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Zika Could End Up Costing Latin America and the Caribbean Up To $18 Billion, UN Reports Finds


CLICK HERE - REPORT - A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

6 April 2017 – In addition to the impact on public health, the tangible impact of the Zika outbreak, such as on gross domestic product (GDP), could cost the Latin American and the Caribbean region as much as $18 billion between 2015 and 2017, a new United Nations report has revealed.

The report Socio-economic impact assessment of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has a particular focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname – countries that first reported the outbreak in October-November 2015.

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UN: World Facing Greatest Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945


The world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, the United Nations says, issuing a plea for help to avoid "a catastrophe", BBC News reports.


UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said that more than 20 million people faced the threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

Unicef has already warned 1.4m children could starve to death this year.

Mr O'Brien said $4.4bn (£3.6bn) was needed by July to avert disaster.


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Paris Climate Change Deal Becomes International Law


(Pic: Solar Impulse/Flickr)

CLICK HERE - United Nations - Framework Convention on Climate Change - PARIS AGREEMENT - STATUS OF RATIFICATION - by The Associated Press - November 4, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — The Paris Agreement to combat climate change became international law on Friday — a landmark deal about tackling global warming amid growing fears that the world is becoming hotter even faster than scientists expected.

So far, 96 countries, accounting for just over two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have formally joined the accord, which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). More countries are expected to come aboard in the coming weeks and months.


ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - It’s official: the Paris climate deal is now international law



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Secretary-General Appoints David Nabarro of United Kingdom Special Adviser on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

                                                          - December 3, 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of David Nabarro of the United Kingdom as Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Special Adviser will work with Member States and other relevant stakeholders to galvanize action on implementation of the Agenda, while also overseeing the Secretary-General’s special initiatives, for example, “Every Woman Every Child”.

Dr. Nabarro has more than 30 years experience in public health, nutrition and development work at the national, regional and global levels, and has held positions in non-governmental organizations, universities, national Governments and the United Nations system.

Since September 2014, he has served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola, providing strategic and policy direction for the international response.  From 2005 to 2014 he was Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza.  From 2011 to 2015, he served as Coordinator of the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition, and since 2009 he has been the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition, a position he will continue to hold.

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G7 Health Ministers Propose Incentives For New Antibiotics, Commit Help On Ebola

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WATCH by Catherine Saez, Oct, 12, 2015

(Scroll down for Ministers' Statement.)

The health ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) most developed countries have issued a declaration on antimicrobial resistance and Ebola. The governments said they would explore innovative economic incentives to promote research and development of new antibiotics, such as a global antibiotic research fund and a market entry reward mechanism.

The G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States) met from 8-9 October in Berlin and agreed to the Berlin Declaration [pdf] on Antimicrobial Resistance – Global Union for Antibiotics Research and Development (GUARD), aimed at supporting developing countries to develop national antimicrobial resistance action plans.

The G7 health ministers also issued a commitment on lessons learned from Ebola, and supported the 2005 World Health Organization International Health Regulations (IHR), insisting on the need to comply with them.

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Ebola countries record first week with no new cases

BBC   Oct. 8, 2015  
(Scroll down for WHO Report.)                     

The three West African countries at the heart of the Ebola epidemic recorded their first week with no new cases since the outbreak began in March 2014.

                               The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 11,000 people

The outbreak has so far killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

New cases have fallen sharply in 2015, but the WHO has warned that the disease could break out again.

Read complete story.


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Offline: A pervasive failure to learn the lessons of Ebola

THE LANCET by Richard Horton                         Sept. 12, 2015

LONDON-- Post-Ebola reverie has given birth to a plethora of expert panels to consider what went wrong. The latest parade of global health specialists appointed to learn lessons gathered at the Wellcome Trust in London last week.
 Under the auspices of the US Institute of Medicine (IOM), a Commission to “deliberate and evaluate options to strengthen global, regional, and local systems to better prepare, detect, and respond to epidemic diseases” spent 2 days amassing evidence.

 There was no shortage of experience brought to bear on these important matters. Here were Margaret Chan, Jeremy Farrar, Ilona Kickbusch, David Heymann, Larry Gostin, Joy Phumaphi, Joanne Liu, and Peter Piot all wrestling with a seemingly intractable challenge. The statements offered to the Commission were arresting. But  the purpose of the meeting was not to talk. It was to identify the best system for an epidemic response....
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WHO Director-General addresses the Review Committee of the International Health Regulations focused on the Ebola response

Opening remarks at the Review Committee on the role of the International Health Regulations in the Ebola outbreak and response Geneva, Switzerland by Dr. Margaret Chen Director-General of the World Health Organization
24 August 2015

....Since Ebola first emerged in 1976, WHO and its partners have responded to 22 previous outbreaks of this disease. Even the largest were contained within four to six months....

In West Africa, WHO, and many others, were late in recognizing the potential of the outbreak to grow so explosively. Some warning signals were missed. Why?

Our challenge now is to look for improvements that leave the world better prepared for the next inevitable outbreak.

Managing the global regime for controlling the international spread of disease is a central and historical responsibility of the World Health Organization. We need to pinpoint the reasons why the response fell short,. We need to learn the lessons. We need to put in place corrective strategies just as quickly as possible....

Read complete speech.

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Ebola: What Happened

(Scroll down for Laurie Garett's essay "Ebola's Lessons.")

With a rapidly growing and urbanizing population, persistent poverty, and weak governance, Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be the source of new epidemics that potentially could spread around the world. Understanding the disastrous response of African governments, international institutions, and donor governments to the Ebola epidemic is essential if history is not to be repeated yet again. That makes Laurie Garrett’s essay, “Ebola’s Lessons,” in the September/October 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs, essential reading.

The Ebola virus treatment center where four people are currently being treated is seen in Paynesville, Liberia, July 16, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/James Giahyue)

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How The Department of Defense Helped Confront Ebola

GEORGETOWN PUBLIC POICY REVIEW by Col.Russell E. Coleman   Aug. 12, 2015
WASHNGTON -- More than 10,000 people have died of Ebola virus disease (EVD) since the outbreak in West Africa began in December 2013. An epidemic of this magnitude, whether naturally occurring or caused by a biowarfare agent, could compromise both the U.S. health care system and the U.S. military’s ability to defend this country and its allies.

This possibility, long recognized by the Department of Defense (DoD), drives the department’s development of medical countermeasures. The response to the current Ebola outbreak demonstrates how DoD prepares for a medical threat without knowing (1) where it will happen, (2) when it might happen, (3) what the disease will be, and (4) what local resources will be immediately available.

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