The fourth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) kicked off Monday in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo, to raise awareness about the “sanitation crisis in the region,” Xinhua reports (4/3).
Water and Sanitation
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Sunday highlighted its concerns about the health situation in Cote d’Ivoire, Reuters reports.
Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to reaching the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, according to a World Bank-IMF report released Friday to coincide with a meeting of the groups in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, Agence France-Presse/Edmonton Journal reports (4/16).
Several news sources have published opinion pieces regarding the ongoing famine in Somalia and hunger situation in the Horn of Africa, some of which are summarized below:
“The government in Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab is struggling to control a growing dengue fever epidemic, officials say,” and they “have warned that it threatens to affect other parts of the country,” BBC News reports. “Punjab Health Secretary Jehanzeb Khan said that this year more than 4,000 cases of dengue fever had been reported, a significant increase over previous years,” and at least eight people have died of the disease, according to the news service. Officials “say that the illness is thriving because of poor hygiene, an absence of control measures and the fact that recent heavy monsoon rainfall has lowered temperatures and provided lots of water — ideal conditions for dengue-carrying mosquitoes,” the news service writes (Khan, 9/13).
“Twenty years after the central government collapsed,” Somalia is facing drought, food insecurity and conflict larger in scale than when famine conditions hit the nation in the 1990s, “[a]nd given the world’s limited interest in a major intervention, that is not likely to change anytime soon,” the New York Times reports in a news analysis on the situation.
In this “End The Neglect” blog post, Ann Kelly, representative of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation’s Global Water Initiative and co-founder of Partner at Global Philanthropy Group, provides an overview of a Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases co-hosted seminar at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. Kelly writes of “a…
“In what appears to be a repeat — on a limited scale — of the 2010 flood disaster in Pakistan with northern areas affected mainly by flash floods sweeping down from the mountains after heavy rain, at least 16 people have died in the remote Kohistan District of Khyber Pakhtookhwa Province (KP),” IRIN reports. One official said the death toll could rise to 35 and “dozens” of houses have been washed away in the flooding, the news service notes. “According to media reports, hundreds of people are still stranded in remote areas of the flood-hit region,” IRIN writes (8/25).
UNICEF and non-governmental organizations “operating in West Africa say the main barrier to more pit latrines in rural areas is not poverty or lack of resources, but a lack of understanding about costs and benefits,” IRIN reports. “Plan International, WaterAid and UNICEF programs all encourage communities to recognize the need for better sanitation, and to build latrines themselves,” the news service writes, adding, “Building and using latrines is one of the most effective ways to combat diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million under-five children globally each year.”
The U.N.’s Pan-American Health Organization, the United States and the international community “should be working with the Haitian Health Ministry to wage a more aggressive and effective effort” against the cholera epidemic that hit the country last year, and those efforts “should include not only clean water and sanitation systems but more antibiotics and cholera vaccinations,” a New York Times editorial says. “Ramping up manufacturing” of the cholera vaccine — of which there are less than 400,000 doses worldwide — “could be readily done and would have global benefits,” the editorial states.