“A summit designed to kickstart a joint effort by world leaders to address hunger and malnutrition will be held in London on 12 August to coincide with the closing day of the Olympics, the British government has announced,” the Guardian reports. “It’s really important that, while the eyes of the world are on Britain and we are going to put on this fantastic show for the Olympics, we remember people in other parts of the world who, far from being excited about the Olympics, are actually worried about their next meal and whether they are getting enough to eat,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said, adding, “We are going to have other world leaders [involved] â€¦ to challenge the world to tackle the problem of malnutrition, hunger and stunted growth,” according to the newspaper. Cameron first announced the summit following the G8 meeting in May, the newspaper notes (Marchal, 7/27).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
RECENT RELEASE: PEPFAR Announces $5M For 'Together For Girls' Partnership To Address Sexual Violence
“On July 25th at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby announced $5 million from the Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for the Together for Girls partnership to address violence against girls and boys, with a particular focus on sexual violence against girls,” A U.S. Department of State media note states. “This funding will leverage existing PEPFAR platforms to help partner governments develop and strengthen their programmatic response to National Violence Against Children survey data,” according to the media note (7/25).
AIDS 2012 Plenary Speakers Call For Expanded Efforts To Provide HIV Treatment, Prevention To Women, Children
AIDS experts speaking at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) on Wednesday called for an expansion of HIV care and treatment to all women instead of focusing only on those who are pregnant, the Associated Press reports. While many countries have programs to treat pregnant women with HIV infection with antiretroviral treatment (ART) to lessen the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission, UNICEF Senior Programme Adviser Chewe Luo said at the plenary session that most countries do not continue providing ART after mothers wean their infants, the news service notes, adding, “She praised Malawi for starting to do just that” through a treatment initiative called Plan B+ (Neergaard, 7/25). According to the Guardian, the plan would add an additional $300 million to global treatment costs, but “people with HIV on treatment become far less likely to infect their partners, as well as their babies, so the additional outlay may be considered a good investment.” Luo said discussions with PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria about funding such programs are underway, the newspaper notes (Boseley, 7/25). In a satellite session on Tuesday, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe “commended countries and their international partners for recent progress in preventing new HIV infections among children and saving mothers’ lives,” health-e news reports (7/25).
As part of the Guardian’s “Young people’s sexual health matters” series, Doortje Braeken, senior adviser on adolescents and youth at the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in an opinion piece reflects upon the recent London Summit on Family Planning, and says “the biggest hurdle is that many societies don’t recognize young people as sexual beings,” and “[o]ther challenges include policy, legal, economic, cultural, educational, service delivery and supply chain management,” as well as data collection. She says the community must “[d]evelop a comprehensive approach to young people’s mental and physical health and empowerment, recognize young people as sexual beings, provide comprehensive sexuality education for all …, train providers properly, and create easily accessible services.” She continues, “Perhaps it’s now time to create a comprehensive, commonly-agreed blueprint of components that are required to achieve the outcomes we all seek with regard to young people’s sexual and reproductive health, and again with components that can be phased in according to each community’s and nation’s need” (7/24).
Women’s eNews/ForbesWoman examines maternal health in Morocco. “By 2010, Morocco had decreased its maternal mortality ratio by over 60 percent since 1990, according to the Ministry of Health, with much of that drop in recent years,” the news service notes, adding that “between 1990 and 2008 it achieved an annualized decline of 6.3 percent, the fastest in the region with the exception for Iran’s 8.9 percent, according to a 2011 report by the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund.” The news service writes, “This progress means Morocco might meet U.N. Millennium Development Goal 5, which calls on nations to reduce maternal mortality by three-fourths between 1990 and 2015.”
“The World Bank and U.S. government on Thursday each announced major new initiatives aimed at expanding knowledge on the experience of women around the world, while acknowledging that much remains to be done on filling the global ‘data gap’ on women,” Inter Press Service reports. At an event at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of Gallup, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “announced the creation of a new U.S. government initiative called Data 2X, which will aim [to improve] international capacity on the production and analysis of data, including training in gender-sensitive data-gathering techniques and filling gaps in gender-sensitive data,” IPS writes. World Bank President Jim Kim “also announced a major new initiative on the subject, the World Bank’s Gender Data Portal, a clearinghouse of the bank’s decades’ worth of gender-related statistics and analysis,” the news service notes (Biron, 7/19).
1M Yemeni Children Face Severe Malnutrition, Contribute To 62M People Worldwide In Need Of Humanitarian Aid, U.N. Says
“One million Yemeni children face severe malnutrition within months as families struggle to pay for food in one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, the U.N. World Food Programme has warned,” Reuters reports. “Political turmoil has pushed Yemen to the brink of a humanitarian crisis and aid agencies estimate half the country’s 24 million people are malnourished,” the news agency adds (Abdullah/al-Ansi, 7/19). According to BBC News, “The U.N. estimates that 267,000 Yemeni children are facing life-threatening levels of malnutrition and that 10 million Yemenis go to bed hungry” (Antelava, 7/19).
Though South Africa has made progress against HIV/AIDS over the past few years, the country’s “health minister says much more needs to be done,” VOA News reports. Health officials from South Africa’s Medical Research Council on Thursday said the mother-to-child transmission rate dropped from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, getting the country closer to its goal of reaching a two percent rate by 2015, the news service notes. But Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi “told reporters Thursday in Johannesburg that 60 percent of HIV/AIDS patients are female and they must be the focus to stem the epidemic in the country,” VOA writes, adding, “Motsoaledi is urging everyone to seek regular HIV testing in an effort to reduce the epidemic and diminish the disease’s stigma” (Powell, 7/19).
Gains In Child Health, Education Threatened By Increase In Malnutrition, Save The Children Report Says
“More children survived past their fifth birthday and attended school at the end of the 2000s than a decade before, but a rise in acute malnutrition could undermine these unprecedented gains,” according to a report released Thursday by Save the Children, AlertNet reports. Between 2005 and 2010, “1.5 million more children suffered from wasting or acute weight loss … than in the first half of the 2000s,” the news agency reports, adding, “This happened as high, volatile food prices and increasingly extreme weather made food less affordable for many poor families, tipping some into crisis” (Nguyen, 7/19). According to the report, Japan is the best place for children, and Somalia “is ranked last among the nations considered following a food crisis last year which killed tens of thousands of children,” the Independent notes. “According to Save The Children, the overall proportion of acutely malnourished children grew by 1.2 percent during the previous decade,” the newspaper writes (Diaz, 7/19).
In a post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, the foundation’s Gary Darmstadt, Wendy Prosser, and Andrew Serazin discuss the finalists of the Saving Lives at Birth initiative, who came together at last week’s DevelopmentXChange in Seattle. “This venue brought global health experts and entrepreneurs together to share with each other, to discover what other researchers are experimenting with, to see what for-profit innovations could be applied to public health in low-resource settings,” they write, noting that Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation, “called for innovations for women, something which has been sorely neglected in public health.” They conclude, “We hope that this process has sparked further innovation and creativity around the world, and inspired experts from all fields to share experiences and knowledge. It’s that collective energy from a diverse set of experts that will save lives at birth” (7/18).