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"World Health Minute" 17 May, 2017

News Highlights
The Looming Threat of Yellow Fever The New York Times highlights the unusually large outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil with 259 deaths and more than 715 cases confirmed, and says there is serious concern if the virus starts spreading in a major city, as it is already close to doing so in the Rio de Janeiro region. With the threat of yellow fever returning to areas where it was once thought gone, the NYT flags its ultimate spread to places like Asia a potential disaster in the making 
No vaccine roll out in DRC yet despite new Ebola infections WHO said it is working with specialists to conduct an epidemiological investigation to better understand the extent of the current outbreak and to establish who is at risk of becoming infected with Ebola. Therefore its experts have not yet decided whether to use newly developed vaccines to try to contain the outbreak in the DRC, but officials are making preparations just in case 
Earlier menopause puts women at greater risk of heart failure, study shows A US-based study revealed that women who have never given birth have more than a two-fold increase in the risk of a common type of the condition known as diastolic heart failure, compared with women who have children. The authors say the new study flags up the importance of looking at how factors such as pregnancy and reproductive periods are related to cardiovascular health
Preparedness, surveillance and response
OMS confirma: "Tenemos una epidemia de dengue en Piura"
The World Health Organization’s Raul Gonzalez spoke to the media and said there is a dengue epidemic in the Piura region and in the north of the country and added there are cases of dengue in Lima
Malária matou 268 pessoas em três meses na província angolana do Bié
In Angola local health authorities said there have been 43,893 cases of malaria and 268 deaths in the province of Bie during the first three months of the year, this is up slightly on last year’s figures
Swine flu attack in Maharashtra: Second victim dies in Mumbai, patient toll reaches 196
Swine flu H1N1 claimed its second victim in Mumbai, while as many as 196 people have succumbed to the infection across the state so far in 2017, an official said. Civic health authorities said six cases of swine flu infection were reported this month in the city, while as many as 19 swine flu patients are currently on ventilators across the state
No vaccine roll out in DRC yet despite new Ebola infections
WHO said it is working with specialists to conduct an epidemiological investigation to better understand the extent of the current outbreak and to establish who is at risk of becoming infected with Ebola. Therefore its experts have not yet decided whether to use newly developed vaccines to try to contain the outbreak in the DRC, but officials are making preparations just in case 
Cholera death toll in Yemen reaches at least 180: Red Cross
Cholera has killed at least 184 people in Yemen in recent weeks, the ICRC said on Monday, a day after authorities declared a state of emergency and called for international aid. After more than two years of war which has destroyed much of the nation’s infrastructure only a few medical facilities are still functioning and two-thirds of the population are without access to safe drinking water 
Unicef: in Venezuela è catastrofe umanitaria, intervenire subito
UNICEF regional offices in Latin America have issued a statement calling Venezuela a humanitarian catastrophe with hunger and disease increasing the number of deaths of children across their first year of life. The data on infant and maternal mortality released by the Venezuelan Ministry of Health provides clear proof of the prolonged impact of this crisis on women and children in the country 
Registran 187 casos de dengue en Cajamarca
The regional health authorities said that there were 187 recorded cases of dengue in the Peruvian region of Cajamarca with 71 cases in the Chilete district and the rest in Jaen
Study: Most Effective Measures Identified for Containing Ebola
A new timely report culled 37 studies looking for the most effective containment strategies. Funeral containment topped their lists and public information campaigns for the sort of care in the community. Avoiding washing the bodies of the deceased before burial was critical. The importance of handwashing, personal hygiene and self-quarantine in high-transmission areas too. People suspected of being infected with Ebola should not hesitate to seek medical support but building more hospitals in response to the epidemic was seen to be the least effective way to prevent the spread of Ebola across communities
Alerta: en 2017 van 140 casos de tuberculosis
In Colombia, Cartagena health authorities told the press that the backdrop of TB cases is still a significant concern to them as the number of cases has stayed high over the last three years. In 2016, there were 263 TB patients of which 33 died but only seven directly from TB itself. 2015 saw 277 cases with 34 deaths, 20 directly linked to TB. In 2014, there were 292 cases and 28 deaths with 18 directly caused by TB
Mueren cinco personas en Bolivia por la gripe A
