“Six years after leprosy was declared officially eliminated in India, officials and doctors are warning that the disfiguring disease is spreading in poverty-stricken pockets of the country,” Agence France-Presse reports. According to Nata Menabde, head of the WHO in India, the number of new cases of leprosy exceeds the agency’s target of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 in about 209 out of 640 districts in the country, the news agency notes.
Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith arrived in Kenya on Monday to assess and raise awareness of the famine conditions in the Horn of Africa, Capital FM News reports (Kaberia, 8/8). “Biden’s trip is the highest-profile U.S. visit to drought-stricken East Africa since the numbers of refugees began dramatically increasing in June,” according to the Associated Press (Straziuso, 8/8).
“ONE Blog” features an audio recording of a conference call the organization held on Wednesday with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran and Somali advocate Ali Ali about the famine in Somalia. During the call, Shah said his recent visit to the Dadaab refugee camp…
“The famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three new areas of the country, with the entire south likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks, the United Nations said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports (Mohamed, 8/3).
“In recent years, nearly every demographic study has painted a dire picture of the world’s changing demographics. Yet when the U.N. issued its latest report this past May, it seemed almost sunny,” Jonathan Last, senior writer at the Weekly Standard, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. He says that “[t]he catch is that it may not be true” because “the U.N. has had to make one very big assumption: Starting tomorrow, every country in the world with fertility below the replacement rate of 2.10 will increase its fertility. And this rise will continue unabated, year after year, until every First World country has a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) near replacement.”
UNICEF on Tuesday “appeal[ed] to the air transport sector to provide free and discounted cargo space to bring emergency food supplies into the region,” the U.N. News Centre reports (8/2). UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, warned in its latest situation report that “[c]hild mortality rates among Somali refugees in Kenya are on the rise and there are ‘alarmingly high rates’ of malnutrition,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (8/3).
The Obama administration on Tuesday issued new guidance stating “the U.S. would not prosecute relief agencies for delivering aid to parts of Somalia controlled by the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab, despite concerns that unrestricted aid in the failed state would be diverted to the wrong hands,” Inter Press Service reports (Hough, 8/2).
“Children of depressed mothers in developing countries are 40 percent more likely to be underweight or stunted than those with mothers in good mental health,” according to a report published in the August edition of the WHO Bulletin, Reuters reports. “The analysis was based on 17 studies of nearly 14,000 mothers and their small children carried out in Africa, Asia, and South America and the Caribbean,” according to the news agency.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that “amid all the good news” about HIV prevention recently presented at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, “one stubborn fact was hard to ignore: AIDS remains a metaphor for inequality.” With discrepancies in access to HIV treatment and prevention between developed and developing countries, “[i]t is hard not to conclude from all this that life is not valued equally across the world. This is morally wrong and unacceptable,” he writes.
Breastfeeding from birth to six months or a year can reduce deaths among children under five by 13 percent, a statistic that UNICEF is highlighting during World Breastfeeding Week, which runs through August 7, the International Business Times reports (DeNinno, 8/2).