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USAID Blog Examines WFP Cash Transfer Program In Zimbabwe

A video report in USAID’s “IMPACTblog” examines a cash transfer program in Zimbabwe, where, following a drought this year, “the numbers needing food assistance will rise to nearly 1.6 million people in coming months.” “In parts of Zimbabwe where market conditions allow, the World Food Programme is arranging for cash…

‘Kangaroo Mother Care’ Helping Infants Survive In Middle-, Low-Income Countries

Jennifer James, the founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good who traveled last month with Save the Children to observe their work in Ethiopia, writes in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, “I was heartened to see that both hospitals we visited, Black Lion hospital in Addis…

India, China Deny Claims Of Supplying Counterfeit Medications To Africa, Guardian Reports

“India has denied claims that it has exported large quantities of counterfeit medication to Africa, after the Guardian published a front-page exposé on the phenomenon,” the Guardian reports in a follow-up article. The original article “cited experts and NGO reports as saying that up to a third of anti-malarial drugs in Uganda and Tanzania might be fake or substandard, and the majority of them were manufactured in China and India,” the newspaper writes, adding, “The fake medications have led to deaths, prolonged illness and increased drug resistance in parts of east Africa, the article said.” According to the Guardian, “The Indian health ministry launched a huge campaign last month to check the quality of medication manufactured across the country.” In addition, “Chinese officials also denied the charges made in the report,” the newspaper notes, citing another article published on December 28 (Burke, 1/2).

U.N. General Assembly Adopts Resolution Urging Countries To Ban FGM

“The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday urging countries to ban female genital mutilation, calling it an ‘irreparable, irreversible abuse’ that threatens about three million girls annually,” Reuters reports. “The resolution, which is not legally binding, asks the 193 U.N. members to ‘take all necessary measures, including enacting and enforcing legislation to prohibit female genital mutilations and to protect women and girls from this form of violence,'” the news agency notes (Nichols, 12/20).

Efforts To Eliminate FGM ‘Breaking New Ground’ With Approval Of U.N. General Assembly Resolution

“The fight to eliminate the scourge of female genital mutilation is breaking new ground,” following the adoption of a U.N. General Assembly resolution on Thursday “calling on all states to enact legislation banning this egregious human rights violation,” Emma Bonino, vice president of the Italian Senate and founder of No Peace Without Justice, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. Adopted by consensus, the resolution “demonstrat[es] the international community’s unified stance,” she writes, noting, “The consensus is strengthened by the fact that two thirds of U.N. member states are co-sponsoring the resolution, with 67 states joining the 54 nations of the African Group, which initially introduced the text.”

Fewer People Expected To Go Hungry In Africa In 2013, But More Children Face Malnourishment

“Despite good rains across much of the Sahel this year, 1.4 million children are expected to be malnourished — up from one million in 2012, according to the 2013 Sahel regional strategy,” IRIN reports. “The strategy, which calls on donors to provide $1.6 billion of aid for 2013, says fewer people are expected to go hungry in 2013 — 10.3 million instead of 18.7 million in 2012,” the news service writes.

Small Ceramic Indoor Cookstoves Do Not Reduce Pneumonia Incidence Among Children, Study Shows

“Small ceramic indoor stoves, such as those sold by women in AIDS self-help groups in Africa, do save fuel and cut down on eye-irritating smoke, a new study has found — but they do not save children from pneumonia,” the New York Times reports. “The study, published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, compared 168 households in rural Kenya that used either ‘upesi jiko’ [ceramic] stoves or traditional three-stone indoor fires,” the newspaper writes, noting, “Biweekly visits by researchers found that children in both the stove and open-fire homes got pneumonia equally often” (McNeil, 12/17). Though the ceramic stoves have some benefits, such as reduced smoke in the home and lower risk of burns, Rob Quick, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the research team, said, “[O]ur group is studying six novel cookstove technologies designed to cleaner burning, and we should have results in the next few months to see if one or more of these cookstove designs offer potential for reducing the risk of pneumonia,” according to VOA News (Lewis, 12/17).

Understanding Challenges Children Face In Urban Africa Will Allow For Greater Protection

In the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, highlights a report released by the organization last week, titled “Voices from Urban Africa: The Impact of Urban Growth on Children.” The stories of families, government and community leaders “reveal that the ‘urban advantages’ of better health care, education and opportunities to make a good living — often associated with city life — are in reality an urban myth,” she writes, adding, “With greater study and understanding of urban challenges — and ultimately rethinking strategies and increasing investment — the development community, including donors and policymakers, can help Africa respond more effectively to the needs of vulnerable children.” She continues, “Whether addressing children’s protection, health, education or future livelihoods, it is clear that programs must not stand alone” (12/11).

Efforts To Prevent, Treat Cervical Cancer Increasing In Africa

The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” examines efforts to prevent and treat cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, where “cervical cancer kills large numbers of women, many of whom are never diagnosed because local hospitals do not recognize the disease until it is too late.” However, “[a] very simple and cheap form of screening has begun to be introduced — and now there is the possibility of a vaccination program against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes most cervical cancers,” the blog writes, noting a recent announcement by the GAVI Alliance that it plans to fund HPV immunization programs in several countries. According to the blog, “15 countries [are] asking to be considered,” and “Uganda and Rwanda have already been approved, although some ‘clarifications’ are required from the governments on how their programs will run.” The blog continues, “No one believes it will be easy to introduce the HPV vaccination in Africa, and there may be problems,” including issues with efficacy and cost (Boseley, 12/14).