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Kenya: East Africa: The 2014-2015 Rainfall Season (Short Rains) Seasonal Monitor No. 2 - February 2015

4 March 2015 - 11:33am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ‘short rains’ (‘Deyr’) season of late 2014 has performed poorly across East Africa. North-east Kenya and southern Somalia have been affected by persistently drier than average conditions since the early stages of the season.

• This poor seasonal performance compounds the effect of significant rainfall deficits during previous seasons, resulting in extended long-term dryness mostly affecting pastoralist resources.

• The very dry later stages of the season (December-January) have depleted soil moisture stores, with evident and extensive vegetation cover deficits across wide areas of the region. This suggests that pastoralists will have a very thin resource base to see them through the current dry season, which will last till March.

• The drier than average late season also harmed pastoral areas of Turkana, Karamoja and East Equatoria, which enjoyed fairly favourable rainfall and vegetation development until mid-December.

• Seasonal forecasts for the next season (‘long rains’ or ‘Gu’, from March 2015 onwards) predict moderate tendency for above-average rainfall for Somaliland, Uganda and SW Kenya. On the other hand, a moderate tendency for below average rainfall is forecast for Tanzania, Ethiopia, while for recently drought affected pastoral regions of northern Kenya, the forecasts are more mixed with ECMWF forecasting moderately above average rainfall. Overall, there are no strong signs for a continuation of markedly unfavourable conditions.

World: Status Report January – June 2014: Progress against the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018

4 March 2015 - 11:05am
Source: World Health Organization, Global Polio Eradication Initiative Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

SUMMARY

In March 2014, the GPEI celebrated one of the world’s great achievements in global health as the WHO South-East Asian Region was certified polio-free. Five years previously, India was regarded as the hardest place on earth to stop polio. India’s accomplishment in eradicating polio opened the door to the certification of the eleven countries in WHO’s South East Asian Region, representing 1.8 billion people, as polio-free; a major step toward clearing the world of polio. Where children are being reached with polio vaccines, improvements in campaign quality are making a difference. Nigeria has seen a significant decrease in the number of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases as new tactics help the programme reach more children, boosting immunity in insecure areas. Afghanistan has reduced transmission to very low-levels with only 8 cases during the reporting period of this document. Wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has not been detected anywhere globally since November 2012, strongly indicating that this strain may have been eliminated. The programme is working with communities to improve not only acceptance of polio vaccine, but also to increase vaccination demand. Civil society groups such as the Islamic Advisory Group play an important role in these social mobilization and community engagement efforts.

However, in the few reservoirs where children cannot receive vaccinations, cases are increasing. In North and South Waziristan in Pakistan, an ongoing ban on immunization campaigns since June 2012 remains in place. However, following military campaigns in North Waziristan, intensive immunization campaigns have been conducted to reach internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities surrounding the area. There are 163 permanent vaccination posts in place to vaccinate persons travelling in and out of North Waziristan, which have enabled the vaccination of more than 700,000 persons this year including over half a million children.

Despite opportunities such as this, however, poliovirus continues to spread internationally to previously polio-free areas. The virus has been exported internationally from three major epidemiological zones this year: in central Asia (from Pakistan to Afghanistan), in the Middle East (Syria to Iraq) and in Central Africa (from Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea, and from Equatorial Guinea to Brazil, where poliovirus was detected in an environmental sample). On 5 May WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan declared the recent international spread of wild poliovirus a “public health emergency of international concern”, and issued Temporary Recommendations under the International Health Regulations (2005) to prevent further spread of the disease.

Efforts are on track to launch the most ambitious vaccine introduction in history as part of the polio Endgame strategic plan. As recommended by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), 126 countries will introduce at least one dose of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) by the end of 2015. To date, 72 countries are already using IPV, 49 countries have made a formal commitment to introduce it and an additional 35 have declared intent to introduce IPV in their routine immunization programme by the end of 2015. These countries account for approximately 96% of the global birth cohort. This work is critical to help prepare for an eventual global switch from trivalent OPV to bivalent OPV as early as 2016.

