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WHO Establishes Global Monitoring Framework For NCDs

“The World Health Organization (WHO) established a global monitoring framework for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at a Geneva meeting on November 9, 2012 — a little over a year after the U.N. General Assembly adopted a political declaration on NCDs,” Management Sciences for Health’s “Global Health Impact” blog reports, noting Ambassador Betty King, permanent representative of the U.S. to the U.N. and other international organizations in Geneva, announced the framework in November. “MSH commends Ambassador Betty King, WHO member states, along with civil society and industry partnerships, for their leadership on this framework for tackling NCDs,” the blog writes (Sangiwa, 12/4).

Climate Change Conference Postpones Discussion Of Agriculture; U.N. Warns Food Prices, Child Malnutrition Will Rise If Issue Not Addressed

“Discussions about much-needed support for agriculture — which is seen both as a victim and a cause of climate change — at the U.N.’s climate change conference in Doha have been postponed until next year,” IRIN reports. Agriculture affects climate change, with the production of greenhouse gas emissions, “[b]ut climate change also threatens agriculture, which most developing countries’ populations rely on for income,” the news service writes, adding, “The impact of climate change also threatens global food security; projections show that yields from food crops could decline by five percent for each degree Celsius increase in global warming” (12/5).

Three More Polio Workers Shot In Pakistan

“Three workers in a polio eradication campaign were shot in Pakistan on Wednesday, and two of them were killed, the latest in an unprecedented string of attacks over the past three days that has partially halted the U.N.-backed campaign,” Reuters reports (Ahmad, 12/19). “Earlier on Tuesday, five health workers involved in the vaccination drive were killed in the cities of Karachi and Peshawar,” News Pakistan notes (12/19). Another health care worker was killed on Monday, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the WHO, UNICEF and the Pakistani and provincial governments, which condemned the multiple attacks. “We call on the leaders of the affected communities and everyone concerned to do their utmost to protect health workers and create a secure environment so that we can meet the health needs of the children of Pakistan,” the statement said (12/18). The Associated Press reports the WHO suspended the vaccination campaign in two of the country’s provinces (Khan, 12/19). However, CNN reports the “attacks prompted authorities to suspend the campaign throughout the country” (Khan, 12/19). “Under the canceled program, Pakistani health officials planned to administer millions of ‘polio drops’ to immunize people,” according to International Business Times, which adds, “The program involved 25,000 workers targeting more than 30 million children” (Ghosh, 12/18).

‘Repackaging’ Of U.N. Cholera Initiative Detracts Attention From Epidemic’s Origin

“Those following the two-year-old saga of the United Nations and cholera in Haiti were startled by” the U.N.’s announcement last week of a $2.2 billion initiative to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, freelance journalist Jonathan Katz and Tom Murphy, editor of the development blog “A View From the Cave,” write in a Foreign Policy opinion piece. “Since [the crisis began in October 2010], scores of epidemiologists — including those appointed by the U.N. itself — have unearthed overwhelming evidence supporting the hypothesis that [U.N. peacekeepers] carried the disease and introduced it to Haiti through negligent sanitation,” they continue, adding, “In response, U.N. officials have ignored, dismissed, or mischaracterized it all.”

Malaria Journal Article Reports On WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Committee Meeting

Noting “[t]he Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the World Health Organization met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11 to 13 September, 2012,” an article (.pdf) published in the Malaria Journal on Wednesday “provides a summary of the discussions, conclusions and recommendations from that meeting,” according to the article abstract. “Policy statements, position statements, and guidelines that arise from the MPAC meeting conclusions and recommendations will be formally issued and disseminated to World Health Organization Member States by the World Health Organization Global Malaria Programme,” the abstract notes (12/19).

GlobalPost Reports On HIV/AIDS In Latin America

In its continuing series titled “The State of AIDS,” GlobalPost examines the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, where “[m]ajor gains have been made in the fight against the spread of HIV” over the past decade, particularly in stopping mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). However, some countries in the region have some of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates outside of sub-Saharan Africa; “the disease continues to spread among certain at-risk populations,” such as men who have sex with men; and “nearly one-third of those infected in Latin America are still not getting treated,” the news service reports.

Some Diplomats, U.N. Observers Express ‘Concerns’ Over U.N. Appeal For Haitian Cholera Aid, Al Jazeera Reports

Following U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement on Tuesday of a new initiative appealing for $2.2 billion over 10 years to fight cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Al Jazeera reports “there are concerns by some diplomats and U.N. observers that the funds necessary for the program would not be forthcoming from donors.” As part of the larger appeal covering the island of Hispaniola, in Haiti “[t]he new program dedicates $215 million from donors along with $23.5 million from U.N. funds towards programs in public health, capacity building, public education, and clean water systems,” according to the news service. However, “Haiti will need $500 million over the next two years for its own national cholera plan,” Al Jazeera writes, adding, “The funds allocated in the program would therefore cover only one year.”

U.N. General Assembly Votes In Favor Of Draft Resolution Supporting Universal Health Coverage

The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday “voted in favor of a draft resolution supporting universal health coverage, signaling the importance of universal health care to the international development agenda,” the Washington Post’s “World Views” blog reports (Khazan, 12/12). “The U.N. resolution calls on its members to ensure they have health systems that avoid significant direct payments at the point of delivery and a mechanism to pool risks among the population to avoid catastrophic health care spending and impoverishment as a result of seeking care,” the Guardian notes (Tran, 12/12).

Yellow Fever Kills 164 In Sudan’s Darfur; Agencies Working To Vaccinate People In Region

“Yellow fever has killed 164 people over the last three months in Sudan’s Darfur, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday,” Reuters reports. According to a joint statement, “Between 2 September and 29 November, the total number of suspected yellow fever cases has reached 677, including 164 deaths,” the news agency writes. Aid agencies provide almost all available health care in Darfur, “where rebels took up arms in 2003 complaining of neglect by the central government,” according to Reuters. Sudan’s health ministry and the WHO have vaccinated more than half of a targeted 3.6 million people in the region for the disease, the news agency notes (Dziadosz, 12/3).

December Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

The December issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial examining a proposed framework convention on global health, a public health news roundup, a research article examining lead exposure from soil in Peruvian mining towns, and a cost-effectiveness analysis of pandemic influenza preparedness, among others (December 2012).