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Also In Global Health News: Haiti Camps, Rebuilding; UNDP Administrator Interview; Zimbabwe’s Health Sector; Documentary Screening On World AIDS Day; Mental Health In Developing Countries

Report Examines Life In Haiti’s Camps; Companies Hire Lobbyists To Petition Congress For Rebuilding Funds

A recent Refugees International report found that more than “70 percent of camps in Haiti, home to an estimated 1.3 million earthquake victims, lack proper international management nearly nine months after the disaster, leaving them at increased risk of sexual and gang violence, hunger and forced eviction,” the Associated Press writes. The report “criticized the International Organization for Migration, which is responsible for coordination and management of the camps in Haiti, and the United Nations operations in the country for not giving priority to actions to protect quake victims” (10/8). VOA News reports: “Responding to criticism of the United Nations-directed humanitarian response in Haiti, a U.N. spokesperson has urged increased protection for Haitian refugees facing sexual violence” (Freund, 10/7). According to Al Jazeera, the U.N. “rejected some of the report’s criticisms.” U.N. spokeswoman Imogen Wall said, “We have one of the largest-scale humanitarian operations in the world running now … and just keeping that show on the road is a huge job” (10/8).

The Hill examines how “[a] number of construction and disaster response firms have hired Washington lobbyists to help navigate the contracting process for rebuilding Haiti” as “$1.15 billion of the funds designated for reconstruction projects have yet to be delivered” (Bogardus, 10/11).

UNDP Administrator Discusses Recession, Corruption, and Poverty MDG

NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” features an interview with Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), who discussed “how the global financial slowdown has affected development efforts around the world.” On one hand, she said, “donor countries clearly are not as well-heeled as they were,” and “it’s been tough” on emerging economies “which had a big reliance on remittances from workers in North America or in Europe.” Clark also discussed how her agency addresses corruption and the Millennium Development Goal to reduce poverty, which she believes will be reached at a “global level” but notes discrepancies in progress between China and Africa (Roberts, 10/10).

Zimbabwe Launches Appeal For $700M To Restore Health Sector

“Zimbabwe’s health minister says the southern African country needs $700 million to restore health services shattered by a decade of political and economic turmoil,” Associated Press reports. The appeal, made Friday by Health Minister Henry Madzorera, is “backed by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the World Bank, [and] seeks donor, private and government funds to raise annual spending on health per person to $34, up from the present $9” (10/9). Inter Press Service examines the cost of maternal health care in the country, where “government clinics charge a fee of about 83 dollars, a figure many expecting mothers can ill afford.” The article also looks at maternal mortality rates in the country, “one of the highest rates” in the world, and outlines the government’s plan to revitalize the health sector, which seeks to “provide access to health services to the poorest citizens; ensure safe motherhood; and save lives” (Bafana, 10/8).

The country has also initiated the two-year Promoting Recovery in Zimbabwe (PRIZE) program, funded by USAID in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, the Zimbabwean reports. The program will “address the urgent food needs of vulnerable Zimbabweans while laying the foundation for recovery and improved food security” by providing “approximately 24,400 metric tons of food to vulnerable households” and assisting with irrigation projects, improving livestock practices and training village savings and lending groups (10/6).

Broadcasters Worldwide To Screen ARV Documentary On World AIDS Day

On this year’s World AIDS Day, December 1, select broadcasters around the world will air the documentary “The Lazarus Effect,” which examines how antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can change people’s lives, the organization RED, which sponsors the film, said recently, Agence France-Presse reports. According to RED, “U.S. cable network HBO and Britain’s Channel 4 will broadcast [the film] with discussions underway with 13 broadcasters in France, the Middle East, Brazil, Argentina and India and elsewhere,” the news service writes. “The 30-minute documentary records the remarkable effects of antiretroviral drugs on four HIV-positive people from Lusaka in Zambia, to raise awareness that AIDS is no longer an automatic death sentence,” AFP writes (10/7).

Releasing New Mental Health Guidelines, WHO Says Inexpensive Care Possible For Developing Countries

The WHO has launched new guidelines to facilitate the treatment of people with mental and neurological disorders, VOA News reports. “The [WHO] says more than 75 percent of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders living in developing countries do not receive any treatment or care,” the news service reports (Schlein, 10/7). Reuters adds the “100-page clinical guidelines, the ‘Mental Health GAP Intervention Guide,’ aim to help health care workers to assess and treat patients suffering from symptoms including anxiety, delusions, memory loss, suicidal thoughts and seizures. Patients can be treated through low-cost community services or in smaller units staffed by medical assistants, rather than in specialized hospitals.” The article also discusses stigma surrounding mental illness and lack of trained mental health workers in developing countries, especially in Africa (Nebehay, 10/7).

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