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Also In Global Health News: Smoking In China; Concurrent Partnerships And HIV; Farming In Rwanda

New Data Shows China’s ‘Tobacco Addiction,’ WHO Says

“Over half of China’s men smoke,” the Wall Street Journal’s “China RealTime Report” blog reports, in an article that examines Beijing’s “most critical look yet at its national smoking habit.” The statistics “are contained in a newly released Global Adult Tobacco Survey,” which included people across the country and was supported by the WHO. The data also show that “less than a quarter – smoker or not – think smoking causes diseases like lung cancer” (Areddy, 8/17). Agence France-Presse adds that “[a]uthorities have pledged to ban smoking in all indoor, public places by next year, but activists and experts have raised doubts that the rules can be implemented in a country where law enforcement is weak.” The article also includes comments from WHO China head Michael O’Leary who said the country’s “tobacco addiction deserves the same level of concern as an outbreak of SARS or H1N1” (8/17).

Concurrent Partnerships Examined In African Study

“In one of the first studies to investigate multiple concurrent partnerships (MCPs) among African [men who have sex with men] MSM, just over half of the 537 men surveyed in Malawi, Namibia and Botswana reported that they had had sex with both men and women in the last six months, and about a third of these men reported that the relationships had been concurrent,” IRIN/PlusNews reports, also noting that “MCPs have been identified as a main driver of the HIV epidemic in southern Africa.” Gift Trapence of Malawi’s Centre for the Development of People said, “[T]hese issues have never been involved in our HIV prevention work … When we try to design these programmes, we need to look at all the sexual behaviours [of men].” According to IRIN/PlusNews, he also “said a larger, population-based study was planned to explore the findings” (8/16).

Small-Scale Rwandan Farmers Benefit From Agricultural Research

Inter Press Service reports on efforts to improve the lives of farmers in Rwanda. Specifically, the article examines the work of Joelle Nsamira Kajuga of the Rwanda Institute of Agricultural Research, who “leads a team of researchers studying modified and improved seed to assess how small-scale farmers in the remote rural areas of Rwanda could adopt this seed, along with new agriculture practices, to increase their productivity.” Kajuga told IPS that farmers should be trained in using improved seed and managing disease. The article also includes comments from two small-scale farmers, including one who “was able to effectively use research to increase her crop production” (Twahirwa, 8/16).