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Also In Global Health News: Maternal, Child Health In Rwanda, Pakistan, India; Mongolia Weather; H1N1

Rwanda Targets Communities In Effort To Curb Maternal Mortality

To reduce maternal mortality in Rwanda and reach U.N. Millennium Development Goal targets, the government will conduct maternal death audits in villages to help identify ways to improve outcomes, Rwanda’s Minister of Health Richard Sezibera announced recently, the New Times/allAfrica.com reports. “We believe that no woman should die giving life and once everyone partakes in this battle against maternal mortality, more women will be encouraged to deliver in hospitals – a major prevention strategy,” Sezibera said. “Officials also noted that other significant measures that have been put in place to address maternal health challenges also include provision of ambulances at countrywide hospitals and health centres,” the newspaper reports (Nambi, 2/25).

Pakistan To Train Community Health Workers In Maternal, Child Health

The Daily Mail reports on the plans of the Pakistani government to begin training community health workers in maternal, child and neonatal health care services. Speaking Wednesday, Director General Health Rasheed Joma “said it is high time to sensitize the health staff regarding complications related to mother and child health to control maternal and neonatal mortality rate,” according to the news service. “We have to improve our service not only in urban areas but in rural areas also with provision of state of the art technology at the basic health units and tehsil and district hospitals,” Joma said (Kiyani, 2/25).

Studies Shed Light On Infant, Child Mortality Rates In India

India’s current infant mortality rate is 53 per 1,000 live births, and it is expected to fall below 30 per 1,000 live births by 2012, according to the country’s pre-budget survey, PTI/The Hindu reports. In 1991, the infant morality rates was 80 per 1,000 live births (2/25). Despite the decrease, a study by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad found that about 2 million children in India die before age 5, the Business Standard writes. The study attempts “to address the major causes and the managerial challenges resulting in child mortality,” the publication writes (Unnithan, 2/25).

Severe Winter In Mongolia Prompts Jump In Infant Mortality, Other Health Risks On Horizon

As a result of a severe winter in Mongolia, “[t]he human cost among Mongolia’s population of 3 million remains difficult to quantify because of inaccessibility and limited communication. But infant mortality in the 12 hardest-hit provinces jumped by up to 60% in January compared with the previous five-year average, says Rana Flowers,” a UNICEF representative in the country, USA Today reports. The article also looks at the aid response to the cold (MacLeod, 2/25). In related news, the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) on Thursday said it would pay “Mongolian herders to clean up the remains of millions of livestock killed during the country’s worst winter in decades,” Reuters reports. “Mongolia’s bitter winter, known as the zud, has blanketed much of the country in deep snow and killed at least 2.7 million heads of livestock, posing health risks once the snow melts, the UNDP said” (Stanway, 2/25).

WHO Warns Countries To Remain Vigilant About H1N1

During a briefing with reporters Wednesday, where he spoke of the agency’s decision to not declare that H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, cautioned countries to remain vigilant in protecting against the virus’ spread, the Washington Post reports. Although H1N1 transmission rates have declined in the U.S. and Western Europe, health experts remain concerned about the virus’ activity in parts of West Africa. Fukuda “said the WHO had confirmed that the virus was spreading for the first time in Senegal and Mauritania, and was investigating the situation in other parts of West Africa,” according to the newspaper (Stein, 2/24).