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Maternal Meltdown from Chernobyl to Fukushima

SAN FRANCISCO, Apr 26, 2011 (IPS) - On this day 25 years ago, a massive explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine released clouds of radioactive particles into the atmosphere across Russia and Europe. The catastrophe had lasting effects on people’s health, particularly on women and their unborn children. On this sober anniversary, we look back at Chernobyl and the lessons learned to ensure the health of Japanese women as the Fukushima disaster unfolds. Although slow to address the crisis, the Japanese government recently raised the alert level of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants from a 5 to a 7, the highest rating possible and on par with the only nuclear disaste...

Oslo malaria conference calls on governments to build momentum towards zero target

Olso, 15th April 2011, - Near zero malaria deaths achievable by 2015 – innovation and partnership is key. More than 200 malaria experts and government officials are convening in the Norwegian capital on Tuesday 12 April to advise policy-makers how to move towards the target of zero malaria deaths by 2015.In the last decade, one-third of 106 malaria-endemic countries have seen a 50 per cent decrease in malaria cases where comprehensive interventions have been carried out. Curbing malaria is essential to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality. Based on its success, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership has set the target of near zero malaria deaths ...

Uganda: Millions of Children At Risk of Missing School Next Year

Uganda, Kampala, 13 April 2011 — The government free education programmes for primary and secondary schools are facing a crisis resulting from a Shs67 billion budget shortfall which government has failed to provide for in the next financial year. The deficit is highlighted in the government budget proposals for the financial year 2011/2012.According to a national budget framework paper for the coming financial year now before the Social Services Committee of Parliament, it was observed yesterday that the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme is facing a shortfall of Shs10 billion.The shortfall will affect about eight million pupils in primary while the Shs57 billion for Universal Sec...

MYANMAR: Call for new government to boost health spending

Yangon/Bangkok, 4 April 2011 - With a new government recently sworn in, a former Myanmar health official is calling on leaders to invest more in healthcare for the country's poorest."Our country is sorely in need of a health insurance programme. The government should introduce a health insurance programme like the 30 Baht scheme that Thailand adopted for poor households," said Aung Tun Thet, former Health Ministry director-general of planning and statistics and secretary of the inter-ministerial National Health Committee from 1989-1992.In 2001, Thailand introduced a universal coverage scheme to improve healthcare access for its poorest citizens. Low-income patients are charged 30 Baht (appro...

350,000 people walk for water across the globe

Worldwide, 26 March 2011 - Over 350,000 people in 60 different countries have today taken part in The World Walks for Water to demand political action on the water and sanitation crisis. People around the world walked a symbolic 6km in solidarity with the millions of people who have to walk 6km everyday just to collect water for their basic needs. This is part of the annual UN World Water Day.Walks took place across the world from Kampala to Katmandu, from Lagos to Las Vegas. In London over 40 Members of the British parliament joined walkers in Westminster including the Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell and members of the shadow cabinet Harriet Harman and Dougl...

Laotian children to get healthy meals under UN project that also helps local farmers

23 March 2011 – For the first time in Laos, nearly 1,000 primary school children will receive a healthy, balanced school lunch prepared from food bought at the local market under a joint United Nations-Government pilot project that will also benefit local farmers. The children will receive a lunch made from rice provided by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and completed by food which their school buys at local markets. “The Government of Lao PDR has already made great strides towards a national school meals programme,” WFP country representative Eri Kudo said, using the official title of the South-East Asian country – Lao People’s Democratic Republic. “The Home Grown Sch...
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