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News in Brief 29 January 2020

News in Brief 29 January 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Boosting pneumonia fight could save lives of 9 million children

Boosting efforts to fight pneumonia could avert nearly 9 million child deaths this decade from pneumonia and other major diseases, a new analysis has found ahead of the first ever global forum on childhood pneumonia taking place this week.

According to a new model from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, scaling up pneumonia treatment and prevention services can save the lives of 3.2 million children under-five.

That would create a so-called ‘ripple effect’ that would prevent 5.7 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time.

“If we are serious about saving the lives of children”, said UN Children’s Fund Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, “we have to get serious about fighting pneumonia.

“As the current coronavirus outbreak shows, this means improving timely detection and prevention”, she added.

Pneumonia is the biggest single killer of children worldwide, claiming the lives of 800,000 children last year, or 1 child every 39 seconds.

‘Unprecedented threat’ from rising numbers of Desert Locusts

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday that rising numbers of Desert Locusts present an “extremely alarming and unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods” in the Horn of Africa.

According to FAO's latest update on the Desert Locust upsurge, the current situation is set to get worse as new breeding creates infestations in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.  

South Sudan and Uganda are at risk and there is also concern about new swarms forming in Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

"Urgent efforts must be made to stop them from increasing to protect the livelihoods of farmers and livestock holders", said Keith Cressman, Senior Locust Forecasting Officer at FAO.  

DR Congo can rise above ‘deadly cocktail’ of conflict, rights violations

The UN human rights chief has ended a five-day mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with a call on both the country’s Government and the international community “to seize the opportunity that currently exists to lift the country out of its deadly cocktail of conflicts, human rights violations and chronic socio-economic problems.”

Michelle Bachelet said there were grounds for optimism, given the first peaceful transfer of power since independence, which “makes positive change a possibility.”

The DRC has been gripped by decades of war, involving dozens of armed groups, corruption and political instability, exacerbated by the worst Ebola outbreak in its history.

High Commissioner Bachelet said that while it will take a “concerted and sustained effort over many years” to resolve entrenched problems, “some of the means towards solutions have been clearly identified, and there have been signs of progress in a few areas, most notably in the release of political prisoners and activists.”

Matt Wells, UN News.

  • Boosting pneumonia fight could save lives of 9 million children

  • ‘Unprecedented threat’ from rising numbers of Desert Locusts

  • DR Congo can rise above ‘deadly cocktail’ of conflict, rights violations

Audio Credit
Matt Wells, UN News
Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Siegfried Modola