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Also In Global Health News: Drought In East Africa; Improving Food Processing In Africa; Hajj Pilgrims Must Take Polio Vaccine; Fighting Insecticide-Resistant Mosquitoes

Oxfam Launches $15M Emergency Appeal For ‘Severe’ East African Drought “A severe and persistent five-year drought” is pushing “[m]ore than 23 million people … towards severe hunger and destitution across East Africa, international aid agency Oxfam has warned as it launches a £9.5 million [about $15 million] emergency appeal,” the U.K. Press…

Polio Vaccination Resumes In Pakistan’s Swat Valley

“Authorities in Pakistan’s Swat Valley have resumed vaccinating children for polio, an act once banned by Taliban militants, now beaten back by an army offensive,” the Associated Press reports.

South East Asian Ministers Gather At WHO Regional Meeting

South East Asian health ministers met on Monday in Kathmandu, Nepal, for their 27th meeting during the 62nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for South East Asia, Republica reports. During the four day meeting, health ministers from 11 member countries and other delegates will discuss a range of topics, including: health and climate change, measles, international health personnel recruitment policies, private sector engagement, the South East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund, polio eradication, public health innovation, counterfeit medical products and pandemic influenza preparedness.

Gates Foundation Task Force Visits Flooded Indian State

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently sent an eight member task force, led by the foundation’s country head Ashok Alexander, to the Indian state of Bihar, which has experienced significant flooding in many districts, PTI/Hindu reports (8/30).

AP Examines Use Of Oral Polio Vaccine In Nigeria, Risk Of Virus Mutation

The Associated Press examines how the oral polio vaccine, “made from a live polio virus — albeit weakened,” is contributing to the spread of the disease in Nigeria. While vaccinated children can pass the virus on to non-immunized children through waste in the water supply, which gives them some protection against polio, “in rare instances, as the virus passes through unimmunized children, it can mutate into a strain dangerous enough to ignite new outbreaks, particularly if immunization rates in the rest of the population are low,” according to the news service.

Nigeria, UNICEF Launch First National Child Health Week

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, who visited Nigeria to launch the country’s first ever National Child Health Week, said an unacceptably high number of children in the country are dying from preventable diseases, and she called on Nigerian government officials to provide integrated healthcare, Xinhua reports.

South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland Encouraged To Be ‘Vigilant’ In Staying Polio Free

At the 3rd Inter-Country Certification Committee Meeting — where policymakers and experts from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, the WHO and UNICEF gathered to address issues surrounding polio — the WHO’s Nicholas Eseko lauded all three countries for becoming and staying polio free, according to BuaNews.