Also In Global Health News: Humanitarian Aid To Somalia Underfunded; Sahel Food Crisis; Social History Of Malaria

Somalia Humanitarian Aid Underfunded; Donors Discouraged Due To Violence

“U.N. humanitarian activities in Somalia are severely underfunded, hurting Somalis who are outside areas controlled by Islamist rebels, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. The news service writes that humanitarian coordinator Mark Bowden “told reporters health, water and sanitation assistance for Somalia’s massive population of internally displaced people, who fled conflict zones across the lawless Horn of Africa nation, was now ‘seriously underfunded'” (Charbonneau, 7/21). According to the U.N. News Centre, funding is needed to help “3.2 million people – or more than 40 percent of the population – who rely on international aid. The agencies have received “56 percent of the $600 million needed to fund critical areas” (7/21). Meanwhile Bloomberg writes, “[p]ersistent violence in Somalia is discouraging Western governments from funding aid” even though “Islamic rebels who control much of the country are allowing relief work to continue” (Varner, 7/21).

Food Insecurity In Sahel ‘Out Of Control,’ U.N. Says

Speaking about Africa’s Sahel region, U.N Under-Secretary-General John Holmes said, “The levels of food insecurity have begun to spiral out of control and affect a number of countries across the region,” CNN reports. Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program, added that the region could be out of “the severe danger zone” in six weeks so “the ramp-up has to happen not in a few weeks but now, before this very difficult time” (Yaslik, 7/21). The Canadian Press reports that the U.N. made an appeal on Tuesday for $230 million for Niger, “which has been hardest hit” (Lederer, 7/21).

Book Chronicles Social History Of Malaria

NPR’s Fresh Air discusses the social history of malaria in an interview with the author of the book, The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years. Journalist Sonia Shah discusses the disease “which has plagued humans for thousands of years and shows no sign of slowing down, despite being treatable with drugs.” In the interview she talks about the malaria parasite, how malaria spread and how the “symbiotic relationship between the mosquito and the malaria parasite developed.” The interview also includes an excerpt from the book (7/20). 

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