“The shortage of health workers in Uganda is a ‘crisis,’ says the Minister of Health, and activists say expectant mothers are bearing the brunt of the country’s staffing deficiency,” IRIN reports. “Just 56 percent of Uganda’s available health positions are filled,” the news service writes, adding, “A parliamentary committee’s recent attempt to redirect 75 billion Ugandan shillings — about US$27.5 million — out of a national budget of more than 10 trillion shillings ($3.6 billion) towards hiring enough health workers was rebuffed in September.”
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
High-level officials from UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) this week warned that “[r]outine immunization of children has dropped by 40 percent in some areas of Yemen, leading to outbreaks of polio and measles and reflecting a growing collapse of public services in a country that is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster,” IRIN reports. Earlier this month, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos cited “conflict, poverty, drought, soaring food prices and collapsing state services” as reasons for widespread suffering of millions of people in the country, according to IRIN.
The Ministry of Health of South Sudan and UNFPA, working through the Capacity Placement of International United Nations Volunteer Midwives Project, has deployed 18 midwives throughout South Sudan since December 2010, when the program began, the Sudan Tribune reports. South Sudan, where 2,054 per 100,000 women die during labor, according to figures from the health ministry, has fewer than 100 midwives for a population of more than eight million people, Minister of Health Michael Milli Hussein said, the newspaper notes. Midwives and others involved in the project are meeting in Juba this week to discuss progress and goals, the Tribune writes (10/25).
Al Jazeera examines maternal mortality in Afghanistan, which “remains one of the worst places to be a mother,” 10 years after the beginning of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and “[d]espite billions of dollars in aid and considerable progress.” In an accompanying video, the news service reports, “One in five children born in Afghanistan dies by the age of five, and the statistics for mothers aren’t good either.”
Several opinion pieces respond to a report (.pdf) presented on Monday to the U.N. General Assembly by Arnand Grover, U.N. special rapporteur for the Right to Health, that “considers the impact of criminal and other legal restrictions on abortion; conduct during pregnancy; contraception and family planning; and the provision of sexual and reproductive education and information,” according to the report summary. The report also states, “Realization of the right to health requires the removal of barriers that interfere with individual decision-making on health-related issues and with access to health services, education and information, in particular on health conditions that only affect women and girls. In cases where a barrier is created by a criminal law or other legal restriction, it is the obligation of the State to remove it” (8/3).
In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Amanda Makulec, a monitoring and evaluation associate with John Snow Inc., discusses “the Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health, which was born over a year ago to support progress towards MDGs four and five in 10 priority countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia,…
In his BBC News column, medical correspondent Fergus Walsh examines maternal health, fertility, myths surrounding contraception, and gender equality in Zambia, which “has one of the world’s fastest growing populations.” With the nation’s population expected to triple to 39 million people by 2050 and reach 100 million by 2100, “[t]he potential problem for Zambia is that the population increase is so rapid that the government may struggle to keep pace. Those under 16 need education, healthcare and homes but they are not yet contributing to the economy. Zambia can barely feed 13 million people so how will it cope in the future?” Walsh writes (10/24).
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) last week cut short a three-week measles vaccination campaign intended to reach 35,000 children in the Daynile area near the Somali capital Mogadishu, after intense fighting erupted between the militant group al-Shabab and forces of Somalia’s Transitional National Government, backed by the African Union Mission in Somalia, VOA News reports. Only 4,831 children had been reached in six days, according to the news agency.
Though the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99 percent over the past 20 years, World Polio Day is recognized “because we havenâ€™t done enough yet,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in his blog, “The Gates Notes.” He continues, “The last one percent is the hardest percent, and we have to do even more than weâ€™ve already done if we hope to finish the job on polio. The day the world is declared polio free is the day we can really begin celebrating” (10/21).
In this post on the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby writes about the Together for Girls Partnership, an initiative that “generates a powerful advocacy platform to stop sexual violence by supporting countries’ efforts to fully understand and cope with the scope of the epidemic.”…