The Bolivian health authorities confirmed there were 455 cases of H3N2 at a national level and 38 cases of H1N1 and 58 influenza type B. They also confirmed at least five people had died from the current outbreak
Four die from cholera, dozens of new cases in Sudan’s White Nile
Four people died from cholera Thursday and Friday and dozens of new cases have been recorded in the White Nile state of Sudan, all the while, Sudanese government officials remain silent. The situation is getting out of control as the number of people infected is rapidly increasing in the areas of El Gezira, Aba, Kosti and Rabak, a civil society organization official on the ground told Radio Dabanga
The Looming Threat of Yellow Fever
The New York Times highlights the unusually large outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil with 259 deaths and more than 715 cases confirmed, and says there is serious concern if the virus starts spreading in a major city, as it is already close to doing so in the Rio de Janeiro region. With the threat of yellow fever returning to areas where it was once thought gone, the NYT flags its ultimate spread to places like Asia a potential disaster in the making 
Casos de chikungunya no Ceará somam 13 mil entre janeiro e maio
Chikungunya fever cases in Brazil’s Ceara region are continuing to rise. From January to the second week of May more than 13,000 cases had been confirmed. In 2016, Ceara Health Department classified the chikungunya outbreak as an epidemic with 31,000 confirmed cases. Fortaleza accounts for more than half the cases and this year Fortaleza has seen 8,000 cases 
Espírito Santo registrou (até agora) 240 casos de febre amarela e 79 mortes
The Espirito Santo state health department said that it has recorded 240 cases of yellow fever and seen 79 deaths since the start of the year. By May 11th there had been 749 notifications of suspicion about it being yellow fever, 304 of these were rejected, 240 of them were confirmed and in 79 cases people have died
Vírus da febre amarela tem mutação genética inédita, diz Fiocruz…
The current yellow fever virus in Brazil has a built-in number of unprecedented genetic variations, according to researchers at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute. They detected eight possible mutations in the genetic sequence of the virus, seven of them associated with the viral replication mechanism. The Institute says that there is no previous record of such mutations in any world scientific literature
Muertes por dengue aumentan a 19 en Piura
The number of deaths from dengue rose again in Piura (to 19) as a 31 year old man died. Health authorities confirmed that there have been 3,150 confirmed cases of dengue and another 12,446 probable cases so far
Más de 40 casos de dengue confirmados en la jurisdicción de la RSPS
In Peru, the Pacifico Sur Health region has confirmed there have been 45 confirmed cases of dengue. The hotspots for these cases were in El Satelite, Garatea, Tres de Octubre and Villa Maria in the Nuevo Chimbote district
Dengue tightens grip on the Thiruvananthapuram
Thruvananthapuram: The dengue-stricken capital has more to worry about as the healers are becoming sick. As of Monday, 50 dengue cases were reported among staff at the General Hospital. This hospital is also dealing with a blood shortage and an ever increasing incidence of dengue cases. One member of the hospital staff has even died from dengue. Times of India reports a lack of availability of preventative vaccines and adequate mosquito control measures in the hospital have added to the crisis
89 chikungunya cases reported so far
Delhi has already recorded 89 cases of chikungunya so far this year, while there had been no cases of the disease before July last year, according to health data released on Monday. As per this report, there were 89 cases of chikungunya, 36 cases of dengue and 15 cases of malaria as of May 13
Maharashtra government asks for 25,000 fresh doses of H1N1 vaccine from Centre
The state has asked for 25,000 fresh doses of the H1N1 vaccine from central government as the number of casualties from the viral influenza outbreak inches close to 200. Although the city is not as badly affected as other districts, it did record its second victim last week 
Health systems
WHO members urged to delink R&D from cancer medicine
A number of civil society organizations and health specialists have sent a letter to delegates at the annual World Health Assembly and member states urging them to delink the R&D costs from the prices of cancer medicines. The letter reads ‘none of the 56 novel cancer medicines approved by the U.S. FDA from 2010 to 2016 are included in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines’
Illegal blood banks spreading disease
Illegal blood banks are thriving under the nose of the health department in Pakistan, and spreading diseases like hepatitis, HIV and thalassemia. According to the health department, there are at least 1,600 blood banks across the Punjab province and they need to be regulated. Express Tribune reported that the Punjab Blood Transfusion Authority has never conducted any raids on these illegal banks which sell blood on without a screening process
Trump expansion of abortion ‘gag rule’ will restrict $8.8 billion in U.S. aid
