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In The News

U.N. Orders Syrian Government To Allow Delivery Of Humanitarian Aid

New York Times: U.N. Orders Both Sides in Syria to Allow Humanitarian Aid
“In a rare show of unity among world powers, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Saturday ordering the warring parties in Syria to stop blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid, though without the immediate prospect of punishment for those who disobey…” (Sengupta, 2/22).

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Uganda President Signs Anti-Gay Legislation

News outlets report on the controversy surrounding Uganda’s anti-gay legislation. Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law on Monday despite opposition from several groups and individuals, including Desmond Tutu.

New York Times: Ugandan President Signs Antigay Law
“Brushing aside Western threats and criticism, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda significantly strengthened Africa’s antigay movement on Monday, signing into law a bill imposing harsh sentences for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment in some cases, according to government officials…” (Cowell, 2/24).

Reuters: Uganda’s Museveni signs anti-gay bill
“Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law on Monday an anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legislation against homosexuals, defying warnings from the United States that relations could be complicated by the new rules…” (Biryabarema, 2/24).

Associated Press: Tutu urges Uganda’s Museveni against anti-gay bill
“South Africa’s retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Sunday made an impassioned plea to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni not to sign into law a harsh Anti-Homosexuality Bill that calls for a life sentence for some same-sex relations. Tutu, a Nobel peace prize winner, said in a statement that Museveni a month ago had pledged not to allow the anti-gay legislation to become law in Uganda. But last week Museveni said he had reconsidered and would consult scientists on whether homosexuality is determined by genetics or by a person’s choice…” (Faure, 2/23).

Agence France-Presse: Desmond Tutu warns of ‘Nazi’ parallel to Uganda anti-gay law
“South African peace icon Desmond Tutu warned on Sunday that Uganda’s controversial anti-gay law recalled sinister attempts by the Nazi and apartheid regimes to ‘legislate against love’…” (2/23).

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UNICEF Launches $2.2B Appeal To Aid Children In Crisis Situations

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF launches record $2.2 billion aid appeal to help children in emergencies
“The United Nations today launched a $2.2 billion appeal to help nearly 60 million children in crisis situations, the majority of whom are in and around war-torn Syria. The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2014’ is the largest emergency appeal on record. It would aid 85 million people of whom 59 million are children…” (2/21).

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PRI's 'The World' Launches Multimedia Series On Pregnancy, Childbirth Worldwide

PRI’s “The World” has launched a multimedia series, titled “The Ninth Month,” that explores pregnancy and childbirth across cultures and continents.

PRI’s “The World”: In Nepal, the manual labor doesn’t stop for expectant mothers
“…It is common here for women to do backbreaking work in the fields, but Januka is seven months pregnant. Despite her expanding belly, her chores will not let up…” (Narang, 2/23).

PRI’s “The World”: How ‘secret mothers’ make childbirth safer
“For women in the African nation of Malawi, giving birth brings a high risk of death. The predominantly rural country has long had one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world…” (Kelto, 2/23).

PRI’s “The World”: Video: Peru creates a special place for expectant mothers to wait — and wait
“In Peru, women are encouraged to spend their last weeks of pregnancy in special residential facilities that offer comfort and care. But the waiting remains difficult…” (Durand/Gardner, 2/23).

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WHO Launches Cholera Vaccination Campaign In South Sudan

Media sources report on the WHO’s launch of a cholera vaccination program in South Sudan.

Agence France-Presse: WHO launches anti-cholera drive in conflict-torn S. Sudan
“The World Health Organization began a campaign on Saturday to prevent outbreaks of cholera in temporary camps in South Sudan housing thousands of people who have fled the country’s brutal two-month-old conflict…” (2/22).

WHO: 140,000 people to get cholera vaccine in South Sudan
“WHO is working with the South Sudan Government and partners to provide vaccines to protect nearly 140,000 people living in temporary camps in South Sudan against cholera…” (2/22).

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Africa Needs To Increase Measles Control To Meet 2020 Elimination Goal, WHO Says

SciDev.Net: Measles deaths decline but Africa’s 2020 goal in danger
“Despite the global decline of deaths from measles, Africa must step up its control efforts, otherwise the continent is unlikely to achieve its target of eliminating the disease by 2020, says WHO…” (Abutu, 2/21).

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Nutrition Experts Say Research Should Be Led By Africans, Not Donors

IRIN: Call for shake-up in Africa nutrition research
“…To change the face of nutritional research in Africa, the SUNRAY [Sustainable nutrition research for Africa in the years to come] project proposes an African-led ‘knowledge hub’ that will assess and build on existing knowledge and present effective solutions for major nutrition problems in Africa. It will help foster relationships between researchers and policymakers, and also incorporate mechanisms to ensure optimal uptake and use of nutrition research findings for policy development, implementation and programming…” (2/24).

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Yaws Can Be Eradicated With Donations From Drug Companies, WHO Says

The Guardian: Yaws eradication will need millions of donated antibiotics, says WHO
“The World Health Organization has stepped up efforts to eradicate yaws, described as the ‘forgotten disease’, after the discovery of a single-dose oral antibiotic that can cure it. Wiping out the bacterial skin disease that causes weeping ulcers would, however, depend on whether drug companies were prepared to donate millions of tablets, the WHO said…” (Kennedy, 2/21).

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India President Says Controlling TB In Country Necessary For Global Control

News outlets report on India President Pranab Mukherjee’s comments on tuberculosis (TB) control in India.

