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Ban Says U.N.’s Top Priority Is Sustainable Development

During a speech to the World Trade Organization on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laid out his vision for his next term, telling “trade officials and diplomats that ‘the United Nations’ top priority for this year and many years beyond will have to be sustainable development’ – lifting people out of poverty while working on environmental concerns,” the Associated Press reports. Ban “described sustainable development as a theme that would ‘tie together many other goals’ such as addressing climate change, global health, women’s issues and food, water and energy shortages,” according to the news service (Heilprin, 7/19).

UNAIDS’ Sidibe Calls For Increased Access To HIV Drugs At IAS Conference Opening

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe on Sunday at the opening of the 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome “called … for an increase in access to drugs that help treat or prevent the spread of the disease, saying it is ‘morally wrong’ to keep millions of people off lifesaving medication,” the Associated Press/Boston Globe reports (7/18).

WHO To Warn Against Use Of TB Blood Test

The WHO on Sunday said it will release a guidance later this week on widely used blood tests for tuberculosis (TB), warning “against using such tests for the infectious lung disease that affects some 14 million people worldwide” because they can produce incorrect results, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.

First U.N. Emergency Airlift Arrives In Nairobi To Provide Drought Aid

“The first U.N. emergency airlift flight arrived in” Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Sunday, “to assist the hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have fled the drought and famine afflicting their homeland,” ABC News reports (Hasan, 7/17). The jet, which was chartered by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), delivered 100 tons of tents meant for the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the U.N. News Centre writes. An additional four flights are scheduled to arrive in Nairobi this week (7/17).

DRC Facing Cholera, Measles Outbreaks, U.N. Says

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has recorded more than 3,000 cases and 192 deaths from cholera since March, according to a U.N. report on the outbreak, VOA News reports (7/14).

WHO Says World Is Better Prepared For Influenza Pandemic

“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).

Horn Of Africa Nations Risk ‘Massive Famine,’ Shah Says

The nations in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “are at risk of ‘massive famine,’ Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the Huffington Post Wednesday.” “It’s very severe,” Shah said. “We know from the data that we’ve been collecting that this is the worst drought in 60 years and it’s going to have severe consequences. Eleven and a half million people are at real risk of malnutrition and famine already,” the Huffington Post reports (Hersh, 7/13).

U.N., Africa Union Appeal To International Community For Aid To Fight Drought In Horn Of Africa

During a Tuesday news conference with reporters in Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “called on countries to urgently support United Nations agencies in their efforts to respond to the crisis in the Horn of Africa, where more than 11 million people are in need of life-saving assistance as they face the worst drought in decades,” the U.N. News Centre reports. U.N. agencies have called for $1.6 billion in aid for the region, but only half of that amount has been received, according to the news service (7/12).

Gilead Becomes First Company To License Drugs To Medicines Patent Pool

“In the first agreement between a pharmaceutical company and the new international Medicines Patent Pool, Gilead Sciences announced Tuesday that it would license four of its AIDS and hepatitis B drugs to the pool,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 7/12).