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Al Jazeera Examines Maternal Mortality In Afghanistan

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.”

Opinion Pieces Respond To U.N. Special Rapporteur's Report On Reproductive Health Policies

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).

Public-Private Partnerships Reduce Redundancies In Maternal, Newborn Health Programs

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,…

Zambia's Increasing Population May Pose Challenges

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).

MSF Suspends Measles Vaccination Campaign In Mogadishu Area Because Of Violence

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.

Opinion Pieces Address World Polio Day

Though the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99 percent over the past 20 years, World Polio Day is recognized “because we haven’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 we’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).

Together For Girls Partnership Works To End Sexual Violence

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.”…

UNICEF Calls For Additional Resources To Fight Hunger, Famine In Somalia

Though the humanitarian response to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa has lessened the suffering of thousands of people in the region, “more resources are needed to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in famine-hit areas of Somalia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said” in a progress report released Thursday, the U.N. News Centre reports. Releasing the report, Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, “called for the scaling up of integrated interventions in health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, education and child protection,” according to the news service (10/20).

U.N. Calls On International Community To Provide Food Aid To North Korea

“Wealthier countries need to put aside politics to help millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages, the U.N.’s top relief official said Friday, renewing an appeal for assistance that has largely gone unmet,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. Following a five-day visit to North Korea, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos “said millions of North Koreans, particularly children, mothers and pregnant women, need help,” as they do not have access to protein- and nutrient-rich foods, according to the AP.

USAID Recognizes Public-Private Partnership Week

USAID on Thursday made several announcements as part of its Public-Private Partnership Week: The agency and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) “announced that they will work together to strengthen social, economic and environmental development in coffee growing communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean,” according to a press release (10/20). …