Also In Global Health News: Somali IDPs; MDR-TB Elimination; Chagas; Zimbabwe Disease, Hunger

Donors Failing To Provide Somali IDPs With Aid, U.N. Official Says

At the conclusion of a week-long visit to the region, Walter Kalin, a top U.N. human-rights official “says the international community is failing in its duty to internally displaced persons in Somalia. More than 1.5 million people in Somalia are believed to be IDPs,” VOA News reports (Boswell, 10/21). Kalin said, “I am deeply concerned about the unacceptable living conditions in some of the IDP settlements I have visited, including lack of proper shelter, food and drinking water; severe malnutrition of children, very poor sanitation, lack of education and health facilities and severe overcrowding,” IRIN reports in an article examining the situation (10/21). In related news, UNICEF issued a statement on Thursday warning that funding shortfalls could threaten humanitarian assistance activities in Somalia, Xinhua reports. According to the statement, 3.6 million people urgently need assistance, including 1.4 million who are affected by a severe drought (Ooko, 10/22).

MDR-TB Can Be Eliminated With Good Treatment Practices, Study Says

A modeling study, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, found that it is possible to eradicate multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) with good treatment practices, Emerging Health Threats reports. The study found that in “all countries and regions studied except for Russia, the reproductive number for MDR-TB was less than 1, indicating that rates of the disease are in a slow decline. But the data indicate that at the current rate, tuberculosis will not be eliminated before 2050, which is the WHO’s current target.” The article also includes comments from a skeptic of the study’s conclusions (10/21).

AlertNet Examines Efforts To Improve Diagnostics, Treatments For Chagas

Reuters AlertNet examines efforts by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to improve diagnostics and treatments for Chagas, a disease “transmitted by a cockroach-like bug endemic to Latin America.” The article includes information about the challenges associated with diagnosing the disease and MSF’s work to increase awareness about Chagas in Latin America (Moloney, 10/21).

AP/ Examines How Political Tensions In Zimbabwe Could Increase Hunger, Spread Of Disease

The Associated Press/ examines growing concerns among aid workers in Zimbabwe that tensions within the country’s government could lead the international community to suspend donations needed to protect the region’s most vulnerable from hunger and disease after “Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced last week he was withdrawing indefinitely from a unity government that has been troubled from the moment its ministers were sworn in February.” The country is bracing itself for the “hungry season” — expected to hit shortly – as well as the rainy season, which can worsen the spread of water-born diseases. (10/21).

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