President Trump’s executive order to block U.S. aid to groups abroad that counsel or provide referrals about abortion went into effect Monday and will restrict nearly $9bn in foreign health assistance. Senior administration officials confirmed that Trump’s executive order will hit programmes such as AIDS, malaria and child health. About $6bn of this money supports HIV/Aids services, primarily in Africa, as part of the PEPFAR programme established in 2003. Another initiative expected to be hard hit is the President’s Malaria Initiative 
Health Sector Prepares for Antiabortion Policy’s Impact on HIV/AIDS Fight
Health officials and experts said they will monitor how the Trump administration’s expansion of an anti-abortion policy affects a longstanding initiative to beat back the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. How the new policy will affect the U.S. war on HIV overseas will depend in part on which foreign NGOs sign the new clause to receive PEPFAR funding, a senior State department official said. The detailed data PEPFAR regularly collects on the use of its funding would be watched closely for signs that its reach is either being expanded or is being restricted
Ceaseless Middle East wars forcing change in approach to medical care
The ICRC warned that drawn-out crisis which are plaguing the Middle East could lead to the total collapse of health systems. One example is the disruption to vaccinations. As the children will not be vaccinated, diseases previously thought to be eradicated will simply re-emerge. Resistance to antibiotics because of drug usage in excess of prescribed limits has accelerated. Infections have spread as war has destroyed sanitation and clean water systems and triggered chaotic population movements 
Over million health workers paid less than Rs 1,000 a month in India
Nearly a million workers, forming the frontline of India’s faltering public health system, are inadequately trained and underpaid, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of health ministry data, imperilling the country’s progress in healthcare efforts. Accredited Social Health Activists considered to be voluntary workers are paid an honorarium by the government and most make about Rs 1,000 a month, less than the cost of a bottle of single malt whisky. They are required to undergo a 23 day training spread across 12 months, but a third of them in north Bihar were not trained at induction and the rest received seven days training or read the manual, according to the study 
Kenya’s First Gay Health Clinic Provides Care Without the Judgment
NBC News speaks to the director of Ishtar, the first health care clinic in Kenya run by gay men that serves a population primarily of gay men. With discrimination still high in the country the clinic is a place where treatment comes without judgement as the staff are drawn from the community too.  At present they are still unable to provide antiretroviral therapy to those who are HIV-positive but they refer members to either an NGO with whom they have an agreement or to a government run facility. Many refuse to go as they are not treated well 
Kenya: Report Lays Bare Kenya`s Frail Health Sector
The Kenya Health Workforce Report lays bare Kenya’s ill-preparedness in tackling non-communicable diseases in terms of human resource capacity. For instance, cancer killed 15,714 people in 2015 yet there are only 9 experts in radiology/oncology and 128 in radiology. For all the cases of diabetes there is only one diabetologist. There are only 71 psychiatrists in Kenya, yet the latest mental health report from WHO showed that 4.4% of all Kenyans have a mental health problem of some sort
Communicable diseases
Insomnia and sleep apnea rates are high and rising in the U.S. military
Insomnia cases have quadrupled, and sleep apnea cases have increased five-fold in the US military over a decade, according to a recent study. Rates of these two sleep disorders among service members are now about double those seen in the general U.S. population. The rising rates could affect operational readiness, wellbeing and healthcare costs
Liberia: UNAIDS, Chinese Television Giant Sign Agreement for HIV Awareness in Africa
Star Times, a Chinese digital television provider, and UNAIDS, have signed an agreement to increase awareness of HIV through its broadcast networks and to reduce the stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV throughout the African continent 
Many toddlers are falling through SA`s vaccination net
One in 10 of Mpumalanga’s children under the age of two has not had any of the shots required under a government childhood immunization programme, according to the DHMS 2016 survey. The findings signal potential deadly weaknesses in the childhood immunization programme, as inadequate coverage of the population increases the likelihood of disease outbreaks. Both Gauteng and Western Cape have seen measles outbreaks this year
Officials: Measles outbreak caused by anti-vaccination campaign
There has been a recent measles outbreak in Minnesota and now the authorities know the reason behind it. A group of Somali-Americas, mostly children, have been diagnosed with the disease. The Minnesota Department of Health released a report that said the vast majority, 55 out of 58 cases, were unvaccinated