Pakistan: WHO Statement on the 4th IHR Emergency Committee meeting regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus

4 March 2015 - 6:00am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic

27 February 2015

The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 - 15 was convened via teleconference by the Director-General on 17 February 2015. The following IHR States Parties submitted an update on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on 13 November 2014: Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Committee noted that the international spread of wild poliovirus has continued with one new exportation from Pakistan into neighbouring Afghanistan documented after 13 November 2014. Although there is seasonal decline in the number of reported cases in Pakistan, transmission is ongoing in each of the four provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Committee assessed the risk of international spread from Pakistan to be sustained. The Committee appreciated that Pakistan has prepared a new robust ‘low season’ vaccination plan, established national and provincial emergency operations centres, and resumed campaigns in South and North Waziristan. Nonetheless, the principle factors underpinning the international spread of wild poliovirus from Pakistan have not yet changed sufficiently since the date of the third meeting of the Emergency Committee on 13 November 2014.

There has been no other documented international spread of wild poliovirus since March 2014. Although the risk of new international spread from the nine other infected Member States appears to have declined, the possibility of international spread still remains a global threat worsened by the expansion of conflict-affected areas, particularly in the Middle East and Central Africa. Furthermore, countries affected by conflict inevitably experience a decline in health service delivery that leads to deterioration of immunization systems in a number of such at-risk countries

The Committee assessed that the spread of polio still constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and recommended the extension of the Temporary Recommendations for a further 3 months. The committee considered the following factors in reaching this unanimous conclusion:

  1. The continued international spread of wild poliovirus through 2014;

  2. The risk and consequent costs of failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases;

  3. The continued necessity of a coordinated international response to stop the international spread of wild poliovirus and to prevent new spread with the onset of the high transmission season in May/June 2015;

  4. The serious consequences of further international spread for the increasing number of countries in which immunization systems have been disrupted by armed conflict and complex emergencies. Populations in these fragile states are vulnerable to infection and outbreaks of polio which are exceedingly difficult to control;

  5. The importance of a regional approach and cooperation as much international spread of polio occurs over land borders.

The Committee sincerely appreciated the efforts that all countries have made in response to the temporary recommendations and reviewed the progress against the criteria previously established by the Committee for countries to respond to under the IHR. The Committee remains concerned that implementation of the Temporary Recommendations is incomplete in all affected countries, many of whom are affected by regional conflicts.

The Committee provided the Director-General with the following advice aimed at reducing the risk of international spread of wild poliovirus, based on an updated risk stratification of the 10 countries that had earlier met the criteria for ‘States currently exporting wild poliovirus’ or ‘States infected with wild poliovirus but not currently exporting ‘. A third risk category has been added by the Committee for ‘States no longer infected by wild poliovirus, but which remain vulnerable to international spread’. The committee also noted the feedback from the four exporting countries that highlighted the challenges of implementing polio eradication measures in situations where there is significant cross-border population movement, often across long borders and common epidemiological blocks. The committee therefore recommended that countries apply a regional approach and develop joint immunisation strategies with neighbouring countries.

States currently exporting wild poliovirus

**Cameroon (until 11 March), Equatorial Guinea (Until 4 April), Syrian Arab Republic (until 17 March) and Pakistan should:

• Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency; where such declaration has already been made, this emergency status should be maintained.

• Ensure that all residents and long-term visitors (i.e. > 4 weeks) receive a dose of OPV or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel;

• Ensure that those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within 4 weeks), who have not received a dose of OPV or IPV in the previous 4 weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure as this will still provide benefit, particularly for frequent travellers;

• Ensure that such travellers are provided with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the form specified in Annex 6 of the International Health Regulations (2005) to record their polio vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination;

• Intensify cross-border coordination to enhance surveillance for prompt detection of poliovirus and substantially increase vaccination coverage among refugees, travellers and cross-border populations;

• Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least 6 months have passed without new exportations and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until at least 12 months have passed without new exportations.

The committee noted that by 11 March, 17 March and 4 April 2015, 12 months would have elapsed since any documented exportation from Cameroon, Syria and Equatorial Guinea, respectively 1. On these dates, should no further exportations occur, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea will meet the criteria for States infected with wild poliovirus but not currently exporting and would be subject to the recommendations for this category of risk. Syria will meet the criteria for ‘States no longer infected by wild poliovirus, but which remain vulnerable to international spread’.

Given the continued risk of international spread, both Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea should give special attention to:

• Enhancing regional cooperation and cross border coordination to ensure prompt detection of wild poliovirus and vaccination of refugees and mobile population groups.