ANI/News Track India: Global Tuberculosis control unattainable without controlling TB in India: Mukherjee
“President Pranab Mukherjee today said that global tuberculosis control is unattainable without controlling the incidence of the disease in India…” (2/23).

PNI/Zee News: President appeals for eradicating TB from country
“President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday reminded the country of its success in eradicating polio as he expressed confidence that the ‘scourge’ of tuberculosis, which kills one person every two minutes in the country, could be wiped out…” (2/23).

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Food Insecurity Could Hinder Zimbabwe's Development, U.N. Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Malnutrition could jeopardize Zimbabwe’s development, U.N. official warns during visit
“The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that high levels of malnutrition could hold Zimbabwe back from reaching its full potential, during a visit to the country at the peak of its lean season…” (2/21).

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VOA Reports On India's Successful Polio Elimination Campaign

VOA On Assignment: How India Beat Polio
“On Assignment’s Doug Bernard talks with VOA science reporter Steve Baragona about India’s battle against polio. Thanks to a massive vaccination program, it has now been three years since the country last recorded a new case of the disease…” (Bernard, 2/20).

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Lancet Infectious Diseases Reports On Impact Of Diarrheal Diseases In Pakistan

Lancet Infectious Diseases: Childhood diarrhea in Pakistan
“Statistics on Pakistan’s burden of diarrheal diseases are hard to come by. The country’s disease surveillance mechanisms are woefully inadequate. Nor is there a working civil registration system for births and deaths. Still, estimates suggest that roughly 45,000 children are killed by diarrhea every year…” (Burki, March 2014).

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Number Of MERS Deaths In Saudi Arabia At 61

Agence France-Presse: MERS death toll in Saudi reaches 61
“Saudi health authorities announced on Sunday the death of an elderly woman from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the kingdom to 61…” (2/23).

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AIDS Expert Calls For Universal HIV Testing For Children In Zimbabwe

Thomson Reuters Foundation: HIV-positive teens dying after hospitals and guardians fail to test them
“Thousands of HIV-positive children are suffering and dying unnecessarily because of late diagnosis, a Zimbabwe-based expert on HIV/AIDS said, calling for universal testing of children entering health facilities in high prevalence countries…” (Migiro, 2/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Approve Additional Funding For Global Health Security Agenda

New York Times: Coping With Infectious Disease
“The list of infectious diseases that could leap from remote areas of the world to strike countries thousands of miles away is growing. … It made good sense, then, when the Obama administration, after meeting with representatives of three United Nations agencies and 26 countries last week, announced an ambitious plan to improve the surveillance and treatment of infectious diseases over the next five years in up to 30 countries. … A relatively small investment can get this health security initiative off the ground. The Defense Department and CDC are spending a combined $40 million this year (mostly from the Pentagon budget) to help detect and contain infectious disease threats in 10 countries. The administration said that it will propose an increase of $45 million in the CDC budget for 2015 to help additional countries. Congress ought to approve that money…” (2/21).

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Integrating Agriculture, Nutrition Is Critical to Eliminate Malnutrition

The Guardian: Can agriculture play a bigger role in solving malnutrition?
Marc Van Ameringen, executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

“…Forging stronger links between agriculture and nutrition sectors is a critical big part of eliminating malnutrition. So we need to start using the investments pledged in London for programs on the ground in countries around the world. Let’s start developing more programs that combine multiple interventions across agriculture and nutrition, and also more aggressively begin building markets for nutritious foods that reach the poor” (2/21).

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Larval Source Management Should Be Used As Malaria Control Strategy

The Guardian: Targeting mosquito breeding sites in the fight against malaria
Lucy Tusting, a research degree student at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…Great success has been achieved in malaria control in the past decade, with global malaria mortality cut by a quarter. However, our core vector control tools — long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying of homes (IRS) — are being undermined by mosquito resistance to insecticides. Larval source management, or LSM, could be an additional strategy. … Of course, we must continue to advocate for high levels of funding for malaria control. It is also imperative to maintain high coverage with current first line interventions. Long-lasting insecticide treated nets, indoor residual spraying, preventive medication for high-risk groups and good case management remain integral to tackling this ancient disease” (2/24).

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Recent Releases

Public Appeal Aims To Engage Action To Prevent 'Lost Generation' In Syria

In a joint press release, “UNICEF, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Mercy Corps, Save the Children and World Vision [Monday] issued an impassioned appeal to the general public, urging it to voice its outrage at the devastating impact on children and alarming long-term consequences of a lost generation as the conflict in Syria approaches its fourth year. … In addition to the immediate protection of children, the call for action stresses the importance of breaking the cycle of violence and providing children and young people with the support they need now to play a constructive role in the future peace and stability of Syria and the region…” (2/24).

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Report Discusses Lack Of Drug Safety Monitoring In Developing Countries

Writing in Humanosphere, development blogger Tom Paulson highlights “a new report sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-authored by Thomas Bollyky, at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Andy Stergachis, director of the Global Medicines Program at the University of Washington,” about the lack of drug safety surveillance in developing countries (2/21).

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New Issue Of 'Global Health: Science And Practice' Journal Available Online

The February 2014 issue of the “Global Health: Science and Practice” journal is now available online. The issue includes an article on cell phone use by community health workers, an article on IUD use in Africa, a commentary on WHO programming for postpartum family planning, and other pieces (February 2014).

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