UNAIDS head Michel Sidibe on Monday called for a “prevention revolution” to fight HIV/AIDS and addressed laws he says make high-risk groups more vulnerable to the disease, the Associated Press reports. Speaking to a group of journalists in New York, Sidibe “said ‘it is unacceptable’ that 85 countries still have laws criminalizing same sex relations among adults, including seven that impose the death penalty for homosexual practices,” the news service writes.
A report released Monday by the WHO and UNICEF documents mixed progress in improving drinking water and sanitation conditions worldwide, VOA News reports (Schlein, 3/15). “The report â€“ presenting the latest data on improved sources of sanitation and drinking water in 209 countries or territories â€“ is aimed at assisting policy-makers, donors, government and non-governmental agencies decide what needs to be done,” U.N. News Centre writes (3/15).
Opinions: Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation; WFP In Somalia; Haiti’s Recovery; WHO’s Policy Role
Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation Are ‘Backward Steps’ For Human Rights In Africa In a Washington Post opinion piece, Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa,Â and Nobel Peace Prize recipient,Â speaks out against efforts to deny individuals “their fundamental rights and freedoms” based on their sexual orientation. Tutu citesÂ cases in…
Also In Global Health News: East Africa Food Security; Issues With Humanitarian Aid; Texting To Fight Counterfeit Drugs
Experts To Discuss Food Security In East Africa The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) meetingÂ this week in Kigali, RwandaÂ ”will provide a forum for experts, government ministers, regional economic communities and other stakeholders to discuss how best to handle the food security issue in” East Africa, New Times/allAfrica.com reports. The…
The GAVI Alliance has “asked existing and potential donors to a meeting in The Hague on March 25 and 26 to challenge them to ‘make a strong impact’ on childhood death rates,” Reuters reports. “GAVI, which is supported by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vaccine makers, says it has 40 percent of the $7 billion it needs between now and 2015 to help” immunize of millions of children in developing countries by 2015, according to the news service.
With full funding GAVI “will be able to fully roll out pentavalent vaccine” â€“ which protects against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib â€“ “and introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhea in over 40 countries,’ [GAVI] said in a statement. ‘These last two vaccines alone can save one million children by 2015,’” reports Reuters.
“Britain last week pledged 150 million pounds over the next 10 years for GAVI’s core funding, a move the group’s deputy chief executive Helen Evans said she hoped others would follow,” Reuters writes. “This is the first sovereign donor to have made a 10-year commitment to GAVI, and that really helps because it builds predictability into funding … and actually helps to shape the market for vaccines,” Evans said (Kelland, 3/15).
“Calling the subjugation of women a threat to American security, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary [Rodham] Clinton made a vibrant plea to give equal rights to women around the world,” during a speech a the U.N. on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports. Clinton’s remarks came on the final day of a two-week international women’s conference that examined the progress made in women’s rights since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
During his second visit to Haiti since the January earthquake, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “promised Haitians on Sunday that the world has not forgotten the quake-torn nation as it suffers from a shortage of shelter and growing violence in teeming camps for the homeless,” the Associated Press reports (Katz, 3/14).
U.N. Not Fully Funded To Meet Needs In Haiti, Says Humanitarian Chief; Media Examines Care For Country’s Elderly
After announcing a revised appeal of $1.4 billion in February to finance emergency relief as well as recovery and reconstruction, the U.N. “is struggling to provide support for equake-ravaged Haiti,” according to humanitarian chief John Holmes, Reuters reports. “We did extremely well on raising funds for the initial flash appeal, but we are struggling, I’m afraid, to raise resources for the revised appeal. … We have got 49 percent of what we need for the whole year and we are appealing to donors to come forward with more resources for that relief operation,” Holmes said.
During a conference in London Thursday, development officials urged world leaders to “accelerate efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and [said] rich countries must make good on promises to boost aid to poorer nations,” Reuters AlertNet reports.
Lancet Comment Asks: What’s Next For Global Fund? Reflecting on the recent annual report by the Global FundÂ to FightÂ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Lancet comment writes, “Two big challenges remain [for the Global Fund]: first, to show, reliably and independently, that the Fund’s investments have delivered the benefits that it…