Also In Global Health News: Measles In U.S.; International Day Of The Midwife; WHO Statement On Nuclear Radiation Research

U.S. Experiencing High Number Of Measles Cases, Most Linked To Other Countries

The U.S. is on track to record more measles cases this year than in the last decade, with nearly all of the cases linked to other countries, including those in Europe, where more than 6,500 cases have been reported in 33 countries, the Associated Press reports. Though only about 50 cases are reported annually in the U.S., 89 cases have been reported so far in 2011. International health officials have blamed the rising number of cases “on the failure to vaccinate all children,” according to the news service, which notes that officials this week “posted an alert urging travelers everywhere to get the recommended two doses of vaccine before flying overseas” (5/5).

International Day Of The Midwife Recognized Worldwide

Thursday marks the International Day of the Midwife, who are critical in assisting women and infants during pregnancy and childbirth, New Vision reports (5/4). According to a press release from the International Confederation of Midwives, each year more than 340,000 women die and millions more suffer infection and disability as a result of preventable maternal causes. “The ICM, alongside U.N. agencies, WHO and a range of other international partners, is committed to addressing maternal mortality and morbidity through greater access to essential midwifery care worldwide, particularly in developing countries where 90% of maternal deaths occur,” the press release states (5/4).

Industry Must Not Influence Research On Nuclear Radiation Health Effects, WHO Says

The WHO on Wednesday said that research into the effects of exposure to nuclear radiation must be conducted without influence from the atomic energy industry, Agence France-Presse reports. The statement followed a meeting between WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and representatives of IndependentWHO, an international coalition of non-governmental organizations that claims the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident “were played down because of an allegedly dominant role played by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” according to the news service. The WHO stated that “a cooperation agreement with the IAEA did not stop it acting independently out of its overriding concern for public health,” but added that it does not have the authority to implement health safety standards on national levels, the news service notes (5/4).

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