At the Global Poverty Summit January 16-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa, “academics, policy-makers, civil society activists and development workers … agreed that the [U.N. Millennium Development Goals] MDGs have made a difference, but have fallen far short of the ambitious targets on poverty, education, health, gender equality and global partnership that 189 countries committed to achieving by 2015,” IRIN reports.
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As the WHO executive board continues meeting in Geneva this week, members “on Thursday backed efforts by the U.S. and Russia to keep the last known stocks of the smallpox virus for research to combat terrorism, in an initial debate over the fate over what is left of one of the world’s most lethal pathogens,” the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the article, the 34-member board supported the notion “that those stocks are needed to finish developing drugs and vaccines to counter a potential bioterror attack or accidental release of smallpox from unsanctioned stocks, officials familiar with the talks said.”
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, “in a speech on Wednesday, outlined steps USAID is taking to improve its balance sheet, including moving costly senior jobs from places such as Paris and Tokyo, reducing its real estate portfolio and doing more work with in-house experts rather than expensive contractors,” Reuters reports (Quinn, 1/19).
International Monetary Fund (IMF) “aid to some of the poorest countries [is] not being used to supplement existing spending on public health projects, but instead it often substitutes state spending,” according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Services, Press Trust India/MSN reports. “The study comes at a time when there is serious concern about whether developing countries will meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on global health by 2015,” the news service writes (Sonwalker, 1/19).
The World Bank on Tuesday “announced a $15 million grant to Haiti to fight a persistent cholera epidemic,” SAPA/Health24 reports. In a press release, the bank said it approved an additional $5 million to be added to a previously announced $10 million grant. “The funds, said the organisation in [the] statement, will go towards public campaigns to prevent infection and increase the capacity of Haiti’s health ministry to deal with the emergency,” the news service writes (1/19).
“Africa’s economy expanded by 4.7 percent in 2010 and is expected to maintain similar growth over the next two years,” according to the U.N.’s World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 report, which was released Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports. But the economic growth and indicators of economic recovery are not strong enough to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) poverty targets, according to the report (1/18).
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U.N. Issues $51M For Sri Lankans Affected By Floods; Sri Lankan Government Says Agricultural, Nutrition, Sanitation Among Needs Priority Needs For Country The U.N. on Wednesday issued an appeal of $51 million “to meet the urgent needs of more than one million people affected by recent monsoon floods in Sri…
Kicking off a nine-day annual WHO executive board meeting Monday, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called for the board to consider areas where the agency can redirect resources in a more targeted manner so as to achieve greater outcomes, Reuters reports. “In a critical assessment of the United Nations body she has headed since 2006, Chan described wasteful overlap with other health financiers and said the WHO needed to concentrate on areas where it can make the most impact,” the news service writes (MacInnis, 1/17).
The Guardian reports, as part of an online feature about health care workforces worldwide done in association with the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA), that “Africa is desperately short of doctors and nurses. So is much of Asia. In 57 countries, the situation is deemed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be at crisis point … But in contrast to some other developing world problems, this is an issue that really does affect all of us. The world needs an estimated 4.2 million more health workers.”
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Afghan Government Begins Taxing U.S. Contractors The Washington Post reports on Afghanistan’s efforts “to tax U.S. contractors operating there.”Â Though itÂ “could raise millions for the cash-strapped government,” U.S. and Afghan officials sayÂ the taxÂ “could also provoke fresh confrontation with the United States,” the newspaper writes. “Taxation of U.S. government assistance is barred…