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Also In Global Health News: Libya Humanitarian Aid; PAHO/WHO, White House Meeting On Childhood Obesity; NASA/USAID Collaboration

Medical, Food Aid Continues To Flow Into Libya, Senior U.S. Officials Say

Senior officials with the State Department and USAID during a briefing on Monday said an estimated 550,000 people have fled Libya since fighting began in February and the U.S. government continues to provide medical, food and other non-military aid, VOA News reports (Gollust, 4/25). In conjunction with international partners, USAID is rotating medical workers into the besieged city of Misrata, Mark Bartolini, director of foreign disaster assistance at USAID, told reporters. He added that a large shipment of vegetable oil and pinto beans to the World Food Program had arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, according to Reuters (Quinn, 4/25).

Reuben Brigety, a State Department deputy assistant secretary for population, refugees and migration, said the U.S. government so far has committed $47 million in humanitarian aid to Libya, with $13 million going to the International Organization of Migration, $10 million to the World Food Program, $7 million to UNHCR, $7 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and $10 million to support NGOs as needed, according to a State Department transcript (4/25).

PAHO/WHO Official Meets With Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Point Person

Jon Andrus, PAHO/WHO’s deputy director, recently met with Shale Wong, a pediatrician who is First Lady Michelle Obama’s “point person on childhood obesity,” to discuss PAHO/WHO’s work on obesity and its preparations for the September U.N. High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases, according to a press release from PAHO/WHO.

“In June, Aruba will host a meeting on childhood obesity for experts from PAHO/WHO member countries throughout the Americas, as a lead-up to the U.N. meeting,” the release notes. “If we don’t tackle these problems by 2030, all the life expectancy gains we achieve in developing countries through immunization, safe water and sanitation will be reversed,” Andrus said (4/25).

NASA, USAID To Work Together On Development, Humanitarian Issues

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah on Monday signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding “to share more satellite data and mapping tools with international partners for disaster response,” Nextgov reports (Sternstein, 4/25). Under the agreement, the agencies will “expand their joint efforts to overcome international development challenges such as food security, climate change, and energy and environmental management,” according to a USAID press release.

“Technologies for NASA missions have long improved life here on Earth. Together with USAID, we’ll meet even more sustainable development challenges here on the ground, solving problems for the world community,” Bolden said, adding, “As we explore space, we’ll also be exploring solutions to important health, nutritional and safety challenges in developing countries” (4/25).