Press Release:

Ethiopia  US Aid

In this photo of Monday Dec. 14, 2015 families begin their journey home from the Estayesh Food Distribution Site in Denkena Kebele, Meket Woreda, Ethiopia. The United States government has announced $88 million to help feed hungry people in drought affected areas of Ethiopia, bringing the total number of humanitarian aid provided to the country in 2015 to more than $435 million. The announcement came as the Ethiopian government is appealing for $1.4 billion from the international community and donors to help feed more than 10 million people. (AP Photo/David R. Kahrmann) . —

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $88 million in humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia today to address the humanitarian crisis resulting from the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon.The additional aid brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia to more than $435 million since the start of fiscal year 2015 and increases funding for nutrition, water, food, sanitation, and hygiene support.

Ethiopia is facing a humanitarian crisis as consecutive seasons of below-normal rainfall-exacerbated by the effects of El Niño-has lowered agricultural production, decimated livestock, and deteriorated food security and nutrition conditions in some parts of the country. Ethiopia currently has one of the largest food insecure populations in the world, which has increased dramatically since August 2015, as it is experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades.

By early 2016, the Government of Ethiopia estimates that 10.2 million people will be in need of relief food assistance. This is in addition to 7.9 million chronically food insecure covered by the Government of Ethiopia-led Productive Safety Net Program, supported by USAID and the donor community. Approximately 5.8 million people will need clean water, 1.7 million children and lactating mothers will require nutritious food supplements, and as many as 435,000 children will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition in 2016.

Building on earlier food assistance to Ethiopians impacted by El Niño, USAID will provide more than 116,000 metric tons of relief food aid to address the needs of 2.6 million people in 74 districts. USAID will also scale up rapid response systems for nutrition and water, and support partners to jumpstart pipelines of relief supplies, helping provide much needed aid for peak needs during the June to September 2016 lean season.Combined with previous contributions, USAID is supporting 3.9 million Ethiopians with relief food assistance through non-governmental organizations and the World Food Program.

The United States commends the Government of Ethiopia for its early and appropriate response to the crisis, including providing $297 million in relief resources. USAID’s resilience investments-including efforts to safeguard livestock and other assets and inject cash transfers into development programs in drought-prone areas-are also helping Ethiopian households cope with the impacts of El Niño. Building upon the foundation of the Productive Safety Net Program, these measures are key to the long-term food security programs the United States supports in Ethiopia through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.However, due to the severity of this crisis, additional resources from global donors are still urgently needed to save the lives of those most in need in Ethiopia.



African Region estimated to have the highest burden of foodborne diseases per population

Highlights of the Report by WHO Region

“WHO’s first ever global estimates of foodborne diseases find children under 5 account for almost one third of deaths”


WHO African Region

The WHO African Region was estimated to have the highest burden of foodborne diseases per population. More than 91 million people are estimated to fall ill and 137 000 die each year.

Diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for 70% of foodborne diseases in the African Region. Non-typhoidal Salmonella, which can be caused by contaminated eggs and poultry, causes the most deaths, killing 32 000 a year in the Region—more than half of the global deaths from the disease. 10% of the overall foodborne disease burden in this Region is caused by Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm).

Chemical hazards, specifically cyanide and aflatoxin, cause one quarter of deaths from foodborne diseases in the Region. Konzo, a particular form of paralysis caused by cyanide in cassava, is unique to the African Region, resulting in death in 1 in 5 people affected.

WHO Region of the Americas

The WHO Region of the Americas is estimated to have the second lowest burden of foodborne diseases globally. Nevertheless 77 million people still fall ill every year from contaminated food, with an estimated 9000 deaths annually in the Region. Of those who fall ill, 31 million are under the age of 5 years, resulting in more than 2000 of these children dying a year.

While the overall burden of diarrhoeal diseases is lower than in other Regions, it is still the most common foodborne disease in the Region of the Americas withNorovirus, Campylobacter, E. coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella causing 95% of cases.

