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Health

New Pneumonia Vaccine to be Rolled Out in 40 Developing Countries

Nicaragua is the first of 40 developing countries to receive a new vaccine against pneumonia.  Sub-Saharan African countries are expected to soon follow. Pneumonia is one of the two top killers of young children around the world,  the other being diarrheal disease. The vaccine is being rolled out by the GAVI alliance, a public-private partnership...

New Program Works Towards Eliminating Pediatric HIV

In Malawi, the Call to Action project is working to eliminate HIV infection in unborn babies.  It’s designed to give hope to women infected with the HIV-virus that they can give birth to healthy children.  The project is funded by USAID and run by an American charity, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Statistics show that over 26,000...

UN Says Thousands of Ivorians Flee Post-Election Crisis

The UN refugee agency reports some 2,000 Ivorians, mostly women and children, have fled to neighboring Liberia and Guinea, following the post-electoral crisis in Ivory Coast. UN refugee spokesman, Andre Mahejic says the refugees do not claim to have been threatened or attacked by fellow Ivorians. "They told UNHCR their movement was precautionary...

UN Says Nearly One-Third Of Somalia's Population Needs Aid

The World Health Organization reports about two million people in Somalia, or nearly one-third of the total population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.  That includes almost 1.5 million internally displaced people.  Somalia has been in a chronic state of emergency for almost 20 years.  It has had no effective central government since the...

AIDS: The Lazarus Effect

Researchers call it the Lazarus effect – the dramatic beneficial changes that antiretroviral drugs – ARVs - can bring to HIV/AIDS patients and their families.  The drugs are changing lives. In the biblical story, Jesus is said to have raised Lazarus from the dead.  Now, in rural western Kenya, HIV/AIDS patients and their families, in a sense, are...

Malawi Workers Push for Early Retirement

A draft pension bill has created frustration and sometimes even panic among workers in Malawi, with some seeking early retirement before it passes. The bone of contention is a section setting the retirement age for women at 55 and men at 60. Labor experts say the age requirement is far too high for a country like Malawi. The World Health...

Migrant Deportations Could Lead to Disease and Death in Southern Africa, says Aid Organization

An international aid organization is warning that the deportations of thousands of Zimbabwean migrants from South Africa will pose serious public health risks. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says mass expulsions could also endanger the lives of many migrants, including some who suffer from potentially fatal conditions, such as HIV and...

Apartheid Legacy Remains in S. Africa’s Health Spending

In South Africa, despite the end of apartheid, there is still a big gap when it comes to health care spending.  A new study says the richest provinces - where most of the whites live - still receive more government funded healthcare than the poorest provinces. The research was led by Dr. David Stuckler, a research fellow at Oxford University and...

Bean Crops May Cut Fertilizer Use, Subsidy Costs

A new study finds that governments can reduce the amount they spend on fertilizer subsidies - and free up resources for health, education or other priorities - by encouraging farmers to alternate maize with certain bean crops. Scientists in the chronically-malnourished African nation of Malawi developed farming methods that produce the same yields...

Are GM Crops Africa's Path to Food Security?

For decades, Africa has suffered the ravages of an unpredictable climate, repeating cycles of drought, diminished harvests, hunger and poverty. Now, proponents of genetic engineering see biotechnology leading the continent to a bountiful and prosperous future by genetically modifying crops to resist drought and pests, and fend off disease....

Sudan: Medical Aid Given to Thousands Who Fled Bombing Attacks

The international Rescue Committee says it’s providing medical care to thousands of people in southern Sudan, who fled Sudanese army bombing attacks in November.  The attacks occurred along the north-south border. The IRC says about 3,500 people – who are ethnic Dinka - have sought refuge in northern Bahr el Ghazal. In Juba, Susan Purdin, the...

More Training Needed for Doctors to Treat Childbirth Disorder

Surgeons have gathered in Dakar this week to discuss the best methods to fight fistula, which afflicts more than two million women throughout the world. Surgeons and health workers from around the world are gathered in Dakar, Senegal this week to discuss the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula. This type of fistula, which usually occurs...

New, Affordable Meningitis Vaccine Debuts in Africa

Health officials say a new, affordable vaccine launched this week in Burkina Faso could eliminate recurring meningitis-A epidemics that have plagued the continent for the past century. Health workers say Meningococcal-A epidemics that hit sub-Saharan Africa every seven to 14 years could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new, affordable...

WHO Begins Mass Meningitis Vaccination in Burkina Faso

The World Health Organization is introducing a new meningitis vaccine in the West African nation of Burkina Faso.The new vaccine, called MenAfriVac, provides 10 years of immunity against meningococcal A, a potentially fatal disease that infects the lining around the brain and spinal cord. The WHO says the vaccine is the first designed specifically...

Human Health Depends on Biodiversity

There’s a good reason why people should be concerned about having a healthy environment containing lots of animal and plant species. A new study says the loss of biodiversity may make humans more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Biodiversity is one of the ways to measure the health of an eco-system.   And the healthier an eco-system is, the...