Many U.S. daycare centers may lack plans for pandemic flu
Fewer that one in 10 US day care centre directors have taken concrete steps to prepare for a pandemic flu outbreak, a recent study suggests. Pandemic influenza is different from seasonal influenza. It is a novel virus which transmits from person to person and to which most of the world’s population has no immunity
Commitment at all levels is essential for prevention of Dengue: Nadda
Union Minister of health and Family Welfare, JP Nadda, said commitment at all levels is essential for prevention and control of dengue, adding that by working together dengue can be prevented. For this purpose cleanliness is the most important thing. National Dengue Day is an occasion to spread awareness about its prevention and control. We must not create an environment for the dengue to breed in
Non communicable diseases
NHS could save £67 million a year if smoking rates cut
Cancer Research UK said the NHS would save some £67m a year if the UK can cut by half the number of people who smoke. The UK is projected to have a smoking rate of 10% by 2035, with a marked difference between the most deprived groups (15% of whom are expected to smoke) and the wealthiest (whose rate is expected to be just 2.5%). Cutting the rate to 5% nationally by 2035 would save millions in direct NHS and social care costs but also £548m in additional revenue
Segregated neighborhoods may influence blood pressure
African-Americans who move from segregated neighbourhoods to more racially diverse communities might experience improvements in their blood pressure, a U.S. study suggests. The authors say the findings are interesting as they point to the important role that social policy can have on health 
Workers are going deaf and some are dying, working in this city’s factories
Star2 reports on the Indian textile hub of Surat on how many migrants from places like Odisha come to the city to work on the power looms in such appalling conditions that it often damages their hearing and ruins their health. Textiles workers are exposed to around 102-14 decibels of sound, according to a study by India’s National Institute of Occupational health, much more than the legally permissible 90 decibels, putting them at severe risk of hearing damage
Vietnam has burden of non communicable diseases
Vietnam’s Deputy Health Minister said that of every ten deaths, seven are caused by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and pulmonary diseases. Non-communicable diseases cause 73% of all deaths and 40% of these people are dying before the age of 70. The financial burden of these diseases will cost the country $47bn over the next 20 years. Vietnam also bears a further cost of $1bn in tobacco-related diseases. Vietnam is committing to intensifying prevention but also propagating more information about the risks and investing in earlier detection
Billionaire Bloomberg to fund $5m public health projects in 40 cities worldwide
The Guardian reports on Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for Healthy Cities. Bloomberg was appointed as the World Health Organization’s ambassador for NCDs last year. And now he is taking his philosophy and his cash to about 40 cities so far offering technical support for cities which choose to focus on one of 10 healthy lifestyle issues including, curbing sugary drinks consumption, air pollution, promoting exercise and bans on smoking
Walking linked to improved brain function
A moderate intensity walking regimen may reduce symptoms of mild cognitive impairment that are linked to poor blood vessel health in the brain, a study suggests. Participants with vascular dementia who walked three hours per week for six months had improved reaction times and other signs of improved brain function
People above 30 years to be screened in 100 districts for NCDs
All Indian citizens over 30 years of age are to be screened in 100 districts of the country under the first phase of a programme of universal screening and control for five non-communicable diseases. Gradually, it will cover the entire country and everyone will be screened under the programme to reduce the disease burden in the nation, the Indian health minister told the press
Tobacco consumption epidemic reaches alarming level
The epidemic of tobacco consumption has reached alarming levels in Indonesia, where more than one-third of the country population are smokers. The fast rising number of cases of non-communicable diseases caused by tobacco consumption now pose a serious threat to the sustainability of the National Health Security Programme in Indonesia, the health minister said. Some 20% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15 smoke and unhealthy lifestyles of smoking, alcoholic drinks and sugary drinks are creating a slow burning health crisis in the country
Promoting health through the life course
Remote Pacific island found buried under tonnes of plastic waste
Henderson Island is an uninhabited, 5-km wide speck of land halfway between Australia and South America. A recent expedition by researchers from the University of Tasmania found 38m items of rubbish weighing a total of 18 tonnes spread across its beaches. The South Pacific Gyre is a circular water current and it appears Henderson Island is one place where debris is spat out, these items are decades old in many cases
