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 â€“ both from our government and the private sector â€“ 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 â€“ 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).
Researchers from the Universities of Warwick and Liverpool in a report published on Thursday in the British Medical Journal called for the U.N. to “make reducing salt intake a global health priority,” stating that “a 15 percent cut in consumption could save 8.5 million lives around the world over the next decade,” BBC News reports. “The researchers say there is a ‘consistent, direct relation between salt intake and blood pressure,'” which “in turn is linked to heart disease, stroke and kidney problems,” and “[t]hey point to the U.S., where cutting salt intake by a third would save tens of thousands of lives and save up to $24 billion annually in health care costs,” the news agency reports.
“A shortage of health facilities and health workers, frequent drug shortages and a weak government policy mean HIV-positive pregnant women in Burundi often give birth without taking any precautions to prevent transmission of the virus to their children,” PlusNews reports.
“Outbreaks of measles and cholera are striking down Somali children already weakened by hunger, resulting in dozens of new fatalities,” the Guardian reports (Rice, 8/13). According to the WHO, “181 people have died from suspected cholera cases in a single hospital in Mogadishu, and there have been several other confirmed cholera outbreaks across the country,” the New York Times writes (Gettleman, 8/12). UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado “said Friday that tens of thousands of children have died and countless more are particularly at risk of cholera and other diseases because of drought and violence in East Africa,” the Associated Press/NPR notes (8/12).
The news from the Horn of Africa is “mixed,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” reports, adding, “More food is getting through and security has improved for now, but tens of thousands of children have already died and many more are at risk.” According to NPR, “Aid groups were pleased last week when al-Shabab, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, pulled out of the capital, Mogadishu. That made a dangerous country a little bit less so for aid workers” (Keleman, 8/10).
“The Obama administration deserves credit for acting in advance to ameliorate the effects” of drought in East Africa, a New York Times editorial states, noting that USAID has been working since last summer, when the crisis was predicted, to “plac[e] food and other supplies in Kenya, Djibouti and South Africa” and “working on programs to help Somalia and other countries improve food production to avert future crises.”
“The prices of grain and milk in the drought-hit Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have risen to record highs, exacerbating hardship for the estimated 12.4 million people in the region who are facing severe food shortages and famine in some parts of Somalia,” according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s August food price monitor, the U.N. News Centre reports (8/10).
“The World Health Organization is declaring an end to the global swine flu pandemic,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan “said Wednesday the pandemic is considered over by WHO’s emergency committee due to global factors and reports from several nations” and because “the new H1N1 virus has largely run its course,” according to the news agency.
A backgrounder by Jay Schaefer, a Jay Kingham fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, and Anthony Kim,Â a policy analyst in Heritage’s Center for International Trade and Economics, examines the relationship between U.S. foreign aid and U.N. General Assembly voting. They assert that…
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).