Some women in African nations are “dangerously confused about the best nutritional path to protect their children from contracting [HIV],” a new report, based on research by community health workers from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Nigeria, shows, PlusNews reports. Though the most recent WHO guidelines (.pdf) on infant-feeding options for HIV-positive mothers in Africa have been adopted in many countries, the recommendation that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months has not reached local health care workers or policymakers, according to the report, which was launched this week at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The report also “found that prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs were focused too narrowly on the provision of [antiretrovirals (ARVs)] to HIV-positive pregnant women, rather than more comprehensive approaches that involved family planning, maternal health care and exclusive breastfeeding,” according to the news service (12/9).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and under-secretary-general of the U.N., answers questions about his work from Forbes contributor Rahim Kanani in this interview excerpt. Osotimehin “discussed current trends in population growth, innovative approaches to tackling HIV/AIDS, leadership lessons in public health, challenges to safeguarding maternal health while encouraging family planning, and much more,” according to Forbes (12/8).
The Center for Strategic & International Studies on Wednesday released two reports on immunizations and global health. “The Future of Global Immunization: Will the Promise Be Fulfilled?,” by Stephen Cochi of the CDC, “outlines 10 important issues facing the global vaccine and immunization agenda” (12/7). “Role(s) of Vaccines and Immunization…
Sarah Brown, international advocate for global maternal and newborn health and wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, answers questions about her work from Forbes contributor Rahim Kanani in this interview excerpt. Brown “discussed the evolution of her interests, the current landscape of maternal and newborn health worldwide, critical levers of progress, leadership lessons in the context of global advocacy, and much more,” according to Forbes (12/7).
IRIN examines how a ban on aid by an armed rebel group in northern Yemen is putting children’s health at risk, writing, “Thousands of people under ‘siege’ by armed rebels in northern Yemen lack food and health care, which has already resulted in deaths and risks killing many more, local leaders and aid workers say.” The news service discusses the ongoing sectarian conflicts and describes efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide medical care and supplies (12/6).
Pharmaceutical company Merck (MSD) announced Monday it has “awarded a grant to PATH, a global health nonprofit, to identify game-changing technologies with the potential to save the lives of women during pregnancy and childbirth in low-resource settings,” according to a Merck press release. Led by scientists from Merck for Mothers,…
“Unwanted babies and unsafe abortion are major problems in the developing world, yet funding for contraception is limited because of attitudes to sex and abortion in donor countries,” the Guardian’s Sarah Boseley writes in her “Global Health Blog.” She reflects on her time spent in Dakar, Senegal, last week for the 2nd International Conference on Family Planning, and writes that, “in francophone Africa …, only 10 percent of women have access to what are called modern methods of family planning,” such as hormonal contraceptive injections or pills.
The Guardian profiles Biosense Technologies, an Indian startup company, and its first product, the “world’s first needle-free anemia scanner,” called ToucHb, which will be launched in February. “Anemia, or abnormally low hemoglobin in the blood, affects more than half of children under five and pregnant women in the developing world, according to the [WHO],” and it is a leading cause of maternal mortality because of postpartum hemorrhage, according to the newspaper.
“South Korea said on Monday that it would send 6.5 billion won, or $5.7 million, in aid to North Korea through UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency,” the New York Times reports. South Korea last year suspended aid to North Korea through UNICEF and the WHO, but Seoul last month resumed aid through the WHO, the newspaper notes (Choe, 12/5). “Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Monday it will donate about $5.7 million to UNICEF programs to send medicines and vaccines and help malnourished North Korean children,” the Associated Press/Washington Post writes (12/5).
“Fourteen of the 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean make the rotavirus vaccine available for all infants via national programs,” according to a report published Friday in the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” United Press International reports. Approximately “seven million infants, 66 percent of the infants born in Latin America and the Caribbean, were immunized in 2010 against rotavirus infection — the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children, and one of several viruses that cause infections often called stomach flu,” the news agency writes. The WHO recommends rotavirus vaccination for children worldwide, the report noted, stating, “Studies from countries in this region have shown declines in the burden of hospitalizations and deaths related to severe diarrhea after rotavirus vaccine introduction,” according to UPI (12/2).