Pakistan should in addition:

• Restrict at the point of departure the international travel of any resident lacking documentation of appropriate polio vaccination. These recommendations apply to international travellers from all points of departure, irrespective of the means of conveyance (e.g. road, air, sea);

• Note that the recommendation stated previously for urgent travel remains valid (i.e. those undertaking urgent travel who have not received appropriate polio vaccination must receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure and be provided with appropriate documentation of that dose);

• Continue to provide to the Director-General a report on the implementation by month of the Temporary Recommendations on international travel, including the number of residents whose travel was restricted and the number of travellers who were vaccinated and provided appropriate documentation at the point of departure.

• Recognising that the movement of people across the border with Afghanistan continues to facilitate exportation of wild poliovirus, Pakistan should intensify cross border efforts by improving coordination with Afghanistan to substantially increase vaccination coverage of travellers crossing the border and of high risk cross-border populations.

States infected with wild poliovirus but not currently exporting

Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia (until 16 March), Iraq (until 19 May), and Israel (until 28 April), should:

• Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency; where such declaration has already been made, this emergency status should be maintained.

• Encourage residents and long-term visitors to receive a dose of OPV or IPV 4 weeks to 12 months prior to international travel; those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within 4 weeks) should be encouraged to receive a dose at least by the time of departure;

• Ensure that travellers who receive such vaccination have access to an appropriate document to record their polio vaccination status;

• Intensify cross-border coordination to enhance surveillance for prompt detection of poliovirus and substantially increase vaccination coverage among refugees, travellers and cross-border populations;

• Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least 6 months have passed without the detection of wild poliovirus transmission in the country from any source, and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until at least 12 months without evidence of transmission.

• Given the continued risk of international spread, enhance regional cooperation and cross border coordination to ensure prompt detection of wild poliovirus and vaccination of refugees and mobile population groups.

The Committee noted that by 16 March, 28 April 2015 and 19 May, 12 months would have elapsed since the detection of wild poliovirus in Ethiopia, Israel and Iraq respectively. Should there be no further detection of wild poliovirus up to these dates, Ethiopia, Iraq and Israel will meet the criteria for ‘States no longer infected by wild poliovirus, but which remain vulnerable to international spread.’

States no longer infected by wild poliovirus, but which remain vulnerable to international spread

Should there be no further detection of wild poliovirus in Ethiopia by 16 March, in Syria by 17 March, in Israel by 28 April, and in Iraq by 19 May these countries will meet the criteria for this category of risk and should:

• Enhance surveillance quality to reduce the risk of undetected wild poliovirus transmission, particularly among high risk mobile and vulnerable populations;

• Intensify efforts to ensure vaccination of mobile and cross-border populations, Internally Displaced Persons, refugees and other vulnerable groups;

• Enhance regional cooperation and cross border coordination to ensure prompt detection of wild poliovirus and vaccination of high risk population groups;

• Maintain these measures with documentation of full application of high quality surveillance and vaccination activities for a period of 12 months.

Based on this advice, the reports made by affected States Parties and the currently available information, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 27 February decided to extend the declaration of the international spread of wild poliovirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Director-General endorsed the Committee’s recommendations for ‘States currently exporting wild polioviruses’, for ‘States infected with wild poliovirus but not currently exporting’ and for ‘States no longer infected by wild poliovirus, but remain vulnerable to international spread‘ and extended them as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR (2005) to reduce the international spread of wild poliovirus, effective 27 February 2015. The Director-General thanked the Committee Members and Advisors for their advice and requested their reassessment of this situation within the next 3 months, particularly the Committee’s advice whether the Temporary Recommendations should continue beyond the World Health Assembly in 2015 or Standing Recommendations would be required to more effectively reduce the risk of international spread of polio at that time.

The committee applied the following criteria to assess the 12 month period for detection of no new exportations and the 12 month period for detection of no new cases or environmental isolates of wild poliovirus:

Table

States no longer exporting (detection of no new wild poliovirus exportation):

  • Wild Poliovirus Case: 12 months after the onset date of the first case caused by the most recent exportation PLUS six weeks to account for case detection, investigation, laboratory testing and reporting period.
  • Environmental isolation of exported wild poliovirus: 12 months after collection of the first positive environmental sample in the country that received the new exportation PLUS 4 weeks to account for the laboratory testing and reporting period.

States no longer infected (detection of no new wild poliovirus):

  • Wild Poliovirus Case: 12 months after the onset date of the most recent case PLUS six weeks to account for case detection, investigation, laboratory testing and reporting period.
  • Environmental isolation of wild poliovirus: 12 months after collection of the most recent positive environmental sample PLUS 4 weeks to account for the laboratory testing and reporting period.

