On the second floor of a concrete building washed with faded pink paint, several Syrian boys arrange a set of nine cubes, the faces of which are covered with different stickers. Occasional squabbles arise over who is holding which block and which way it should go, but those disputes are mild and tend to end quickly. Each time they complete one arrangement, they proudly present it to the adults watching over them, and then feverishly tear it apart to reassemble the blocks into something new.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on November 14, which is World Diabetes Day, that diabetes now affects 382 million people globally, killing one person every six seconds. It is one of the four noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), along with cancer, heart and lung disease that account for two-thirds of all deaths globally. That’s why advocates want NCDs embedded in the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.
According to Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of The World Food Prize Foundation, “The greatest challenge that humans face is whether we can sustainably feed the nine billion people who will be on planet by 2050.” With food security a central focus of both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda, it is no wonder that the winner of this year’s Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application was Dr. Charity Mutegi.
On World Polio Day, children in some of Africa’s most troubled regions continue to be impacted by this infectious disease despite decades of global progress, with dozens of new cases reported in the Horn of Africa so far this year.
The potential dangers of two new strains of virus—the novel coronavirus (known as MERs) and H7N9 avian flu—as well as updates on the fight to eradicate polio and a comprehensive monitoring framework on noncommunicable diseases were just some of the health issues discussed at the 66th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA).
The World Food Programme (WFP) is preparing to provide food and relief supplies to as many as 7 million people in Syria and neighboring nations by the end of the year. According to the agency’s executive director, Ertharin Cousin, this daunting task is complicated by the deteriorating security situation, which has included brazen attacks on relief workers.
World Malaria Day is meant to draw acute attention to the persistent problem of this disease. NGOs, corporations, governments and donors are using this opportunity to come together and raise global awareness.
While the impact of HIV/AIDS is highly publicized, what often receives less attention is the unequal effect this disease has on women. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 30.7 million adults were living with HIV globally. Of those, approximately half were women. Yet that percentage remains far higher in certain regions.
Recently, Dr. Mark Dybul, the newly appointed executive director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, wrote an impassioned plea in The Huffington Post,underscoring the urgency of funding disease prevention and treatment programs throughout the world.