NEPAL: Specialists call for stronger measures to combat diarrhoea

14th May 2010, Kathmandu - Aid agencies are urging Nepal to implement stronger water and sanitation measures to prevent diarrhoea outbreaks, which claim hundreds of lives each year.Ahead of next month's monsoon season - the four- to five-month period when there is a spike in diarrhoea-related deaths - aid workers have been calling on the government to prepare for a deluge of cases."This is the period of water-borne disease, and there is a lack of effective awareness programmes, which has to be stressed a lot to reduce the outbreak," said Richard Ragan, country representative of the UN World Food Programme, which is involved in public health education about safe drinking water and sanitation ...

Inequality Gap Stains Thailand’s MDG Achievements

10th May 2010, Bangkok - Thailand may have earned praise for meeting national targets to slash poverty and hunger ahead of a global deadline, but the two-month long street protests in Bangkok exposes a troubling fact – economic inequality.Such persistent inequality between the country’s richest 20 percent of households and the poorest 20 percent places Thailand in a worse league than its regional neighbours, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, according to a United Nations report released Monday."The richest Thais earn 14.7 times more than the poorest," said Gwi-Yeop Son, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), during the launch of the ‘Thailand...

PAKISTAN: Education chaos in northern conflict zone

21st April 2010, Pakistan - Schools across the conflict-zone in Pakistan’s northern areas are open, but many are damaged, and there are concerns about the quality of education and funding for schools for displaced children in camps. In Swat District, where Taliban militants destroyed 356 schools according to government officials, pupils are back in class. “My son’s school was badly damaged in 2009 by fire. Now the children sit outdoors, or on the floors of gutted classrooms that lack walls or roofs,” Imdad Hassan, 40, told IRIN from the town of Kabal in Swat. He said many schools operated in similar fashion after they were re-opened last year. The situation is also chaoti...

LEBANON: Children submit first child-led report to UN

9th April 2010, Lebanon- From cluster bombs to child labour, Lebanese children have shed light on the issues affecting children in Lebanon in an unprecedented child-led report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.Over a period of two months, children from Beirut, the Bekaa valley and Marjeyoun, Southern Lebanon came together to brainstorm about issues that affect children. They then analysed, debated and agreed on the information to include in their report.'In our Children's Council in Marjeyoun we decided to research about cluster bombs and landmines and how this situation affects the lives of children in Lebanon,' said a 13-year-old who helped write the report. 'We live in fear of clus...

Indian hospital chain to fight maternal mortality

8th April 2010, India - LifeSpring Hospitals to provide 82,000 women with affordable healthcare through Business Call to Action initiativeHyderabad, India ― The Business Call to Action (BCtA) today announced that LifeSpring Hospitals ― a chain of small hospitals providing low-income clients in India with access to maternal and child healthcare services ― has committed to provide an estimated 82,000 Indian women and their families with access to quality healthcare.  In the next five years, LifeSpring will increase the number of hospitals serving mothers and children throughout India from 9 to 200, which will improve overall standards of care and reduce rates of maternal and childho...

Tens of millions of Indian children to benefit from new Right to Education Act

1st April 2010 - A ground-breaking Right to Education Act has come into force in India legalising the right to free and compulsory schooling for all children between the ages of 6 and 14. UNESCO welcomed the historic Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which came into force on April 1. Apart from legalising the right to education, the act places the onus on governments and local authorities to provide schools and sets out standards and norms covering numbers of teachers, training and curricula. It includes a plan to train more than one million new teachers in the next five years and retrain existing teachers. “This act is an essential step towards improvin...

Pakistan's Poverty Pushes Its Children to Work

21st March, 2010, Islamabad - Abbas Sajeet is 11 years old, but he doesn't go to school. Instead, he earns 2,500 rupees ($30) a month as an auto mechanic in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The money goes straight into the meager coffers of his seven-member family. ''Every day from the car garage, I see children walking to their schools,'' he says. ''I wish I could go to school with them, finish high school and study engineering. After that, I would have a good job with a lot of money, and give it to my mother.'' At least 10 million children are believed to be working in Pakistan at a variety of jobs, including some of the hardest and most poorly-paid.  Some clean upper-class homes and...

VIETNAM: Reports of Child Abuse a Wake-up Call for Parents

11th March 2010, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, (IPS) - Vietnamese parents think of day care centres and kindergartens as safe, happy places to leave their children in, given the pressures of work and harder times. But they are no longer so sure now, after a series of incidents about mistreatment of young children that has shocked the public. The latest wake-up call to parents and government officials alike was the death last month of 14-month-old Truong Thuy Vy, two days after he started going to the Mam Non (Young Buds) kindergarten in the southern province of Binh Duong.Left alone to use the toilet, he slipped on the slippery floor, fell into a basin of water and drowned.The incident prompt...

New report: Asia-Pacific has one of the world's worst gender gaps

08th March 2010, New Delhi ― While Asia and the Pacific can take pride in the region’s vibrant economic transformation in recent decades, this has not translated into progress on gender equality.Discrimination and neglect are threatening women’s very survival in the Asia-Pacific region, where women suffer from some of the world’s lowest rates of political representation, employment and property ownership. Their lack of participation is also depressing economic growth. Those were some of the findings of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-sponsored 2010 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report launched today.“Empowering women is vital for achieving development goals overal...

Asia-Pacific MDG Progress under threat from global economic crisis

17th February 2010, Manila (UN ESCAP Information Services) - A joint report by the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that the global economic crisis could trap an additional 21 million people in the Asia-Pacific region in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 a day. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty: Asia-Pacific Regional Report 2009/10, launched today in Manila, examines the toll that the global economic crisis has taken on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region.  Produced by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), ADB and the UN Develo...

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