Somalia: Somalia: FSC Monthly Update - January 2015

4 March 2015 - 5:45am
Source: Food Security Cluster Country: Somalia

Key Messages

During the month of January, FSC partners delivered a total of 1,470,238 responses* aimed at improving food access and restoring/protecting livelihoods through asset creation and seasonal inputs. This included 395,416 beneficiaries reached with Improved Access and Safety Nets, 328,980 with Livelihood Investments and 745,842 with Livelihood Seasonal Inputs for Deyr 2014.

Livelihood Seasonal Input responses finished at 95% of seasonal target for the Deyr season reflecting a very positive overall achievement.

Somalia: Somali Nutrition Cluster Bulletin February 2015 Issue 1

4 March 2015 - 2:51am
Source: UN Children's Fund, Nutrition Cluster Country: Somalia

CLUSTER HIGHLIGHTS

  • In 2014, a total of 393,413 acutely malnourished children received nutrition support. (SAM - 151,043 and MAM 242,370) and over half a million caregivers reached with IYCF messages.

  • Interim FSNAU Nutrition post Deyr 2014/2015 analysis reveals the nutrition situation in Somalia is improving but the current median rate in South Central region is still above the “critical” ≥ 15% GAM.

  • Nutrition situation remains Serious to Critical amongst IDPs which indicates a need to scale up and sustain ongoing interventions.
    This is also suggested by improvement in nutrition situation demonstrated by coordinated scaling up of interventions among the Mogadishu and , Kismayo IDPs where situation of humanitarian emergency existed in Gu 2014

  • High levels of acute malnutrition seen in most of the livelihoods suggest an urgent need for Nutrition Causal Analysis for humanitarian actors to identify and rank causes of undernutrition and plan more effective interventions to tackle persistent malnutrition in certain livelihoods.

Somalia: Joint statement by the UN and AU envoys to Somalia: UN and AU envoys call for increased measures to combat sexual violence in Somalia

3 March 2015 - 10:57am
Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia Country: Somalia

Mogadishu, 03 March 2015 – Speaking at a high level panel discussion on sexual violence in Somalia the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Nicholas Kay and the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC), Maman S. Sidikou made a joint call for increased measures to protect Somalia’s women and girls and reiterated their commitment to support efforts to combat sexual and gender based violence in Somalia.

The event was organised by an international Non-Governmental Organisation, Legal Action Worldwide in Mogadishu. Other panellists included Somalia’s Minister for Women and Human Rights Development, Hon. Minister Zahra Mohamed Ali Samantar, the European Union Special Representative for Somalia, Michele Cervone d'Urso, the Director of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, Ms Fartun Aden and the Executive Director of Legal Action Worldwide, Ms Antonia Mulvey.

“Preventing and responding to sexual violence is vital. There should be no impunity for these crimes. The United Nations is committed to working with the Somali people and authorities to increase measures to protect the rights of Somalia’s women and girls.” said SRSG Kay.

SRCC Sidikou reinforced AMISOM’s commitment and determination for efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse.”There should be no safe haven for perpetrators of such heinous crimes against some of Somalia's most vulnerable women and girls. By working together, sharing our knowledge and our experience, mobilising resources and committing our political will we are determined to end rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict situations. We remain committed to working with the Somali people, the Federal Government, and the United Nations to support all efforts to hold any perpetrators to account and to improve the response and support to victims and their access to Somalia’s justice system.” He said.

Panel members also highlighted the importance of providing better, more timely and comprehensive assistance and care to, including health and psychosocial care that addresses the long term consequences of sexual violence in conflict to victims and their families.

End.

Get updates from UNSOM/Halkan ka hel wararka UNSOM: www.unsom.unmissions.org
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Sudan: Desert Locust Bulletin 437 (February 2015)

3 March 2015 - 10:19am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen

General Situation during February 2015 Forecast until mid-April 2015

The Desert Locust situation remained serious along the Red Sea coast in Sudan and Eritrea during February where control operations were carried out against numerous hopper bands, adult groups and swarms. Smaller scale operations were undertaken in Saudi Arabia. Locusts that escape detection or control will form adult groups and small swarms that are likely to move to the Eritrean Highlands and the interior of northern Sudan and Saudi Arabia. If locusts reach the interior of Saudi Arabia and the Nile Valley in northern Sudan, breeding could commence by April. Elsewhere, ecological conditions improved in the spring breeding areas of Northwest Africa and Southwest Asia where small-scale breeding is likely.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 25 February – 3 March 2015

3 March 2015 - 9:27am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Afghanistan: Heavy snowfall has caused avalanches in northern, central and eastern Afghanistan; 280 people have died. Panshir province is most affected. Communication lines have been disrupted in places, power supplies to Kabul have been cut. Priority needs are for NFIs and emergency shelter; access to isolated areas is difficult.

