September 9, 2014
Almost 30 million children are out of school in emergency or conflict affected countries following the targeting of schools and the displacement of millions of children forced from their homes and studies, the United Nations Children’s Fund said today. From the UN:
“For children living through emergencies, education is a life line,” said Josephine Bourne, UNICEF’s head of global education programmes in a statement to the press, which noted that the 30 million children who’s schooling has been derailed by conflict make up about half the worldwide number of out of school children.
“Being able to continue learning provides a sense of normalcy that can help children overcome trauma, and is an investment – not only in individual children, but in the future strengthening of their societies. Without the knowledge, skills, and support education provides, how can these children and young people rebuild their lives – and their communities?”
A third of schools recently surveyed in the Central African Republic have been struck by bullets, set on fire, looted or occupied by armed forces. Over 100 schools were used as shelters for more than 300,000 people displaced during the most recent conflict in Gaza and now require rehabilitation.
Students and teachers have been killed and abducted in northeast Nigeria, including more than 200 abducted school girls who have yet to be released. In Syria, nearly three million children, half the school population, are now not attending classes on a regular basis. And approximately 290 schools have been destroyed or damaged in recent fighting in Ukraine.
Ms. Bourne outlined how UNICEF supports emergency education through efforts ranging from temporary classrooms and alternative learning spaces for internally displaced and refugee children, to the provision of millions of notebooks, backpacks and other school supplies.
The agency is also supporting self-directed studies for children who can’t leave their homes and will help provide educational radio programmes for children in Ebola-affected countries.
Global Health and Development Beat
The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak in history has risen to at least 2,296 out of 4,293 cases in five West African countries, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
Oxfam called Tuesday on rich nations to commit to accepting between them at least five percent of Syria’s three million refugees and urged them to increase aid contributions.
Few issues get more attention nowadays in Afghanistan’s aid circles than insecurity-engendered restrictions on humanitarian access, reports IRIN.
Liberia, the country worst hit by West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, should see thousands of new cases in coming weeks as the virus spreads exponentially, the WHO said.
The photographs of Jao Silva bear witness to the impact of AIDS on people in South Africa.
A significant decline in the number of new cholera cases in South Sudan in recent weeks has prompted Médecins Sans Frontières to scale down its cholera operations and will redirect resources towards other unmet health needs in the country.
Several districts in Telangana, India are in the grip of malaria and other viral fevers, reports the Times of India. “However, the absence of an effective mechanism to monitor and report diseases such as malaria and dengue is resulting in the state health department officials working with incorrect number of cases of those suffering from the diseases resulting in inadequate measures for disease control.”
Although most residents of Sierra Leone’s capital have yet to witness Ebola firsthand, the outbreak has nevertheless affected virtually all aspects of daily life.
Nationwide, about 16 percent of scientists with sustaining grants in 2012 lost them the following year, according to an NPR analysis. That left about 3,500 scientists nationwide scrambling to find money to keep their labs alive — including 35 at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Buzzing in the Blogs
An editorial from the science journal Nature, urges governments and research organizations must mobilize to end the West African outbreak. An excerpt:
The tragedy is that we know how to stop Ebola. Well-informed communities can reduce the main routes of spread by avoiding unprotected home-based care of infected people and by modifying traditional burial practices. Infection-control measures protect health-care workers. Together with rapid identification and isolation of ill people, and tracing and monitoring of their contacts for 21 days (the maximum incubation period of the disease), such measures have stopped Ebola outbreaks in the past.
But the dysfunctional health-care infrastructure of the three countries at the centre of the outbreak — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, which are poor and struggling to emerge from years of war — is simply not up to the task. The nations need help, and urgently.
The international community must mobilize now. Aid is increasing, but most of those involved, from governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) to researchers, all initially underestimated the threat. This is perhaps because most past outbreaks have been small and relatively straightforward to control.
The WHO has a part to play, but contrary to a widespread assumption, it does not have the in-house capacity to send large teams into the field. The agency’s funding for outbreak responses has been slashed, and it has shifted focus to helping countries to reinforce their health systems so that they can respond better themselves. How the international community should best react to outbreaks, and what role the bureaucratic WHO should have, is a debate for after this outbreak is over. The pressing need now is to bring all available resources and talent to bear.
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
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