In the news: gender equity and pregnancy

Mother seated on floor coverred with straw holds newborn while her young daughter stands behind her.

A mother and her children in Nepal. Photo: PATH/Jessica Fleming.

Improving health for women goes hand in hand with improving their status in society. Take the example of Nepal, where, Allyn Gaestel and Allison Shelley report on The Atlantic’s website, government policies have helped the country to significantly reduce the number of deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.

But even in a country considered a success story, the status of women in society—whether they get enough food or can leave behind strenuous household work, for example—makes a difference to the health of mothers and babies. And that may take longer to change than government policy.

Students invent award-winning soap to tackle malaria

CNN, July 10, 2013

YMoctar Dembele, who is from Burkina Faso, and Gerard Niyondiko, from Burundi, have used locally sourced herbs and natural ingredients to create a soap they say repels mosquitoes, in order to prevent malaria. Dubbed “Fasoap,” the innovation was awarded the $25,000 Grand Prize in the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), in April. Launched by Berkeley MBA students, the GSVC is a global competition designed to help budding entrepreneurs transform their ideas into businesses that will have a positive social impact.

Read the article.

What pregnancy is like in Nepal

The Atlantic, July 8, 2013

Nepal is one of just a few countries that has already significantly reduced maternal deaths, and is on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5. But investments in the health system are crippled by engrained gender disparity. Until the status of women improves, childbirth will remain a dangerous labor.

Read the article.

Understanding the protective side of Dengue virus

The New York Times, July 8, 2013

Infection with one strain of the dengue virus gives people protection against the other three strains for about two years, a new biostatistics study has found. That information should help researchers trying to develop vaccines against the mosquito-borne virus, which is nicknamed “break-bone fever” for the joint pain it causes.

Read the article.

Global threat to food supply as water wells dry up, warns top environmental expert

The Guardian, July 6, 2013

Wells are drying up and underwater tables falling so fast in the Middle East and parts of India, China, and the United States that food supplies are seriously threatened, one of the world’s leading resource analysts has warned. In a major new essay Lester Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, claims that 18 countries, together containing half the world’s people, are now overpumping their underground water tables to the point–known as “peak water”—where they are not replenishing and where harvests are getting smaller each year.

Read the article.

Posted in Malaria, Maternal and child health, Vaccines and immunization, Water | Permalink

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