Toxoplasmosis and the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) are very important food safety concerns in the Central and South America. Toxoplasmosis is spread through undercooked or raw meat and fresh produce, and can result in impaired vision and neurological conditions.

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region

The Eastern Mediterranean Region has the third highest estimated burden of foodborne diseases per population, after the African and South-East Asia Regions. More than 100 million people living in the Eastern Mediterranean Region are estimated to become ill with a foodborne disease every year and 32 million of those affected are children under 5 years.

Diarrhoeal diseases (caused by E. coli, Norovirus, Campylobacter and non-typhoidalSalmonella) account for 70% of the burden of foodborne disease.

An estimated 37 000 people in the Eastern Mediterranean Region die each year from unsafe food, caused primarily by diarrhoeal diseases, typohoid fever, hepatitis A, and brucellosis. Both typhoid fever and hepatitis A are contracted from food contaminated by the faeces of an infected person and brucellosis is commonly caused by unpasteurized milk or cheese of infected goats or sheep. Half of the global cases of brucellosis are in people living in this Region, with more than 195 000 people infected every year, causing fever, muscle pain or more severe arthritis, chronic fatigue, neurologic symptoms and depression.

WHO European Region

The report highlights that although the WHO European Region has the lowest estimated burden of foodborne diseases globally, more than 23 million people in the Region fall ill from unsafe food every year, resulting in 5000 deaths.

Diarrhoeal diseases account for the majority of foodborne illnesses in the WHO European Region with the most common being Norovirus infections, causing an estimated 15 million cases, followed by campylobacteriosis, causing close to 5 million cases. Non-typhoid salmonellosis causes the highest number of deaths—almost 2000 annually.

Foodborne toxoplasmosis, a severe parasitic disease spread through undercooked or raw meat and fresh produce, may cause up to 20% of the total foodborne disease burden and affects more than 1 million people in the Region each year. Listeria infection also has a severe impact on the health of people who contract it and causes an estimated 400 deaths in the European Region annually. Listeria can result in septicaemia and meningitis, and is usually spread by consuming contaminated raw vegetables, ready-to-eat meals, processed meats, smoked fish or soft cheeses.

WHO South-East Asia Region

The WHO South-East Asia Region has the second highest burden of foodborne diseases per population, after the African Region. However, in terms of absolute numbers, more people living in the WHO South-East Asia Region fall ill and die from foodborne diseases every year than in any other WHO Region, with more than 150 million cases and 175 000 deaths a year. Some 60 million children under the age of 5 fall ill and 50 000 die from foodborne diseases in the South-East Asia Region every year.

Diarrhoeal disease causing agents, Norovirus, non-typhoidal Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli cause the majority of foodborne disease deaths in the Region. Additionally, the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) has a major impact on health. It can cause cysts to develop in the brain, which is the most frequent preventable cause of epilepsy worldwide.

Globally, half of the people who are infected and die from either Typhoid fever or hepatitis A reside in the South-East Asia Region.

WHO Western Pacific Region

Every year, 125 million people in the WHO Western Pacific Region become ill from contaminated food, causing more than 50 000 deaths. As in other Regions, the burden is highest in children under 5 years of age with 40 million falling ill and 7000 dying every year.

Unlike other Regions of the world, where diarrhoeal diseases cause the highest proportion of deaths, aflatoxin is estimated to be the leading cause of foodborne disease deaths in the Western Pacific Region. Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by mould that grows on grain that has been stored inappropriately, and can cause liver cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer. More than 10 000 people in the Western Pacific are estimated to develop liver cancer due to aflatoxin every year, with the disease proving fatal in 9 out of 10 people. An estimated 70% of people who become ill from aflatoxin worldwide live in the WHO Western Pacific Region.

The Western Pacific Region also has the highest death rate from foodborne parasites, particularly the Chinese liver fluke (Clonorchis sinensis), Echinococcus multilocularis and Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm). The Chinese liver fluke, which is commonly contracted through raw and incorrectly processed or cooked fish, infects more than 30 000 people in the Region a year, causing death in 1 in 5 cases. Almost all of those who are infected with Chinese liver fluke in the world live in the Western Pacific. The highest disease burden results from the disabling impact ofParagonimus spp. infections of the lungs and central nervous system.

