Our reading this week brought us a stark mix of good news/bad news. In Forbes, a Merck executive put forth ideas on how the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can bring lifesaving commodities to women and children (good news), while the BBC reported new findings showing the recession has hit women and girls especially hard (decidedly bad). Back on the good news side: the number of women who contract cervical cancer is likely to drop in the years ahead, and researchers reported on the mechanism that allows malaria to gain a foothold in the body.
Building a thriving marketplace for lifesaving commodities
Forbes, January 22, 2013
Every year, millions of women and children in developing countries die unnecessarily from preventable causes. Women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Children under the age of 5 die from asphyxia at birth, sepsis, pneumonia, malaria and other causes. These deaths are a tragedy and an affront to our collective sense of dignity and fairness.
It’s not that we don’t know what to do—as the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children observed in its September 2012 report, a baker’s dozen of existing lifesaving products can be scaled up over the next five years to save more than 6 million lives. And these products can have even greater impact when deployed together with increased access to family planning and reproductive health services.
Girls and women “hit the hardest” by global recession
BBC, January 20, 2013
“The world is failing girls and women,” a report by Plan International and the Overseas Development Institute said. A shrinking economy sent girls’ infant mortality soaring, and more females were abused or starved, they said.
This could erode gains made in recent years towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals, they added.
How cervical cancer vaccines came to be
U.S. News & World Report, January 18, 2013
The cervical cancer vaccine has turned into one of the biggest success stories in the field. Although almost a half-million women develop cervical cancer annually, health experts predict that number is likely to drop dramatically in the coming years because of two vaccines that can prevent many cases of the disease.
Researchers discover the biological mechanism of malaria infection
Voice of America, January 17, 2013
Researchers say they have discovered how the malaria parasite gains a foothold inside the human body, causing the life-threatening illness. The finding could lead to a new treatment for malaria—using a drug that’s already in clinical trials for use against another condition.