Philippines: 10,000 more people have been displaced in the past week, as fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters continues in Pikit, Maguindanao, and Pagalungan, Cotabato. At least 34,000 have been displaced in total. The latest assessment indicates high security concerns as well as protection, shelter, WASH and health assistance needs.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Somalia: Somalia Acute Food Security Situation Overview - Rural, Urban and IDP Populations: February - June 2015, Most Likely Scenario

3 March 2015 - 5:59am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization, Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit Country: Somalia

Somalia: Somalia Refugees in the Horn of Africa and Yemen (February 2015)

3 March 2015 - 3:02am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Somalia

Total number of refugees: 961,397

Registered refugees in 2015: 2,216

Total number of IDPs: 1.1 M

Somalia: Somalia: Total IDPs by Region - February 2015

3 March 2015 - 2:58am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Somalia

World: A Wake-Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems

2 March 2015 - 7:01pm
Source: Save the Children Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, World

Almost 30 countries vulnerable to a new Ebola-style Epidemic, jeopardising the future of millions of Children – Save the children

Almost 30 countries are highly vulnerable to an Ebola-style epidemic jeopardising the future of millions of children, warns Save the Children in its new report ‘A Wake Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems’.

The report ranks the world’s poorest countries on the state of their public health systems, finding that 28 have weaker defences in place than Liberia where, alongside Sierra Leone and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed 9,000 lives, and provoked an extraordinary international response to help contain it.

The agency warns that an increasingly mobile population intensifies the threat of infectious disease outbreaks and, added to the emergence of two new zoonotic diseases each year – those that can be passed between animals and humans - it is crucial to invest in stronger health systems to avoid a virus spreading faster and further than the current Ebola outbreak.

The report also advises that prevention is better than cure, finding that the international Ebola relief effort in West Africa has cost $4.3bn, whereas strengthening the health systems of those countries in the first place would have cost just $1.58bn.

Ahead of an Ebola summit attended by world leaders in Brussels today, the charity warns that alongside immediate much needed support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, lessons need to be learnt and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world.

Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s CEO, said: “A robust health system could have stopped Ebola in its tracks saving thousands of children’s lives and billions of pounds.

“Without trained health workers and a functioning health system in place, it’s more likely that an epidemic could spread across international borders with catastrophic effects.

“The world woke up to Ebola but now people need to wake up to the scandal of weak health systems, which not only risk new diseases spreading, but also contribute to the deaths of 17,000 children each day from preventable causes like pneumonia and malaria.”

The reports’ index looks at the numbers of health workers, government spending on health, and mortality rates. Somalia ranks lowest, and is preceded by Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Guinea, Niger, and Mali.

In a snapshot of dangerously inadequate global health systems the index shows:

  • In Afghanistan, public spending on health is just $10.71 per person per year, compared to $3,099 in the UK; and

  • In Somalia, there is one health worker for every 6,711 people – by comparison in the UK there is one health worker for every 88 people.

As well as rebuilding the fractured health systems of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea following the Ebola crisis, Save the Children is calling for:

  • The international community to make a clear commitment to Universal Health Coverage for every country – the principle that every person should have access to essential health care, not just those that can afford it – including the IMF encouraging countries to collect progressive taxes and increase investments in public health services;

  • Countries to increase domestic tax revenue to 20% of GDP and allocate at least 15% of their national budgets to health;

  • Donors to ensure that the aid they give is better aligned and contributes to building comprehensive primary healthcare systems;

  • The new Sustainable Development Goals – which will replace the Millennium Development Goals, due to be negotiated at the UN General Assembly in New York in September – to explicitly include a commitment to Universal Health Coverage; and, · World leaders to commit to end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths by 2030.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • $4.3bn is taken from Dr David Nabarro’s UN report called ‘Resources for Results’ produced with McKinsey in December 2014.

  • $1.58bn is the amount needed to provide the minimum package of essential health services for all in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia (which the WHO recommends is $86/person).

