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U.N. Set To Highlight Challenges Of Growing Global Population

With the global population expected to reach seven billion by October this year, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin told Inter Press Service that “seven billion represents a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action.”

U.N. Report Shows Significant Progress Toward Reaching MDGs, But Mixed Results In Some Areas

Significant progress is being made toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline, but the poorest countries are not progressing as quickly and more must be done to improve health and development outcomes in those nations, according to this year’s MDG report (.pdf), VOA News reports. “Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report on Thursday in Geneva (Schlein, 7/7).

U.N. Women Report Examines Women’s Access To Justice Worldwide

“More than half of working women in the world, 600 million, are trapped in insecure jobs without legal protection, according to the first flagship report of the new agency U.N. Women. A similar number do not have even basic protection against domestic violence, it finds, while sexual assault has become a hallmark of modern conflict,” the Guardian reports.

Drug Companies’ Desires To Maintain Status Quo Are ‘Lethal’

In the second of a two-part Al Jazeera opinion-piece series “examining the methods by which multinational drug corporations inflate their expenses and justify their pricing strategies,” Khadija Sharife, a journalist and visiting scholar at the Center for Civil Society, looks at U.S. tax laws, lax oversight of international clinical trials, the cost of research on new pharmaceutical compounds, and vaccine manufacturing.

The Essential Role Of Midwives

Mary Ellen Stanton, a senior maternal health advisor at USAID, and Chris Thomas, global health communications and policy advisor at USAID, outline the agency’s work to promote better health outcomes for women and children in the developing world on GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog.

IRIN Reports On Concerns Over Poor Midwife Training In Senegal

IRIN reports on concerns about the low level of training midwives in Senegal undergo, a topic that was discussed at the launch of the U.N. Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World’s Midwives report in Senegal. According to UNFPA, “[p]oorly-regulated, privately-run training schools in Senegal are churning out midwives who do not have a solid grasp of birthing or ante- and post-natal care, causing women and babies to die needlessly,” IRIN writes. There are dozens of midwife training schools in the country, which are supposed to be regulated, but because the government only has two inspectors to monitor the schools, many of them have low standards, said Edwige Adekambi, UNFPA’s joint Senegal director (6/30).

African Health Experts Visit Capitol Hill To Discuss Family Planning

The Global Health Council’s “Global Health” blog published two articles on Wednesday examining family planning in West Africa. In the first article, John Donnelly interviewed Bocar Mamadou Daff, director of reproductive health services in Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, about participating in the council’s annual conference and speaking to…

Swaziland’s Supply Of Antiretroviral Drugs Running Low

“Cash-strapped Swaziland’s state hospitals have only two months’ supplies of AIDS drugs, the country’s health minister has told parliament in an assessment that AIDS patients and activists took as a death sentence,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. More than 60,000 Swazis receive antiretroviral medicine at no cost from state-run hospitals.

NPR Examines Maternal, Child Health In Mozambique

NPR’s All Things Considered reports on efforts to improve maternal health in Mozambique. The piece, which is part of a summer series, looks at the challenges involved with getting pregnant women to hospitals and shortages of trained health worker (Block, 6/27). A second report on NPR’s Morning Edition examines Mozambique’s doctor shortage. NPR correspondent Melissa Block, who traveled to Mozambique to report on maternal and child health, is interviewed (Montagne, 6/27).