Also In Global Health News: Child Mortality In DRC; Low-Cost ARVs; Promoting Agriculture In Pakistan; Uganda’s HIV/AIDS Bill

Already High Child Mortality Exacerbated By Conflict In DRC

The Associated Press/Washington Post examine how in the Democratic Republic of the Congo “ongoing rebel attacks and poor health care have produced a generation of mourning mothers and fathers, many of whom have lost more children than they are raising.” According to UNICEF, more than 500,0000 children die each year in the DRC, and the WHO reports that 40 percent of those who survive are stunted. The news service continues: “There is only one doctor and five nurses or midwives for every 10,000 people in the country. And that’s before factoring in deaths from war fueled by massive mineral resources that have brought misery instead of development. UNICEF estimates that children account for half of the more than 4 million deaths blamed on conflicts in east Congo that have raged for more than a decade” (Faul, 5/24).

NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday Examines Film On ‘Transformative Effects’ Of Low-Cost ARVs In Africa

NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday features an interview with filmmaker Lance Bangs, creator of “The Lazarus Effect,” a documentary to run on HBO Monday that examines “the transformative effects of low-cost anti-retroviral drugs in the fight against AIDS in Africa” through the eyes of four people living in Zambia. A full transcript of the interview appears on the site (Hansen, 5/23).

USAID To Launch ‘Agricultural Offensive’ In Pakistan

There is a “potential opening” to advance development efforts, such as irrigation repair and farming aid, in Pakistan that were delayed by violence, according to Edward Birgells, regional director of USAID in Pakistan’s northwest region, Reuters reports. “The U.S. government had allocated $750 million to spend in the northwestern ethnic Pashtun tribal areas but renewed Taliban violence halted the programme with only $150 million spent. The strategy now is to build on security gains with an agricultural offensive designed to help get the population firmly on the side of a government which has become unpopular because of crippling power cuts and a troubled economy,” the news service writes. Birgells said, “In the next two or three weeks we are going to start these programmes big time, principally in terms of the water supply and the electricity” (Georgy, 5/21).

Human Rights Advocates Express Concerns Over Uganda’s HIV/AIDS Bill

Human rights advocates on Thursday expressed deep concerns over an HIV/AIDS bill introduced “in Uganda’s parliament on Wednesday [that] makes testing mandatory for pregnant women and their sexual partners, as well as perpetrators and victims of sexual assault,” Agence France-Presse reports (5/20). “The bill also allows medical practitioners to disclose a patient’s HIV status to others, breaching confidentiality standards. These provisions could potentially endanger those who are infected by exposing them to stigma, discrimination, and physical violence,” Pana/Afrique en ligne writes (5/20). The bill also “criminalises and imposes death penalty on intentional transmission of the virus,” the Daily Monitor reports (Lirri, 5/21). New Vision/ highlights other measures in the HIV Prevention and Control Bill (Karugaba/Olupot, 5/19).

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