Center for Humanitarian Health Weekly Newsletter
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The Humanitarian Health Weekly Newsletter

Center for Humanitarian Health News

Contribute to setting research priorities for cash programming for health and nutrition in humanitarian settings

Do you want to contribute to setting a global research agenda on cash transfer programming for health and nutrition in humanitarian settings? 
If so this is your opportunity! On behalf of the World Health Organization and the Global Health Cluster (GHC) and Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC), we would like to invite you to participate in an online survey.
Cash programming is increasingly used and promoted in humanitarian responses (ODI 2015). However, experiences to use cash transfer modalities to support access to health goods and services in humanitarian crises, and the evidence on the link between cash transfers and health and/or nutrition, remain limited (The World Bank 2016; Pega et al. 2015). Following a consultation with partners, it was agreed to document experiences in the field, and to promote research (WHO 2016). Having a research agenda with a prioritised list of research questions will help to guide and promote future research on this topic.
Online survey
An online survey is an important part of this research priority setting. In this survey, we ask those with (some) knowledge and/or experience on this topic what they think are the most important research questions to address gaps in knowledge and evidence to inform cash transfer programming for health and nutrition in humanitarian settings
If you would like to be involved, please click below to complete the 15 minute survey:
English Survey Version | French Survey Version
Survey will be open for 3 weeks, until 19 April 2017, 23:59 hours (GMT)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact:  Thank you in advance for your participation.

Upcoming Center Event

The High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will deliver an address at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Wednesday April 12, 2017
Sheldon Hall
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Click here for webcast the day of the event
RSVP for in-person tickets HERE

Sponsored by the Bloomberg School
Center for Humanitarian Health and Center for Public Health and Human Rights

Recent Publications

Rubenstein, L., Spiegel, P. The revised US refugee ban, health, and security (2017) The Lancet.

Humanitarian Emergency News, Special Reports and Updates

Humanitarian Emergency News

Week of March 27th - April 2, 2017

Colombia mudslide, flooding kill 254 in midnight deluge 

Heavy rains caused several rivers to overflow, pushing sediment and rocks onto buildings and roads in the capital of southwestern Putumayo province. Flooding and mudslides in the Colombian city of Mocoa sent torrents of water and debris crashing onto houses in the early hours of Saturday morning, killing 254 people, injuring hundreds and sending terrified residents, some in their pajamas, scrambling to evacuate. The army said in a statement that 254 people were killed, 400 people had been injured and 200 were missing. More than 1,100 soldiers and police officers were called in to help dig people out in 17 affected neighborhoods. Read more.
We are not the world: Inside the “perfect storm” of famine
Like the four countries facing extreme hunger crises today, the famine that gripped Ethiopia from 1983 to 1985 struggled for attention until it was far too late. By 1984, 200,000 mostly starving Ethiopians had died, young children often the first to go. The final toll was closer to one million. More than three decades later, the stakes are arguably even higher. A badly strained humanitarian system finds itself facing not one but four vast challenges. In all, more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation and famine across South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeastern Nigeria. The simple answer is conflict. It’s the one factor that afflicts all four famine-facing regions listed above. And that’s not to mention how the effects of war in places like Iraq and Syria, including the mass migration to Europe, have drained valuable humanitarian resources and donor dollars. And garnering the attention required to generate the $4.4 billion the UN says is required by July to stave off a humanitarian “catastrophe” is only part of the battle. Devising the correct response strategy and securing the necessary access in complex and fragmented war zones is likely to be even harder. These four famines or near-famines do have similarities, but they also have different origins, different trajectories, and therefore different needs. Local factors are at play, with each country prone to its own combination of flaring conflict, weak governance, poor infrastructure, and failing markets. Read more.

Half of all health facilities in war-torn Yemen now closed; medicines urgently needed – UN

More than 14 million people in Yemen have no access to health services, warning that transportation of medical personnel and treatment for the injured is getting increasingly difficult as this week the fighting enters its third year. At least 7,719 people have been killed and 42,922 injured since 19 March 2015, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported, but the actual numbers are believed to be higher. At least 274 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed because of the conflict, and some 44 health workers either killed or injured. health facilities such as the chemo-dialysis center in Hudaydah, is on the brink of ceasing operations, as there is no more fuel to run the obsolete chemo-dialysis machines. The long-term impact of the conflict is also having detrimental effects on the country’s food system and infrastructure. In addition to malnutrition, children face malaria and dengue fever, both of which have been on the rise in the past two months. Read more.
Unaccompanied Refugee Children at Extreme Risk in the Balkans

An estimated 1,300 unaccompanied child refugees and migrants are at an increased risk of exploitation, violence and trafficking due to the restrictive border policies and inadequate social protection systems across the Balkans. The risks associated with smuggling and trafficking have risen significantly since borders shut and the EU-Turkey deal was implemented one year ago. These restrictive policies have meant that unaccompanied children are now forced to travel under the radar, almost entirely relying on smugglers and traffickers to aid their journey. Some children are exploited by smugglers who force them to work to raise enough money to continue their journeys north, leaving them wide open to abuse. Some national systems along the route are failing to identify and adequately support these severely vulnerable children, some as young as nine, who have fled war or poverty and travelled under the radar for thousands of kilometers without parent or guardian. They are invisible to the authorities, and in some cases even when identified, they are placed in inadequate conditions, sometimes even detained. Read more.

