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Also In Global Health News: Women Losing Height; WFP Suspends Aid Operations In Parts Of S. Sudan; PSA Aims To Encourage Pledges For GAVI

Study Finds Women In 14 African Countries Have Lost Height Over Last Few Decades

A study published in the journal PLoS One “shows that the average height of women in 14 African countries is shrinking,” which “spells bad news for the future health of those nations,” NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. “Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at the heights of women ages 25 to 49 in 54 countries who had been measured between 1994 and 2008, and compared that to the heights of women in 1945,” according to the blog (Shute, 4/26). The findings suggest “that poor women born in the last two decades, especially in Africa, are worse off than their mothers or grandmothers born after World War II,” the New York Times reports. The research “tells you the world is not getting to be a better place for women of lower socioeconomic status. For them, it’s getting worse,” said S. V. Subramanian, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study (McNeil, 4/25). “Since a population’s height usually predicts health, wealth and life expectancy, a loss of height is troubling, the kind of thing usually seen only in times of famine or war, [economist John] Komlos says,” according to “Shots” (4/26). 

Declining Security Situation Leads WFP To Suspend Some Operations In South Sudan

The World Food Program (WFP) has suspended aid operations in parts of south Sudan because of worsening security, Agence France-Presse reports. “Because of the ambush that killed one of our colleagues in Jonglei state on Saturday, we have decided to suspend our operations in seven out of 11 counties there,” said Amor Almagro, a spokesperson for WFP. “‘In Lakes state, we have decided to suspend all activities after a WFP contracted truck with 16 metric tons of food assistance for our school feeding programme was commandeered by the SPLA’ last Tuesday, she added, referring to the southern army” (4/26).

ONE Launches PSA Aimed At Securing Pledges For GAVI; Immunization Week Activities

The advocacy group ONE “launched a new public service announcement Tuesday aimed at getting lawmakers and world leaders to fund” the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog reports. ONE is aiming to get leaders to make financial pledges ahead of a June conference (Baker, 4/26). Part of the campaign involves getting half of a million people to sign a petition asking President Obama to fund childhood immunizations, VOA News reports in an article summarizing immunization week activities. “The Pan American Health Organization has a goal of vaccinating 41 million people in the Americas from April 23 to April 30. Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region also are participating. And Africa and the Western Pacific region are both holding their first-ever immunization week,” the news service writes (McKellogg, 4/26).

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