outbreak

“Cholera cases have risen in Haiti, but the number dying from the disease is down, according to researchers from the [CDC],” CNN’s health blog “The Chart” reports. Robert Tauxe, researcher and deputy director at CDC said, “The number of deaths was initially way too high. But within a few weeks of the outbreak, we trained teams to treat the disease and increased access to supplies,” according to the blog. The new CDC report “lay[s] out the lessons learned since cholera emerged in Haiti and what needs to be done to sustain the progress that has been made to treat the disease and prevent deaths,” the blog notes, adding, “The most beneficial lessons may seem quite simple” and include training more health workers, educating citizens and improving sanitation systems (Dellorto, 10/13).

Limited Research On Sexual Violence Against Men In The DRC Suggests Issue Is 'Largely Ignored'

IRIN reports on the issue of sexual violence against men as a in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), writing, “Sexual violence against men, including rape, is under-reported, poorly addressed and has a severe impact on both men and their families, according to a presentation at the annual Sexual Violence and Research Initiative (SVRI), held in Cape Town, South Africa.” The news service writes, “The eastern DRC makes up most of the available research on sexual violence during conflict, according to Claudia Moreno, coordinator of the World Health Organization’s Department of Gender and Women.”