Over 200m people needed international emergency aid last year, according to estimates from the latest Global Humanitarian Assistance Report compiled by Development Initiatives, an advocacy and research group. Some striking trends emerged from the $27.3bn in funding provided by donors, much of it directly or indirectly to support health.

One is that the largest single funder is Turkey. That partly reflects the heavy burden of the conflict in neighbouring Syria, which generated 14 per cent of all support needs and accounted for 7.4m displaced people last year. Turkey and Greece are also among the top 10 recipients of assistance, reflecting the migration crisis across the Mediterranean.

Most donors are still acting autonomously: pooled funding only accounted for $1.3bn of the total, suggesting the scope for far greater co-ordination between different agencies. 

Another trend is the growth in “cash transfers” — paying money to recipients directly rather than via intermediary organisations. Direct support was up by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2016, but still remained less than $3bn of the total. Trusting individuals to know best what they need and how to secure it offers much more potential in the future.

Chart of the week

Online gambling: the hidden epidemic. Smartphone betting apps are used by millions — and for some it’s a dangerous addiction.

Online gambling charts

News round-up

Bezos and Buffett appoint Gawande to run their new healthcare unit. From medical writer to healthcare CEO: the Atul Gawande story (FT, CJR)

Nearly eradicated in humans, the Guinea worm finds new victims: dogs (NYT)

Dr Adel Mahmoud, who was credited with HPV and rotavirus vaccines, dies at 76 (NYT) 

Antibiotic resistance-awareness efforts might backfire for some (Cidrap)

Health officials cautiously optimistic dangerous Ebola outbreak is over. Keeping your cool — doing Ebola Research during an emergency. (Stat, NEJM)

Rehab USA: how should America treat its opioid victims? (FT)

Will self-testing lead to better access to HIV Treatment In Nigeria? (Nigeria Health Watch)

We have a good chance of curing the common cold in next ten years — a scientist explains (The Conversation)

Best of the journals

Pandemic influenza: 100 years. A selection of academic articles and a timeline (Lancet)

Return of research results to study participants uncharted and untested (JAMA)

Association between religious service attendance and lower suicide rates among US women (JAMA Psychiatry)

Better health for sex workers: which legal model causes least harm? (BMJ)

Sociogenetic Risks — ancestry DNA testing, third-party identity, and protection of privacy (NEJM)

Podcast of the week

Listen to the global threat of yellow Fever from Take as Directed in Podcasts (CSIS)

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