As part of its “CNN Heroes” series, CNN examines the Global Soap Project, started by Derreck Kayongo, a Ugandan war refugee and one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011. The organization works with more than 300 hotels in the U.S. to collect used bars of soap, clean them and reprocess them to be distributed in countries such as Haiti, Kenya, Swaziland and Uganda, CNN reports. “Across the globe, 2.4 billion people do not have access to clean sanitation, according to the World Health Organization,” and “[a]n estimated 1.5 million children die every year because their immune systems are not mature enough to battle diarrheal and respiratory diseases spread in contaminated environments,” the news service writes (Fantz, 11/15).
Water and Sanitation
“Cholera has broken out in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, home to nearly 500,000 Somali refugees, the United Nations said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports (Nebehay, 11/15). “There are now 60 cases of cholera in [Kenya’s Dadaab complex], including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death, according to Andrej Mahecic, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” the U.N. News Centre writes.
Health Of Millions Of Children In East Asia, Pacific At Risk Due To Climate Change, UNICEF Report Says
“Climate change is expected to worsen the plight of millions of children in East Asia and the Pacific who already lack food and clean water and are vulnerable to disease, … UNICEF said Monday … in its report (.pdf) ‘Children’s vulnerabilities to climate change and disaster impacts in East Asia and the Pacific,'” AlertNet reports. “‘Higher temperatures have been linked to increased rates of malnutrition, cholera, diarrheal disease and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria,’ putting children at far greater risk of contracting these diseases and succumbing to their complications, the report said,” the news service writes.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presents an infographic on reinventing the toilet, as “2.6 billion people still don’t have a safe, affordable way to poop.” The Gates Foundation also includes links to a video and additional information about its work in sanitation (11/14).
“[A] lack of action on climate change and habitat destruction will threaten the progress of developing countries,” because environmental sustainability affects “a wide range of social issues,” including “health, education, income, gender disparities and energy production, combined with protection of the ecosystem,” according to the U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report 2011, titled, “Sustainability and Equity: a Better Future for All,” VOA News reports. The report “argues that if you invest in people’s health and schooling, the population will be a better keeper of its environmental resources over the long term,” according to the news service (Lewis, 11/8).
As part of its series on innovation, the Washington Post features an interview with PSI Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Communications Kate Roberts, who answers several questions regarding PSI’s work in global health. Roberts discusses providing safe drinking water; creating partnerships between the private sector and non-profit organizations; being a “lone actor” for short periods in order to prove an intervention’s worth; investing in an Innovations Fund “that allows us to experiment with new ideas that PSI believes in but that donor agencies aren’t yet ready to support”; and social franchising, which is “a way of delivering health products and services that ensures that they’re accessible, affordable and desirable to all those in need” (Roberts, 11/8).
The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti on Tuesday “filed claims with the United Nations seeking damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families,” the Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Daniel, 11/8).
With more than one billion people lacking access to clean and safe water, and waterborne diseases causing 7,000 child deaths every day worldwide, “[i]t’s more important than ever that we be willing to look at old problems and find innovative ways to solve them. The issues of water access, quantity and quality need to be addressed at the same time,” Kevin McGovern and Quincy Jones, chair and honorary chair, respectively, of The Water Initiative (TWI), write in a Huffington Post opinion piece.
The VOA News audio program “Explorations” on Tuesday discussed international humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa. The program features interviews with Kurt Tjossem, the International Rescue Committee’s regional director for the Horn of Africa and East Africa; Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy manager; and Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
“Countries around the world marked the world’s population reaching seven billion Monday with lavish ceremonies for newborn infants symbolizing the milestone and warnings that there may be too many humans for the planet’s resources,” the Associated Press/MSNBC.com reports (10/31). “With the world’s population more than doubling over the last half century, basics like food and water are under more strain than ever, say experts, and providing for an additional two to three billion people in the next 50 years is a serious worry,” AlertNet/Reuters writes, adding that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says food production will have to increase by 70 percent to keep pace. “But climate change may be the greatest impediment to meeting this target, say experts,” the news agency notes (Kumar/Bhalla, 10/31).