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U.S., International Support For Somali Refugees Making A Difference

Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, U.S. representative to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, writes about her recent visit to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog. “There is something remarkable about seeing how U.S. contributions – both from our government and the private sector – can be transformed into something as concrete and life-saving as a simple meal for a little girl. Washington has committed around $580 million to the relief effort. Hopefully that will save a lot more children here in Dadaab and around the Horn. The international community has provided around $1.4 billion, but it’s not enough – I know that and we continue to push for more support from other donors. But it is a start and it is making a real and lasting difference,” she writes (8/12).

U.S. Aid To Liberia Important For Health And Development Improvements

“Even now, eight years after our civil war ended, Liberia faces a huge uphill battle,” Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf writes in a Washington Post opinion piece, adding that “[w]ith support from the United States, we have been able to make progress. … It is critical that this aid continues in next year’s budget.”

Members Of U.S. Delegation To Horn Of Africa Discuss Response Efforts

The August 8 visit of a U.S. delegation to the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “was important in terms of shedding light on the important efforts that are under way and the importance of continued support from the international community,” Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Eric Schwartz said on Tuesday during a briefing on the trip, IIP Digital reports (Babb, 8/9).

BMJ News Examines WHO Financing And Reform

BMJ News examines financing for and efforts to reform the WHO, which “are raising concerns over conflict of interest.” The article looks at a reform package announced in May by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan at the World Health Assembly, as well as the first World Health Forum, set for November 2012. The forum, which aims to discover the expectations of global health players, “has yet to gain the formal approval of the [WHO] executive board, which will discuss it at its November meeting and again next January,” according to BMJ (Hawkes, 8/9).

More Than 9M Afghans Facing Food Insecurity, WFP Says

The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that 1.5 to 2 million more people in Afghanistan likely will be pushed into food insecurity later this year because of ongoing drought in the northern, northeastern and western parts of the country, IRIN reports. Seven million people in the country already are facing food shortages, according to the article.

Obama Administration Announces Additional $105M For Humanitarian Efforts In Horn Of Africa

“President Obama has approved an additional $105 million for ‘urgent humanitarian relief efforts’ in the Horn of Africa, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced in a statement Monday afternoon,” Politico’s “Politico44” blog reports (8/8). “Carney says the money will help provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation and health services to those in need,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (8/8). The money will come out of the Emergency Relief and Migration Assistance Fund, Carney said, adding that the U.S. has provided about $565 million in humanitarian aid so far this year, Reuters notes (8/9).

Foreign Aid Should Enhance, Not Replace, Domestic Health Spending In Developing Countries

A case in Uganda of a woman bleeding to death while giving birth “underscores an unintended consequence of global health aid,” a Globe and Mail editorial writes, adding that “in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, a reverse trend is under way; for every $1 of development assistance for health, governments have reduced their spending,” according to a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

U.S. Should Continue Funding Maternal Health Programs In Afghanistan As Troop Drawdown Begins

The success of the Afghan Safe Birth Project, funded by HHS, and the Community Midwife Education program, supported by USAID, in helping reduce maternal mortality in Afghanistan “is in jeopardy – not because of security threats, but because of a fiscal one,” authors Isobel Coleman and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, both fellows at the Council on Foreign Relations, write in a Bloomberg opinion piece.

Delays In Procuring Food Aid, Funding Hampering Relief Efforts In Somalia, Aid Agencies Say

“Famine relief efforts in Somalia are being hampered as much by delays in procuring food aid and raising funds as by difficulties in accessing Islamist-controlled areas, according to humanitarian organizations working there,” the Guardian reports. Staff from several aid agencies working within al-Shabab-controlled areas “say the major problem in responding to the crisis is the time it is taking to buy food abroad and to transport it to the worst-hit areas,” the newspaper writes (Rice, 8/4).