Special Reports

Handmade Dolls Bring Hidden Tales of War-Torn Syria to Life

In April last year, the Mousalli family – a Lebanese father, Syrian mother, and their daughters Marianne and Melina – decided to bring the stories and dreams of Syrian mothers in war-torn Aleppo closer to the world. Through a relative who remains in Syria, they collect the stories of ordinary Syrians, then turn them into sketches and have them embroidered onto cotton dolls by Syrian refugee women. Entitled ‘The Ana Collection’ – the word ‘Ana’ means ‘me’ in Arabic – the project seeks to address the hidden pain of Syrians who remain inside a country ravaged by war, through art and self-expression. The project has brought out two collections: ‘From Inside Aleppo’ and ‘The Holiday Collection,’ in which children from Aleppo expressed their wishes for Christmas. It is currently working on a third, ‘Stories from the Bekaa’, relating stories and dreams from refugees living in the Bekaa Valley in east Lebanon. The price for a doll ranges from US$25 to US$65, depending on its size. Proceeds are channeled back to the mothers and children behind the stories and in part cover the production costs and the compensation for the 80 women embroiderers in Lebanon. Read more.

Global Aid Network’s New Digital Platform Offers ‘Radical Transparency’ in Aid Spending 

Start Network has launched a new online platform that will allow its members, donors and the public to monitor humanitarian alerts as they happen, follow how money is spent, and see how many people have been helped. Start Network’s innovative portal, made public for the first time March 28, means that every aid agency project supported by the Start Fund in crises around the world can be viewed and its outcome evaluated by anyone who visits the website. The Start Fund, a pooled rapid-response fund, is run collectively by Start Network’s 42 aid agency members around the world. The fund has enabled members to intervene in 99 emergencies, helping more than 5 million people since April 2014. Details of current projects will be made available as they unfold in real time, and information about projects already completed will be easily accessible. The Start Fund uses a three-stage alert and decision-making process to decide when and whether to intervene in a crisis, with members involved at every stage. It was set up to tackle below-the-radar emergencies or sudden “spikes” in humanitarian need within longer running crises, plugging the gap in more traditional sources of funding. It seeks to be collective, impartial and objective, and it aims to have money on its way within 72 hours of an alert being raised. Read more.
EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: steady progress and new projects for education and health launched
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Through humanitarian assistance, a €34 million contract was recently signed with UNICEF on Conditional Cash Transfer for Education. This project will build on the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) program, providing families with targeted cash transfers to encourage school enrollment and attendance of the most vulnerable refugee children. In addition, four projects have been signed with a total value of €25 million that will focus on primary health care services and the provision of specialized services. Three projects have also been signed for a total value of €16.65 million that will focus on the protection needs of vulnerable refugees. Under the longer-term assistance, a €5 million education contract has been signed with the NGO Spark. It will be implemented by the EU Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis and will provide 484 Syrian students with full scholarships on Bachelor level, including transport and subsistence allowance. Read more.

Humanitarian Health Updates

South Sudan: Food from the skies as communities slip deeper into hunger 

Air drops: food from the skies, are the last option to deliver supplies to the hungry, but in many parts of South Sudan, such as Maar, in Jonglei Province, they have become the only option. The ICRC began food drops to Maar in March this year, aiming to reach 20,000 people. But such deliveries are only a short-term measure, an attempt to avoid the disaster of famine for a few months perhaps. Conflict has made more efficient deliveries by road impossible. The United Nations has already declared a famine in parts of South Sudan, and the ICRC is dropping tons of food aid to thousands of displaced civilians, and the communities who are hosting them. Every time an airdrop happens, thousands gather, waiting patiently for what is sometimes their first real food in days. The communities hosting the displaced are under strain: there just isn’t enough food to go around. Read more.
As famine looms, malnutrition and disease rise sharply among children in Somalia
As the specter of famine hangs once again over Somalia, early numbers show an increasing number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and cholera or acute watery diarrhea (AWD) — a combination that killed many children in the famine of 2011. More than 35,400 children suffering from SAM were treated with life-saving therapeutic food at hundreds of nutrition centers across Somalia in January and February, a 58 percent increase over the same period in 2016. As of 28 March, more than 18,400 cases of cholera / AWD had been reported since the beginning of the year, far surpassing the 15,600 cases reported in all of 2016. Most the cases are among young children. There are no precise figures currently available for the number of children who have died due to hunger or malnutrition, in part because many succumb to disease and infection, but children suffering from SAM are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child. Read more.
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