Government of Sierra Leone contributes USD 1 million to EbolaTrust Fund

The Government of Sierra Leone has pledge to contribute USD 1 million to the Ebola Trust Fund established to ensure the smooth implementation of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Recovery Strategy._83940853_83940852

Sierra Leone – The SLERF will ensure the smooth implementation of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Recovery Strategy. It is developed and finalized with the technical and financial support from the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone.

It’s establishment follows the successful international UN Ebola Conference hosted by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon on 12th July 2015 in New York during which donors pledged a whooping USD 3.4 Billion to the three Ebola-affected countries of the Mano River Union Basin. However, an estimated USD 894 million was pledged for Sierra Leone alone, the bulk of which are repackaged financing from traditional development partners.


Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah in a warm hand shake with Mr. Gabriel Rugalema Head of the FAO in Sierra Leone, representing the UN/UNDP Country Head, Mr. David McLachlan-Karr after the signing of documents marking the establishment of a Sierra Leone Ebola Recovery Trust Fund (SLERF).

To demonstrate leadership and ownership, the Government of Sierra Leone is contributing USD 1 million to the Trust Fund, but is seeking contributions from partners including donors who pledged at the UN International Ebola Conference, other Governments, Foundations, the private scetor and the public at large.

UNDP’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF-O) which is appointed Trustee f the Fund, will perform fiduciary role in accordance with the highest international standards in support of the governing body of the Fund-the Steering Board- which will be comprised of the Government of Sierra Leone, the UN and contributing partners.

According to Minister Marah, the SLERF will ensure “excellence and full transparency in receipt and administration of contributions, transfer of funding to approved projects and periodic reporting and monitoring to highlight achievements.”

It would be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone took a leading role in responding to the Ebola crisis with support from the international community and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) was set up to meet immediate needs related to the unprecedented fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).


Eminds bridging healthcare disparities in the world

By Alpha Bedoh Kamara

India – Imagine your loved one wakes up in the morning with a fever and only to be told by your local hospital that there is no healthcare facility available to cure him/her of the ailment! Imagine you are poor and cannot afford the finances to even pay for local treatment…, perhaps the money is available but then the expertise is lacking – his/her life now hinges on a ledge waiting for destiny to strike.Diwalipura1

This is the fate of millions of people around the world especially in developing countries, such as in most countries in Africa, where access to affordable healthcare is poor with little or no standard hospitals.

And while this suffering continues to haunt children, women and the poor, millions are dying from curable diseases and non-communicable diseases.

According to the WHO, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 38 million people each year and  almost three quarters of NCD deaths – 28 million – occur in low- and middle-income countries.

“Sixteen million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70; 82% of these “premature” deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.5 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.2 million), respiratory diseases (4 million), and diabetes (1.5 million).”

And though efforts are being made by developed nations, the WHO and governments to address the growing challenges of the health burden on children, women and poor people, the impact is yet to mitigate the crises with more people succumbing to the various forms of diseases affecting nations.

This is why the intervention of eminds-medico which provides super specialty medical and surgical services, treatment of complex illness, diseases and conditions, online treatment, guidance telemedicine, consultation travel, stay and guidance, bridges healthcare disparities in the world.Surat2

Eminds-medico (http://www.emindsmedico.com/) based in Ahmedabad city is a healthcare platform for hope for the millions of people around the world. It’s a center of healthcare excellence with a futuristic focus.

Over the growing years, India has become one of the pioneer destinations for cost effective healthcare services. In this fast-phase developing technological world, India is tagged as one of the efficient and well qualified country for providing quality healthcare services. Other factors which puts India on the priority list for medical tourism involves state-of-the-art hospital Infrastructure, well qualified experts and experienced doctors, trained medical professionals and support staff members, High-end Technology

“Eminds-medico is being visited by patients from Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan and Madagascar,” said Shital Shukla, director at eminds adcom private limited.

