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Also In Global Health News: Canada To Support Health Programs In Africa; Chan on N. Korea; Improving Living Conditions In DRC; Nepalese Sex Trafficking Victims

Canada To Give Africa $178M Over 5 Years, Minister Says 

Canada will give $178 million over five years to support maternal, child health and educational projects in nine African countries, Bev Oda, Canada’s international cooperation minister, said on Thursday, a day after the conclusion of a meeting of G8 development ministers, the Toronto Sun reports. She said, “There is more for Africa … We’re continually working on different things for Africa.”

According to the publication, “While Oda announced last year the government was cutting aid to eight African countries to refocus on Latin America, she talked at the G8 meeting about making sub-Saharan Africa a priority. But Oxfam’s Mark Fried says this isn’t enough money to indicate Canada is reversing course. ‘It’s great that they’re announcing funding for Africa,’ Fried said. ‘But it’s hard to know whether this is business as usual or some alteration in policy.'” Oda said that 45 percent of the Canadian International Development Agency’s budget goes towards Africa. “I don’t identify that as Canada … abandons Africa,” she said (Payton, 4/30).

Chan Discusses N. Korea Health Care After Country Visit

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on Friday commended North Korea’s health system while acknowledging there were areas for improvement, following her visit to the capital city of Pyongyang, Reuters reports. “North Korea – which does not allow its citizens to leave the country – has no shortage of doctors and nurses, in contrast to other developing countries where skilled healthcare workers often emigrate, she said,” the news service writes. “This allows North Korea to provide comprehensive healthcare, with one ‘household doctor’ looking after every 130 families, said the head of the United Nations health agency, praising North Korea’s immunization coverage and mother and child care” (Lynn, 4/30). “Despite these successes, there are challenges,” Chan said, according to Agence France-Presse (4/30).

“North Korea needs to strengthen its health system by modernizing medical equipment, ensuring sufficient supply of medicines and paying greater attention to malnutrition, [Chan] said Friday,” the Associated Press adds, in a piece that examines the number of people in need of food  aid in the country (Engeler, 5/1). In related news, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the World Food Program (WFP) expects U.N. food aid to North Korea to run out by the end of next month due to a shortage in funds by international donors. The article examines several reasons behind the gap in funding and the efforts currently underway to extend WFP operations (Lim, 5/3).

VOA News Examines Efforts To Help People Affected By War, Rape In DRC

VOA News reports on the FXB Foundation’s work with families who have been impacted by war and rape in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Through the foundation’s “virtual village program,” the group is able to provide for the neediest families, first by providing food aid and hygiene products, and then later by providing assistance to help save money to be put towards the purchase of land. The program also provides HIV testing and counseling on how to live with the disease, according to the news service (DeCapua, 4/30).

CNN Examines Woman’s Quest To Provide Shelter, Services To Nepalese Sex Trafficking Victims

As part of its Heroes Series, CNN examines the work of Anuradha Koirala, whose organization Maiti Nepal has helped rescue and provide services to thousands of sex trafficking victims. “By raiding brothels, patrolling the India-Nepal border and providing safe shelter and support services, Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993,” CNN writes. The piece adds details about the programs offered through Maiti Nepal, such as health, psychological and legal counseling, as well as training programs to allow women to become economically independent (Ruffins, 4/30).

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