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Also In Global Health News: Poverty In Yemen; China’s Family Planning Policy; Preventive Medicine In Cuba; Food Security In Indonesia

AP Examines Development, Poverty Issues In Yemen

“More than 50 percent of Yemen’s children are malnourished, rivaling war zones like Sudan’s Darfur and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. That’s just one of many worrying statistics in Yemen. Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day and doesn’t have access to proper sanitation. … Water is running out. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes by conflict, flooding into cities,” the Associated Press reports in an article examining the country’s development challenges and how those compete with international donors’ concerns over security. “Donors are focusing on development as a tool to address security issues, and not as an end in itself,” said Ashley Clements, Oxfam’s representative in the capital Sanaa. “There is a risk that the tendency will increase over the years. Focusing on one issue alone will be to the detriment of the well-being of Yemen’s people,” Clements said. UNICEF’s director in Yemen Greet Cappelaera said, “There is no single other country in the world where we ever have seen such high levels of malnutrition” (12/22).

Chinese Human Rights Group’s Report Highlights ‘One Child’ Policy Abuses

The Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders released a report (.pdf) Tuesday on China’s “one child” policy detailing “forced abortions, sterilizations, insertions of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and coerced testing for pregnancy,” Agence France-Presse/Inquirer.net writes. “The policy is enforced in ways that encourage the use of violence against women,” said Renee Xia, the group’s international director. “There is little evidence that local officials are being held accountable for the abuses they perpetrate as they strive to meet (family planning) quotas,” Xia said (12/22). “Although most of the abuses documented in the report are not new, its authors are seeking to highlight the darker side of birth-control restrictions at a time when the public debate has largely focused on whether China’s family-planning policy has been too successful for its own good,” the New York Times reports (Jacobs, 12/21). Li Bin, director of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, said the country will keep its family planning policy with some changes aimed at achieving more sustainable population development, ANI/Sify News reports. “A comprehensive plan will be formulated to realize a healthy population growth, improve levels of government competence, optimise population structure and guide rational population distribution,” Bin said (12/21).

NewsHour Examines Cuba’s Approach To Preventive Medicine

PBS NewsHour examines how an emphasis on preventive medicine in Cuba has contributed to improved health outcomes in the country. “Unlike the rest of the developing world, there’s no doctor shortage in Cuba, which means the health care system here can push doctors and nurses down to the smallest rural communities, providing a kind of care that’s both personal and persistent,” according to the news service. “In an era when countries are struggling to do more for less with limited health care dollars, Cuba’s successes in prevention are likely to be closely watched.” The segment is part of a series of health reports from Havana, Cuba (Suarez, 12/21).

News Outlets Examine Call For Diet Diversification Among Indonesians To Promote Food Security

“Indonesia’s ambitious campaign to wean its population off rice, the staple food in the world’s fourth most populous nation, appears to have achieved little success,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports in an article that examines how the government is restructuring its effort first launched last year to introduce greater diversity in the foods consumed by Indonesians and improve food security (Pathoni, 12/21). IRIN, meanwhile, reports on the need for diversification in the diets of people living in “Indonesia’s eastern province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) one of the country’s most food insecure, despite the general availability of food.” The article examines efforts being made by Indonesia’s government to help reach the populations in the region suffering from malnutrition (11/20).