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Also In Global Health News: Maternal, Child Health In DRC; Afghan Women’s Health; Guinea Worm Eradication; India Food Security

Survey Finds 1.5M Pregnant Women, Children Face ‘Extreme Hunger’ In Democratic Republic Of Congo

One and a half million pregnant women and children under the age of five in the Democratic Republic of Congo are “facing extreme hunger,” according to a survey by the Congolese Ministry of Health, backed by the World Food Program and UNICEF, SAPA/News24 reports. “The survey found levels of acute malnutrition above the emergency threshold of 15 percent in some provinces” (4/7). On Tuesday, Victor Makwenge, the country’s health minister, said that at least 700 children per day were dying from hunger, SAPA/Agence France-Presse/TIMES Live reports. “More than a million women aged between 15 and 49 were also malnourished in the five provinces, which together account for 51 percent of the population of the vast central African country … Makwenge said” (4/6).

McClatchy Examines Issues Facing Afghan Women

McClatchy examines some of the challenges facing women in Afghanistan. “Women’s access to health care, especially reproductive health care, is hampered by untrained midwives and a lack of access to doctors. … Women not only continue to lack access to healthcare and education, but they also lack legal protections. They continue to confront pervasive violence and early marriages. After nine years and $300 billion, U.S. reconstruction efforts have largely bypassed women and girls,” the news service writes. The article also includes some details about U.S. projects in the country (Sahoo, 4/6).

CNN Articles, Video Explore Guinea Worm

CNN looks at the prospects for the global eradication of Guinea worm. “Public health officials hope the rare disease, which remains only in sub-Saharan Africa, will be eradicated by 2015. About 85 percent of the 3,000 world cases are in southern Sudan; the remaining 15 percent are reported in Ghana, Ethiopia and Mali,” according to CNN.  “WHO has identified polio as the next disease for eradication,” not Guinea worm, a “decision remains controversial,” CNN reports. The article explores the Carter Center’s $300 million campaign to eliminate Guinea worm by 2012 (Park, 4/6).

A related CNN article reports: “Guinea worm’s last stronghold is in conflict-marred southern Sudan.” A video accompanies the article (Park, 4/6).

Indian Government To Calculate Number Of People Living Below Poverty Line For Food Security Bill

India’s government “has asked the Planning Commission, its own think tank, to go back to the drawing board and come up with a ‘real’ [Below Poverty Line] number in the next few weeks so that [food security] legislative action can resume after being stalled by disagreements over definitions,” the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog reports. “The definition of poverty will determine how many Indians get an assist from the central government as food prices rise. It will also determine the cost of the bill, which itself could prove controversial if it gets too high” (Sharma, 4/6).

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