“With almost 17,000 cases reported in the latest nationwide cholera outbreak, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must rethink its preparedness strategy to curb future outbreaks, health experts told IRIN,” the news service reports. “According to Kossi Ayigan of the WHO, the health cluster coordinator, the emergency response phase of the current cholera outbreak is drawing to a close and should be followed by firm action on proper sanitation and provision of safe drinking water by the government and its development partners,” according to IRIN.
The WHO on Friday “said the number of cholera cases in Haiti is expected to reach 500,000 by the end of the year” if current trends continue, Agence France-Presse reports. As of October, the agency estimated 470,000 cases of the disease and 6,600 cholera deaths had occurred since the outbreak began in 2010, the news service notes. “The number of new cholera cases in Haiti halved in August, but the rainy season is once again worsening the situation, the WHO warned,” AFP writes (10/22).
The final document of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, which concluded last week in Rio de Janeiro, “calls for better governance for health and development, with transparent decision-making and social participation,” and “[g]overnments are urged to develop policies and measure progress towards defined goals,” Inter Press Service reports.
In this post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes about the Together for Girls Partnership, an initiative that “generates a powerful advocacy platform to stop sexual violence by supporting countries’ efforts to fully understand and cope with the scope of the epidemic.”…
Scientists, WHO Warn Of Public Health Implications Of Proposed Mercury Ban Due To Its Use In Vaccines
“Scientists are warning officials negotiating a global treaty on mercury that banning the deadly chemical completely would be dangerous for public health because of the chemical’s use in vaccines,” the Associated Press reports. “The ban option is one of several proposals on the table for a [United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP] meeting later this month in Nairobi, but a final treaty isn’t expected until 2013,” the news service writes.
A news and perspectives piece in the current issue of JAMA examines a recent funding analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS showing that “[g]overnments that support treatment and services for people with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries cut their annual contributions in 2010 by 10 percent,” spending $6.9 billion last year compared with $7.6 billion in 2009. The article quotes Bernhard Schwartlander, the UNAIDS director for evidence, strategy, and results; Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation; and Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS policy adviser with the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Voelker, 10/19).
An electronic voucher system, introduced by the World Food Programme (WFP) and implemented by the health ministry and non-governmental organizations, is helping Zimbabweans living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) and their families obtain food and fight malnutrition, PlusNews reports. “The program supports about 5,000 patients and their families with essential food items and is operating at seven health facilities in the capital [Harare] and has been extended to the second-largest city, Bulawayo,” the news service writes.
Though the humanitarian response to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa has lessened the suffering of thousands of people in the region, “more resources are needed to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in famine-hit areas of Somalia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said” in a progress report released Thursday, the U.N. News Centre reports. Releasing the report, Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, “called for the scaling up of integrated interventions in health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, education and child protection,” according to the news service (10/20).
“Wealthier countries need to put aside politics to help millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages, the U.N.’s top relief official said Friday, renewing an appeal for assistance that has largely gone unmet,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. Following a five-day visit to North Korea, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos “said millions of North Koreans, particularly children, mothers and pregnant women, need help,” as they do not have access to protein- and nutrient-rich foods, according to the AP.
“The United Nations and the United States Peace Corps signed an agreement today to cooperate in combating worldwide hunger by increasing food security in the 76 countries where the more than 8,600 U.S. volunteers currently work,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The agreement, signed by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN World Food Programme (WFP) at their Rome headquarters, builds on years of cooperation with the 50-year-old U.S. organization,” the news service writes.