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WFP Has Reached 600,000 Haitians With Food Voucher Plan

On Thursday, a food distribution voucher campaign that launched last Sunday, “hit all 16 fixed distribution points around the capital” of Port-au-Prince, CNN reports. “So far, 600,000 people affected by the devastating January 12 earthquake have been able to collect food under this plan, said Marcus Prior, spokesman for the United Nations World Food Programme. ‘We’re encouraged by the way the system is working to get food out into the city to those in need, but still have a long way to go,’ Prior said” (Basu, 2/5).

$1.2B Needed To Aid Women, Children In 28 Countries ‘In Crisis,’ UNICEF Says

UNICEF on Thursday launched a $1.2 billion appeal aimed at providing “life saving emergency assistance to millions of children and women in dire need,” VOA News reports (Schlein, 2/4). “The appeal is part of UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action Report 2010, released in Geneva … which spotlights the desperate situation of children and women in 28 countries and territories facing deep humanitarian crises,” the U.N. News Centre writes (2/4).

Global Cancer Rates Could Be Reduced By 40% With Prevention Strategies, Report Says

“Forty percent of the 12 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year could avert the killer disease by protecting themselves against infections and changing their lifestyles, experts said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. Ahead of World Cancer Day on Thursday, officials at the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) released a report that demonstrates how scaling up immunization programs against the infections that cause some cancers and educating the public on prevention strategies could help drive down cancer rates (Kelland, 2/2).

New York Times Examines WHO Process For Getting H1N1 Vaccines To Countries In Need

The New York Times examines the WHO’s role as “clearinghouse” for getting H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines to lower income nations. Though H1N1 has died down in North America and many wealthier nations “are trying to get rid of their [vaccine] surpluses,” the virus continues to circulate in regions of North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, according to the newspaper.

U.S. Government Resumes Medical Evacuations From Haiti; New Food Voucher Distribution Targeting Women Begins

“The U.S. government said on Sunday it would resume military evacuation flights” within 12 hours for critically ill and injured Haitians who were harmed in the Jan. 12 earthquake, Reuters reports (Rosenberg/Brown, 1/31). Medical evacuations had been suspended for a few days, but the reason for the suspension “is unclear as various government authorities have provided different explanations,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

U.N. Secretary-General Focuses On MDGs During African Union Summit

Addressing the 14th African Union (AU) Summit on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for African countries to maintain their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), “which include reducing poverty, disease and child mortality, ahead of their target date of 2015,” BBC reports. Leaders from 53 African countries are gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the three-day summit (1/31).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Under Shah’s Leadership, USAID Poised ‘To Regain Its Prominence’ In Global Nutrition, Lancet Opinion Says  Rajiv Shah’s appointment as USAID administrator “comes at a crucial time of challenge and opportunity for the Agency to improve the nutritional well-being of impoverished societies,” write the authors of a Lancet Comment that examines…

Canada To Donate 5M Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine To WHO; Agency Has Received Commitment Of 200M Vaccines

The Canadian government on Thursday announced the country would donate five million doses of H1N1 vaccines to the WHO from the country’s current surplus, the Canadian Press reports (Branswell, 1/28). “[T]he donation will help the Geneva-based international body in its efforts to redistribute the vaccine to developing countries that couldn’t afford their own supplies,” the Globe and Mail reports (Alphonso, 1/28).