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Also In Global Health News: U.N., Libyan Government Reach Deal Over Aid; USAID Monitoring HIV/AIDS In Philippines; WFP Warns Of Afghanistan Food Shortages; U.N. Appeals For More Aid In Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia

U.N. Reaches Deal With Libyan Government To Provide Aid In Capital City

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday at a press conference in Hungary announced that the organization had reached an agreement with the Libyan government to provide humanitarian aid in the country’s capital city of Tripoli, the Associated Press reports. Ban said the deal was reached on Sunday by the U.N. special envoy to Libya and U.N. Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. The U.N. is providing aid to people affected by civil unrest in Benghazi, but “the basic needs of tens of thousands of people in Libya are not being met,” Ban said, according to the AP (4/18). On Friday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned that a lack of funding could inhibit ongoing humanitarian assistance, U.N. News Centre reports. Agency spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said UNHCR had received $39 million of its $68.5 million appeal, “all of which has been spent or committed,” according to the news service (4/15).

USAID Monitoring HIV/AIDS Situation In The Philippines

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that “Washington is ‘watching very closely’ the HIV/AIDS problem in the Philippines, one of its closest allies in Asia, according to the country head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).” USAID Mission Director Gloria Steele said “the number of (HIV infections in the Philippines) is still small, but the rate of growth is problematic,” the Inquirer writes. She said the U.S. government is coordinating closely with the country’s Department of Health. “Between 2008 and 2010, USAID allocated $85.8 million … for health-related projects in the Philippines, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS and emerging pandemic diseases, and the promotion of voluntary family planning,” according to the Inquirer (Esplanada, 4/17).

WFP Warns Of Impending Food Shortages In Afghanistan; Report Evaluates Investments In Afghanistan’s Health System

The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) on Friday warned of impending food aid shortages in Afghanistan that would leave more than seven million people hungry if it fails to receive the full $257 million it needs for the year, Agence France-Presse reports (4/16). According to a WFP release, the agency currently lacks half of the funding it needs, U.N. News Centre reports. “Most of those who will go short of food are women and children, but overall those at risk make up nearly a quarter of the country’s population of around 30 million, [the agency] said,” Reuters reports in an article that describes the factors contributing to food shortages on the ground and the likely impact a shortage in funds will mean for the country’s most vulnerable (4/15).

In related news, Reuters examines the results of study published on Sunday that “found Afghanistan spends close to 10 percent of its GDP wealth each year on health, or just over $1 billion,” or roughly “$42 per person” – a rate “well below even regional neighbors like India, Pakistan and Iran.” The report also revealed “Afghan government spending supplied only 6 percent of total health financing, while donors provided 18 percent and private sources accounted for 76 percent.” The article describes how patients in the country bear a significant burden of their medical costs and the health issues plaguing the country (Taylor, 4/17).

U.N. And Humanitarian Organizations Appeal For $160 Million In Aid For Cote d’Ivoire

Though former Cote d’Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo surrendered last week to President Alassane Ouattara, allowing the establishment of a formal government, “the humanitarian crisis spawned by months of violence continues,” the U.N. and partner agencies said on Thursday and launched an appeal for $160 million “to scale up aid to affected populations inside the country,” U.N. News Centre reports (4/14). The funds are needed to “cover food security, nutrition, education, protection, water, healthcare and sanitation,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (4/14). The fighting that followed the country’s November elections has “cost thousands of lives, uprooted more than a million, and wrecked the economy of the world’s number one cocoa exporter,” Reuters writes (4/14). According to IRIN, the U.N. Human Rights Council has established a Commission of Inquiry “to investigate abuses committed in Cote d’Ivoire since the beginning of the crisis” (4/14).

U.N. Appeals For $2.3M To Help Namibians Affected By Floods

The U.N. recently appealed for $2.3 million to help about 60,000 people in Namibia who have been affected by floods, BNO News/Channel 6 News reports. Heavy rainfall since January has affected the livelihoods of between 100,000 and 200,000 people, and 65 people have died in seven flood-affected regions in northern Namibia (4/14). “This appeal is founded upon the initial results of a joint rapid assessment led by the Government of Namibia and supported by over 50 staff from UN agencies, the Namibian Red Cross and other national and international agencies,” said Kari Egge, the U.N. resident coordinator for Namibia, the U.N. News Centre writes (4/14).