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WHO Recommends Antivirals For Patients With Symptoms Of Both H1N1, Pneumonia

The WHO concluded a three-day meeting on H1N1 (swine flu) in Washington, D.C., on Friday, where health experts issued recommendations that patients with symptoms of H1N1 and pneumonia be treated quickly with antivirals, even before the results of H1N1 tests are complete, the San Francisco Chronicle blog, “ChronRX” reports.

WFP To Launch 4-Month Food Voucher Text Message Pilot Program For Iraqi Refugees

The World Food Programme (WFP) Tuesday announced that it is launching a pilot program to send food vouchers via mobile phone text messages to Iraqi refugees in Syria, Agence France-Presse reports (10/27). This program is “the first of its kind in the world to use mobile phone technology,” according to a WPF press release (10/27).

U.S. Won’t Donate H1N1 Vaccine To Developing Countries Until ‘At-Risk’ Americans Receive Vaccine

The U.S. will hold off on donating H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine stockpiles to developing countries until “at-risk Americans” receive the vaccine, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. Last month, the U.S. pledged to donate H1N1 vaccine stockpiles to developing countries. However, manufacturing delays of the H1N1 vaccine have driven the supply to “about 10 million doses short of the 40 million doses they had expected to have by the end of this month,” the news service writes.

Deaths From H1N1 Rise By 700 In One Week, WHO Reports

The number of deaths from H1N1 (swine flu) rose by 700 in a week, to top 5,700 since the virus was first identified in April, the WHO reported Friday, Agence France-Presse reports (10/30). “The biggest rise in the past week was recorded in the Americas, w[h]ere 636 more people were reported killed by swine flu, bringing the region’s death toll to 4,175, the UN agency said, AFP reports in a second story. “Fatal cases in Europe also climbed to at least 281, while those in Asia-Pacific rose to 1,070” (10/31).

H1N1 Cases Increase In China, Japan; Afghanistan Attempts To Contain Virus

The WHO on Friday reported on a rising number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in China and Japan, Reuters/Washington Post reports. “In China, after an earlier wave of mixed influenza activity (seasonal H3N2 and pandemic H1N1), pandemic H1N1 influenza activity now predominates and is increasing,” the agency said. “Sharp increases in pandemic flu infections continue to be reported throughout Japan, particularly on the northern island,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 11/6).

Media Examines Food Summit Reaction, Malnutrition In Liberia, Yemen

VOA News reports on reactions from last week’s U.N. World Summit on Food Security in Rome: “The delegates in Rome promised to continue efforts to reduce by half the number of hungry people by two thousand fifteen. But critics pointed out that world leaders made a similar promise more than ten…

Measles Deaths Decline Worldwide By 78%, Experts Warn Against Complacency

Measles deaths fell from 733,000 in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008 – 78 percent – thanks, in part, to increased vaccination efforts that reached an estimated 700 million children, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S.-based Measles Initiative, Reuters reports.

UNICEF Chief To Step Down After Term Ends In 2010

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman will not seek a second term as head of the agency after her term expires in a few months, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday, Xinhua reports. In a statement, Ban said that he learned of Veneman’s plan to step down “with great regret.”

New York Times Reports On Rise, Fall Of Microloans In Developing Countries

The New York Times reports on how microlending has “prompted political hostility in Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua and other developing countries.” Such negativity “toward microfinance is a sharp reversal from the praise and good will that politicians, social workers and bankers showered on the sector in the last decade.” The article notes “[p]hilanthropists and investors poured billions of dollars into nonprofit and profit-making microlenders, who were considered vital players” in helping to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the MDG target to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Such attention “helped the sector reach more than 91 million customers, most of them women, with loans totaling more than $70 billion by the end of 2009,” with half of all borrowers from India and Bangladesh.