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Also In Global Health News: Foreign Policy Food Issue; Cash Transfer Program In Zimbabwe; Polio In Pakistan, Burma; African Nutrition Project

Foreign Policy Magazine Focuses on Food, Hunger

Foreign Policy magazine’s May/June 2011 edition is titled “The Food Issue,” and features several articles on food- and hunger-related topics. Some of the headlines include: More Than 1 Billion People Are Hungry in the World, The New Geopolitics of Food, and How Food Explains the World (4/25).

UNICEF, Zimbabwe Launch Cash Transfer Program To Assist Poor Households

The Zimbabwean government and UNICEF have launched a cash transfer program that will assist poor and vulnerable households, particularly those headed by orphans, by providing approximately $20 a month to help pay for food, education and health care, Bulawayo24 News reports (Estell, 4/23). According to VOA News, “Harare and UNICEF have allocated $10 million to the program, with other partners” (Gumbo/Dube, 4/22). Sydney Mhishi, director of social services in the Zimbabwean Ministry of Labor and Social Service, said the full program roll out is expected to begin in July and include an estimated 23,166 households in the first year, the Zimbabwean reports (Kwarumba, 4/22).

World Bank Approves $41 Million For Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Project

The World Bank has approved an additional $41 million dollars to help Pakistan immunize 32 million children against polio as part of the country’s efforts to eradicate the disease, the Express Tribune reports. The funding is part of the Third Partnership for Polio Eradication Project, which began in 2009 with an estimated cost of $76.1 million, according to the newspaper (4/23). The nation has seen a resurgence in the number of polio cases since widespread flooding in 2010 and in areas of conflict where access to health care is limited, the World Bank said in a press release. According to the release, the project is supported “through an innovative partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and Rotary International (RI) through the UN Foundation (UNF).” Pakistan is one of four countries worldwide that has yet to eradicate the disease (4/21).

IPS Examines Possible Reemergence Of Polio In Burma

“A small army of volunteers from local non-governmental organisations has fanned out across Burma to inoculate 3.4 million children from a rare strain of the polio virus that has re-emerged three years after the country was declared polio free,” Inter Press Service reports in an article highlighting recent worries about the spread of polio in Burma. “Concern about the re-emergence of vaccine-driven polio virus (VDPV) surfaced after a seven-month old infant was infected with the crippling virus in December in the Yamethin Township in the Mandalay Division in central Burma. The case prompted the Department of Health to immediately immunise 10,000 children living in the vicinity. It also brought to an end the three-year period from 2007 till 2010 when U.N. agencies declared Burma ‘polio free,'” the news service writes (Makan-Markar, 4/22).

Project Aims To Develop Nutrition Agenda For Africa

Sustainable Nutrition Research for Africa in the Years to come (SUNRAY), which is composed of an international coalition of academic institutions and an EU-backed NGO, have launched a project to develop a nutrition agenda for Africa, IRIN reports. “The two-year SUNRAY project has invited proposals for working papers from African researchers to review the relationship between nutrition and climate change; the influence of rising food prices; the future availability of water; social dynamics in households, and the effect of rapid urbanization, among other themes in order to identify the specific research needs for nutrition in these areas,” the news service writes, noting that the project will focus on sub-Saharan Africa. “Proposals for working papers will be assessed by academics at four universities in sub-Saharan Africa,” IRIN writes, adding that workshops by the authors will be held later this year. “This project is very attractive in the sense that we now have an opportunity to develop interventions suited for African conditions and we have a say in our agenda; we also know the gaps that need to be addressed – it is not like we are doing research for European driven projects,” said Annamarie Kruger, director of the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research at North-West University (4/21).

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