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WFP Appeals For $48M In Food Aid For Malawi; Britain Gives $4.7M

“The U.N.’s World Food Programme [WFP] said Tuesday it needs $48 million in food aid for about 11 percent of Malawi’s population who will face hunger due to bad crops,” Agence France-Presse reports. “‘It is estimated that those needing food assistance in the southern African country will rise to 1.6 million people during the peak of the lean season early next year,’ the WFP said in a joint statement with Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID),” the news service writes.

VOA Examines Food Security Situation In Rural Zimbabwe

“The United Nations’ World Food Program [WFP] is appealing for $87 million to avert starvation in Zimbabwe’s rural areas where close to two million people need food aid,” VOA News reports, adding, “The U.N. agency says because of poor rainfall, this year’s hunger season in Zimbabwe has started earlier than in the past.” The news service highlights the “dire food situation” in the rural area of Buhera, part of Manicaland province, which “is one of the four regions the [WFP] says are worst affected by drought in Zimbabwe.” “We hear of people starting to sell their livestock at distress prices, reducing their number of meals in rural Zimbabwe, which is a clear indication that the food security situation is worsening,” Liliana Yovcheva of the WFP program office in Zimbabwe said, according to the news service (8/13).

U.N. To Allocate $55M In Response To 'Neglected Humanitarian Emergencies' In 8 Countries

“The United Nations [on Thursday] announced that it will allocate $55 million to bolster operations in eight countries with neglected humanitarian emergencies,” the U.N. News Centre reports, adding, “Afghanistan, Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Sudan will all receive funds from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help provide food, water, health and other basic services.” According to the news service, “[t]he new allocations will bring the total amount allocated by CERF to more than $158 million this year, as 13 countries were given nearly $104 million in January” (8/9). “‘These CERF grants provide critical funding. The money will save lives by helping aid agencies reach people in desperate need,’ said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in a news release,” Nigeria’s “Leadership” writes (Oluwarotimi, 8/10). According to the Devex “Development Newswire,” Amos “hopes the funding will serve to ‘draw’ the world’s attention to the situation of people in the chosen countries, as ‘millions more people are still in need'” (Ravelo, 8/10).

NGOs Call For Full Implementation Of Human Right To Water, Sanitation In Letter To U.N. Member States

At the end of last month, the international community commemorated the second anniversary of a July 2010 U.N. General Assembly resolution declaring water and sanitation a basic human right, but “there was hardly any political rejoicing either inside or outside the U.N.,” Inter Press Service/Guardian reports. “In March, [UNICEF] and the [WHO] released a joint report claiming that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (spelled out under Goal 7 on environmental sustainability) had been reached well in advance of the 2015 deadline,” the news service writes. Though the MDG goal was reached, “[a] cautious UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake warned that victory could not yet be declared since at least 11 percent of the world’s population — roughly 783 million people — are still without access to safe drinking water, and billions are without sanitation facilities,” the news service notes.

African Leaders, International Community Must Act On Commitments Made At London Family Planning Summit

In this UNFPA opinion piece, Babatunde Osotimehin, U.N. under-secretary-general and UNFPA executive director, and Sharon Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, reflect on last month’s London Summit on Family Planning, where “leaders from 18 African countries made unprecedented commitments — financially and politically — to strengthen their family planning programs,” and highlight “[a] new study by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA [that] shows there has been minimal progress in addressing the contraceptive needs of African women during the past four years.” They discuss uneven progress “in meeting the demand for contraceptive services” across the continent and write, “Now it is up to all of Africa’s leaders and the international community to do their part through a sustained commitment to improving the provision of contraceptive services” (8/7).

UNICEF Warns More Children Than Ever To Be Affected By Hunger In Sahel; PM Cameron Expected To Announce Nutrition Initiatives At Summit

“The number of malnourished children is set to hit a new high of 1.5 million in the Sahel next week as cholera and locusts emerge as new threats, UNICEF warned on Tuesday,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/7). According to VOA News, “International aid agencies report the situation is particularly critical in Niger where an estimated 400,000 children are expected to require life-saving treatment for severe, acute malnutrition this year.” UNICEF, other U.N. agencies, and international aid organizations “are hampered by a lack of funds,” the news service notes (Schlein, 8/7).

Uganda Ebola Virus Outbreak Under Control, WHO Says

The Ebola virus outbreak that began last month in Uganda is under control, with health agencies having isolated the 176 people who had even slight contact with people who have contracted the virus, Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told reporters on Friday in the capital, Kampala, the Associated Press/NPR reports. At least 16 Ugandans have died of the disease in the most recent outbreak, the news service notes. Doctors were slow to recognize the disease because most patients showed atypical symptoms, the AP adds (8/6).

U.N. Urges Philippines To Pass Reproductive Health Bill Amid Protests From Catholic Church

“The United Nations has urged the Philippines to pass a bill that will allow the government to provide free contraceptives,” BBC News reports (8/5). “UNFPA country coordinator Ugochi Florence Daniels said the [reproductive health (RH)] bill is important for the Philippines to achieve its health-related targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” including maternal health, HIV/AIDS and infant mortality, the Philippine Star writes (Crisostomo, 8/4). “The House of Representatives plans to decide Tuesday whether to end debate on the bill and put it to a vote,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times notes (Gomez, 8/5).

U.N. WFP To Begin Delivering Food Aid To North Korea After Severe Flooding Destroys Crop Lands

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday reported that nearly 170 people have died, 400 people are missing, and more than 84,000 people are homeless because of severe flooding in the country, the Guardian reports, noting that the World Food Programme (WFP) “announced on Friday the details of its first batch of emergency food aid to the country, although it did not state when it would arrive” (8/4). “WFP said it would send emergency assistance comprising ‘an initial ration of 400 grams of maize per day for 14 days,'” Reuters notes, adding the statement said a recent U.N. mission to North Korea found significant damage to crop fields.

Science, Lancet Articles Examine Efforts To Eradicate Polio

In a series of “News Focus” articles in Science, the magazine examines the global effort to eradicate polio. One article examines the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) — a partnership of the WHO, Rotary International, UNICEF, the CDC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — and recent reports on the program by an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), “an oversight body” that provides feedback and guidance. A second and third article look at efforts to vaccinate children against polio in Pakistan, which “is the perfect case study for why it is so hard to eradicate poliovirus from its last few strongholds — and what it might take to pull it off.” The WHO’s Chris Maher “and others attribute the explosion of cases last year to a perfect storm of all the problems that are Pakistan: poverty and illiteracy; a health system in tatters; ethnic and sectarian violence; a government struggling to deal with corruption and dysfunction; huge population movements; and, especially since 9/11, rising extremism and anti-Western views — not to mention the natural attrition that accompanies any program that has dragged on for so long,” according to Science (Roberts, 8/3).