April 23, 2014
UNICEF warns that the current crisis in South Sudan is placing 250,000 children at risk of dying from malnutrition, warns UNICEF. From VOA:
UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulieroc told VOA more than 3.7 million people in South Sudan are at high risk of not getting enough to eat. Among them, he said are 740,000 children under age five. “This means that if nothing is done to increase, to scale up the action against malnutrition – that means that 50,000 children under five could die unless they benefit from treatment … But, the violence is really worsening the situation in this regard,” he said.
UNICEF staff report many people are resorting to eating wild foods, such as bulbs and grasses. They warn the continuing conflict between the government and rebels is forcing more people to flee their homes.
If the violence persists, it notes farmers might miss the planting season, which would increase child malnutrition to heights never seen before.
Boulieroc said UNICEF’s immediate goal is to treat more than 150,000 severely malnourished children — a treatment that could save many lives. “We provide them treatment. We have several rapid response teams to reach the children. You know there is a question of access. We bring them therapeutic food, micro-nutrient supplements, medicines, water purification sachet and other things…The fight against malnutrition remains the priority in South Sudan,” he said.
Boulieroc said children are vulnerable even in the best of times. But, during this intense period of violence, he says children are exposed to many dangers other than that of malnutrition. He said many children become separated from their families while fleeing their homes. This exacerbates their already traumatic situation.
In addition, he said children are being recruited as soldiers by both sides to the conflict. He said UNICEF does not yet have accurate information as to the numbers. But he said aid workers are gathering information and trying to do what they can to protect children from being recruited.
In September 2013, World Bank, UNICEF, USAID, Norway committed an unprecedented $1.15 billion over the next three years to advance progress toward Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, and to get essential services and medicines to women and children who need them most. This commitment could position countries to be able to help save 3 million lives. Ray Chambers, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and For Malaria, shares his thoughts on this extraordinary event.
April 22, 2014 The United Nations revealed and condemned the targeted killing of civilians based on ethnicity, in South Sudan. From The Guardian: In Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, more than 200 people sheltering inside a mosque were killed last week after rebel forces seized the key town, the mission said in a […]
On March 17, Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visited the Association Béninoise pour le Marketing Social (ABMS), a member of the PSI network, to see firsthand the partnership between the Peace Corps and ABMS in Benin.
April 21, 2014
Investigations are underway after two staff with UNICEF went missing in Karachi, Pakistan. From CNN:
The staffers went missing on Thursday evening, United Nations spokesman Vittorio Cammarota said.
Police are in close contact with the UNICEF employees’ families, he said.
The port city of Karachi is Pakistan’s financial capital.
On Saturday, gunmen wounded a prominent Pakistani TV news anchor there. His brother linked the attack to the nation’s government, drawing a denial from military officials.
Hamid Mir was shot three times by gunmen in a car and on two motorcycles near Karachi’s airport, his network Geo News — a CNN affiliate — reported.
Amir Mir — the targeted news anchor’s brother and a journalist himself — said his brother believed ISI, Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, had plans to assassinate him.
The Pakistani military public relations agency ISPR said that “raising allegations against ISI or the head of ISI without any basis is highly regrettable and misleading.”
In the same statement, a spokesman for that agency condemned the attack and “prayed for (Mir’s) well-being and quick recovery.”
Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta shares his reflections on polio’s complex 2013. Dr. Bhutta is Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Pakistan, and Co-Director of Research in Global Child Health at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
April 18, 2014
Gunmen wounded dozens of people when they stormed a UN base in South Sudan. From AFP:
The top UN aid official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, said he was “outraged” by the assault in the war-ravaged town of Bor, in which two peacekeepers were also wounded.
Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering inside the fortified base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), one of the most bitterly contested regions in the four-month-long conflict splitting the country.
UNMISS condemned “heinous murders” in the attack, although it has not officially confirmed any deaths.
“The armed mob forced entry into the site and opened fire on the internally displaced persons sheltering inside the base,” the UNMISS said in a statement, saying its forces returned fire — first firing warning shots and then taking part in a ferocious gun battle — before the fighters retreated.
The gunmen had initially approached the camp “under the guise of peaceful demonstrators” intending to present a petition to the UN, before opening fire and breaching the compound, the statement added.
The civilians fled into the base weeks ago amid brutal ethnic massacres in the world’s newest nation.
Information Minister Michael Makuei said that a “huge number” of gunmen had come seeking revenge for the rebel capture of the oil town of Bentiu two days ago hoping to kill the trapped civilians, many of them children.
The conflict in South Sudan has left thousands dead and forced around a million people to flee their homes since fighting broke out on December 15 in the capital Juba before spreading to other states in the oil-rich nation.
Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, has swapped hands several times during the conflict.
The latest clashes in Bor echo an attack by gunmen in December on a UN base in Akobo, also in Jonglei, killing at least 11 civilians and two Indian UN peacekeepers.
By Kim Longfield, Director of Research, PSI
The Global Health & Innovation Conference is the world’s leading global health and social entrepreneurship conference. Held in New Haven, Conn., last week, the tenth edition of the gathering attracted more than 2,000 delegates and speakers from an array of disciplines: global health leaders like Jeffrey Sachs; investigative journalists like Michael Moss; influential bloggers like Seth Godin; and activists, entrepreneurs, academics, students, donors, and implementers.
It was the first time I’ve presented at this prestigious conference.
April 17, 2014 A new UNICEF campaign introduces an animated character that will raise the important issue diarrhea, in India. From the Independent: Accompanied by an insanely catchy techno-Bollywood-style anthem, Mr Poo features in a very silly and surreal new video aimed at raising awareness of the health dangers associated with public defecation in India. […]
Devex President & CEO Raj Kumar on the connection between climate change and global health; a final push on the health MDGs, with particular focus on toilets and saving lives at birth; and health systems in fragile states taking center stage.