At a meeting of the African Union (A.U.) in Ethiopia on Thursday, “African governments … pledged $46 million for the crisis in the Horn of Africa amid warnings that the emergency stretches far beyond hunger to encompass health, security and livelihood,” the Guardian reports. The amount fell short of the $50 million asked for by the aid group Africans Act 4 Africa, the newspaper adds, noting that “the African Development Bank announced a $300 million donation for long-term development in the Horn of Africa” (Tran, 8/25). Reuters reports that money is “to be spent over a four-year period, not to be used to bridge a $1.4 billion shortfall aid groups say they need for the emergency” (Malone, 8/26).
David Stuckler of the University of Cambridge, Sanjay Basu of the University of California, San Francisco, and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, write in a BMJ commentary that misconceptions and fallacies “have led to serious under-budgeting for non-communicable diseases” (NCDs). The authors question whether food companies, or lobbying groups and non-governmental organizations that are influenced by food corporations, should “be viewed as trusted partners and have a seat at the table during public health negotiations” leading up to the U.N. High-level Meeting on NCDs.
“In the run up to the U.N. summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), there are fears that industry interests might be trumping evidence-based public health interventions,” BMJ reports. “Many hope that this meeting will force [NCDs] into the spotlight just as the first health-related U.N. summit did for AIDS a decade ago,” but “[w]ith only weeks to go before the summit … [d]iscussions have stopped on the document that forms the spine of the summit,” BMJ writes.
The World Food Programme and Development Seed have developed a map showing current food security situations in the Horn of Africa and featuring “operational data collected from organizations responding to the humanitarian emergency … The featured data was provided by the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) and the Food…
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake told reporters on Friday that “[m]ore than 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely malnourished ‘and in imminent risk of dying’ because of drought and famine,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.
The WHO “is rushing to secure medical supplies for Libya” after the Dutch government on Monday released nearly $145 million in frozen assets from Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi’s regime in response to a direct WHO appeal, PBS NewsHour reports. The news service features an interview with Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesperson for medical emergencies, who spoke “about the health needs in Libya and how the funds will be used.”
FAO Holds Second Emergency Meeting On Famine; WHO Warns Of Cholera Spread; Turkish PM Visits Mogadishu
For the second time in one month, representatives of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held an emergency meeting on Thursday in Rome “to take stock of the humanitarian disaster” in the Horn of Africa, the Guardian reports (Tran, 8/18). The officials “called for a twin-pronged approach to tackle the food crisis, stressing immediate relief and the strengthening of the resilience of affected communities to enable them to cope with future shocks in the drought-prone region,” the U.N. News Centre reports (8/18).
August 19 is recognized worldwide as World Humanitarian Day, when “[w]e honor â€¦ those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions,” a Manila Bulletin editorial states. “World Humanitarian Day is a collaborative global celebration of humanitarian aid work joining the United Nations and over 500 national and international non-governmental organizations aimed at engaging and inspiring the general public to get involved,” the editorial notes.
“We were deeply perturbed to learn that the negotiations for the Outcomes Document of the U.N. High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a mere month or so away, had stalled because member states failed to reach consensus,” Nalini Saligram, CEO of Arogya World, and Sandeep Kishore, an MD/PhD candidate at the Cornell/ Rockefeller/ Sloan-Kettering Institute, write in a Huffington Post opinion piece.
The NCD Alliance, which represents about 2,000 health organizations from around the world focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), “on Thursday accused the United States, Canada and Europe of harming efforts to fight cancer, diabetes, heart and other diseases because they will not agree to set United Nations targets,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 8/18). The first-ever U.N. High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs is scheduled for September 19-20 in New York.