PlusNews examines the difficulties in diagnosing and treating multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in children, writing, “With weaker immune systems, children who contract TB — most often from parents — progress to active disease in about a year. But just how many children are affected is not known as there is almost no research into children and MDR-TB — and very little useful guidance on how to treat them.”
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
“South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization [WHO] to resume distribution of Seoul-funded medical aid to North Korea, amid growing calls for humanitarian assistance for malnourished North Korean children,” the New York Times reports (Sang-Hun, 11/8). “Seoul has authorized the WHO to release $6.94 million to equip hospitals in the North, said the official of the unification ministry, which handles cross-border ties,” Agence France-Presse writes. “Seoul decided to unblock its WHO funding ‘by taking into account its stance of maintaining its humanitarian aid for infants, children and other vulnerable people in the North, and the WHO’s request,’ [a South Korean] ministry official said on condition of anonymity,” AFP notes (11/8).
Reuters examines abortion, contraception and sex education in Russia, where, “[t]wo decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, wider availability of contraception and a resurgence of religion have reduced the numbers of abortions overall, but termination remains the top method of birth control in Russia.”
In this post on the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Grania Brigden, the tuberculosis (TB) adviser to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, writes that while “[t]his year’s Global Tuberculosis Control report shows the beginning of a decline in the global tuberculosis epidemic, … there is…
“Nicaragua is heading for presidential elections, and among the issues dividing people in this mostly Catholic country is abortion,” with advocates marching in the streets of the capital Managua to show support for overturning a ban on therapeutic abortions that was instituted five years ago, Al Jazeera reports. “With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Latin America, Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the world that bans therapeutic abortions,” the news agency notes (Newman, 11/2).
Bloomberg News Examines How Latin American Countries’ Abortion Policies May Hold Lessons For Republican Presidential Candidates Supporting Abortion Bans In U.S.
Bloomberg News examines abortion laws in Latin America and writes that the region, “home to the world’s strictest abortion laws, may hold lessons for U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls who advocate a ban on the practice” in the U.S. According to Bloomberg, “A consequence of the laws, whatever the moral arguments, is that Latin American women have more ‘unsafe’ abortions per capita than women in any other region, according to the World Health Organization.” The article reports that the U.N. Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Health Anand Grover recently stated that “[s]trict abortion laws ‘consistently generate poor physical health outcomes, resulting in deaths.'”
“Millions of children and women of child-bearing age in North Korea face malnutrition which can leave them at higher risk of death or disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. UNICEF urged donors to fill a funding gap to prevent a “nutrition crisis” in the country, the news agency states (Nebehay, 11/1). According to Agence France-Presse, “UNICEF had asked for $20.4 million for 2011, but has received just $4.6 million” (11/1).
The VOA News audio program “Explorations” on Tuesday discussed international humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa. The program features interviews with Kurt Tjossem, the International Rescue Committee’s regional director for the Horn of Africa and East Africa; Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy manager; and Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
Nearly Half Of Pregnant Women In Southern China’s Poor Areas Do Not Get Tested For Syphilis, Study Shows
“Nearly half of pregnant women do not get tested for syphilis in poor areas of southern China where the sexually transmitted disease has seen a resurgence, researchers said Wednesday” in a study published in the WHO’s November 2011 Bulletin, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. Pregnant women with syphilis can miscarry, have stillbirths or their infants can have congenital defects, the news service notes. According to the AP, the study “found that more than 40 percent of about 125,000 mothers-to-be in Guangdong province were not tested for syphilis in 2008, mostly due to a lack of health facilities in rural areas.” The study noted that “several provincial and national programs to improve testing have been put in place” since the study was conducted, the AP writes (Wong, 11/1).
Though demographers do not know exactly when the world’s population will hit seven billion, the U.N. symbolically marked the day on Monday with celebrations and warnings about safety, health and sustainability. The following is a summary of several opinion pieces published in recognition of the day.