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Informal briefing by the Secretary-General on the United Nations' New Approach to Cholera in Haiti

webtv.un.org - 1 Dec 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today apologized to the people of Haiti, expressing deep regret for the loss of life and suffering caused by the country’s cholera epidemic, and outlined the way forward including immediate steps to stem the outbreak and long-term support for those affected – while also highlighting the need for adequate funding of the proposal.

CLICK HERE - United Nations News Centre - UN’s Ban apologizes to people of Haiti, outlines new plan to fight cholera epidemic and help communities

CLICK HERE - Secretary-General's remarks to the General Assembly on a New Approach to Address Cholera in Haiti [Trilingual version, as delivered] [scroll down for English]

CLICK HERE - United Nations General Assembly - A new approach to cholera in Haiti - Report by the Secretary-General (16 page .PDF report)

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Haiti: UN’s New Approach on Cholera Puts People at Heart of the Response

submitted by John Carroll



30 November 2016 – The response to cholera in Haiti will be a “long and thorough battle,” but the United Nations will stand by the Haitian people and authorities, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, on the eve of the launch of the Organization's new approach to tackling the epidemic in the country.

The new approach was announced last August and will be launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 1 December. It includes rapid interventions in areas where cases are reported and the prevention of future high-risk public health crises.

The new approach on cholera also focuses on people and proposes the establishment of a program of material assistance and support to Haitians directly affected by the disease.



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Zika in Fetal Brain Tissue Responds to a Popular Antibiotic

Infection of developing human brain with the Zika virus (green) highlights susceptibility of radial glial cells during fetal development. Image by Elizabeth Di Lullo

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Zika virus cell tropism in the developing human brain and inhibition by azithromycin

ucsf.edu - by Laura Kurtzman - November 29, 2016

Working in the lab, UC San Francisco researchers have identified fetal brain tissue cells that are targeted by the Zika virus and determined that azithromycin, a common antibiotic regarded as safe for use during pregnancy, can prevent the virus from infecting these cells . . .

 . . . In the new study, published online Nov. 29, 2016, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the UCSF researchers determined that the Zika virus preferentially infects brain cells with an abundance of a protein called AXL, which spans the outer cell membrane of several cell types and serves as a gateway for the invading virus . . . 

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Midwives saving lives in hurricane-devastated Haiti

The hospital in Beaumont was completely destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. Midwives have been deployed to serve women in areas where health systems have been devastated. © UNFPA/Eddie Wright

Image: The hospital in Beaumont was completely destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. Midwives have been deployed to serve women in areas where health systems have been devastated. © UNFPA/Eddie Wright

unfpa.org - November 28th 2016 - Vario Serant

"I was twisting in pain this Friday,” 31-year-old Emmanuella Jeanty told UNFPA, describing her labour pains. She was in Beaumont, a town in southwest Haiti where Hurricane Matthew had left a trail of devastation just one month earlier.

Life was already rough for women and their babies before the hurricane.


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Texas Reports First Case of Zika Spread by Local Mosquitoes


CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Texas Announces Local Zika Virus Case in Rio Grande Valley

reuters.com - by Julie Steenhuysen - November 28, 2016

Texas health officials on Monday reported the state's first case of Zika likely spread by local mosquitoes, making Texas the second state within the continental United States to report local transmission of the virus that has been linked to birth defects.

The case involved a woman living in Cameron County near the Mexico border who is not pregnant, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

Pregnancy is the biggest concern with Zika because the virus can cause severe, life-long birth defects, including microcephaly, in which a child is born with an abnormally small head, a sign its brain has stopped growing normally . . .

 . . . In adults, Zika infections have also been linked to a rare neurological syndrome known as Guillain-Barre, as well as other neurological disorders.


