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Opinion Pieces, Editorial Address Spread Of Polio In Syria

The following is a summary of two opinion pieces and an editorial addressing a polio outbreak in Syria. Joel Brinkley, Kansas City Star: “With little health care to speak of, infectious diseases are devastating the nation — including a new outbreak of polio, not seen in Syria since the late…

Syrian Government Vows To Deliver Polio Vaccinations To Children

“Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad vowed on Monday that the government will deliver polio vaccination to children after fresh reports of infections in Syria emerged last week,” Xinhua reports. “Mekdad told reporters that the government does not hinder humanitarian aid efforts to reach different places within the country, adding…

Letters To Editor Respond To New York Times Editorial On Polio In Syria

Two letters to the editor of the New York Times respond to an editorial on the spread of polio in Syria, published in the newspaper last week. “You’re right to say that the best way to help end the suffering of Syrians is to end the civil war,” but “the…

Central African Republic In State Of ‘Chronic Medical Emergency,’ MSF Report Says

“The Central African Republic (CAR) is in the grips of a chronic medical emergency, according to a report released today by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF),” an MSF press release states. “Four mortality studies carried out by MSF over the past 18 months reveal crude mortality rates in some regions of CAR at three times the emergency threshold of one death per 10,000 people per day, which, according to the World Health Organization, is considered a humanitarian crisis,” the press release adds (12/13).

Reuters Examines Maternal Mortality In Afghanistan

“An Afghan woman can expect to have an average 5.1 babies in her lifetime, the highest fertility rate in Asia,” Reuters writes in the first of two articles examining childbirth and maternal mortality in Afghanistan. The news service adds that “giving birth a common, and frequent experience — but mothers say it is too often also hard, lonely and frightening.” The article recounts the experiences of several mothers giving birth in hospitals throughout the country (Kearney/Harvey, 12/12).

Protecting Displaced Women And Children From Gender-Based Violence

In this post in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, David Robinson, acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, reports on gender-based violence (GBV) among refugee populations, writing, “Displaced women and children are especially vulnerable to gender-based violence. … Without legal status or the protection of any…

AlertNet Examines Effects Of Nepalese Water Shortages On Local Women’s Hygiene

AlertNet examines how water shortages in Nepal are impeding women’s hygiene in the country. The news service profiles the village of Paudiyalthok in the country’s Panchkhal Valley, about 25 miles east of the capital Kathmandu, where “a lack of reliable water sources is affecting many aspects of [residents’] lives, and women are bearing the brunt of changing weather patterns.”

Guardian Examines Efforts To Bring Therapeutic Food Production Into Developing Countries

The Guardian examines how ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) — “small packets of a sticky, peanut butter-like paste, fortified with minerals and vitamins, that can reverse severe malnutrition within six weeks” — “have revolutionized famine relief in Africa,” and asks whether these products could be produced in the countries in which they are being distributed. “The vast majority of RUTFs are produced in the U.S. or Europe, bought by aid agencies such as UNICEF, and transported great distances to reach those in need,” the newspaper writes, adding, “But a small group of social enterprises is questioning this business model, redesigning it with a more local footprint in mind.”