New analysis reveals deadly scale of diesel emissions
Illegal and unregulated diesel emissions are causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths worldwide, a new analysis says. The meta-analysis examined data from 30 studies and found excess nitrogen oxide was linked to 107,626 premature deaths around the world in 2015. Researchers warned the number of people dying due to diesel emissions could grow to 180,000 in 2040 if governments don’t act
Shocking stats show one in five SA women experience domestic violence
A new Stats SA study indicates that one in five women report experiencing violence at the hands of a partner. Some 21% of women over 18 reported domestic violence. Eight percent of women reported experiencing violence in the previous 12 month period. A further six percent reported experiencing sexual violence by a partner, with the poorest women being most at risk 
Borealis and Borouge help provides safe water for over 50,000 thanks to PE pipes
Borealis, Borouge, the OPEC Fund for International Development and DFID have funded a Nairobi project that has brought safe and affordable drinking water to more than 50,000 of Kenya`s poorest residents. The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company found it hard to invest in services here due to the haphazard nature of the settlements and perception residents would not pay. So residents without piped water bought water from private street vendors at much higher prices. The partners extended the existing network into the settlements using high-quality pipes, allowing pre-paid water dispensers to be installed which now provide water for as low as a 10th of the price it would be from a street vendor
Pregnancy problems are leading global killer of ​​females aged 15 to 19
The World Health Organization said that more than 1m girls and boys die annually, mostly from preventable causes. Pregnancy complications are the leading cause of death globally among females aged 15-19, with self-harm in second place, a global study has found. The main causes are mental health issues, poor nutrition, reproductive health problems and violence. Failure to address the health of 10-19 year olds undermines the improvements achieved in maternal and child health worldwide
Earlier menopause puts women at greater risk of heart failure, study shows
A US-based study revealed that women who have never given birth have more than a two-fold increase in the risk of a common type of the condition known as diastolic heart failure, compared with women who have children. The authors say the new study flags up the importance of looking at how factors such as pregnancy and reproductive periods are related to cardiovascular health
Ongoing forest destruction has put Asia-Pacific at risk of missing global development targets
The destruction of forests in many Asian countries continues apace, threatening the realization of global sustainable development goals by the 2030 deadline, according to the UN agricultural agency. Forests continue to be degraded and lost at a rate of 3.3m hectares per year, they provide clean air for breathing and safe water to drink and are home to more than 80% of land animals and plants and a natural defence against climate change 
Struggling after Ebola, Liberian girls miss school to work, sell sex
After Ebola, more girls in Liberia are missing out on school to help their families, while those in education are pressurised to have sex or pay bribes for grades or simply to be allowed to sit exams, a charity said. Street Child said the need to boost family income is making many drop out of school or preventing them from getting an education
How a Tsunami in Japan Endangered Children in Cambodia
Cambodia has long struggled with iodine deficiency in its soil and crops. In 1999, with help from donors Cambodia began iodizing table salt. From 2000-2011 iodized salt use rose to 70% from 13% of households, according to a 2015 study. In 2010 UNICEF and donors turned responsibility for iodination over to the government and salt producers. Enforcement grew lax and spraying machines went unrepaired. Then after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the global price of iodine tripled as the catastrophe damaged wells and slashed supply. UNICEF is now urging the government to enforce its own laws. In 1997 almost a fifth of all Cambodians had goiters, which can cause other preventable diseases
Child sex crimes remain taboo as cases surge in conservative India
Sexual violence against children remains a taboo subject in India, despite reports of children being raped, molested and trafficked for sex surging by almost 70% in the latest data, activists and government officials said on Tuesday. There were 14,913 reported sex crimes committed against children in 2015, against 8,904 the previous year. In India’s socially conservative society it remains ignored within families and communities, where victims are afraid to come forward for fear of being blamed for the abuse
One in four children in Arab world live in poverty - UNICEF study
