The Guardian this week posted the results of its 2011 International Development Journalism Competition. “Sixteen finalists — eight amateur, eight professional — were sent to the developing world to write a feature on a theme suggested by the non-governmental organization that hosted their trip,” the newspaper notes. Many of the themes are health-related, including fighting malaria in Ghana, improving medical care in India, using insecticide-treated bed nets in Nigeria, access to family planning services in Zambia, and gender-based violence in Haiti (George, 11/22).
‘Fresh Efforts’ Needed To Understand, Deliver Family Planning In Order To Curb Birth Rates In Developing Countries
In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines the challenges of family planning in some poorer countries, where public health programs “risk adding to population pressures and inadvertently setting back development,” writing, “In a number of countries, notably in central and western Africa, health programs have contributed to cutting infant mortality rates, but birth rates have continued to remain stubbornly high. The unintended consequence is a fast-growing population that adds further pressure on poor families and fragile environments.”
Deadly Outbreak Of Acute Watery Diarrhea Spreads Through Horn Of Africa; Djibouti Hit Especially Hard
“Recurring drought, insufficient hygiene and ongoing regional conflict are driving a deadly outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) across the Horn of Africa, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported” on Tuesday, the U.N. News Centre writes. “WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva that more than 50,000 cases of AWD have been recorded in the region this year, resulting in over 700 deaths in Djibouti and Somalia,” the news service notes (11/22).
Former President George W. Bush will travel next month with former first lady Laura Bush and officials with the George W. Bush Institute to Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia “where they’ll visit clinics and meet with governmental and health care leaders … to raise awareness about cervical and breast cancer, an effort he calls a ‘natural extension’ of” the PEPFAR program launched during his presidency, the Associated Press reports. “The new program, called the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, seeks to expand the availability of cervical cancer screening and treatment and breast care education in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America,” the news service notes.
“If we are to succeed in alleviating poverty and providing the necessary framework for sustainable development on our planet, there is no more pressing need than ensuring the supply of affordable food for our people,” Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” He continues, “There are two keys to tackling this problem, enhancing production — particularly in Africa — and ensuring that trade in food flows unhindered from the lands of the plenty to the lands of the few. Without immediate action in these two areas, there is a risk that hunger will become even more widespread, with many million more lives at stake” (11/21).
The U.S. government on Thursday “formally announced the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) in Lilongwe, Malawi,” according to a State Department press release. The PEPFAR initiative aims to “strengthen the quality and capacity of nursing and midwifery education institutions, increase the number of highly skilled nurses and midwives, and support innovative…
Global Health Service Corps Essential To Improve African Health Systems, Achieve ‘AIDS-Free Generation’
“A notable feature of Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton’s ‘AIDS-free generation’ initiative is to strengthen health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa, … a view echoed by many eminent voices in the global health community,” Anand Reddi of the University of Colorado Medical School writes in a post on Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “To address the African health care workforce shortage, I encourage Secretary Clinton to adopt the principles of the” Global Health Service Corps (GHSC), which would be composed of U.S. health professionals who could “provide medical education and technical assistance to enhance the health care workforces in low-income countries,” Reddi says. In addition, the GHSC would focus on “infrastructure development, knowledge transfer, and capacity building,” Reddi writes.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “reports heavy rains and flooding in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are causing havoc among thousands of displaced Somalis in the region” and “flood-damaged roads are hampering relief efforts to thousands affected by the heavy rains,” VOA News reports (Schlein, 11/4). “UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing in Geneva that the agency has distributed 4,500 assistance kits so far, which include plastic sheets, plastic buckets and soap,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/4). “In addition to providing emergency relief for floods, other U.N. agencies continue to increase their efforts to help Somalis who suffer from famine and insecurity,” VOA notes (11/4).
“‘First world’ health problems such as obesity and heart disease may be gaining ground in developing nations, but they are mostly afflicting the rich and middle class while poor people remain undernourished and underweight,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Reuters reports. “Researchers who looked at more than 500,000 women from 37 mid- and low-income nations in Asia, Africa and South America found that there was a clear divide between the better-off and the poor,” Reuters states, adding, “Across countries, the wealthier the women were, the higher their average [body mass index (BMI)], a pattern that held steady over time.” The news service notes, “The pattern is different from that seen in wealthy nations, such as the United States, where lower incomes and less education often correlate with higher weight” (Norton, 11/3).
Climate Change, Environmental Destruction Threaten Improvements Among World’s Poorest, UNDP Report Warns
“Unchecked environmental destruction will halt — or even reverse — the huge improvements seen in the living conditions of the world’s poorest people in recent decades,” the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warns in its 2011 Human Development report, which was released on Wednesday, the Guardian reports (Carrington, 11/2). “[T]he annual report, titled ‘Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All,’ said that environmental sustainability can be ‘fairly’ reached if disparities in health, education, income and gender are addressed,” Xinhua writes (11/2). VOA News adds, “It says inaction on climate change and habitat destruction is jeopardizing health and the pursuit of higher income in developing countries” (Schlein, 11/2.)