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Ten Million Face Hunger In Central Africa; Niger Flooding Exacerbates Food Shortage, Leaves 200,000 Homeless

Flash floods have “worsened an already chronic humanitarian crisis caused by drought” in central Africa where aid agencies have warned that “10 million people are already facing severe food shortages, particularly in the landlocked countries of Chad and Niger, after a drought led to the failure of last year’s crops,” the Independent reports. “Now unusually heavy rains [in Niger] have washed away this year’s crops and killed cattle in a region dependent on subsistence agriculture,” and where only 40 percent of people affected by the food shortages are receiving aid, according to the agencies, including Oxfam and Save the Children.

HHS Unveils $1.9B Strategy To Better Prepare For Biological Threats

“Acknowledging that the development of medical countermeasures against bioterrorism threats and pandemic flu is lagging, [U.S.] federal authorities Thursday announced a $1.9 billion makeover of the system for identifying and manufacturing drugs and vaccines for public-health emergencies,” Tribune Company/Seattle Times reports. “The overhaul includes manufacturing refinements aimed at shaving weeks off the time it takes to produce pandemic flu vaccine and a series of steps aimed at more quickly detecting promising scientific discoveries and getting them to market,” the news service writes (Zajac, 8/19).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Blog: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance Remains A ‘Sound Investment’ In view of World Humanitarian Day, a Huffington Post blog discusses the “lessons” of disaster response and the global “proliferation of humanitarian crises.” First, the authors write that “the number of people affected by disasters is on the rise,” mostly due to conflict and…

Study Examines Movement Of Pediatric Drug Testing Outside The U.S.

“A law intended to speed up development of new drugs for U.S. kids has ended up financing clinical trials in poor countries, where the medicines might never become available,” suggest the authors of a study published online Monday in the journal Pedatrics, Reuters reports (Joelving, 8/23).

Also In Global Health News: IDUs In Kenya; Haiti Recovery; Pandemic Preparedness; Somalia Hunger; HIV In Mozambique; Strengthening Immune System Against HIV

Kenya Drafts Policy To Address HIV In IDUs In Kenya, “[i]ntravenous drug users (IDUs) have been largely ignored by the government’s HIV programmes on the basis that drug-taking is illegal, but a new policy is being drafted with the aim of reducing HIV transmission among this high-risk group,” IRIN/PlusNews reports.…

Wall Street Journal Reports On Pharma’s Growing Interest In Emerging Markets

“Abbott Laboratories will soon acquire the biggest share of India’s pharmaceuticals market, about 7%, when the company closes as early as next month on a $3.7 billion takeover of the drugs business of Piramal Healthcare Ltd.,” the Wall Street Journal reports in an article that examines how pharmaceutical companies are tapping into emerging markets as a way to bolster sales.

Also In Global Health News: Canada’s Maternal Health Initiative; Mobile Giving; Interview With UNICEF Chief; Burning Biofuels And Anemia; ARVs In India

Sub-Saharan Africa To Receive Boost From Maternal, Child Health Initiative Canada will announce Monday “the 10 countries that will get help from the government’s $1.1-billion maternal and child health initiative,” 80 percent of which is slated for sub-Saharan Africa, the Postmedia News/Vancouver Sun reports. The majority of the money will go to…

Opinions: Call For African Companies To Engage In Health Goals; Holistic Approach To Development

African Private Sector Can Play Key Role In Improving Health Outcomes In Africa “The serious health problems afflicting our continent significantly affect our economies, reducing productivity, creating gaps in the workforce, causing innumerable sick days and restricting growth in African businesses,” First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame and CEO of…

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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.