The WHO “is rushing to secure medical supplies for Libya” after the Dutch government on Monday released nearly $145 million in frozen assets from Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi’s regime in response to a direct WHO appeal, PBS NewsHour reports. The news service features an interview with Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesperson for medical emergencies, who spoke “about the health needs in Libya and how the funds will be used.”
Health Workforce & Capacity
“If the moral test for a society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable citizens, then the release of a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) marks a sad day for South Africa,” a Lancet editorial states.
In response “to an urgent appeal from the WHO,” Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said on Monday that the country’s government is releasing $143 million “in frozen funds from Moammar Qaddafi’s regime and sending the money to the World Health Organization to buy medicine for the Libyan population,” according to Associated Press/Forbes. “Rosenthal said Monday he was able to free up the money only after [the] United Nations approved the plan, which will see medicines distributed to civilians in towns and cities held by both rebels and forces loyal to Qaddafi,” the AP writes (8/15).
“This week the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launches a global campaign â€“ ‘It’s a matter of life and death’ â€“ which aims to improve security and delivery of effective and impartial health care in situations of armed conflict and other contexts of widespread violence,” Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the British Medical Association, writes in a BMJ editorial.
In aÂ post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Kristen Wenz and James Orlando ofÂ USAID describe a July 14 webinar that was the first in the PEPFAR/USAID Social Service Workforce Strengthening series, which is “intended to encourage the sharing of information, expertise and promising practices for addressing the needs of the social welfare workforce…
NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Wednesday examined how Islam influences health and family planning decisions in Pakistan, one of Asia’s fastest-growing populations. In Pakistan, mullahs generally regard contraception as sin, a high rate of illiteracy among women undermines family planning and a lack of access to adequate health care contributes to a high maternal mortality rate, according to the piece, which profiles a mufti, a physician and two families making very different decisions about the size of their families (McCarthy, 8/10).
Sending Surplus Medical Supplies To Developing Country Hospitals 'Not The Antidote' To Poor Conditions
“Every year, hospitals in America throw away thousands of tons of usable medical supplies and equipment â€“ by some measures 7,000 tons a year, a value of $20 billion. â€¦ Yet every year, hospitals in developing countries around the world turn away patients or provide substandard care because they lack even the most basic medical equipment,” journalist and author Tina Rosenberg writes in the New York Times’ “Opinionator” blog. She describes the work of several organizations that collect excess or unwanted medical supplies and redistribute them to hospitals in need in developing countries.
In a post on the New York Times’ “On the Ground” blog, Rwanda Works Director Josh Ruxin writes about two cousins who are “fighting the international brain-drain trend that is dangerously affecting medicine in the developing world, and [have] committed themselves to building local medical capacity in their native country” by establishing a university and medical school, called the Kigali Medical University (KMU).
U.N. humanitarian agencies on Monday said areas of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, “urgently need humanitarian assistance, including medical treatment for injuries caused by the ongoing conflict in the North African country,” the U.N. News Centre reports.
Al Jazeera reports on the public health situation in South Sudan, which gained its independence on Saturday, and profiles Juba Teaching Hospital, the new country’s largest medical center. “A lack of proper primary care facilities in South Sudan means the doctors here are often overworked: Many of the doctors at the hospital come to work seven days a week,” Al Jazeera writes. “The health ministry has plans to open a network of primary care centers â€“ roughly one per 15,000 people â€“ but none are fully operational,” according to the news service. About 80 percent of the medical care in South Sudan is provided by international aid organizations, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Carlstrom, 7/10).