This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
World Chagas Day: Early detection essential to track ‘silent’ disease
Early screening for debilitating Chagas disease needs to become standard practice to stop it from spreading further, UN health experts said on Friday, World Chagas Disease Day.
UNITAID, a global agency hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), explained that the disease affects up to seven million people, mainly in Latin America, where it is transmitted by insects known as “kissing bugs”.
According to UNITAID, up to 75 million people worldwide live in areas of exposure, putting them at risk of infection.
If not detected early, Chagas can cause serious heart and digestive problems, and can be fatal.
However, the majority of those infected have few symptoms that can go undetected for decades, which is why Chagas is also called the “silent” disease. Only around 10 per cent of people affected are diagnosed and just one per cent receive effective treatment.
To remedy this, UNITAID recommended integrating Chagas disease into primary health care, with systematic screening to prevent mother-to-child transmission and improved access to testing and treatment.
Yemen: UN envoy welcomes mass prisoner release, urges push for political solution to war
As a major exchange of prisoners linked to Yemen’s longstanding war began on Friday, UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg urged the warring sides to continue their search for a peaceful future for the embattled country.
“Nearly 900 conflict-related detainees are being released by the parties in Yemen starting today, Friday, and over the course of three days,” Mr. Grundberg’s office said in a statement.
The Special Envoy's office stressed that the release operation “comes at a time of hope for Yemen as a reminder that constructive dialogue and mutual compromises are powerful tools capable of achieving great outcomes.”
The initiative was first announced at UN Geneva in March and is being facilitated by Special Envoy Grundberg and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“More releases” are planned once Yemen’s warring parties meet in May.
Chad: aid for displaced desperately needed to avoid hunger
Hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people in Chad could face hunger in the coming months because of a dire lack of humanitarian funding, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.
Pierre Honnorat, WFP Director in Chad, said that as the country moves into the lean season in-between harvests, food assistance could grind to a complete halt.
Here’s Mr. Honnorat speaking from Ndjamena:
“Chad is surrounded by countries with crises and hosting some 600,000 refugees from Sudan, Niger, Cameroon and Central African Republic. It’s one of the biggest caseloads in Africa. 2023 is another very difficult year, whereby we have absolutely no funding from May onwards for the refugees and the displaced people.”
In addition to food insecurity and malnutrition, WFP said that other disastrous impacts of the crisis could include a rise in child labour, under-aged marriage and recruitment into armed groups.
To “put food on the table of all crisis-affected populations” in Chad, WFP urgently needs additional funding of over $140 million for the next six months.
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News
- World Chagas Day: early detection essential to track ‘silent’ disease
- Yemen: UN envoy welcomes mass prisoner release, urges push for political solution to war
- Chad: aid for displaced desperately needed to avoid hunger