September 9, 2014
African Union peacekeepers in Somalia rape women seeking medicine on their bases and routinely pay teenage girls for sex, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. From Reuters:
HRW documented 10 incidents of rape and sexual assault, including the rape of a 12-year-old girl, by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in 2013 and 2014.
The rights group said most of the incidents took place on AMISOM bases in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where women come for medical care and to beg for food.
“Where this case is particularly shocking is the direct use of humanitarian assistance to lure these women in,” said Laetitia Bader, one of the report’s authors.
“These were displaced women coming in to get medical assistance and it’s when they are in the outpatient clinics that they get approached by a Somali intermediary who says: ‘Why don’t you come back to the base? We’ll give you medication,'” Bader told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
One woman, known as Ayanna, told HRW she was gang raped at gunpoint by six Burundian soldiers after going to their outpatient clinic to get medicine for her sick baby.
One of the three other women who were also raped at the same time was badly hurt.
“We carried the injured woman home,” she told HRW. “Three of us walked out of the base carrying her… She couldn’t stand.”
The soldiers threw packets of porridge, cookies and $5 at the women as they left, she said.
Global Health and Development Beat
A $350 million gift pledged to Harvard University’s School of Public Health will help bolster research in several key areas including global pandemics, officials said.
US President Barack Obama said the international community needs to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, where he said a lack of public health infrastructure has led to the spread of a “containable problem.”
Tanzanians living with HIV/AIDS are appealing to government to formulate clear policies to raise awareness on their rights.
Every year, over 250 medical workers leave Uganda to work, mainly, in South Africa, Botswana and the United Arab Emirates, ministry of Health statistics show.
Britain will send military and humanitarian experts to Sierra Leone to set up a medical treatment center to care for victims of the Ebola outbreak there, the British High Commission said on its Twitter feed on Monday.
Oxford University scientists have developed a map of areas where animals are likely to be infected with the Ebola virus. They say it’s a first step toward predicting where future outbreaks might occur.
Poverty, stigma and fear of the fatal condition are hampering efforts to find new homes for children who have lost their parents to Ebola in Sierra Leone, reports the Guardian.
Buzzing in the Blogs
Dr Lance Gordon takes to the Gates Foundation blog to discuss some promising news on the fight against dengue fever. An excerpt:
The fight against dengue fever received a tremendous boost yesterday, as Sanofi Pasteur announced pivotal results from the final Phase III trial of its candidate dengue vaccine. In a study of 20,000 children and adolescents in Latin America, the vaccine was shown to reduce the number of dengue cases by 61 percent.
The study showed that the vaccine was safe to use and effective against all four types of the dengue virus. Crucially, the number of hospitalizations due to dengue dropped by 80 percent. By keeping people healthy and reducing the severity of illness, the vaccine could have a significant impact on the most dangerous and costly consequences of dengue.
These results are consistent with those from a parallel phase III trial conducted in Asia, which concluded earlier this year.
Although dengue is considered a “neglected” disease by the World Health Organization, it has an enormous global footprint. Dengue affects more than 100 countries, with estimates of 100 million infections and 20,000 deaths every year. And until now we haven’t had any tools to fight the disease and its worldwide spread.
While subject to regulatory review, these trial results could be a major development in global health and provide the latest evidence of the transformative power of vaccines. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation salutes Sanofi for its more than 20-year investment in the development of a dengue vaccine – an extraordinary commitment that could now benefit millions.
8:30 AM – From Conflict to Reconstruction: Generating and Using Evidence to Address Short-term Health Needs and Build Long-term Capacity – SID
12:30 PM – Feeding the World: Is sustainable Intesification the Answer? – SAIS
9:00 AM – Careers in Development featuring Paul Gunette: Agribusiness, Food Security and Global Development – CSIS
12:15 PM – Building Resilience in the Face of Climate Change and Weather Shocks – IFRI
9:30 AM – More Power to Her: How Empowering Girls Can Help End Child Marriage – ICRW
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
Have a news or story tip? Email us at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Opinions presented in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of PSI.