Why Yemen’s cholera campaign dissolved and the International AIDS Conference: This week in development

A view of the plenary session of the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris, France. Photo by: ©IAS / Steve Forrest / Workers’ Photos

AIDS researchers and health leaders look to 2030 targets and Yemen’s crisis forces relief groups to scrap a cholera immunization plan. This week in development.

Relief operations in Yemen have been paralyzed by a conflict in which warring parties ignore the laws of war and threaten to politicize any effort to provide lifesaving assistance in a country where 80 percent of children require humanitarian aid. The leaders of UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization described Yemen as suffering from “the world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.” The International Committee of the Red Cross expects Yemen will see 600,000 cholera cases by the end of 2017. Earlier this month a plan to deliver 1 million doses of vaccine to Yemen was scrapped because of concerns it would be ineffective — and possibly even harmful — at a time when medical treatment is held hostage by political conflict. “Those worries boil down to a combination of epidemiological reality, overwhelming logistical constraints, and a volatile political situation in which Yemen is effectively controlled by two rival government administrations,” Elizabeth Dickinson reported for Devex. In lieu of the vaccination campaign, international efforts will now focus on “containment,” according to the WHO, but the only way to stop this and future epidemics is with a political resolution that reasserts humanitarian law, said ICRC President Peter Maurer. “It is imperative that parties to the conflict stop the attacks on hospitals, and electricity and water plants. Otherwise, more tragedy will ensue.”

AIDS researchers and leaders met in Paris over the weekend to track progress toward ending the epidemic….

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