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Most Of World’s 13M Preterm Births Occur In Africa, Asia

The “vast majority” of the world’s 13 million preterm births each year occur in developing countries where the babies’ “chances of survivals are low,” according to an article published Monday in the January issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Reuters/ABCNews reports. The findings are based on research conducted between the mid-1990s and 2007.

Orphanage Care In Developing Countries Is A ‘Viable Option,’ Study Finds

A study, published on Thursday in PLoS One, finds that the “care at orphanages [in developing countries] is often at least as good as that given by families who take in orphaned or abandoned children,” challenging “the widespread belief that orphans in poor countries fare best in family-style homes in the community and should be put into orphanages only as a last resort,” the New York Times reports (Grady, 12/17).

Measles Deaths Decline Worldwide By 78%, Experts Warn Against Complacency

Measles deaths fell from 733,000 in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008 – 78 percent – thanks, in part, to increased vaccination efforts that reached an estimated 700 million children, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S.-based Measles Initiative, Reuters reports.

Despite Gains, HIV/AIDS Remains Public-Health Priority, UNAIDS, WHO Say

News outlets continued to examine the 2009 AIDS epidemic update released Tuesday by the WHO and UNAIDS: “The U.N. report said ‘AIDS continues to be a major public-health priority’ and called for more funds to support efforts to curb the epidemic and to distribute lifesaving drugs,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The U.N. report also suggested that health authorities need to focus resources on those most at risk” (Fairclough, 11/25).

China, WHO To Collaborate On Flu Research Center

Chinese and WHO officials last week agreed to open a flu research center in Beijing, Bloomberg reports. “The new collaborating center for reference and research on influenza will join a network of WHO-affiliated labs in Atlanta, London, Tokyo and Melbourne that monitor flu strains and make recommendations on vaccines to fight the virus,” the news service writes.

Report Calls For Refocusing Health Spending In Developing Countries To Save Children’s Lives

“More than 24,000 infants die daily from preventable diseases in developing countries,” and child deaths have fallen in countries where governments “have shown a high level of political leadership on child health,” World Vision International said in a new report (.pdf) released on Monday as part of a five-year campaign to reduce child deaths worldwide, the Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.