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U.N. Rapporteurs Call For Creation Of Global Fund As Social Safety Net For Vulnerable Populations

Two U.N. experts have called for the creation of a “global fund to promote the creation of social safety nets for the most vulnerable people in poor countries,” the Guardian reports. Based on estimates from the International Labor Organization (ILO), Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur for food, and Magdalena Sepulveda, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the creation of a $60 billion fund — with $20 billion funded by rich countries — “would have two functions: to help the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) put in place a ‘social protection floor'; and to serve as a reinsurance provider to step in if a state’s social protection system was overwhelmed by an unexpected event such as extreme drought or flooding,” the newspaper writes.

'Bold Goals' Needed To Spur Political Action In Fight Against Hunger

“Achieving the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the prevalence of hunger in the world by 2015 is still within reach, but a strong, sustained acceleration of efforts is needed,” U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva writes in a Reuters opinion piece. He notes a new report from the Rome food agencies shows the “global number of chronically hungry people has declined by 130 million since 1990, falling from a little over one billion people to 868 million — 852 million of them in developing countries.”

Polio Vaccination Campaign In Darfur Shows Immunizations Possible In 'Emergency And Conflict Settings'

In an Inter Press Service opinion piece, Siddharth Chatterjee, chief diplomat and head of strategic partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Sam Agbo, an independent public health adviser in the U.K., write about the unstable situation in Darfur, Sudan, in 2004, and how “UNICEF and WHO in Sudan along with important NGO partners started planning with local authorities on how best to immunize all children in Darfur.” They outline the major challenges, including staff safety, and discuss how multi-agency teams were able to vaccinate 10,000 children in two immunization rounds. Chatterjee and Agbo add, “The polio immunization campaign was the driver for a wider process of improving and ramping up assistance to communities and this made the campaign attractive to mothers to bring their children to the immunization hubs that were established.”

Examining The Role Of Global Health In Advancing Corporate, Political Agendas

On Friday at the University of Washington, “historian Anne-Emanuelle Birn will present the Stephen Stewart Gloyd endowed lecture, ‘Philanthrocapitalism, Cooption and the Politics of Global Health Agenda-Setting,'” KPLU 88.5’s “Humanosphere” blog reports. According to the blog, Birn will explain why she “think[s] of global health as a means to also advance corporate or political agendas.” The blog writes, “Birn will compare the efforts of the Rockefeller Foundation to largely fund and direct the creation of the field of international health, which contributed to improvements in public health worldwide and eventually the creation of what would become the World Health Organization, to the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s] current efforts to achieve similarly grand results” (Paulson, 10/4).

NPR Examines Local Production Of Childhood Malnutrition Treatment In Haiti

NPR’s “The Salt” blog examines how some humanitarian organizations are looking to purchase the ingredients for and manufacture a peanut-based nutritional supplement in the countries where it is used. “They see local production as a way to provide jobs and bring money into impoverished communities. But paying the bill is still a struggle. Even in poor countries, local food often turns out to be more expensive food,” the blog writes. “The Salt” looks at the case of a small organization in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, that has built factories that “emplo[y] Haitian workers and bu[y] peanuts from Haitian farmers.” However, the cost of the final product can be up to 20 percent more expensive than if it were made with peanuts imported from Argentina, the blog notes, adding, “For now, at least, UNICEF has agreed to buy local, even if it costs a little more” (Charles, 10/4).

Uganda Declares End Of Ebola Outbreak

“Uganda is now free from Ebola, the Health Ministry said, two months after an outbreak of the deadly virus killed at least 16 people,” Reuters reports. “‘The Ministry of Health has … officially declared an end of the Ebola outbreak that broke out in Kibaale district in July. This follows completion of the 42 days of the post-Ebola surveillance countdown period which is a prerequisite of the World Health Organization,’ it said in a statement late on Thursday,” the news service writes. “Uganda has suffered several Ebola outbreaks before, the biggest in 2000, when 425 people were infected by the virus and more than half of them died,” Reuters notes (Biryabarema, 10/5).

Authorities Shut Down 18K Online Pharmacy Sites In Crackdown Of Fake Drug Sales

“Police and regulators around the world have closed 18,000 online pharmacy sites in the past few days, in the largest ever clampdown on criminal gangs selling unauthorized medicines online,” the Financial Times reports. “Operation Pangaea V, coordinated over the past week by Interpol and involving authorities in 100 countries, led to the seizure of 3.7 million doses of unlicensed and counterfeit drugs worth more than £6.5 million [$10.5 million] and the arrests of 79 people,” the news service writes (Jack, 10/4). “The aim of this week’s Interpol crackdown … was to ‘disrupt and dismantle’ the internet networks which sell and distribute the bogus drugs,” according to the Daily Mail, which notes, “It’s claimed the producers are raking in millions of pounds through the illicit trade every month, with much of the money funneled back to organized crime syndicates in Russia” (Hodgekiss, 10/4). “This is the fifth year of a coordinated action against websites selling illegal and sometimes fake medicines,” the Guardian writes (Boseley, 10/4). “It is estimated £1.5 million [$2.4 million] of orders are placed globally every month,” BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours” reports (Abbott, 10/4).

Food Prices Rise In September After Two Months Of Relative Stability, FAO Says

“Global food prices rose by 1.4 percent in September after holding steady for two months as cereals, meat and dairy prices climbed, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO] said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports (10/4). “[T]he FAO Food Price Index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, rose to an average of 216 points in September after remaining stable at 213 points in August, the FAO said in its monthly update,” according to Reuters (Hornby, 10/4). “Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the FAO, said that food prices were likely to remain high and volatility could increase,” BBC News writes (10/4). Bloomberg Businessweek notes “[t]he U.S. State Department estimates that surging food prices triggered more than 60 riots worldwide from 2007 to 2009” (Ruitenberg, 10/4). “Despite the rise in food prices, the United States Mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome released a statement on Thursday saying it had agreed with other countries that a meeting of the emergency Rapid Response Forum under the G20 agriculture body [Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS)] was not necessary at the moment,” Reuters states (10/4).

More Must Be Done To Improve Health Of Women, Children Worldwide

“[W]omen and children everywhere deserve quality health care,” Kathy Bushkin Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “As many in the development community say, investing in the health of women and children isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do,” she continues, adding, “When women and children are healthy, they can learn more and earn more, which leads to more stable and productive communities.” Though the world has made “important progress on this front,” “[w]e must continually assess our progress and talk about where we need to do better, because when the international community mobilizes, we can generate meaningful change,” she says, noting “we have more work to do … in order to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which set critical targets for reducing child and maternal mortality by 2015.”

Combination Pill To Treat Malaria Pre-Approved By WHO

“A malaria drug made by India’s Cipla has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), an important step towards its roll-out across Asia, where millions of people are infected with the mosquito-borne disease every year,” Reuters reports. “The drug, which has already been used to treat 18,000 adults in India, is intended as the first-line treatment in a number of South East Asian countries, Cipla and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative said in a joint statement on Wednesday,” the news service writes (10/3). “The pre-qualified status means the drug meets WHO standards of quality, safety and efficacy, making it eligible for bulk procurement under programs that receive funding from international agencies like the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” Fox Business notes (Ahmed, 10/3). The pill is the first to offer a combination of drugs in one tablet, and it requires a single daily dose of one or two tablets over three days, according to a video report from Al Jazeera (10/3).