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Prepare for 'Surprise' as Global Warming Stokes Arctic Shifts - Scientists


The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies in the Arctic Ocean in this July 12, 2011 NASA handout photo. Kathryn Hansen/NASA via REUTERS/File Photo

"Ultimately, realising resilience in the Arctic will depend on empowering the people of the North to self-organise"

CLICK HERE - Stockholm Resilience Centre - Dealing with Arctic tipping points

CLICK HERE - Arctic Resilience Report

Thomson Reuters Foundation - by Megan Rowling - November 25, 2016

Unless the world stops burning fossil fuels that are fuelling global warming, irreversible changes in the Arctic could have disastrous effects for the people that live there and for the rest of the planet, researchers warned on Friday.

The Arctic's ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change and other human activities, such as oil and gas extraction, they said in a report for the Arctic Council, an inter-governmental forum working to protect the region's environment.

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'White Helmets' Say Aleppo Residents 10 Days from Starvation


Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014. REUTERS/Sultan Kitaz

reuters.com - by Alistair Scrutton - November 24, 2016

The inhabitants of besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo have fewer than ten days to receive aid or face starvation and death from a lack of medical supplies, the head of the Syria Civil Defence, or "White Helmets", said on Thursday.

The volunteer group which works in opposition-held territory and has rescued thousands of people from buildings bombed in the civil war is also running out of basic equipment from trucks to diesel and gas masks . . . 

 . . . With freezing winter conditions setting in, about 275,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo, where the last U.N. food rations were distributed on Nov. 13.



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Microcephaly Found in Babies of Zika-Infected Mothers Months After Birth


A 1-year-old child, one of the patients in a new study, showed clear signs of microcephaly, but also had good eye contact. Credit van der Linden V, Pessoa A, et al. MMWR: 11.22.2016

nytimes.com - by Pam Belluck - November 22, 2016

It is the news that doctors and families in the heart of Zika territory had feared: Some babies not born with the unusually small heads that are the most severe hallmark of brain damage as a result of the virus have developed the condition, called microcephaly, as they have grown older.

The findings were reported in a study of 13 babies in Brazil that was published Tuesday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. At birth, none of the babies had heads small enough to receive a diagnosis of microcephaly, but months later, 11 of them did . . . 

 . . . The new study echoes another published this fall, in which three babies were found to have microcephaly later in their first year.


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The New Debate Over Bed Nets


A mother and her 7-month-old daughter sit beneath a mosquito net at a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia.  Roberto Schmidt /AFP/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Implications of insecticide resistance for malaria vector control (4 page .PDF file)

npr.org - by Jason Beaubien - November 22, 2016

. . . "there's growing evidence that mosquitoes are developing resistance to the insecticide used in the nets.

Now the World Health Organization has just completed a 5-year, 5-country study looking into whether nets might be becoming less effective."




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Climate Changing 'Too Fast' for Species


Tropical species are thought to be particularly vulnerable.  Thinkstock

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Rates of change in climatic niches in plant and animal populations are much slower than projected climate change

bbc.com - by Helen Briggs - November 23, 2016

Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to survive climate change, say scientists.

A study of more than 50 plants and animals suggests their ability to adapt to changes in rainfall and temperature will be vastly outpaced by future climate change.

Amphibians, reptiles and plants are particularly vulnerable, according to US researchers.

And tropical species are at higher risk than those in temperate zones.




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At The U.S.-Mexico Border, Haitians Arrive To A Harsh Reception


Haitian nationals at a Mexican government immigration office near the port of entry between Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and Nogales, Ariz., wait day after day for appointments with U.S. immigration agents so they can enter. As a result of the Haitian influx and a continuing surge of Central Americans on the Texas-Mexico border, the U.S. government has run out of detention space.  John Burnett/NPR

npr.org - by John Burnett - November 23, 2016

Desperate Haitian immigrants have been massing along the U.S.-Mexico border for months seeking humanitarian relief. In the past year more than 5,000 have sought entry into the United States — a 500 percent increase over the previous year.

After the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, thousands of citizens migrated to Brazil looking for work. But as Brazil has slipped into recession in recent years, many of them have hit the road again, heading north on a 6,000-mile journey to the U.S. border — by every means of conveyance . . .

 . . . The Homeland Security Department announced new rules in September. All Haitians who show up at the border without papers and who don't ask for asylum are now detained.

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