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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

H1N1 Cases Still Increasing In Many Countries; WHO To Begin Shipping Donated Vaccines Within Weeks

With many countries continuing to report a growing number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases, Keiji Fukuda, special adviser to the WHO director general on pandemic influenza said Thursday it was too early to declare the pandemic over, the Washington Post reports.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

UNICEF Chief To Step Down After Term Ends In 2010

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman will not seek a second term as head of the agency after her term expires in a few months, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday, Xinhua reports. In a statement, Ban said that he learned of Veneman’s plan to step down “with great regret.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Arab States Need To Address Food Security, Other Factors To Meet MDGs By 2015, Report Says

Arab states must develop a plan to increase food security and create more jobs in order to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets by 2015, according to a report published Sunday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Reuters reports. “Though rich in labor and fertile land, much of the Arab world is plagued by malnutrition, joblessness and a big gap between rich and poor, said the report,” the news service writes.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Also In Global Health News: Food Shortages In Eritrea; Kenya HIV Testing; Aid In Malawi, Nepal; U.S. Agriculture Appointment

BBC Examines Eritrea’s Response To Food Shortages BBC examines Eritrea’s decision to pass on international food aid in an effort to produce enough food for its population. According to Girma Asmerom, Eritrea’s ambassador to the EU, “foreign food aid demonises the local people and makes them lazy.” The government’s strategy…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Newsweek Reports On Growth Of Safety Net Programs In Developing Countries

“[A] recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization identified 72 different ‘social pension’ plans around the world dedicated to the elderly, the ill, or the down and out,” Newsweek writes in an article exploring the growth in welfare programs around the world. “Most countries on the [WHO/ILO] list are developing nations once considered too destitute to help their poor and that, until recently, had little or no welfare coverage at all. … While fighting inequality and helping the neediest has long been on the docket of Third World leaders, most previous attempts have been sabotaged by inefficiency, corruption, and stagnant or dysfunctional economies,” the magazine writes. “Now roaring economies in Asia, Latin America, and even Africa, coupled with better-functioning governments and sound fiscal stewardship, have stretched the policy horizons for many nations that once lived from one crisis to the next,” according to Newsweek.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

New York Times Examines Bureaucracy At U.N.

“The United Nations is widely known for functions like peacekeeping, health programs, refugee support and the International Court of Justice. But those are just a part of its bureaucracy, whose size and structure still bewilder many of its own employees,” the New York Times writes in an article that examines how the current economic situation could impact the role of the U.N. in the future.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

News Outlets Examine Potential Implications Of Record High Food Price Levels

Though world food prices “jumped to a record high” in the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) latest index, the agency “is drawing comfort from the absence of widespread riots, usually the defining element of a food crisis,” the Financial Times reports looking at the factors that have led some food prices to rise significantly without sparking international panic. “To an outsider, the relative calm, compared with riots in more than 30 countries three years ago, is striking. But a closer look reveals big differences to the situation then, differences that make clear why the world is not facing a crisis. At least not yet,” the newspaper writes.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

New York Times Reports On Rise, Fall Of Microloans In Developing Countries

The New York Times reports on how microlending has “prompted political hostility in Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua and other developing countries.” Such negativity “toward microfinance is a sharp reversal from the praise and good will that politicians, social workers and bankers showered on the sector in the last decade.” The article notes “[p]hilanthropists and investors poured billions of dollars into nonprofit and profit-making microlenders, who were considered vital players” in helping to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the MDG target to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Such attention “helped the sector reach more than 91 million customers, most of them women, with loans totaling more than $70 billion by the end of 2009,” with half of all borrowers from India and Bangladesh.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Also In Global Health News: Vaccination Hampered In Cote d’Ivoire; TB And Lung Cancer; HIV Testing, Counseling In Zambia; Reducing Child, Maternal Mortality In Ghana; Male Circumcision Campaign In Kenya

Political Unrest Hampering Cote d’Ivoire’s Yellow Fever Vaccine Campaign “Unrest following Cote d’Ivoire’s presidential election is blocking a nationwide vaccination drive against yellow fever, a fatal mosquito-borne disease that is affecting people throughout the country,” IRIN reports. The immunization campaign – part of a global effort by WHO and UNICEF –…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

FAO’s Food Price Index For December 2010 Exceeds 2007-2008 Levels

“Food prices hit a record high” in December, exceeding 2007-2008 levels when price spikes resulted in riots around the world, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Wednesday in its monthly Food Price Index, the Financial Times reports (Blas, 1/5).

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