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International Community Observes World Humanitarian Day

On World Humanitarian Day, recognized August 19, “United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted the power of individual actions to spark global changes, and praised the work of humanitarian workers who provide assistance to vulnerable people around the world,” the U.N. News Centre reports (8/17). In a press release, “UNICEF called on all parties in conflicts around the world to allow humanitarian workers safe, unimpeded access to reach children and women in need” (8/19). “World Humanitarian Day gives us the opportunity to show our appreciation to the thousands of workers … who are working every day in difficult circumstances,” the WHO writes in an article on its webpage, noting, “Health is one of several critical dimensions of humanitarian response, and the sustainable recovery of people under hardship” (August 2012).

“Every day millions of people around the world are affected by natural disasters and conflicts,” and “[d]isplacement and poverty combined with conflicts or natural disasters can lead to humanitarian crises and have the potential to increase the vulnerability of affected populations to HIV infection and disrupt AIDS services,” UNAIDS notes in a feature article on its webpage (8/17). Noting the day “recognizes the contributions of humanitarian workers … who often make enormous personal sacrifices in their service to others,” IRIN examines the role of community health workers in Africa’s HIV response, writing, “Doctors, nurses, activists and policy makers have all been vital to Africa’s HIV programs, but supporting them every step of the way has been an army of dedicated community health workers and volunteers who care for people living with the disease” (8/19).