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Also In Global Health News: Drought In East Africa; Improving Food Processing In Africa; Hajj Pilgrims Must Take Polio Vaccine; Fighting Insecticide-Resistant Mosquitoes

Oxfam Launches $15M Emergency Appeal For ‘Severe’ East African Drought

“A severe and persistent five-year drought” is pushing “[m]ore than 23 million people … towards severe hunger and destitution across East Africa, international aid agency Oxfam has warned as it launches a £9.5 million [about $15 million] emergency appeal,” the U.K. Press Association reports (9/29). According to Reuters/New York Times, “Malnutrition is now above emergency levels in some areas and hundreds of thousands of valuable cattle are dying” (Wallis, 9/29). Although rains are due next month in the region, the outlook for relief isn’t high. “Oxfam said there were fears that east Africa could be hit by floods that would destroy crops and homes, as well as increasing the spread of water-borne diseases,” Reuters/New York Times reports (9/29).

General Mills Joins USAID, PEPFAR To Improve Food Companies In Africa

During the closing of the Clinton Global Initiative on Friday, General Mills announced it was teaming up with PEPFAR and USAID in a public-private partnership that will “link the technical and business expertise of … General Mills, and up to nine additional food companies, with up to 200 small and medium-sized mills and food processors in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.” The goal is to improve the companies’ ability to produce high-quality and nutritious food at an affordable price, the Associated Press/WKBT.com reports (9/29).

Saudi Arabia
To Administer Oral Polio Vaccine During Pilgrimage To Mecca

The New York Times reports that health officials in Saudi Arabia recently announced that populations making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca will have to take an oral polio vaccine – a symbol of the kingdom’s “aggressive fight against polio, which has hovered on the brink of eradication for years.” The news comes just days after Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal committed $30 million toward global polio eradication (McNeil, 9/28).

Exposing Mosquitoes To Fungus Increases Their Vulnerability To Insecticides

Infecting insecticide-resistant mosquitoes with a fungus kills them at a higher rate than exposure to insecticides alone, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, SciDev.Net reports. The researchers are “now attempting to create a long-lasting fungal product that can be used in the field in Africa” and “trying to determine the best locations and delivery methods for the fungus,” the news service writes (Nightingale, 9/28).