Nigeria marked three years since its last case of wild poliovirus on August 21, an important milestone for the country and the region on the path toward certification of eradication of the disease. Nigeria was the last country in Africa with cases of wild poliovirus; if it remains polio-free in coming months, the entire continent could be declared polio-free next year.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on climate change and land use on August 8. The group warned that climate change is damaging the ability of land to sustain humanity and recommended strong action from governments and business, including ending deforestation and enabling new forests to grow, reforming farming subsidies, supporting small farmers, and breeding resilient crops.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Winnie Byanyima as the UNAIDS Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General on August 14. She was the only woman and non-physician shortlisted for the position. Byanyima has been the Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2013 and before that served for seven years as the Director of Gender and Development at UNDP.
A randomized, controlled trial of four investigational Ebola therapies found that 90 percent of people survived Ebola virus infection if they quickly received intravenous monoclonal antibodies REGN-EB3 or mAb114. The drugs were able to save 71 percent (REGN-EB3) and 66 percent (mAb114) of patients in all cases. An independent monitoring board recommended continuing with these two drugs, which will now be made available to anyone in DRC.
Three Congolese doctors were arrested for planning an April attack at a hospital in Butembo, DRC that killed a senior WHO medic and epidemiologist involved in the Ebola response, Richard Mouzoko. In a letter to the mayor of Butembo, a group of local doctors said it was “indignant” over the arrests, adding that their absence would cripple vital medical services in the area.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually in the first week of August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
UNICEF announced ten finalists for its annual Best of UNICEF Research competition. Every year, UNICEF offices — including country offices, regional offices, national committees, and headquarters — are invited to submit their best examples of research for children.
Over the past three months Yemeni activists have been advocating for aid transparency, given rampant corruption and fraud across UN agencies involved in Yemen’s humanitarian response operations.
WHO and UNICEF released their annual estimates on national immunization coverage (referred to as WUENIC) this month, which revealed that more than 1 in 10 children missed out on life-saving vaccines such as measles, diphtheria, and tetanus in 2018. For the first time since its inception in 2000, WUENIC included coverage data for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
UNAIDS released its 2019 global AIDS update on July 16, revealing mixed progress. New HIV infections decreased by 16 percent since 2010, mostly due to gains in east and south Africa. However, new HIV infections have increased in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. Global AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 33 percent from 2010, though deaths increased in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced its new Accelerator Labs initiative on July 18, launching 60 labs in 78 countries to test solutions to assorted development challenges. UNDP experts will team with outside ethnographers, entrepreneurs, and designers to create a “just do it” start-up mentality, according to Devex.
UNDP said the initial 60 labs would combat slowing progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals while developing solutions to emerging issues.
An internal audit released on July 18 revealed that only 5.9 percent of the IFRC’s national societies have both a female president and secretary-general, the top two leadership roles. Twenty-one percent of national societies have a female president and 31 percent have a female secretary-general. By contrast, nearly ten times as many have men in both top positions. IFRC’s Geneva-based secretariat has neither a female president nor secretary-general, and the percentage of women on its governing board has declined from 33 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2017.
The UN held this year's High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) July 9–18 in New York. The HLPF plays a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It meets annually under the auspices of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This year’s meeting focused on reviewing SDGs 4 (education), 8 (decent work), 10 (inequality), 13 (climate), 16 (peaceful societies), and 17 (partnerships). It also marked the end of the first four-year cycle of the 2030 Agenda.