“Famine relief efforts in Somalia are being hampered as much by delays in procuring food aid and raising funds as by difficulties in accessing Islamist-controlled areas, according to humanitarian organizations working there,” the Guardian reports. Staff from several aid agencies working within al-Shabab-controlled areas “say the major problem in responding to the crisis is the time it is taking to buy food abroad and to transport it to the worst-hit areas,” the newspaper writes (Rice, 8/4).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
The Measles Initiative on Thursday “announced it has helped vaccinate one billion children in more than 60 developing countries since 2001, making significant gains in the global effort to stop measles,” according to a Measles Initiative press release. “Looking ahead to its second decade, the Measles Initiative will focus on…
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) “have developed a fully cooked food-aid product called Instant Corn Soy Blend [ICSB] that supplements meals, particularly for young children,” a USDA news story reports (Bliss, 8/4).
“India’s health minister announced Tuesday a new initiative underway to boost the country’s rate of immunizing newborns by collecting mobile phone numbers of all pregnant mothers to monitor their babies’ vaccinations,” the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog reports.
“Sending daily text message reminders to health workers can mean nearly 25 percent more children are properly treated for malaria, according to the results of a six-month trial conducted in Kenya” published Thursday in the Lancet, Reuters reports (Kelland, 8/3).
TrustLaw, a Thomson Reuters Foundation service, on Thursday published a series of articles, infographics and videos in a special report on child marriage. According to the series homepage, “[e]very day, 25,000 girls under the age of 18 are married worldwide. For many child brides, a future of poverty, exploitation and poor health awaits” (8/4).
UNICEF on Tuesday “appeal[ed] to the air transport sector to provide free and discounted cargo space to bring emergency food supplies into the region,” the U.N. News Centre reports (8/2). UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, warned in its latest situation report that “[c]hild mortality rates among Somali refugees in Kenya are on the rise and there are ‘alarmingly high rates’ of malnutrition,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (8/3).
“Children of depressed mothers in developing countries are 40 percent more likely to be underweight or stunted than those with mothers in good mental health,” according to a report published in the August edition of the WHO Bulletin, Reuters reports. “The analysis was based on 17 studies of nearly 14,000 mothers and their small children carried out in Africa, Asia, and South America and the Caribbean,” according to the news agency.
Breastfeeding from birth to six months or a year can reduce deaths among children under five by 13 percent, a statistic that UNICEF is highlighting during World Breastfeeding Week, which runs through August 7, the International Business Times reports (DeNinno, 8/2).
GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog features an interview with Ellen Starbird, deputy director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID, and Judy Manning, health development officer in USAID’s Research, Technology and Utilization Division, who discuss “family planning and reproductive health issues, including new innovations and promising technologies still in the research stage.” Starbird says that funding for family planning programs is critical for “making possible for women in the developing world the kinds of choices that women all over the developed world have” (Donnelly, 8/1).