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U.N. Warns Humanitarian Situation In Syria Deteriorating ‘Rapidly And Inexorably’

“The humanitarian crisis inside Syria is escalating rapidly with more than nine million people — about 40 percent of the population — in dire need as winter approaches and agencies find it increasingly difficult to deliver aid inside the war-ravaged nation, the United Nations warns,” the Los Angeles Times reports.…

Humanitarian Agencies Need Unhindered Access Within Syria

In Syria, it is “abundantly clear that political conflict is severely impacting public health,” Abdelhadi Eltahir, senior health coordinator at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “Government-supported clinics closed down months [ago], meaning the most at-risk population of mothers, babies and the elderly…

Israel Working To Stem Silent Spread Of Polio Within Its Borders

“Twenty-five years after it had been dispatched, wild poliovirus [is] back in Israel and spreading fast,” Science magazine reports, adding, “Retrospective analysis of sewage samples has shown that the virus has been circulating since February but, surprisingly, has caused no cases of paralysis.” According to Science, “The country is now…

Syria’s Polio Outbreak May Threaten Europe, Scientists Warn

“In [an article] published Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet, two German public health experts warn that Syria’s [polio] outbreak may threaten Europe,” National Journal reports (Koren, 11/7). “Dr. Martin Eichner of the University of Tubinge in Germany and Dr. Stefan Brockmann of the Reutlingen Regional Public Health Office…

False Information, Attacks On Health Workers Hindering Polio Efforts In Pakistan

Deutsche Welle examines how “[a]ttacks against health workers and the willful dissemination of false information are deterring the fight against polio in Pakistan.” “While in the rest of the world polio vaccines have reduced the number of polio cases, polio vaccination teams are endangered by al Qaeda extremists in Pakistan,…

U.S., Iran Should Consider Employing Vaccine Diplomacy

“September’s historic dialogue between President Obama and Iran’s President Rouhani together with calls to seek constructive engagement opens the door to a little known but powerful foreign policy instrument, which could simultaneously create new life-saving vaccines,” Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and dean of the National School…

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Respond To Global Spread Of Polio

The following is a summary of an editorial and two opinion pieces addressing the spread of polio, focusing on Syria, where the WHO last month confirmed 10 of 22 suspected cases of the disease. Boston Globe: “The U.S. State Department, along with several humanitarian agencies, is calling on all parties…

Syrian Government Must Allow Humanitarian Organizations Access To All Syrians

Noting issues of security and access for humanitarian organizations working in Syria, Magne Barth, who heads the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Syria, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece, “If allowed, we could do much more to reduce the suffering of civilians, but it is…

Blogs Address Global Spread Of Polio

The following is a summary of two blog posts examining the global spread of polio. John Campbell, Council on Foreign Relations’ “Africa In Transition” blog: Blog contributor Campbell examines polio in Nigeria and Somalia, noting both countries “are venues of a deep distrust of the West, and particularly the United…