What We’re Reading 5/19/09

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Financial Times—UN to bridge funding gap on health
An initiative aimed at bridging the funding gap to meet basic health needs in developing countries is due to be launched in Geneva today by Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary-general. The UN says that in addition to government aid, billions of dollars are needed to meet its 2015 global targets for reducing maternal and child deaths from Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

Financial Times—Big-hitters side with Obama over IMF
The Obama administration turned to a group of Republican and Democrat big-hitters on Monday to bolster its attempt to win congressional approval for more money for the International Monetary Fund. A string of former secretaries of State and Treasury, including Hank Paulson and Condoleezza Rice, wrote to Congressional leaders urging them to approve President Obama’s request for $108 billion more for the IMF. The president promised at the G20 meeting last month to increase the US contribution to the IMF to help it combat the global downturn, and pressed other countries to do the same.

BBC News—World Bank resumes Zimbabwe aid
The World Bank has agreed to give Zimbabwe $22 million, its first assistance to the heavily-indebted African country since 2000. Zimbabwe has been appealing for $8.5 billion to rebuild its broken economy after forming a unity government in February. The World Bank said the relatively small amount of money was “a first step,” and more could be forthcoming.

AFP—Angola slashes cholera cases: WHO
Angola has slashed the incidence of cholera so far this year, despite major flooding that normally heightens the risk of the water-borne disease, World Health Organisation data showed. In the first five months of 2008, the WHO detected 7,740 cases of cholera with 198 fatalities in Angola, but in the same period this year, the WHO has only recorded 681 cases and three deaths, with only five of Angola’s 18 provinces affected. The WHO credited the drop to community education and improved sanitation.

AllAfrica.com—Why Obama Chose Ghana
The website AllAfrica.com puts together a compilation of media coverage from around the world reacting to the news that President Obama will visit Ghana in his first trip to Africa as President of the United States.

Reuters—Poor countries ‘far from ready’ for flu pandemic
Africa is “far from being ready” for a pandemic of H1N1 flu (or Swine Flu), and developing countries in Asia and Latin America will need help accessing life-saving drugs and vaccines, top health officials said yesterday. Addressing the World Health Organisation’s annual congress, Tonga’s health minister said it was lucky the H1N1 strain had spread first to affluent countries such as the United States, Canada, Spain, Britain and Japan.

-Steve Wilson

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