Friday July 19, 2019

World Bank sets up multi-donor trust to help India battle air pollution

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

According to the Word Health Organization, 2012 witnessed death of an estimated 7 million people only due to indoor and outdoor pollution. To curb this deadly issue, government officials from India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa pledged together to improve people health by eliminating the air pollution.

With an initial total allocation of around $45 million, a new multi-donor trust watched over by World Bank aims at improving air quality in five major urban regions in India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. It is anticipated that the program could contribute greatly towards environmental health conditions for an estimated 150 million people in those cities over the next five years, a World Bank media release said

It also mentioned that Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) program will encourage other countries and cities of Sub-Saharan Africa, and endeavors to reduce land and water pollution.

The PMEH program, backed by a new multi-donor trust fund will support countries to reduce air, land and water pollution levels through pollution management planning. It will also help in generating new knowledge on pollution and its health impacts in urban, rural and marine areas.

Earlier, Paula Caballero, Senior Director, Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank had said, “Improving air quality can be achieved in the face of urbanization when proactive leaders are willing to institute the right policies and investments.”

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Efforts to Contain Spread of Ebola Virus to Remain Elusive Unless Cycle of Violence is Broken

A senior World Health Organization official warns efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus

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Ebola workers enter a house to decontaminate the body of a woman suspected of dying from Ebola, before the vehicle of the health ministry Ebola response team was attacked in Beni, northeastern Congo Monday, June 24, 2019. VOA

A senior World Health Organization official warns efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo will remain elusive unless the vicious cycle of violence in the region is broken.  Latest WHO figures put the number of Ebola cases at 2284, including 1540 deaths and 637 survivors.

WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response Ibrahima Soce Fall says there has been good progress in scaling up operations to contain the spread of the deadly ebola virus in conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

Fall has just returned from a three-month stint in Butembo, the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic in DR Congo.  He says last week there were 79 new Ebola cases, 27 fewer than the previous week.  He says infections are continuing to fall in the major urban centers of Butembo and Katwa thanks to coverage in all 33 health areas.

At the same time, he tells VOA the operation is running into difficulty in the rural areas of Mabalako and Mandima, the new hot spots of the epidemic.

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Congolese security forces attend the scene after the vehicle of a health ministry Ebola response team was attacked in Beni, northeastern Congo Monday, June 24, 2019. VOA

“The access is more challenging.  In the same area, we have some villages where you have both ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) armed group coming from Uganda and some Mai Mai groups,” said Fall.  “So, access needs to be assessed on a daily basis to be able to move up to the intervention.  So, it is really important to take into account this very volatile situation.”

Eastern DRC has been politically unstable since 1998.   There are an estimated 4.5 million internally displaced people in the country.  The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says new displacements are occurring mainly in the eastern provinces of Ituri and North and South Kivu.  More than 100 armed groups reportedly are engaged in sporadic fighting in the region.

Fall says constant and skilled negotiations with the armed groups are needed to gain access to these volatile areas.

“The outbreak started there last year and spread to other areas,” Fall said. “So, it is important to break this vicious cycle to contain very quickly the situation in Mabalako and Mandima, where we have more than 55 percent of the cases coming from.”

Also Read- Americans Arrive in Canada Seeking Affordable Prices for Insulin

Fall says it will be exceedingly difficult to contain the virus if more money is not immediately forthcoming.   He says $98 million is needed to support the government-led response to defeat ebola.  To date, he says less than half that amount has been received. (VOA)