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U.S. Calls For 'Unfettered' Access To Provide Humanitarian Assistance To 4M Somalis

Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, writes in this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog” that the U.S. “continue[s] to call on all parties involved to allow unfettered humanitarian access to Somalis in need.” She continues, “The unfortunate reality is that Somalia is the most difficult operating environment for humanitarians in the world today,” adding that “unless we — the international community — can get access to provide humanitarian assistance to southern Somalia, the already horrific situation will get worse. Without access, the number of people in crisis will increase, and famine will continue to spread in Somalia” (9/6).

Continued Funding From All Countries Needed To Fight HIV/AIDS

“There is no doubt that” a 10 percent reduction in funding from donor governments for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries in 2010 from the previous year’s levels “is linked to economic strain felt by countries across the globe,” a VOA News editorial says. “UNAIDS estimates that an investment of at least $22 billion will be needed by 2015 in order to avert more than seven million deaths,” the editorial states, adding, “It is clear that continued support to HIV prevention and treatment is a necessary investment, even in these difficult times.”

'No Evidence' Mutant Bird Flu Virus Poses Increased Risk To Humans, WHO And FAO Say

After the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “last week voiced concern about the appearance in Vietnam and China of” a mutant strain of the H5N1 avian flu virus, the WHO and FAO on Monday “said in a joint statement issued in response to questions from Agence France-Presse” that “[t]here is no evidence to suggest yet that this new virus strain will have any increased risk to human health,” the news agency reports. “‘Nevertheless, poultry producers and the general public should always take simple precautions to reduce exposure to the virus from infected poultry,’ it said,” the news agency writes, noting the “H5N1 virus typically spreads from birds to humans via direct contact” (9/5).

WHO African Region Member States Have Challenges To Meet MDGs, WHO/AFRO Director Says

Speaking at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, on Thursday, African Regional Director of WHO Luis Sambo said “that 46 Africa member countries still had remarkable challenges to scale before meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Nigeria’s The Nation reports.

September Issue Of WHO Bulletin Now Available Online

The September issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial about the logistical demands of community-based health insurance schemes, a public health round-up, a paper on “how operational research and management science can improve the design of health systems and the delivery of health care,” and an article that examines whether performance-based financing…

NCD Summit Negotiations Must Get Back On Track To Help Millions Worldwide

With negotiations over the outcomes for the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) stalled, “[i]t is feared that sound proposals for clear goals and timelines to tackle these devastating diseases are being systematically deleted, diluted and downgraded by some U.N. Member States and urgent action is needed to put the negotiations back on track, when they recommence on September 1,” Rob Moodie, chair of Global Health at the Nossal Institute of Global Health, writes in the Crikey health blog “Croakey.”

UNICEF, NGOs In West Africa Work To Encourage Better Sanitation In Rural Areas

UNICEF and non-governmental organizations “operating in West Africa say the main barrier to more pit latrines in rural areas is not poverty or lack of resources, but a lack of understanding about costs and benefits,” IRIN reports. “Plan International, WaterAid and UNICEF programs all encourage communities to recognize the need for better sanitation, and to build latrines themselves,” the news service writes, adding, “Building and using latrines is one of the most effective ways to combat diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million under-five children globally each year.”

Libyan Health System Suffers Following Months Of Fighting

“Recent fighting in Libya, especially in the capital Tripoli, has taken a toll on medical services with overstretched personnel working under very difficult conditions, and seriously ill and injured patients unable to reach hospitals and clinics, health workers say,” IRIN reports.

UNHCR Head Calls For Additional Aid For Somalia; World Bank To Provide $407M To Help Kenya

“U.N. refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that relief groups should increase aid to war-battered and drought-hit Somalis to reduce the exodus to neighboring countries,” Agence France-Presse reports. “‘Our objective is to create conditions for Somalis to be able to live in Somalia and for Somali refugees, when they have the opportunity, to go back home safely,’ Guterres added,” the news agency notes. “Tens of thousands of Somalis have in recent months fled to camps in Ethiopia and Kenya due to the drought, the Horn of Africa’s worst in decades,” AFP writes (8/30).