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WHO Director-General Responds To Draft Report On Agency’s Handling Of H1N1 Pandemic

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on Monday responded to the first results of a probe into the agency’s response to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, Agence France-Presse reports. While calling attention to where the external panel committee commended the agency’s actions, Chan also addressed the criticisms and recommendations issued in the draft report (3/28). Her comments came as the review committee held its “fourth and final public session” in Geneva to receive “feedback from countries and organizations on its preliminary report,” CIDRAP News reports (Schnirring, 3/28).

Social Unrest In Yemen Impeding Humanitarian Aid Delivery, U.N. Official Says

Almost one-third of Yemen’s 23 million people do not have enough food, and social unrest in the country is making it difficult for aid groups to reach those in need, Valerie Amos, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said on Monday, Reuters reports.

Also In Global Health News: Aid Group In Darfur; Future Of Aid In Afghanistan; USAID Donation In Ghana; Earthquake In Myanmar; HIV/AIDS In Mauritania

After Concerns Of Forced Shutdown, Aid Group In Darfur Allowed To Resume Food Distribution The aid agency Catholic Relief Services “has been allowed to resume distribution of food in West Darfur, narrowly averting a shutdown of the programme” that would have potentially cut off 400,000 people from food rations, Reuters reports (Babington, 3/29).…

Report Examines How New Technologies Can Aid In Humanitarian Response To Disasters

A new report examines how new technologies, including digital mapping, can influence emergency relief work and says technology will not be able to fully transform humanitarian aid without “better coordination and communication between digital volunteers and veteran agencies in the relief field, like the United Nations and the Red Cross,” the New York Times reports (Lohr, 3/28).

Financial Times Examines Rise In Public, Private Sector Global Partnerships For Aid Delivery

“New models of financing and delivering development programmes are bringing far-reaching changes to the international public sector,” with “[t]raditional government-to-government transactions … giving way to complex networks of partners – some of them from the private sector – to provide everything from antiretroviral drugs and girls’ education to emergency food supplies,” the Financial Times reports in a piece that explores why such changes are taking place and their implications for future funding.

China To Implement Ban On Smoking In Indoor Public Spaces

Chinese health officials this week announced the country will move forward in May with a ban on smoking in all indoor public spaces “in an effort to shield the world’s most populous nation … from the harmful effects of the habit,” Reuters reports. The plan will “require businesses to display prominent no-smoking signs, forbid vending machines from selling cigarettes and ensure that designated outdoor smoking zones not affect pedestrian traffic, according to a ministry statement reported in Chinese media on Thursday,” the news service writes (Wee, 3/24).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Main Take-Aways From GHME: Reflections on last week’s Global Health Metrics & Evaluation (GHME) conference in Seattle, Washington appeared in several blogs and a Lancet column: Lancet: Offline: Where was Europe? (Horton, 3/26) Karen Grepin’s “Global Health Blog”: A trip to the inside of the Global Health Sausage Factory (3/22)…

Opinions: Using Taxes To Reduce Poverty; Fighting TB; Meeting Global Food Demands

Increased Tax Revenues Can Create ‘In-Roads Into Poverty Reduction’ “To improve living standards and create jobs,” African governments “need to provide their citizens with better health care, better education, more infrastructure. … How to pay for this – in a way that is both fair and efficient – is a question…