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News Organizations Examine Guatemalan Drought, Malnutrition

McClatchy/Chicago Tribune examines the “worst drought in 30 years” in Guatemala, which “has destroyed 80 percent of the region’s crops and claimed the lives of more than a dozen children so far this year.” Malnutrition among children in the country “has long been a major problem, and rates are especially high in rural areas,” according to the news service. “Almost half of Guatemala’s children younger than 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, among the highest rates in the world, according to UNICEF.”

Studies Examine H1N1 Treatment, Outcome Differences In Mexico, Canada

New studies suggest that “[d]eveloping countries with limited access to advanced health-care facilities may be in for a rough ride with swine [H1N1] flu and even countries with high-tech ICUs may find themselves pushed to the limit as their hospitals struggle to save gravely ill H1N1 patients,” the Canadian Press reports. The studies, which compare outcomes among H1N1 patients admitted to intensive care units in Canada and Mexico,” show “the death rate in the latter was more than double that seen among Canadian patients. Just over 40 percent of critically ill Mexican patients succumbed to their illness by day 60, compared to 17.3 percent of Canadian patients by day 90.” The findings were reported online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Monday.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Examines Efforts To Subsidize ACTs A Lancet comment examines an Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm) program to help countries procure subsidized artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The authors write though it is worth celebrating the recent advances in malaria prevention, “these successes cannot hide the fact that close…

Over 80 Countries Mark World Handwashing Day

VOA News reports that more than 80 countries marked Global Handwashing Day Thursday. The news service writes that “[d]iarrhea is the third cause of death in West and Central Africa, which is responsible for 30 percent of the world’s deaths of children under the age of five.”

School-Age Children Most Vulnerable To Malaria Infection In Africa, Study Says

Children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 19 in malaria-endemic African countries are “the most vulnerable group to malaria following the successful distribution of the free bednets to protect children under five and pregnant women against the killer fever,” according to a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, the East African reports. The study, which looked at data taken from 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa countries between 2005 and 2009, found that although people in this age group were exposed to malaria, they were less likely than other groups – including children younger than 5 and pregnant women – to have access to insecticide-treated nets (ITNs).

Campaign Seeks To Hold Governments Accountable To Meeting MDG Targets

Inter Press Service examines the Stand Up Take Action campaign, which took place October 16-18 to highlight the Millennium Development Goals’ [MDG] 2015 deadline. “With just six years left until the deadline by which heads of state have pledged to reduce extreme poverty by half, Salil Shetty, director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign, says that Stand Up is a stark reminder that citizens ‘do not accept excuses for governments breaking promises to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens,'” IPS writes.

New York Times Examines HIV Stigma In Vietnam

The New York Times examines the story of Vietnamese orphans from the Mai Hoa AIDS Center who were turned away from a local primary school because they are HIV-positive. Though the principal at the primary school agreed to accept the children, the parents of the other students at the school refused to allow their children in classes with the orphans, leading the principal to turn the students away.

Abortions Worldwide Decline, Unsafe Abortions Kill 70,000 Women Annually, Report Says

Fewer abortions are taking place worldwide because of increased contraceptive use, a study by the Guttmacher Institute has found, Reuters reports. The study also indicates that 20 million “unsafe abortions, mostly in poorer countries and often carried out by the women themselves using inappropriate drugs or herbal potions, or by untrained traditional healers,” still occur each year and kill 70,000 women.

WHO, UNICEF Publish Plan To Reduce Childhood Diarrhea Deaths

The WHO and UNICEF have released a seven-point treatment and prevention plan to reduce the number of children around the world who die from diarrhea, the BBC reports (10/14). BMJ News writes, “Every year 1.5 million children aged under 5 years die from diarrhoea, more than 80% of them in Africa and south Asia” (Zarocostas, 10/14).