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WHO Says World Is Better Prepared For Influenza Pandemic

“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).

Horn Of Africa Nations Risk ‘Massive Famine,’ Shah Says

The nations in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “are at risk of ‘massive famine,’ Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the Huffington Post Wednesday.” “It’s very severe,” Shah said. “We know from the data that we’ve been collecting that this is the worst drought in 60 years and it’s going to have severe consequences. Eleven and a half million people are at real risk of malnutrition and famine already,” the Huffington Post reports (Hersh, 7/13).

U.N., Africa Union Appeal To International Community For Aid To Fight Drought In Horn Of Africa

During a Tuesday news conference with reporters in Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “called on countries to urgently support United Nations agencies in their efforts to respond to the crisis in the Horn of Africa, where more than 11 million people are in need of life-saving assistance as they face the worst drought in decades,” the U.N. News Centre reports. U.N. agencies have called for $1.6 billion in aid for the region, but only half of that amount has been received, according to the news service (7/12).

Gilead Becomes First Company To License Drugs To Medicines Patent Pool

“In the first agreement between a pharmaceutical company and the new international Medicines Patent Pool, Gilead Sciences announced Tuesday that it would license four of its AIDS and hepatitis B drugs to the pool,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 7/12).

Donors Should Continue To Provide AIDS Funding To China, UNAIDS Head Says

Cutting AIDS funding to China will “be a big mistake for a donor and particularly, for anyone who’s invested in China today, … for the simple reason that this funding is a catalytic fund,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

U.N. Officials Highlight Concern About Humanitarian Situation In East Africa

“U.N. officials sounded the alarm Tuesday about a deepening crisis in East Africa, saying they are struggling to cope with the number of people on the move in the region because of the severe drought and continued fighting in Somalia,” the Associated Press reports. “World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the drought has left millions hungry, farmers at risk of losing their livelihoods and the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” the AP writes (7/12).

Type-3 Poliovirus Case In Pakistan Raises Concerns Disease May Spread, WHO Says

Pakistan has reported the first case of the type-3 wild poliovirus in six months, raising concerns that the disease may spread to other parts of Asia and beyond, the WHO said on Thursday, Bloomberg/San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Confirmation of continuation of WPV3 transmission in tribal areas of Pakistan has significant implications for the global effort to eradicate WPV3, particularly as Asia is on the verge of eliminating circulation of this strain,” the WHO said on its website.

U.N. FAO, WFP, Oxfam Launch Joint Appeal For Horn Of Africa Drought Aid

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and Oxfam issued a joint appeal on Friday asking the international community to provide the “political, moral and financial means” necessary to fight the severe drought affecting more than 10 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, the Associated Press reports (7/8).

UNFPA Launches 7 Billion Actions Campaign

The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday, World Population Day, launched the 7 Billion Actions campaign to “promote dialogue on what it means to live in a world with so many people and encourage action on issues that affect us all. UNFPA offices and their partners throughout the world will…

More Action To Fight Tobacco Use Needed Worldwide, WHO Report Says

Laws that require graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging impact more than one billion people in 19 countries, but more needs to be done to cut smoking rates worldwide, the WHO said Thursday in its third report on the global tobacco epidemic, Reuters reports (Kelland, 7/7).