“The annual number of children who die before they reach age five is shrinking, falling to 7.6 million global deaths in 2010 from more than 12 million in 1990, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday” in their annual report (.pdf) on child mortality, Reuters reports. “Overall, 12,000 fewer children under age five die each day than a decade ago,” according to the report, the news agency notes. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement that “many factors are contributing to reductions in child mortality, including better access to health care for newborns, prevention and treatment of childhood diseases, access to vaccines, clean water and better nutrition,” the news agency writes (Steenhuysen, 9/14).
While the number of malaria deaths has fallen by one-fifth over the past decade globally, according to a report released by Roll Back Malaria on Monday, “India is still recording high numbers of deaths, which some experts say are underestimated,” Agence France-Presse reports. The WHO “says about 5,000 children and 10,000 adults die each year from malaria in India,” AFP reports, adding, “However a study published last year by the Lancet said there are more than 200,000 malaria deaths each year and that WHO’s reporting is flawed.”
Gender Disparities In Developing Countries Relatively Small At Birth But Grow In Adolescence, UNICEF Report Says
A UNICEF report (.pdf) released on Tuesday suggests that gender disparities between boys and girls in developing countries are relatively small in children’s early years, but as children approach adolescence, gaps widen in areas such as education, health, nutrition and protection, Xinhua reports (9/13). According to the report, “[h]ealth and education disparities between boys and girls in developing countries tend not to emerge until adolescence, when girls face increased risks of child marriage, HIV/AIDS infection and domestic violence,” TrustLaw writes.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) “are spreading at an alarming rate in Europe and will kill thousands unless health authorities halt the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday” during the launch of “a new regional plan to find, diagnose and treat cases of the airborne infectious disease more effectively,” Reuters reports. “The WHO said that if the plan is fully implemented — at an estimated cost of $5 billion — 127,000 people will be successfully treated for drug-resistant TB and 120,000 deaths will be averted by 2015,” according to the news agency (Kelland, 9/13).
The WHO “published a report Wednesday showing the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular illness around the world, along with countries’ abilities to cope with the growing number of people affected by them,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (9/13). In the report, “the WHO said 36 million people died of chronic diseases in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available,” VOA News writes, adding, “More than a quarter of those people were less than 60 years old” (9/13). The report’s release coincides with the first U.N. summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which is scheduled to take place in New York September 19-20, the AP notes (9/13).
A cholera epidemic in West and Central Africa, which is being worsened by heavy rains and flooding, has already caused nearly 40,000 cases this year in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, killing almost 1,200 people in the countries adjacent to the Lake Chad Basin, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), VOA News reports.
PBS NewsHour’s blog “The Rundown” examines a “report from the U.N.’s Every Woman, Every Child Innovation Working Group, out in the Lancet Monday, [which] looks at some of the promising and innovative projects” aimed at improving maternal and child health. “More than 350,000 women die each year around the globe from complications of childbirth, and three million children die in the first month of life,” according to the blog (Miller, 9/12). The report “was prepared as part of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s ‘Every Woman Every Child’ Initiative, a global strategy for improving women and children’s health, launched last year,” according to a U.N. Foundation press release (9/12).
Yves Engler, a Canadian writer and author, writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Comment Is Free” blog that local citizens and investigative journalists have alleged that the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah) dumped feces and other waste in holes a few feet from water used for drinking and bathing in the central plateau city of Hinche on August 6 and again 10 miles from Hinche on August 21, as well as cites a report (.pdf) stating that sewage disposal at the U.N. base near Mirebalais 10 months ago caused a devastating cholera outbreak.
U.N. Agencies, Pakistan Government Launch Rapid Needs Assessment, Provide Aid In Flood-Affected Regions
“United Nations humanitarian agencies have begun to assist communities in southern Pakistan that have been pummeled by monsoon rains which have claimed the lives of almost 200 people and destroyed or damaged nearly one million homes in an area still recovering from last year’s catastrophic floods,” the U.N. News Centre reports. The U.N. and the Pakistan government “have begun a rapid needs assessment in Sindh, with shelter, food, water, sanitation, hygiene and health care expected to be the priorities,” the news service writes (9/10).
Human Rights Watch Report Says Foreign Aid Indirectly Supporting Forced Labor In Vietnam's Drug Rehabilitation Centers
In a report released Wednesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch “accused the United States government, the World Bank and other international donors of indirectly funding forced labor in Vietnam’s drug rehabilitation centers,” Inter Press Service reports. The report “said that Vietnam’s system of forced labor centers for people who use drugs has expanded over the last decade” and they “have been sustained by a variety of international donors, none of which has made objections,” the news service writes.