PRI’s “The World” recently spoke with Matt Ellingson, director of Program Development at Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization, who was part of a mission to North Korea this month during which five U.S.-based, non-governmental organizations were allowed to send observers to the country to monitor delivery of aid to areas affected by severe floods this past summer. The group “came away concerned about widespread malnutrition and starvation in North Korea” and “is now calling for an urgent humanitarian intervention,” “The World” reports. The radio show provides audio of the interview and a link to a “factfile” on the North Korea food crisis published in The Telegraph earlier this month (9/23).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
NPR’s Tell Me More on Friday interviewed Sierra Leone First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma about her work aimed at improving maternal health in her country. Koroma was in New York attending the African First Ladies Fellowship Program “that brings together Western European and American first ladies with their African counterparts for an exchange of ideas and best practices,” according to the program. Since implementing free health care, “Sierra Leone has seen a 214-percent increase in the number of children under five getting care in health facilities and a 61-percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases in health clinics,” Tell Me More reports, statistics that Koroma said are due to “the participation of all of us” (Martin, 9/23).
Gordon Alexander, director of the office of research at UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre, writes in this post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” that a series published in Friday’s Lancet on early child development (ECD) shows “that the payoff from concerted, integrated action around ECD would be enormous.” Additional focus on and investment in ECD, particularly in the areas of nutrition, maternal and family health, and poverty alleviation, would help children reach their full potential in adulthood, which means “investing in ECD now will quite literally yield billions of dollars in later years,” he says.
In addition to “essential money,” “the right policies, government commitment and citizen accountability” are needed to decrease child mortality and improve other global health indicators, “[b]ut the sine qua non for effective health care delivery is health workers. Whether it’s prevention, treatment or care, it’s all about health workers,” Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”
In this entry in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Kolleen Bouchane, director of ACTION, an international partnership of advocates working to mobilize resources to treat and prevent the spread of tuberculosis (TB), examines the need for improved TB vaccines and diagnostics in order to curb the spread of multidrug-resistant TB, especially among children, and highlights ACTION’s new report (.pdf), “Children and Tuberculosis: Exposing a Hidden Epidemic,” which she says “exposes the link between TB and orphaned and vulnerable children, malnourished children or children living with HIV.”
Robert Walker, executive vice president of the Population Institute, writes in this Huffington Post opinion piece that despite an increase in government and NGO support for maternal and child health programs, including family planning services, announced last week by the U.N. as part of its Every Woman, Every Child campaign, “the world’s largest donor nation, the United States, is retreating on its commitments to international family planning, and other donor nations may follow suit.”
Though the recent UNICEF report on child mortality shows progress is being made in every region to prevent childhood deaths, “it is clear that we still need to increase the coverage of high-impact, low-cost interventions like vaccines, including those for pneumonia and diarrhea that are rolling out,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of…
Annual World Disasters Report Focuses On Hunger And Malnutrition, Highlights Dichotomy Between Economic Classes
This year’s annual World Disasters Report, published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Thursday, focuses on hunger and malnutrition, but highlights a growing gap between economic classes, the Australian reports, noting “15 percent of the world’s population is going hungry while a record 20 percent now suffer the effects of ‘excess nutrition'” (Hodge, 9/23).
“Gender discrimination lies behind much of the malnutrition found in under-five children in Nepal, say locals and experts,” IRIN reports. “Women live hard lives from day one, born with no fanfare, contrasting starkly to the six-day celebration to mark the birth of a boy. Despite the physical demands of a woman’s daily life, boys and husbands eat first and are offered the most nutritious food, often leaving girls and women with leftovers,” the news service writes.
GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog summarizes a recent forum on reproductive health issues during which panel members of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health of Aspen Global Health and Development discussed how “reproductive health was intimately connected to the world’s population boom, climate change, water and sanitation crises, economic downturns, educational rates, and development overall.” The article continues, “And yet, reproductive health and family planning is generally not a focus on the world stage. In fact, the topic is often avoided.”