Also In Global Health News: India’s Food Security; ASEAN To Address Disaster Preparedness; Iraqi Food Aid; Why Fistula Plagues Kenya

Implications And Challenges Of India’s Proposed Food Security Bill

A Reuters article discusses the implications of an Indian bill that would “subsidise grains for the poor, a move that will impact government finances as well as political support.” According to the news service, the proposal “aims to partly shield a substantial voter base from surging inflation in a country where about 40 percent of the 1.2 billion population lives below the U.N. estimated poverty line.” The “draft bill envisages making available 25 kg (55 lb) of grains a month for 3 rupees (6 U.S. cents) a kg to the poor across the country.” The article also examines the financial implication, political significance and the challenges to implementing the bill (Mukherjee/Neogy, 7/20).

Asian Forum Expected To Boost Disaster Response Coordination

Asia’s largest security forum is expected this week to adopt a plan boosting civil and military co-ordination in response to natural disasters – a rising threat across the region,” Agence-France Presse reports. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Region Forum will meet in Hanoi this week to improve “disaster relief by 2020, according to a draft action plan,” the news service writes (O’Brien, 7/20). VOA News adds that “[t]he ASEAN forum is viewed as a confidence-building mechanism that makes few, if any, binding decisions” (Schearf, 7/20).

U.N. Cuts Back On Iraqi Food Aid

“Lack of donor funding has forced the United Nations to cut back on its humanitarian efforts in Iraq, with its food aid agency halting distributions to hundreds of thousands of women and children in the conflict-ridden country,” writes AOL News. The cut back will affect around “800,000 pregnant and nursing women and malnourished children, according to Edward Kallon, the U.N. World Food Program’s representative for Iraq.” The news service reports that the U.N. launched the Iraq Humanitarian Plan at the beginning of the year but so far it has “raised only $22.3 million – or about 12 percent – of the $187.7 million of new funding the project requires” (Sharma, 7/19).

IRIN Examines Why Fistula Plagues Kenya

IRIN examines the reasons why “obstetric fistula plagues the lives of thousands of women in Kenya every year, leaving them incontinent and ostracized.” The article cites “lack of reproductive health education,” prohibitive cost of the procedure, lack of trained surgeons, nurses and traditional birth attendants, and “inadequate hospitals.” The article also examines the role of cultures “where a woman’s status and self-esteem may depend almost entirely on her marriage and ability to bear children,” female genital mutilation/cutting, early marriage, stigma and rape (7/19).

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