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U.N., International Community Should Pledge To Improve Water, Sanitation In Haiti To Mitigate Cholera Epidemic

“The cholera epidemic in Haiti, which began in late 2010, is bad and getting worse, for reasons that are well understood and that the aid community has done far too little to resolve,” a New York Times editorial states, adding that the “Pan American Health Organization has said the disease could strike 200,000 to 250,000 people this year” and “has already killed more than 7,000.” The editorial says the U.N. “bears heavy responsibility for the outbreak,” as it is suspected that U.N. peacekeepers introduced the disease to the island nation, and it notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this month that “cholera in Haiti was evolving into two strains, suggesting the disease would become much harder to uproot and that people who had already gotten sick and recovered would be vulnerable again.”

Huffington Post Series Of Opinion Pieces Examines NGO Priorities For G8

The Huffington Post is running “a series of blogs by leading NGOs to call attention to a range of issues that should be raised at the G8 summit at Camp David in rural Maryland from May 18-19,” according to the news service. The following summarizes some of the posts published over the past three days.

Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Highlights Importance Of Communicating Aid Successes

In this post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, communications officer and blog editor Amie Newman reports on a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, released Monday, that examines Americans’ views on U.S. global health issues. Newman details a number of the survey’s findings, including that the poll found that “roughly half of Americans (52 percent) now say the news media spends too little time covering global health issues, up from 41 percent in 2010.” She writes, “It’s critical that our news media cover these issues in a way that touches people, and helps people to understand exactly what’s happening in the countries, cities, villages, towns, health centers and homes of people around the world.” She notes that both KFF President and CEO Drew Altman, in a column discussing the survey results, and Gates Foundation Director of Global Brand and Innovation Tom Scott, in a recent blog post, have stressed the importance of properly communicating successful aid stories and data (5/21).

Congressional Appropriations Decisions Will Affect Women's Health Worldwide

“[E]vidence shows that family planning prevents the needless deaths of women worldwide,” which should “be cause to sustain or even increase U.S. investments in these programs,” Chloe Cooney, director of global advocacy for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), writes in this RH Reality Check blog post. “Yet, once again, the House Appropriations Committee voted to let politics interfere with life-saving health care for women,” she continues, adding, “Last week, the House Appropriations Committee proposed to cut funding for international family planning programs and impose harmful restrictions on women’s access to essential health care.” Cooney notes that the Senate version of the bill “increases support for international family planning without attaching restrictions that would undercut these efforts.” She cites a recent U.N. report that “confirms that birth control and reproductive health services are essential to saving women’s lives,” and concludes, “The impact of the decisions made by this Congress will be felt in the lives of women and families around the world” (5/22).

Implementation Of Global Vaccine Action Plan Must Include All Stakeholders

“This week in Geneva, health ministers from governments around the world will meet at the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA) for their annual meeting to discuss health issues that affect everyone everywhere,” Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Among the resolutions they will consider is one supporting the Global Vaccine Action Plan, a road map to ensure that by the end of this decade, every child, everywhere enjoys the full benefits of immunization,” he notes.

'Silo' Effect Of Western Health Aid To Africa Damaging Continent's Future

In a two-part series in his Slate blog “The Reckoning,” author Michael Moran examines the “silo” effect of Western aid to improve health in Africa, writing in the first part, “Charities know that raising money for exotic disease eradication in the West is a good deal easier than, say, funding upgrades to substandard cardiac facilities. Yet the later is the real win in the long run.” He references an article published recently in Foreign Affairs by Thomas Bollyky, which Moran summarizes by saying, “Bollyky argues coordinated action to confront communicable crises like HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis must be part of the world’s approach to global health. But by ignoring far greater, non-communicable problems, he says, we doom Africans to low life expectancies and fail to create the impetus for reform and behavioral changes that could be transformational” (5/28).

Outcomes Of Next Month's Rio+20 Summit Will Have 'Deep Repercussions' For Future Generations

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog,” Gro Harlem Brundtland and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, both of whom are involved in Elders+Youngers, an inter-generational dialogue on the future of the planet initiated by the Elders, a group of eminent global leaders working together for peace and human rights, comment on a “lack of urgency in the run-up to the Rio+20 summit next month,” writing, “The meeting provides a historic opportunity to chart a sustainable future for the world,” but “at the moment, there is a real chance the opportunity will be thrown away.”

G8 Summit 'Missed Opportunity' To Make Real Commitment To Long-Term Food Security

“This G8 summit was, yet again, a missed opportunity for international leaders to make a real commitment to long-term food security and support for African and developing world farmers,” Eva Clayton (D-N.C.), a former Congresswoman and former assistant director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “The World” blog. “In the realm of food security, the G8 had an ideal opportunity to provide a clear solution that embraces trade and opportunity, a new paradigm if you will, in international development and food security,” she continues, adding, “Unfortunately, G8 leaders emerging from Camp David still spoke of the same old aid commitments without any backbone, all the while ignoring the impact that trade barriers and U.S. and European multi-billion dollar subsidies have on food production in those countries most in need of development.”

Widespread Cholera Vaccination Needed In Haiti While Improvements Made To Water, Sanitation Systems

“As the world’s worst outbreak of cholera continues to ravage Haiti, international donors have averted their gaze,” a Washington Post editorial writes. The editorial notes that a “pilot project to vaccinate Haitians against the disease … reached only one percent of the population, with no immediate prospect of expansion,” and “[o]f the 100 or so cholera treatment centers that sprang up around the country after the disease was detected 19 months ago, fewer than a third remain.” The solution to the epidemic is “equally well known and costly,” the editorial states, adding, “Haiti needs modern water and sanitation infrastructure, an undertaking that might cost $1 billion. But while donors tend to respond generously to emergencies, such as the earthquake that devastated Haiti in early 2010, they lose interest in long-term fixes of the sort that would deal decisively with cholera.”

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.