Also In Global Health News: Israel Signs WHO, UNAIDS Agreements; Burden Of Healthcare On Developed Countries; Human Rights, HIV/AIDS; Climate Change, Food Security In Southern Africa

Israel Signs Agreements With UNAIDS, WHO

On Wednesday, Israel signed agreements with UNAIDS and the WHO to bolster the country’s response to global health issues, UNAIDS reports (4/13). “Within the framework of the [WHO] agreement, several joint teams from Israel’s health authorities, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and relevant departments of the WHO will be established. The teams will be active in the following fields: emergency medicine, water and sanitation, mother and child health and food safety,” according to a release on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The release also describes how the UNAIDS agreement will help to strengthen the relationship between the country and the organization (4/13).

IMF Report Highlights Financial Burden Of Health Care On Developed Countries

A report on the world’s financial health, released on Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund, warned of the escalating fiscal burden developed countries face due to the rising costs of health care, Agence France-Presse reports. “Rising spending on health care is the main risk to fiscal sustainability, with an impact on long-run debt ratios that, absent reforms, will dwarf that of the financial crisis,” it said, according to the news service (4/12). “New projections by IMF staff suggest annual spending on public health will rise by an average of 3 percentage points of GDP in advanced economies over the next two decades, with an increase of 5 percent of GDP in the United States and 2 percent on average in Europe,” Reuters writes (Wroughton, 4/12).

UNAIDS Statement Urges U.N. Member States To Reaffirm Human Rights In HIV/AIDS Fight

The UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights recently issued a statement urging U.N. Member States to recommit to advancing human rights as part of the global fight against HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS reports. The statement highlights “five key priorities for Member States as they negotiate the outcome document for the High-Level Meeting on AIDS between now and June 2011,” according to UNAIDS (4/12).

Changing Weather Patterns Affecting Life For Farmers In Southern Africa

The Herald/ describes how shifts in weather patterns have led to agricultural challenges and increasing food shortages in southern Africa. “The rain seasons, once predictable, have become erratic and scarce,” the news service writes, noting that conditions are likely to worsen over the next few decades. The piece describes how such conditions impact the ability to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and the need for programs to educate farmers about how to mitigate the risks from climate change (Siamachira, 4/10). In related news, AlertNet reports on a program in Zambia that is helping to educate farmers to adapt to variable weather patterns. Under the Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) initiative, farmers have taken to “growing a combination of hardy crops like cassava, which can survive drought, alongside soil nutrient-boosting crops such as soya bean and higher-value crops they can sell to boost their income,” the news service writes (Smith, 4/11).

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