  • The Health Access Index ranks the 75 ‘Countdown Countries’, which shoulder 95% of global maternal, new-born, and child deaths. A coalition of institutions including Save the Children, The WHO, and The Lancet chart their annual progress towards MDGs 4&5.

  • ‘Health workers’ include doctors, nurses and/or midwives.

  • ‘Zoonotic diseases’ are defined by the Centre for Disease Control as diseases ‘that can be passed between animals and humans’.

  • ‘Universal Health Coverage’ is defined by the WHO as ‘to ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them’.

  • 17,000 children under five die every day, according to UNICEF Child Mortality Report 2014.

World: Almost 30 countries vulnerable to a new Ebola-style Epidemic, jeopardising the future of millions of Children – Save the children

2 March 2015 - 7:01pm
Source: Save the Children Country: World, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia

Almost 30 countries are highly vulnerable to an Ebola-style epidemic jeopardising the future of millions of children, warns Save the Children in its new report ‘A Wake Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems’.

The report ranks the world’s poorest countries on the state of their public health systems, finding that 28 have weaker defences in place than Liberia where, alongside Sierra Leone and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed 9,000 lives, and provoked an extraordinary international response to help contain it.

The agency warns that an increasingly mobile population intensifies the threat of infectious disease outbreaks and, added to the emergence of two new zoonotic diseases each year – those that can be passed between animals and humans - it is crucial to invest in stronger health systems to avoid a virus spreading faster and further than the current Ebola outbreak.

The report also advises that prevention is better than cure, finding that the international Ebola relief effort in West Africa has cost $4.3bn, whereas strengthening the health systems of those countries in the first place would have cost just $1.58bn.

Ahead of an Ebola summit attended by world leaders in Brussels today, the charity warns that alongside immediate much needed support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, lessons need to be learnt and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world.

Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s CEO, said: “A robust health system could have stopped Ebola in its tracks saving thousands of children’s lives and billions of pounds.

“Without trained health workers and a functioning health system in place, it’s more likely that an epidemic could spread across international borders with catastrophic effects.

“The world woke up to Ebola but now people need to wake up to the scandal of weak health systems, which not only risk new diseases spreading, but also contribute to the deaths of 17,000 children each day from preventable causes like pneumonia and malaria.”

The reports’ index looks at the numbers of health workers, government spending on health, and mortality rates. Somalia ranks lowest, and is preceded by Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Guinea, Niger, and Mali.

In a snapshot of dangerously inadequate global health systems the index shows:

  • In Afghanistan, public spending on health is just $10.71 per person per year, compared to $3,099 in the UK; and

  • In Somalia, there is one health worker for every 6,711 people – by comparison in the UK there is one health worker for every 88 people.

As well as rebuilding the fractured health systems of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea following the Ebola crisis, Save the Children is calling for:

  • The international community to make a clear commitment to Universal Health Coverage for every country – the principle that every person should have access to essential health care, not just those that can afford it – including the IMF encouraging countries to collect progressive taxes and increase investments in public health services;

  • Countries to increase domestic tax revenue to 20% of GDP and allocate at least 15% of their national budgets to health;

  • Donors to ensure that the aid they give is better aligned and contributes to building comprehensive primary healthcare systems;

  • The new Sustainable Development Goals – which will replace the Millennium Development Goals, due to be negotiated at the UN General Assembly in New York in September – to explicitly include a commitment to Universal Health Coverage; and, · World leaders to commit to end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths by 2030.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • $4.3bn is taken from Dr David Nabarro’s UN report called ‘Resources for Results’ produced with McKinsey in December 2014.

  • $1.58bn is the amount needed to provide the minimum package of essential health services for all in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia (which the WHO recommends is $86/person).

  • The Health Access Index ranks the 75 ‘Countdown Countries’, which shoulder 95% of global maternal, new-born, and child deaths. A coalition of institutions including Save the Children, The WHO, and The Lancet chart their annual progress towards MDGs 4&5.

  • ‘Health workers’ include doctors, nurses and/or midwives.

  • ‘Zoonotic diseases’ are defined by the Centre for Disease Control as diseases ‘that can be passed between animals and humans’.

  • ‘Universal Health Coverage’ is defined by the WHO as ‘to ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them’.

  • 17,000 children under five die every day, according to UNICEF Child Mortality Report 2014.