According to Dr Eric Buch, NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) Adviser on Health as well as a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the School of Health Systems and Public Heath, University of Pretoria… “Africa suffers a burden of unnecessary disease which impacts families, impoverishes large numbers of people and undermines socioeconomic development on the continent. The bottom line is that Africa’s health systems are struggling to provide effective and adequate healthcare.”

India’s role in helping to better the lives of people throughout the world with affordable medicine and medicare facilities is well renowned and the introduction of medical tourism is a show of years of research, innovative prowess with a focus to address the burden of people in vulnerable state.

Eminds-medico is specialized in arthroscopy & sports medicine, cardiology, urology, neuro-medicine and other congenital surgery. Spine surgery, cosmetic & complex dental surgery, GI & Laparoscopic surgery, pediatric orthopedic surgery, cosmetic & plastic surgery, joint replacement surgery, pain management, vascular surgery, bariatric surgery, complex accidental surgery, pediatric cardiology, maxillo facial surgery, foot & ankle surgery, as well as gastroenterology.

“Whenever your loved one wakes up in the morning with a fever and only to be told by your local hospital that there is no healthcare facility available to cure him/her of the ailment, think eminds-medico, said Shital Shukla.

The U.S. announces $173 million in additional emergency food assistance for South Sudan


Clean water is vital for stemming the spread of cholera, which has again broken out in Juba, South Sudan’s capital

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing an additional $173 million in lifesaving emergency food assistance for those suffering from hunger as a result of the conflict that broke out in South Sudan two years ago.

A press release by USAID states that this new assistance is from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace and will provide more than 85,000 tons of emergency food assistance, including specialized nutrition products designed to treat acute malnutrition.

“The aid will serve 2.4 million South Sudanese facing severe life- threatening hunger, as well as refugees in South Sudan. USAID’s partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) will use the contribution to stock food ahead of the May to August lean season in areas that become nearly impossible to reach once the rains set in.”

One in seven people have been forced from their homes. Inside the country, 1.3 million remain displaced, and 450,000 have left for the safety of neighbouring countries.SS

Within months, the dream of South Sudan – the world’s youngest country – has turned into a nightmare.

After two years of conflict, conditions for the South Sudanese continue to deteriorate and the numbers in need of lifesaving food aid has grown by 60 percent since this time last year.

The Deputy Assistant Administrator Bob Leavitt of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance recently returned from a visit to this troubled nation. He noted, “Two years of conflict has had a brutal impact on the people of South Sudan. Nearly 20 percent of the population faces life-threatening hunger this month.”

The United States is the single largest provider of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan. With this contribution, the American people have provided nearly $1.5 billion since the start of the crisis, reaching approximately 1.3 million people every month with much-needed food, clean water, health care, shelter and other essential support. The entire aid package, including more than 344,000 tons of U.S. food, as well as contributions from other donors have helped avert famine for two consecutive years.

Conditions in South Sudan pose significant challenges to reaching people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Roads wash out during the rainy season and warring parties continue to block aid and target humanitarian staff and cargo. Humanitarian partners are addressing these challenges by delivering food and other vital supplies by plane and helicopter to people in remote areas.

“USAID remains committed to saving the lives and supporting the aspirations of the South Sudanese people,” said Deputy Assistant Administrator Leavitt. “The peace agreement signed in August provides the best chance for a return to peace and development. Its implementation is urgently needed. We urge South Sudan’s leaders to allow aid to reach the most vulnerable people and to implement all elements of the peace agreement without delay.”

World Bank provides hope for young people and women in Palestine

WASHINGTON – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors on December 18, 2015 approved a US$5 million grant focused on job creation in Palestine. The Finance for Jobs project aims at catalyzing private investment in high potential sectors for job creation.


