global health weekly news

February 22 2016

Good morning,

Happy Monday! Today is World Thinking Day, which has been celebrated every year since 1926. Here are a couple things to think about while you sip your coffee this morning.

global health

This year's El Niño may have been the strongest yet, although it's still too early to say. We have passed the peak, but it will continue to have both meteorological and humanitarian impacts. Communities in Southern Africa, the Horn of Africa and Central America have been hit the hardest. In many areas, planting has not been possible, and staple foods will be badly hit throughout 2016. South Africa has had a drop of 25% from the production levels last season, which puts them 36% below the five-year average. Efforts will have to be made to make sure communities can get the food they'll need as El Niño wanes.

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With Climate Change and El Niño in the news daily right now (through Zika or otherwise), The New York Times has made an interactive web-page to check how much warmer any city was in 2015, given that scientists declared it Earth’s hottest year on record.

The WHO has called mosquito control the "most immediate line of defense" against the Zika infection, paving the way for the genetically modified mosquitos to be released. Trials show they can reduce an insect population up to 90%. Professor Michael Bonsall of Oxford reminds us that "we don't necessarily have to eradicate mosquitoes from an ecosystem to have an affect on disease dynamics."

Samah al-Gadi won a Sudanese competition two years ago for young entrepreneurs pitching business ideas. Her business of turning the water hyacinth weed into tablemats, coasters, bags, purses and rope is just getting started, but already she has inspired her town with the hope of new local community job creation. Samah is excited to show the women of her community what they are capable of.

For decades, India has relied on female sterilization as its primary mode of contraception, funding about four million tubal ligations every year, more than any other country. This year, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a major step forward, introducing injectable contraceptives free of charge in government facilities.

Related - Research has shown that, globally, 30% of maternal deaths and 10% of child deaths could be prevented if women spaced their pregnancies two years apart.


In Burundi this week, they have banned the use of commercial motorbikes from the centre of Bujumbura, in a bid to end violence in the city.

Unicef has reported a doubling of the number of children being brought to clinics suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will step up peace efforts by visiting Burundi for talks tomorrow (Tuesday) with President Pierre Nkurunziza. The Security Council is now likely to request options for sending U.N. police, as Nkurunziza had previously expressed interest in the possibility of international assistance for Burundi's police.

fun tidbit

For the first time in four years the weather conditions have finally been perfect to see Yosemite Falls "turn to lava". This only happens in February, when the sunset comes through the trees at the perfect angle to get this incredible effect. Photographers camp out hours in advance to get the perfect photo.
Today is also National Margarita Day, as an alternative celebration to World Thinking Day.

Have a lovely week.