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Also In Global Health News: Aid Group In Darfur; Future Of Aid In Afghanistan; USAID Donation In Ghana; Earthquake In Myanmar; HIV/AIDS In Mauritania

After Concerns Of Forced Shutdown, Aid Group In Darfur Allowed To Resume Food Distribution

The aid agency Catholic Relief Services “has been allowed to resume distribution of food in West Darfur, narrowly averting a shutdown of the programme” that would have potentially cut off 400,000 people from food rations, Reuters reports (Babington, 3/29). “Sudan suspended the group’s activities in late January,” after it “accused it of distributing Bibles in the Muslim region” – accusations the group has denied, Reuters writes in a separate article (Babington, 3/27). The Washington Post describes how in “March 2009 Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir expelled 13 major international aid organizations and disbanded three national aid groups after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. … According to the United Nations, the expulsions removed 40 percent of the aid workers in Darfur. Since then, the remaining organizations [such as Catholic Relief Services] have scrambled to cover the gaps in humanitarian assistance” (Hamilton, 3/25).

IRIN Examines How U.S.-NATO Troop Drawdown In Afghanistan May Impact Foreign Assistance

IRIN looks at how a “planned drawdown of U.S.-NATO troops in Afghanistan later this year could adversely affect the flow of foreign aid” into the country. The article describes the assistance Afghanistan has received from the U.S. and other donors, the country’s recent gains in health and education, and examines possible reductions in foreign assistance that could take place after troop withdrawals from the country (3/29).

USAID Project Donates $300,000 For Health Equipment In Ghana

USAID’s Focus Region Health Project recently “presented clinical equipment and literature worth over 300,000 dollars to” three health directorates in Ghana, the Ghana News Agency reports (3/28). “The Health Office Chief of USAID, Laurel Fain, said the consignment for the three regions includes a broad range of clinical equipment,” according to an article posted on the government of Ghana’s website (3/28).

Rescue Groups Face Challenges Reaching Myanmar’s Earthquake Victims

Rescue groups continue to hunt for “those affected by a powerful earthquake that struck Myanmar’s east” on March 24, Agence France-Presse reports. So far, 75 deaths have been linked to the earthquake (Win, 3/27).  “The quake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre in Shan state, close to the border with Laos and Thailand, and struck just before 8:30 p.m. local time,” according to U.N. News Centre (3/25). “[T]he area most severely hit by Thursday’s earthquake is remote, and telephone signals and other communications there are unreliable,” the Wall Street Journal writes (3/26).  In addition, “unseasonable rains coupled with bad roads” are also “hampering relief efforts,” AlertNet reports (3/28).

“A major concern of relief agencies is that it is often hard to get reliable information about disasters until long after they occur in Myanmar, which is controlled by a secretive, military-backed government with a history of blocking foreign aid workers from roaming freely,” the Wall Street Journal continues (3/28). However, aid workers on Monday praised Myanmar’s regime “for its speedy response” in the aftermath of the earthquake, AFP writes in a separate article (3/28). “UNICEF officials said the agency was sending emergency health kits and first aid kits to the area near the quake’s epicenter and was preparing to send water purification materials if necessary,” United Press International adds (3/25).  

France Offers Over $844K To Support Fight Against HIV/AIDS in Mauritania

“France, through the Red Cross, has decided to support the fight against HIV/AIDS in Mauritania with 600,000 euros,” or over $844,000, according to a communique from the French Embassy, PANA reports. “This money will serve in the framework ‘of the nutritional support and the assistance to screened patients,'” according to the news service (3/25).

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