A group of Palestinian youths are using the ruins in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip for practicing their parkour skills

This initial Finance for Jobs Project – which is anticipated to be one in a series – will test the effectiveness of selected financial interventions. This will commence with a matching grant instrument to foster job creation through support to business start-up investment funds currently operating in Palestine.  The series of projects will build on lessons learned and achievements over time and will scale-up the design in the direction of the most efficient financing.

“Jobs are among the most pressing issues in Palestine. In the absence of new private sector investment, there is a limited potential for new employment. It is crucial to identify new ways and means to bring sustainable transformational impacts on the livelihoods of the Palestinian people despite the difficult investment climate,” said Steen Lau Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

According to the WB press release, the Palestinian population continues to grow at an annual rate of 3 percent while a quarter of the Palestinian labor force is unemployed. Amongst Gaza’s youth, the rate exceeds 60 percent. In a context of fragility and conflict, there is a need to mobilize private sector financing and know-how in support of jobs and entrepreneurship. However, the political instability and the continued restrictions on movement, access, and trade subdue the private sector to perform below its potential.

The project, the WB states,  will develop a  new financing instrument ‘Development Impact Bonds’ to support private sector focused skills development, particularly for youth ages 18–29 years with a targeted share of 30 percent women. The Development Impact Bond is designed to crowd-in private sector financing of skills training. The investors are then remunerated based on achieving specific job-related outcomes. This will foster a closer link between private sector needs and skills supply and bring private sector efficiencies to service delivery. Other financial support will also be investigated as part of the project with a view to increasing new private investment for jobs.

“The Development Impact Bonds will help improve the employment generation. The skills mismatch in the labor market is a key constraint to employment outcomes, especially for youth and women. This new funding model seeks to increase efficiency in program implementation to ensure job creation,” said Abdalwahab Khatib, World Bank Private Sector Development Specialist.

The private sector will benefit of capacity building services and better qualified staff. In addition, the public-private collaboration to facilitate market incentives and new development policies will have social and economic returns – ones that ensure financial stability and promote social inclusion.

Story adapted from WB report

Amnesty International disappointed over Japan executions

A report published today by Amnesty International has called the execution of two men in Japan as reprehensible.

AI said the Japanese authorities’ reprehensible use of the death penalty shows no sign of letting up as another two men were executed today, taking the total number of executions to 14 under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Amnesty International said.

The Japanese authorities’ willingness to put people to death is chilling and must end now before more lives are lost.
Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

Sumitoshi Tsuda, 63, was hanged in the early hours of Friday morning at Tokyo detention centre, the first execution of a person sentenced to death in a lay judge trial. He was convicted in 2011 of killing three of his neighbours. Kazuyuki Wakabayashi, 39, was executed at Sendai detention centre in north-east Japan. He was sentenced to death in 2007 for robbery and violence which left two people dead.

“The Japanese authorities’ willingness to put people to death is chilling and must end now before more lives are lost. The death penalty is not justice or an answer to tackling crime, it is a cruel form of punishment that flies in the face of respect for life,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

“Japan should immediately introduce an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.”

Japan is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the death penalty and among a small minority of countries around the world that continue to execute people. In 2014, only 22 countries carried out executions while, as at November 2015, 140 countries globally have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

The Mongolian parliament passed legislation in early December that will abolish the death penalty in the country when it comes into effect in September 2016.

“If the politicians of Japan don’t step up and show some leadership, as President Elbegdorj of Mongolia did, Japan will continue to fall behind the times,” said Roseann Rife.

“Japan’s continued use of the death penalty makes it stand out for all the wrong reasons – across the world, and increasingly also in the East Asia region.”


Executions in Japan are shrouded in secrecy with prisoners typically given only a few hours’ notice, but some may be given no warning at all. Their families and lawyers are usually notified about the execution only after it has taken place.

The lack of adequate legal safeguards for death row inmates in Japan has been widely criticized by UN experts.

This includes defendants being denied adequate legal counsel and a lack of a mandatory appeal process for capital cases. Several prisoners with mental and intellectual disabilities are also known to have been executed or remain on death row.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.