World: Price Watch February 2015 Prices

1 March 2015 - 11:53am
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, World

Key Messages

  • In West Africa, regional harvests from the 2014/15 season arrived progressively onto markets in January. Staple food prices were stable or declining, except in areas directly and indirectly affected by the conflict in northeastern Nigeria. The recent opening of borders among Ebola-affected countries contributed to improved trade flows in some areas, following the substantial disruptions that occurred over the second half of 2014.

  • In East Africa, maize prices continued to decline in Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and surplus-producing areas of Ethiopia as harvests and regional trade flows improved market supplies. Sorghum prices declined in Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, with the progression of average to above-average harvests. Staple food prices were high and variable in the Greater Upper Nile States of South Sudan. Conflict, insecurity, and seasonal road condition deterioration continued to disrupt markets in parts of South Sudan, Somalia, and the Darfur and South Kordofan States in Sudan.

  • In Southern Africa, regional staple food stocks tightened in January, but availability remains higher than previous years. Harvests from the 2013/14 production year were well-above average in the region’s surplus-producing countries. Maize price increased by over 50 percent in January in flood-affected areas of southern Malawi.

  • Staple food prices remained stable or began increasing throughout Central America and Caribbean as market supplies from the Otoño harvest in Haiti and Postrera harvest in Central America decreased earlier than normal. After reaching record-high prices in Central America in 2014, red bean prices followed seasonal trends and were stable in January but remained well above average. Imported wheat and rice availability and prices were stable region-wide.

  • In Central Asia, wheat availability remained good in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prices stabilized in increased in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan after increasing over the last quarter of 2014. International wheat, maize, and soybean prices were stable in January, while rice prices declined slightly. Global production for most key commodities reached record or near record levels in 2014, making for very well supplied global markets. Crude oil prices declined further in January, and remained below average.

Somalia: Somalia Price Bulletin February 2015

28 February 2015 - 9:52pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Somalia

Maize, sorghum, rice, and cowpea are the most important staple foods for Somalis.
Maize and sorghum are the preferred staple in agriculture areas, while rice is more popular in pastoral and urban areas. Cowpea is an integral component of all households’ diets. Mogadishu is Somalia’s largest market with links to most markets in the country. Baidoa is a significant sorghum producing and consuming area. Qorioley is a large maize production area. Burao, Galkayo, and Dhusamareb are exclusively pastoral where people depend on purchases of domestically produced sorghum and imported rice. Togwajale is a sorghum producing area with links to Ethiopian markets; most cereal flows from Ethiopia pass through this market. Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland and an important reference market for livestock trade with Ethiopia. Buale, located in an important maize production area in the southern region supplies most nearby markets. El Dhere and Merka are areas of cowpea production: the principal source of income. Bossasso and Kismayo are both port towns and entry points of imports. Beled Weyn connects the south and central regions of the country, and also has linkages with Ethiopia. Belet Hawa is an important cross-border market with Kenya.

World: Emergencies updates: 6 to 26 February 2015

27 February 2015 - 1:25pm
Source: Oxfam Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Peru, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Syria crisis

As the crisis nears its 4th anniversary in March, more than half the Syrian population is in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict and millions of people have been displaced internally or fled across the border as refugees. The crisis is however getting less global interest as it entered a chronic phase, and we’re doing our best to put it back onto the agenda of decision-makers to ensure there won’t be a fifth anniversary - more communications on this soon. We continue to deliver lifesaving assistance to crisis-affected people in the region, and have reached nearly half a million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and at least one million people inside Syria during 2014.
In Syria we continue to work in Damascus city and four other areas near the capital, to keep clean water flowing for hundreds of thousands of people. In Aleppo we are helping the local authorities keep 5 generators going at a plant which supplies about 3 million people. To date our work has been fully focused on large-scale water infrastructure projects, but recent negotiations with the Ministry of Social Affairs could mean we broaden out into public health promotion, which will mean being able to get out and talk to communities.

In Jordan in the Za’atari camp we are about to begin a program of connecting individual households to the water network which will give the entire population of the camp (about 85,000 people) their own connection. Designs are being finalized during February, and in April work will begin on what could be the only household level water network ever built in a refugee camp. If you want to have an idea of Oxfam’s work and what life is like in this huge camp-city have a look at this picture-blog from Za’atari. (Photo1: Za'atari refugee camp from atop one of Oxfam's water tanks, Oxfam February 2015. Photo 2: Oxfam 95 cubic meters of water can support a water system,
Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan. Oxfam. February 2015).