One in four children in the Arab world live in poverty, often deprived of life’s most basic necessities such as proper housing or safe water, according to a study by UNICEF. The study is the first to pull together data on child poverty across the region and it found that a lack of education is a key driver of poverty among the young
Producing fertilizer from air could be five times as efficient
Eureka Alert reports that an Eindhoven University of Technology Phd has created a revolutionary reactor that converts nitrogen from the atmosphere into NOx, the raw material for fertilizer. The method, in theory, is up to five times as efficient as existing processes, enabling farms to have a small-scale installation without the need for a big investment. His idea is particularly suited for application in remote areas that have no access to power networks, such as Africa. Evonik Industries was involved in this research project and is now working on developing the technology 
The World Health Assembly in times of Ebola and the election of a new Director General
The News Minute discusses the forthcoming World Health Assembly, the outbreak of Ebola coming just as they are about to meet and the election for the new Director General to lead the WHO. It discusses how the world approached the Ebola crisis last time around and the lessons learnt and Dr David Nabarro’s involvement in helping to find a solution to the Ebola crisis 
WHO bars Taiwanese media from covering annual meeting
The United Nations’ exclusion of Taiwan moved toward media coverage as members of the Taiwanese press corp were barred from covering this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva. China Post reports that WHO has refused the Central News Agency from Taiwan any press passes to cover this year’s event. The Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Chih-chung accused the WHO of ‘violating its own charter with the whole world watching’ 
Taiwan wants to join WHA: Foreign Ministry asks friends for help
Taiwan says they have submitted a proposal to its allied to formally ask the WHO to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly 
Does Taiwan’s WHA Exclusion Really Matter? An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Biggest Health Meeting
The News Lens discusses Taiwan’s official exclusion from the World Health Assembly and asks the question as to whether this really matters
I`m confident because of transparency stance
The Gulf Times talks to Dr Sania Nishtar about her campaign to become the new head of the World Health Organization
An end to pandemics is within reach, but we must redouble efforts now
Daniel Schar, senior regional infectious diseases advisor for USAID’s regional mission in Bangkok, writes a personal opinion article for Stat News in which he makes a strong case for the newly elected Director General of the World Health Organization making ‘ending the era of pandemic diseases’ one of their top priorities
Who is David Nabarro, the UK candidate to lead the World Health Organisation?
International Business Times talks to Dr David Nabarro about the last Ebola crisis, canvassing his view on what occurred last time and how lessons learnt then can be put to good use now. He also discusses the threat of antimicrobial resistance, the risk to health systems posed by the startling rise in non-communicable diseases across the world and the balance of donor funding and the outcomes it buys inside WHO
`Bureaucratic, weak and ineffective`: How we can reform the World Health Organisation
Lawrence Gostin, O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law and Director, WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, talks to International Business Times about the World Health Organization, describing it in the course of the article as bureaucratic, weak and ineffective. Gostin lines up the challenges that a new Director-General of WHO is facing and is optimistically suggesting this is a good opportunity to bring about the reform the organization needs
WHO’s the Boss? Inside the Race to Elect a New Head of the World Health Organization
UN Dispatch reports on the race to become the next Director General of the World Health Organization; it reviews the three main candidates backgrounds and the challenges any new leader will face on taking office 
World Health Assembly to meet
The Hindu Business Line reports on the forthcoming World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva which starts fully next week. It outlines the planned agenda and highlights the Assembly’s plans to focus on issues such as access to medicine, referring to a recent high-level UN report on the matter
As WHO Director-General Election Nears, Ethiopia’s Candidate Is Accused of Cholera Cover-Ups
The recent story in the New York Times which questioned Tedros Adhanom’s record as health minister in Ethiopia accusing him up covering up cholera is provoking sharp reactions. Journalist Barry Malone, now an online editor for AlJazeera, says he was working for Reuters at the time in 2009 and obtained Minutes of an NGO/UN meeting at which a cholera outbreak was acknowledged. Malone goes on to say UN officials pressured him not to run this story at the time. Malone added ‘at the time UN officials regularly complained in private that a lack of acknowledgement from the government was stopping them getting more aid in’