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UNICEF Chief To Step Down After Term Ends In 2010

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman will not seek a second term as head of the agency after her term expires in a few months, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday, Xinhua reports. In a statement, Ban said that he learned of Veneman’s plan to step down “with great regret.”

VOA News Examines Obstetric Fistula In Africa

VOA News examines obstetric fistula in Africa and looks at health officials’ efforts to prevent and treat the condition. “Poverty is the biggest factor. Access to a Caesarean section to relieve the pressure of obstructed labor is the most common way of preventing an unborn child from pressing so tightly in the birth canal that it cuts off blood flow to surrounding tissue,” the news service writes.

Arab States Need To Address Food Security, Other Factors To Meet MDGs By 2015, Report Says

Arab states must develop a plan to increase food security and create more jobs in order to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets by 2015, according to a report published Sunday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Reuters reports. “Though rich in labor and fertile land, much of the Arab world is plagued by malnutrition, joblessness and a big gap between rich and poor, said the report,” the news service writes.

Wild Poliovirus Reaches More African Countries In 2009, WHO Official Says

Cases of polio have been reported in some African countries that have eradicated the disease, Luis Gomes Sambo, the WHO’s Africa regional director, said Monday at the opening of a child immunisation conference in Zimbabwe, Agence France-Presse reports (12/14).

UNITAID To Launch Patent Pool For HIV/AIDS Drugs By Mid-2010

The international drug procurement agency UNITAID on Monday unveiled plans to create a patent pool for HIV/AIDS medications to help increase access to generic versions of newer drugs at lower prices for low- and middle-income countries, Agence France-Presse reports. The patent pool “will create a common space for patent holders to license their technology in exchange for royalties” and is “scheduled to begin operating in mid-2010,” AFP reports (12/14).

Increased Funds Lead To ‘Significant Progress’ In Global Malaria Fight, WHO Report Says

WHO’s World Malaria Report 2009, released on Tuesday, found “increased funding is starting to pay off in the battle against malaria but prevention and treatment must be increased to try to halt the killer disease, Reuters reports. According to the Associated Press, there were more than 240 million cases of malaria and an estimated 863,000 people, mostly in Africa, died of the disease in 2008.