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Pakistan Officials Ask For International Assistance As Dengue Fever Outbreak Overwhelms Local Resources

BBC News reports on a continuing outbreak of dengue fever in Pakistan’s Punjab province, where “more than 8,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported … so far — 7,000 in Lahore alone — and the count continues to rise,” according to the Punjab health department. According to the news service, “Doctors say more than 30 people have died of the fever so far” in the province, and “[h]ealth officials estimate that more than 7,000 people are being tested daily for the virus — 300 to 400 test positive each day” (Haq, 9/23).

PepsiCo, WFP, USAID Announce Partnership To Increase Chickpea Production, Address Hunger In Ethiopia

PepsiCo on Wednesday announced a public-private partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and USAID to increase chickpea production in Ethiopia in order to secure access to the legume, which “play[s] an increasing role in its food products,” the New York Times reports. If the project is successful in working with small farmers to increase chickpea production, the “increased yield would exceed PepsiCo’s needs,” therefore “some of the additional crops will be used to make a new, ready-to-eat food product that the World Food Programme has used to address famine in Pakistan,” according to the newspaper (Strom, 9/20).

Multi-Donor Program Improves Availability Of Essential Medicines In Zimbabwe's Public Health Sector

IRIN reports on “[t]he improved availability of essential medicines in Zimbabwe’s public health sector” as a result of “a multi-donor program started in 2008 through collaboration between the government, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Zimbabwe, the European Union (E.U.), the U.K., Australia, Canada and Ireland.” “According to a survey carried out by the E.U., 80 percent of essential medicines are now available at over 80 percent of health facilities compared to only 28 percent availability of vital drugs at public health institutions in 2008,” IRIN notes. The news service writes, “To date, the Essential Medicines Supply Programme (EMSP) has received $52 million in funding, according to UNICEF,” adding, “The money is used to buy drugs and medical supplies which are distributed to health centers by Natpharm, the supply arm of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare” (9/20).

UNFPA Working To Ensure Health Of Future Generations In Dadaab Refugee Camps

The health care system in the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, which were established “long ago,” are “currently challenged and stretched by the recent influx of refugees,” UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimihen writes in this BMJ Group Blogs entry, noting that efforts are underway “to strengthen the existing system with supplies [and] human resources at clinic and outreach levels” to increase access. UNFPA is working “to improve reproductive health care in Dadaab and in accessible parts of Somalia through the provision of related life-saving medical supplies and equipment, which will lead to a reduction in adult and child morbidity and death,” he writes.

U.N. Meeting On NCDs Concludes With Pledges To Fight Chronic Diseases

World leaders on Tuesday “pledged to take wide-ranging action to prevent millions of deaths from cancer, diabetes, and heart and lung disease by tackling the key causes — smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets dominated by fast food,” but the “declaration approved at the first-ever General Assembly meeting on chronic diseases which ended Tuesday left unanswered the question of coordinating an international response to what the leaders called “a challenge of epidemic proportions,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports.

Shot@Life Campaign Aims To Expand Access To Childhood Vaccines In Developing Countries

The U.N. Foundation on Monday launched Shot@Life, “a new campaign to expand access to life-saving vaccines for children in developing countries” that “will educate, connect and empower Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save children’s lives around the world,” according to a U.N. Foundation…

Polio Spreads From Pakistan To China; WHO Warns Of Further Spread

“Polio has broken out in China for the first time since 1999 after being imported from Pakistan, and there is a high risk of the crippling virus spreading further during the annual Haj pilgrimage, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports (9/20). Nine cases of wild poliovirus type 1 have been recorded in China’s western province of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan, WHO spokesperson Oliver Rosenbauer said, according to Daily News and Analysis, GlobalPost notes (9/21). A genetic link has been confirmed between the virus detected in China and a strain circulating in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press/USA Today (9/20). BBC News reports that “Chinese authorities are now investigating the cases, and a mass vaccination campaign has been launched in the region” (9/20).

WHO Mandated To Lead Global Response Against NCDs But Funding Lacking

In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a research fellow at the center, writes that the “main outcome” of the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is an assignment for the WHO “to lead the…

U.N. Calls For Advancement On Goal To Save Women And Children; Poorest Countries, Drug Company Contribute To Fight

Speaking at a high-level meeting at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while lauding the progress made under the Every Woman Every Child initiative since its launch one year ago, noted that millions of women and children “are still dying needless deaths and called for advancing the goal of saving 16 million lives by 2015,” the U.N. News Centre reports. A one-year progress update launched at the meeting, Saving the Lives of 16 Million, “shows that in the first year of the effort, commitments have been implemented and enhanced, new partners have come on board, funding has been increased, policies improved and services strengthened on the ground,” according to the news service (9/20).

'The World' Examines Exclusion Of Mental Health From MDGs

PRI’s “The World” highlights the state of mental health care in Uganda in an examination of how the exclusion of mental health from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has, according to some advocates, held back mental health as a global health issue. Julius Kayiira, director of Mental Health Uganda, an organization that provides social support, job training and care to people with mental illness, “says organizations like his face an enormous funding gap, and he blames that gap, in part, on the United Nations,” according to “The World.”