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Also In Global Health News: Aid In S. Somalia; Virus-Resistant Mosquitoes; Composting Toilets In Haiti; U.S. Congressional Group Visits India

WFP Halts Aid Distribution In Southern Somalia

The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) announced Tuesday that it has been forced to halt “aid distribution to about 1 million people in southern Somalia because of attacks against staff and demands by armed groups that aid groups remove women from their teams,” the Associated Press reports. According to WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella, the agency is relocating staff and supplies from regions in the south, which are controlled by the al-Shabab Islamist group, to northern and central Somalia (1/5). “The al-Shabab militant group has repeatedly threatened the WFP – who it accuses of ruining local farming by forcing Somalis to rely on imports,” the BBC reports (1/5). Reuters adds, “The WFP has been central to international efforts to address an acute humanitarian crisis in the drought- and conflict-torn Horn of Africa nation” (Wallis, 1/5).

Researchers Identify Bacteria That Makes Mosquitoes More Resistant To Viruses

Researchers have identified a “type of bacteria that infects many insects [that] may make mosquitoes more resistant to viruses that can be dangerous to humans…,” the New York Times reports. Reporting in the journal Cell, researchers found “Wolbachia infection makes the Aedes aegypti mosquito more resistant to dengue, which is also known as ‘breakbone fever,’ and to chikungunya, known as ‘bending-up disease,’” the newspaper reports. The discovery could lead researchers to new ways to fight these diseases (McNeil, 1/4).

CNN Examines Composting Toilets In Haiti

CNN examines the efforts of a group in Haiti, known as Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), to improve the country’s agriculture and sanitation “via ‘composting toilets.’” The article details how the toilets provide a sanitary method for waste collection and convert it into compost, as well as additional outreach programs by the organization (McLaughlin, 1/4).  

U.S. Congressional Group Meets With Indian PM, Review USAID Projects

A U.S. Congressional delegation led by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday, Press Trust of India reports. According to the news service, the subject of the visit is to review current USAID projects in the country. “USAID projects in health sector are aimed at increasing access to family health care, nourish needy mothers and children, fight infectious diseases and prevent HIV/AIDS,” PTI writes (1/4).