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Global Child Mortality Rate Is Shrinking, But Not Enough To Reach MDG, UNICEF/WHO Report Says

“The annual number of children who die before they reach age five is shrinking, falling to 7.6 million global deaths in 2010 from more than 12 million in 1990, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday” in their annual report (.pdf) on child mortality, Reuters reports. “Overall, 12,000 fewer children under age five die each day than a decade ago,” according to the report, the news agency notes. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement that “many factors are contributing to reductions in child mortality, including better access to health care for newborns, prevention and treatment of childhood diseases, access to vaccines, clean water and better nutrition,” the news agency writes (Steenhuysen, 9/14).

Gender Disparities In Developing Countries Relatively Small At Birth But Grow In Adolescence, UNICEF Report Says

A UNICEF report (.pdf) released on Tuesday suggests that gender disparities between boys and girls in developing countries are relatively small in children’s early years, but as children approach adolescence, gaps widen in areas such as education, health, nutrition and protection, Xinhua reports (9/13). According to the report, “[h]ealth and education disparities between boys and girls in developing countries tend not to emerge until adolescence, when girls face increased risks of child marriage, HIV/AIDS infection and domestic violence,” TrustLaw writes.

New York Times Examines International Response To Somali Famine

“Twenty years after the central government collapsed,” Somalia is facing drought, food insecurity and conflict larger in scale than when famine conditions hit the nation in the 1990s, “[a]nd given the world’s limited interest in a major intervention, that is not likely to change anytime soon,” the New York Times reports in a news analysis on the situation.

Supplement In USA Today Highlights Global NTD Eradication Efforts

This supplement (.pdf) by Mediaplanet, distributed in the September 15 issue of USA Today in select cities nationwide, examines the latest programs dedicated to eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) worldwide. Content within the supplement, which is called “Neglected Diseases In Developing Nations,” provides an overview about controlling NTDs, highlights the need…

Major Donors Should Consider Funding For Potential Malaria Vaccine

When the results of a large clinical trial testing the effectiveness of the RTS,S malaria vaccine among children in Africa are made available later this year, “it will be time to start discussing what to do with the vaccine,” Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece. “If the vaccine is safe and effective, one of the most important questions will be how to pay for it … and even though Andrew Witty, the CEO of the vaccine’s manufacturer, GSK, has promised to price the vaccine at a point just above its production cost, this price may still end up being too high for many malaria-affected countries to pay for it,” he writes.

World Bank Report Examines Gender Equality, Highlights Mortality Disparity Between Men And Women

The World Bank’s annual World Development Report, which was released on Sunday and this year “focuses on gender equality around the world, offers some stark facts about how women and girls fare in developing countries despite decades of progress,” the Wall Street Journal reports (Reddy, 9/18). “The most glaring disparity is the rate at which girls and women die relative to men in developing countries, according to” the report, Reuters/AlertNet reports (Curtis, 9/19).

Test To Properly Diagnose Fever In Children Needed 'Desperately'

“[F]ar too many children in Kenya and other African countries continue to suffer unnecessarily each year due to the misdiagnosis of fever, which contributes to the deaths of nearly three million children of less than five years of age from malaria and pneumonia,” Willis Akhwale, head of Kenya’s Department of Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, writes in a Daily Nation opinion piece, saying that health care workers “desperately need a test that can quickly and accurately identify and distinguish between fever-causing diseases.”

Report Warns Against Shifting Funding, Prevention Efforts Away From Countries Successful In Malaria Fight

A new analysis (.pdf) conducted by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, the Evidence to Policy Initiative at the University of California-San Francisco, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative “warns that if the countries that have produced impressive reductions in malaria cut or stop control activities, malaria will rapidly resurge and a decade of progress will have been in vain,” BMJ News reports.

Nigeria Expected To Sign Agreement With UNESCO For International Biotech Center Targeting Food Security, Disease

The Nigerian government is expected to sign an agreement with UNESCO at the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which begins next month, for an international biotechnology center that will focus on strengthening food safety, tropical disease research and the conservation of bio-resources across Africa, SciDev.Net reports, adding that “UNESCO’s executive board approved the establishment of the center earlier this year.”