Nigeria polio campaign gains momentum
Dozens of governors across Nigeria have signed up to support the Nigeria Immunization Challenge started by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to combat polio. The immunization initiative is part of the foundation’s efforts to support Nigeria’s fight against top priority public health concerns, such as HIV/AIDS prevention and providing safe drinking water.
Indian student helps others resist child marriage
Anjali Burman, a 21-year-old resident of the remote Indian village of Malda, has taken up the fight against child marriage, forming a small community group that works to prevent the forced marriages of girls under the age of 18. The youngster faced the prospect of marriage at the age of 15 and now helps others by raising awareness and bringing efforts to stop cases to officials.
New Zealand rejects concerns on child marriage
Current laws in New Zealand are sufficient to discourage child marriage, the country’s government has told UNICEF, despite reports of the forced marriage of a 17-year-old Pakistani girl, and appeals for help by girls as young as 13 and 14. Justice Minister Judith Collins said the government would continue to educate ethnic communities about existing law.
Shot at Life chief talks vaccination progress
Vaccines can help prevent many of the 1.7 million deaths of children every year from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, Peg Willingham, executive director of the United Nations Foundation program Shot at Life, says in this interview. Willingham recently traveled to Honduras where an ambitious vaccination program targeting 99% of the country’s children is helping slash child-mortality rates.
Cote d’Ivoire pulls plug on free health care experiment
Cote d’Ivoire has scaled back its public health program to cover only women and young children as theft and mismanagement contribute to rapidly rising costs. “As long as women and children continue to receive care we are satisfied, because they are among the most vulnerable,” said Louis Vigneault-Dubois, head of communications for UNICEF in the country.
Calvin: Family-planning access is a key priority
Increasing access to family-planning services for women around the world remains an integral element to improving women’s health and achieving Millennium Development Goals related to maternal mortality, writes Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation.
Breast cancer awareness is still lagging
Despite the efforts of global health community to draw attention to and raise awareness of chronic noncommunicable disease, breast cancer remains widely misunderstood and under-diagnosed in developing countries. Health care professionals diagnose more than 1 million cases annually, and the disease claims about a half-million lives each year.
Yemen faces malnutrition emergency
The number of children under the age of five suffering from malnutrition across Yemen has reached 750,000, doubling in some regions over the past decade. Maria Calivis, UNICEF’s director for Middle East and North Africa, said the figure crosses the “emergency threshold” for urgent action, especially in the country’s remote areas.