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Also In Global Health News: Child Marriages; USAID In Afghanistan; Respiratory Diseases In El Salvador; Food Security Improving In Zimbabwe

Epoch Times Examines Child Marriage Hearing

An Epoch Times article discusses a recent congressional hearing held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on child marriage. The piece includes comments by representatives from the Department of State, UNICEF, CARE and the International Center for Research on Women who “described the cycle of poverty, violence, maternal and child mortality, and health risks associated with child marriages, and some successful programs in eliminating the practice.” Stephanie Baric, senior technical advisor for CARE USA, said, “An educated girl is more likely to delay marriage … She is more likely to participate in the labor force, engage in paid employment and earn more income for her family over her lifetime.” The Epoch Times also presents facts and figures on child marriage, including a breakdown provided by UNICEF Senior Child Protection Specialist Francesca Moneti at the hearing. “The consensus of the speakers is to work at the community level to persuade parents that their daughter is harmed by child marriage and there are viable alternatives to it,” the newspaper writes (7/28).

Christian Science Monitor Examines USAID In Afghanistan

“The USAID battle for hearts and minds is being lost just as President Obama’s ‘civilian surge’ prepares to more than double annual assistance to $5 billion,” writes the Christian Science Monitor as part of an investigative magazine project on Afghanistan, which also includes an examination of USAID. “During the cold war, Washington funded USAID to compete with the Soviet Union in winning foreign friends. With the Soviet collapse, Washington gutted USAID, forcing out many technical experts who’d spent time in the field. The agency became dominated by contract managers with little institutional memory. Between 1995 and 2007, 45 percent of the Foreign Service officer corps reached retirement age. And this decade, USAID tackled Iraq and Afghan reconstruction without new staffing,” the article notes, adding that the Obama administration is working to rebuild USAID (Arnoldy, 7/28).

El Salvador Hospitals  ‘Overwhelmed’ By Respiratory Disease

Hospitals in El Salvador have been “overwhelmed” by a rise in pneumonia, dengue fever and other respiratory diseases, reports Agence France-Presse. The country’s hospital network and neighborhood health clinics are working at “full capacity,” according to Eduardo Espinoza, deputy health minister. According to the news service, he also “said acute respiratory disease has shot up” in 11 of El Salvador’s 14 departments, “totaling some 1.3 million cases since the start of the year, including 26,546 cases of pneumonia and 6,584 cases of dengue fever.” Authorities are fumigating urban areas against the dengue mosquito and have launched an awareness campaign around the disease (7/28).

Food Security Improving In Zimbabwe, FAO Reports

Zimbabwe’s food situation has “started to recover” from a crisis it entered two years ago, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Reuters writes. “International aid for the once famine-threatened country, better use of land, and the end of hyperinflation have led to the improvement,” according to the news service. Still, Zimbabwe’s new government has “struggled to attract crucial aid from Western donors, who clashed with [President] Mugabe in the past over policy differences and now want more political and economic reforms from Harare before releasing financial support,” Reuters writes (7/27).

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