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Sudan Referendum Approaches, Highlighting Health, Development Challenges Facing The South

“Southern Sudan is scheduled to start voting on January 9 on whether to become an independent country or remain part of Sudan, Africa’s largest nation which has been wracked by decades of conflict,” CNN reports (Wilkinson, 1/5). On Tuesday during a visit to the southern capital of Juba, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir “said he would celebrate the results of the referendum even if the south chooses to secede, and pledged last week to help build a secure, stable and ‘brotherly’ southern state if it votes for independence,” Agence France-Presse reports.

Seattle Times Looks At Response To Haitian Cholera Outbreak On The Ground

Though Haiti’s cholera “epidemic continues to spread, infecting more than 125,000 people and killing more than 3,200,” it seems to have “stabilized in” the town of Mirebalais, which is close to the “U.N. camp of Nepalese peacekeepers who are under investigation as a possible source” of the outbreak, the Seattle Times reports in a story outlining how aid groups and health workers are dealing with the situation.

Also In Global Health News: Water In The Philippines; Potential HIV Treatment; Kenyan Food Security; TB In Prisons; Ethiopian HIV Plan

Government Agencies In The Philippines Sign Sanitation Agreement To Expand Clean Water Access Filipino Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary General Jose Eliseo Rocamora signed an agreement to honor the President’s Priority Program on Water (P3W), the Manila Bulletin reports.…

Inadequate Sanitation Costs India Close To $54B, World Bank Report Finds

“Inadequate sanitation cost India about 6.4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the equivalent of $53.8 billion (Rs.2.4 trillion today) in 2006, according to a new report (.pdf) from the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a global partnership administered by the World Bank,” Livemint reports (Ghost, 12/21).

Life Expectancy, Other Health Indicators Improve In Asia-Pacific, OECD Report Says

A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released on Tuesday, found that “Asia-Pacific countries have seen steady gains in key health indicators since 1970, but developing nations there are still far behind standards in the industrialised world,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports. OECD looked at “[h]ealth systems for 27 Asia-Pacific economies,” according to the news service (12/21).

News Outlets Examine Flooding In Pakistan Four Months On

“More than four months after the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history, vast stretches of land are still under water in the province of Sindh, isolating many communities. … The world’s attention has long since moved on from the Pakistani flood story, but there are still more than 1 million people who remain displaced in Sindh alone, said U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos last Friday after touring the flood zone. Jackie Dent, a World Food Program spokesperson, said that although isolated outlying villages are becoming ‘few and far between as waters recede and access improves’ more are still being found,” TIME reports in an article looking at the effects of flooding and the prospects for recovery.

Also In Global Health News: Global Fund Grants In Mali; Uganda’s Progress On MDGs

Global Fund Suspends 2 Malaria Grants, Terminates TB Grant In Mali “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said Tuesday that $4 million meant to fight disease in Mali has been misappropriated,” leading the organization to temporarily suspend two malaria grants and terminate a TB grant, the Associated Press…