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News in Brief 28 July 2023

News in Brief 28 July 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Forced returns to Burkina Faso must end, warns UNHCR

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has made an urgent appeal for all States to stop sending people back to Burkina Faso, where they’ve fled from extremist violence. 

The alert was issued as the security situation continues to deteriorate in the country.

Speaking in Geneva on Friday, UNHCR’s Director of International Protection, Elizabeth Tan, expressed grave concern over widespread insecurity and human rights violations. 

These include “killings, forced disappearances, torture and kidnappings. In several instances, civilians have been targeted and killed, resulting in mass civilian casualties,” Ms. Tan said. 

Latest UN estimates indicate that 4.7 million people across the country are now in need of humanitarian assistance – over 20 per cent of the country’s population.

Children have been heavily impacted due to forced recruitment by armed groups, child labour as well as other types of violence, abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence. 

UNHCR’s Ms. Tan warned that more than two million people are now internally displaced:

“There has been internal displacement since 2015, but it's in 2022 that we've really seen large increase in the number of displaced in the country, and that is due to the increased activities by extremist, violent, violent extremist groups as well as increasing humanitarian needs.”

Sudan health crisis reaches ‘gravely serious levels’: WHO

The conflict in Sudan has sparked a health crisis for 3.4 million people forced to flee to safety, both inside the country and across its borders. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that cases of infectious disease and other illnesses have been reported among displaced populations who have sought shelter in hard-to-reach locations, where health services are limited. 

More than two-thirds of hospitals remain out of service amid increasing reports of attacks on health facilities. 

Last month, the UN health agency issued an emergency appeal for $145 million to support its operations, which is only around 10 per cent funded. 

And as the health crisis affects the entire region, the fear is that things could worsen.  Speaking in Geneva, Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, WHO Representative in Sudan, said that the situation there has reached gravely serious levels and that WHO is working hard to deliver critical medical and other emergency health supplies.

WHO launches new liver care campaign on World Hepatitis Day

And finally, the WHO has called for the scaling up of testing and treatment for viral hepatitis. The agency warned that the disease could kill more people than malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV combined by 2040, if current infection trends continue. 

The appeal coincides with World Hepatitis Day on 28 July. According to WHO, while hepatitis B and C cause most cases of the disease and deaths, hepatitis C can be cured.

However, only 21 per cent of people living with it are diagnosed and only 13 per cent have received treatment. Just 10 per cent of people living with hepatitis B are diagnosed, and only two per cent of those infected receive lifesaving medicine.

WHO’s “One life, one liver”, campaign, launched on Friday highlights the importance of protecting the liver against hepatitis for living a long, healthy life. 

WHO will share new guidance to track countries’ progress on the path to the elimination of hepatitis by 2030. 

This includes ensuring access to treatment for all pregnant women living with hepatitis B, diagnosing 90 per cent of people living with the disease, and providing treatment to 80 per cent of them. 

In addition to hepatitis testing, treatment and vaccination, WHO recommends reducing alcohol consumption, achieving a healthy weight, and managing diabetes or hypertension to benefit liver health.

Katy Dartford, UN News.

  • Sudan health crisis at ‘gravely serious’ level warns WHO

  • Forced returns to Burkina Faso must end says UNHCR
  • New liver care campaign launched on World Hepatitis Day
Audio Credit
Katy Dartford, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
F. Ada Affana/IOM