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Also In Global Health News: India To Examine NDM-1 Study; Aid For Libya; Food Shortages In North Korea; Global Virus Network

Indian Government Forms Committee To Explore NDM-1 Study Findings

The Indian government “has formed a scientific committee” to examine the findings of a recent Lancet Infectious Diseases study, which found bacteria containing the NDM-1 gene were found in water supplies in New Dehli, CNN/IBN-Live reports. “The Health Ministry isn’t pleased with this latest study, saying it was illegal in the first place to remove water samples from the country. They feel India’s medical tourism industry is the target here,” the news service reports (Shalini, 4/11).

ICRC, WFP Aid Reaches Libya

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Saturday that it was able to move further into western Libya, “as a ship of medical supplies docked in the besieged port city of Misrata and its aid workers made their way to Zawiyah,” Reuters reports. “We are sending the ship to support Misrata’s main hospital, by delivering enough medical supplies to treat 300 patients with weapon injuries on the spot,” Jean-Michel Monod, head of the ICRC team in Tripoli, said in a statement.

Last week, a “vessel carrying enough food for 40,000 people for a month, chartered by the U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP), reached Misrata,” according to Reuters (Nebehay, 4/9). Emilia Casella, a WFP spokesperson, said the organization plans to try to deliver more aid overland, VOA News reports. “In the coming days, we will also be trying to move in by road almost 2,000 metric tons of wheat flour from Egypt towards Benghazi as well as some vegetable oil. This is all part of the World Food Program’s role as the logistics lead in bringing in supplies for all the humanitarian community and the telecommunication’s lead as well,” she said. “The ship also contains some 14 tons of medical equipment and medicine from the World Health Organization. The supplies include five emergency health kits, which will serve 50,000 people for three months, and 10 trauma kits for 5,000 people who need surgical treatment,” according to the news service (Schlein, 4/9).

Survey Indicates Food Shortages In North Korea Have Worsened

“A new survey from [the] Seoul-based group Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights provides more evidence that” food shortages in North Korea “have gotten worse,” the Wall Street Journal’s “Korea Real Time” blog reports.

“The group interviewed 500 defectors from North Korea, of whom about 60% left the country in 2010 or this year. Most came from the north-eastern provinces, where the food situation is considered to be most dire. Over 90% of those surveyed said the food situation was very serious or comparatively serious, with the respondents reporting a progressively deteriorating situation since 2004. … Only 5% said they relied on food distribution from the authorities,” according to the blog (Gale, 4/8). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently called on South Korea to resume food aid to North Korea, the Korea Times reports. “It’s time for the South Korean government to positively consider sending food aid to North Korea,” Ban told journalists at a news conference in Washington (Kim, 4/8).

Nature Medicine News Reports On Recent Launch Of Global Virus Network

Nature Medicine News reports on the recent launch of the Global Virus Network (GVN), “an international group of leading virologists and medical researchers tasked with providing scientific expertise to government agencies in the face of emerging infectious viral agents.” GVN, which “hopes to secure a budget of at least $25 million per year with donations from governments, research centers, charitable organizations and private companies,” wants to “serve as a clearinghouse for rapid data collection and disease containment,” the publication writes. “In response to an outbreak, the organization would send researchers from one of its many international academic centers into the field to collect samples and help local officials diagnose and treat infected people” (Mann, 4/7).

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