September 12, 2014
Last year was a banner year for humanitarian spending due to crises in places like Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. A new report shows $22 billion was spent in 2013. From Humanosphere:
The UN’s coordinated appeals for 2013 totaled $13.2 billion in needed funding. Development Initiatives found that only 65% of the appeals were met, despite the fact that total spending exceeded the appeal. That may have to do with the attention garnered by the civil war in Syria. A total of $1.5 billion was spent in Syria, nearly twice as much as the $865 million spent in South Sudan. Despite both getting the most money, the two countries were among a group of countries experiencing a conflict-related crisis where funds were slow to materialize.
The data-driven report points to the need for thinking to shift in regards to the connection between poverty and humanitarian emergencies. Such a reality should change the way that humanitarian funding is provided by donors.
“The evidence is clear: chronic and extreme poverty is inextricably linked with vulnerability to crisis,” said Judith Randel, Executive Director of Development Initiatives.
Much of the shift is a reflection of the lessons learned from the 2011 famine and drought in the Horn of Africa, explained Sophia Swithern the Global Humanitarian Assistance Program Leader to Humanosphere. Donors such as the United States have been thinking about ways to build resilience through development programs and humanitarian spending. The idea is to support initiatives that will help people better deal with sudden hardship, like a natural disaster, spiking food prices or drought.
“Donors are now thinking about multi-year approaches,” said Swithern. “There are now 13 countries have active multi-year programs, up from only one the year before.”
Spotlight on PSI
The blog looks into the importance of person-to-person connections between community health workers and communities. An excerpt:
Jhpiego, the international nonprofit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University, has worked with a wide range of volunteers as well as paid health workers who bravely take on a wide range of those hard conversations. Here are three examples from just one country where Jhpiego works, Mozambique:
With victims of sexual violence. In the city of Maputo and four other high HIV-prevalence areas, a public health initiative supported by Jhpiego is raising awareness of gender violence, streamlining services for victims of sexual violence, and training health care workers in infection prevention and treatment protocols.“We want victims to know that even after the assault happens, it’s not over. You have a second chance and you can get help,” said Ana Baptista, the workplace safety technical coordinator at Jhpiego.
With fellow church members about cervical cancer screening. Nostina Ngomane was the first woman in her parish to get screened for cervical cancer in 2012, using the low-cost, safe, effective visual inspection with acetic acid method, also known as the vinegar approach. She has since embraced a role as a lay peer educator for early cancer screening.“Most women are positive about getting screened, but some are scared about the possibility of having cancer, of having to face that reality and what it would mean for their lives,” Ngomane said. “Sometimes I wish I could enter the hearts of those women, remove their fear and replace it with my strength.”
With other expecting mothers who are HIV-positive. Sandra Bento Nuvunga was five months pregnant when she found out she was HIV-positive. She made all the right choices – going on anti-retroviral therapy, making sure at birth her son received a dose of Nevirapine – to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. But when her son was born, in 2007, the technology at that point required her to wait a year before she knew his ultimate status. Though it was a harrowing year, he remains HIV-negative to this day. Sandra since began volunteering as an “expert patient activist” at the facility where she received her PMTCT services. ““I like to share my story with others and show that you can lead a healthy life by adhering to treatment,” she said.
Global Health and Development Beat
The world’s six multilateral development banks promised on Thursday to do more to help emerging nations fight climate change as part of efforts to reinvigorate flagging work on a U.N. deal to limit temperature rises.
NPR reports on the mentoring role played by women with HIV who work for mothers2mothers in South Africa.
A look at how traditional leaders in Niger are promoting maternal health, by IPS.
The Colombian Health Institute confirmed today four local cases of the Chikungunya virus in one municipality of the northern department of Bolivar.
In August, the ICRC and its Syrian Arab Red Crescent partner provided food aid for 530,000 people across 10 Syrian governorates, including 90,000 people living in opposition-controlled areas – the largest amount they had provided in a single month since the beginning of the armed conflict in 2011.
Economic growth in Liberia and Sierra Leone could decline by as much as 3.5 percentage points as the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has crippled the key mining, agriculture and services sectors in the two West African countries, the IMF said on Thursday.
Because of the Ebola outbreak, farmers are too frightened to tend their fields. Customers have stopped going to restaurants, bars and other shops. So now people in Liberia’s “breadbasket” region are depending on food donations.
Buzzing in the Blogs
One of the most fundamental hurdles that international actors must overcome is to engage local populations—those most affected by the outbreak—in halting the spread of the disease. Former Director General of Health Services in Uganda, Francis Omaswa, described trust-building efforts as the cornerstone of response efforts in 2000, and indeed, neither national authorities nor foreign agencies can impose outbreak control measures on local communities (as made obvious by the armed “liberation” of quarantined patients in Monrovia). Nor do these actors necessarily have the credibility to convince mistrustful communities that the disease is not a myth or a creation of Western laboratories to eradicate them.
To tackle this breach in communication, the local media and the health-care professionals long based in these countries—from west Africa or elsewhere—can and should be empowered to act as cultural mediators between public health organisations and the general population. Local engagement should include scrupulous respect for local customs, the recruitment of formal and informal community leaders and healers, close and transparent communication with print and broadcast media, and direct communication campaigns, with regular press conferences and internet and mobile communications. Only a constant flow of accurate information from a variety of trusted sources can help west Africans overcome the fear, denial and panic that typically accompany epidemia and which are exacerbating an already extreme crisis.
Just as importantly, health-care workers, medical facilities, and communities urgently need massive amounts of equipment, supplies, trained manpower, and technological support. The departure of foreign doctors without even the most basic personal protective equipment has intensified existing shortages of medical personnel. Likewise, health-care worker strikes and desertions stemming from the high risk of contagion and death among staff have led a systemic collapse of health-care services, making it virtually impossible for anyone in the affected regions —Ebola patient or not—to receive medical care. Meanwhile, food prices are soaring, threatening to reverse the fragile progress that this region has managed to achieve (often despite, not because of, Western involvement). The suspension of flights, ships, and ground transport that could alleviate at least the material needs has contributed to the widespread impression among west Africans that they alone in this crisis.
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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