Also In Global Health News: International Development Journalism Competition; Polio Vaccines In Nigeria; Antibiotic Prescriptions In Mexico; MDR-TB In N. Korea

Guardian Selects Winning Stories On International Development

Wining submissions to the Guardian’s International Development Journalism Competition were published online Monday. The annual contest features stories about “issues facing the developing world [that] are often overlooked or underrepresented by the media,” according to the newspaper. Professional and amateur journalists wrote about a variety of themes including, family planning, maternal health, and the role of bed nets in fighting malaria (6/14).

Vitamin A Leads To Polio Vaccine Acceptance In Nigeria

“Campaigns to distribute Vitamin A supplements to reduce high rates of child mortality and morbidity in northern Nigeria have had the unexpected side-effect of encouraging heavily stigmatized polio immunizations in the region,” IRIN reports. Vitamin A, which can reduce under-five deaths by 30 percent, according to the WHO, has been administered in Nigeria since 2001. “As a result, the treatment tends to be welcomed by parents” who then accept the polio vaccine (6/14).

Mexican Pharmacists Face Greater Scrutiny Over Dispensing Antibiotics Without Prescriptions

The Los Angeles Times reports on new steps by Mexican authorities to require a prescription for antibiotics. “Even though the law requires a prescription for antibiotics, pharmacists in Mexico seldom ask for one before handing them over. And they hand them over by the boatload: nearly 2 billion doses of antibiotics a year, enough for two full courses of treatment for almost each of the nation’s 110 million people,” the Los Angeles Times writes. The issue was brought to the forefront after Mexico’s H1N1 outbreak, “which authorities say was needlessly deadly here because of rampant self-medication” (Ellingwood/Sanchez, 6/14).

NPR Interviews Doctor Working To Fight MDR-TB In North Korea

NPR’s “Weekend Edition” reports on U.S. doctor Stephen Linton, who works to combat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in North Korea. Linton estimates his team has treated a quarter of a million TB patients in the past 13 years. “This is the first MDR-TB program that has ever taken place in North Korea, and it took us several years to win the confidence of the caregivers and of the patients in the program itself. …These drugs work and there is hope for people who have failed two, three, four, sometimes five courses of regular TB medications” (Shuster, 6/13).

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