“Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday opened a national HIV and AIDS conference with a call for the nation’s men to take a larger role in the response to the deadly pandemic, not only for their own health but that of women and children,” VOA News reports (Gumbo, 9/5). Speaking at the conference, Mugabe said, “The role of men in society is unquestionable. It is for this reason that men should take their place in the HIV response, both for their own health as well as in support of women and children … and it is not just treatment, but also a fact of discipline,” Zimbabwe’s Herald writes (9/6).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Speaking at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, on Thursday, African Regional Director of WHO Luis Sambo said “that 46 Africa member countries still had remarkable challenges to scale before meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Nigeria’s The Nation reports.
Genetic Factor Found In Link Between H1N1 Flu Vaccine And Children's Narcolepsy, Finland Institute Says
“Finland’s national health institute said on Thursday its latest research on previously found links between children’s narcolepsy and GlaxoSmithKline’s [GSK] Pandemrix vaccine against [H1N1] swine flu also involved a genetic risk factor,” Reuters reports. In Finland, where 98 narcolepsy cases have been reported following the flu vaccinations, researchers found vaccinated children ages four to 19 “had a 12.7 times higher risk of experiencing narcolepsy than those who were not,” the news agency notes (9/1).
In this post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, the second in a multi-week series, Joy Lawn, director of Evidence and Policy for the Saving Newborn Lives program of Save the Children, and Kate Kerber, the Africa regional specialist with Saving Newborn Lives at Save the…
Progress In Reducing Child Mortality Rates At Somalia, Ethiopia Border Refugee Camps Is Slow, U.S. Official Says
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Reuben Brigety, “[t]he top U.S. official for refugee issues, … says that despite intensive efforts, relief agencies have made little progress in reducing child mortality rates at refugee camps along Somalia’s border with Ethiopia,” VOA News reports. Brigety, “comment[ing] as he returned from Dollo Ado, a sprawling camp complex in Ethiopia that houses 120,000 refugees from famine-stricken southern Somalia … tells VOA that humanitarian agencies have made impressive progress in establishing health facilities and registering the backlog of refugees arriving daily from Somaliaâ€™s famine zone. But he said children are still dying at an alarming rate of malnutrition and other complications, such as measles,” the news agency writes.
UNICEF and non-governmental organizations “operating in West Africa say the main barrier to more pit latrines in rural areas is not poverty or lack of resources, but a lack of understanding about costs and benefits,” IRIN reports. “Plan International, WaterAid and UNICEF programs all encourage communities to recognize the need for better sanitation, and to build latrines themselves,” the news service writes, adding, “Building and using latrines is one of the most effective ways to combat diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million under-five children globally each year.”
Integrating Rapid Syphilis And HIV Testing For Pregnant Women Could Reduce Maternal, Child Morbidity And Mortality
“A study conducted in Uganda and Zambia by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) found high rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection among pregnant women in both countries,” but showed that “integrating rapid syphilis screening and HIV testing for pregnant women was feasible, cost-effective, and helped to prevent transmission of syphilis and HIV from mother-to-child,” PlusNews reports.
“Tens of thousands of women in Haiti have severely limited access to reproductive and maternal healthcare, many are compelled to trade sex for food and most are vulnerable to rape, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Tuesday,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports (8/30). The report said “[d]espite a mammoth humanitarian-care push in the wake of the Jan. 12, 2010 quake that killed as many as 300,000 people, serious gaps exist in the healthcare that women and girls are receiving,” the Los Angeles Times writes.
“Mexico plans to administer the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, to all girls beginning next year, the country’s health ministry said Tuesday,” Agence France-Presse reports. Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova “said while deaths from cervical cancer had fallen 47 percent in the country over the past two decades, there were still 13.4 cases for every 100,000 women last year,” AFP writes, adding, “Cervical cancer kills about 4,200 women in Mexico each year” (8/30).
WHO Study Finds Global Neonatal Mortality Rate Down 28% Since 1990, But Progress Slow In Developing Countries
“Global death rates among newborns under one month old are dropping,” but “developing nations are still reporting a disproportionately high level of child deaths,” with “99 percent of all newborn deaths occur[ing] in developing countries,” according to a study published Tuesday in PLoS Medicine, Agence France-Presse reports. The study, conducted by the WHO, Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, showed that half of those deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the news agency notes (8/30). The study authors “used civil registration systems, household surveys, and other data sources to compile statistical models to estimate that in 2009, 3.3 million babies died during their first month of life compared to 4.6 million in 1990,” a decrease of 28 percent, according to a PLoS press release (8/30).