Who is affected by FGM? As the name suggests, this issue is one that plagues individuals assigned female at birth —primarily African and Middle Eastern women. Some cultures view FGM as a rite of passage girls undergo before transitioning into womanhood while others believe it suppresses a woman’s sexual desire, allowing her virginity to stay intact when the time for marriage comes. The latter has fostered an environment where FGM became the norm as mothers are expected to ensure the next generation kept the traditions alive. Certain communities also believe it enhances the sexual pleasure for their husbands.
Where is FGM most likely practiced? There are about 200 million women and girls who are currently living with the consequences. Somalia is believed to have the highest prevalence with a whopping 98%, followed by Guinea at 97%, Djibouti with 93%, etc. Although the practice is a concern in European, Asian, and South American countries alike, cases in African countries continue to soar. Preventative measures are being taken to combat FGM through educating women on the complications, advocating for fathers and men to speak against the practice, and compelling religious leaders to denounce it. The key factor is educating mothers, as the cultural expectations are deeply ingrained into their upbringing. Young girls are more likely to follow along if their mothers are uneducated about the health issues brought on by the practice.
While International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation falls annually on February 6th as a joint effort to combat FGM on a global level, the COVID-19 pandemic has set back the goal of stamping out the practice completely by the end of 2030. The global lockdown has brought forth high rates of domestic violence incidents, has made many educational programs wholly unable to function, and families have had easier access participating in the procedure without being cornered. Despite the unforeseeable circumstances brought by the pandemic, the fight to dismantle FGM practices continues to rage on.
The State Department has announced the official US Delegation to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, which will take place September 19-20.
Access to affordable lifesaving medicines will be threatened where they are needed most—in parts of the developing world—if the U.S.insists on implementing restrictive intellectual property policies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, says Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
A federal appeals court in Virginia has dismissed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon singled out sustainable development as the top issue facing the planet with the world’s seven billionth person expected to be born next month. Key to this was climate change, and he said time was running out with the population set to explode this century.
The Philippines reproductive health bill is still making its way through the senate. Meanwhile, 7 villages in Bataan, the Philippines have banned “artificial contraception” amid national debate over the bill.
Sometime this fall, the world’s population will reach 7 billion people. Experts now forecast that by 2050, the population could be 10 billion. Some say those numbers should force policy makers to focus more intently on making family planning much more widely available in the developing world.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has put together a one day conference bringing together innovators and health workers to share ideas about ways to more easily deliver interventions.
It has been commonly held that insecticide treated bed nets reduce the rate of malaria for people who use them. Now there is hard evidence to back up that assumption.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATIONS
A new study shows that less than three doses of the vaccine against cervical cancer can effectively protect women in the developing world where 80% of global deaths due to cervical cancer take place.
Only three African countries are on track to achieve MGD 5, according to an African Institute for Development Policy study.
Most efforts in the Western world seeking to find solutions for developing world problems tend to think of inventing new technologies or, at least, using the tools we typically use to fix things — modern drugs for diseases, improved seeds for crops, a better mousetrap. Sometimes, all you need is a newly geared donkey.
Scientists may have developed a new TB vaccine after tests showed the elimination of TB from infected tissue in mice.
A socially active lifestyle can dramatically speed up weight loss through the burning of fat in mice, a study shows. Researchers at Ohio State University in the US identified a link between the amount of social interaction in a mouse’s environment and its weight.
An easy-to-use diagnostic chip for HIV could “give results in minutes” and be a game changer in the field of cheap diagnostics for remote regions, claim the researchers who developed it.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
Having to contend with U.S.army drones and the crossfire between the Taliban and the Pakistani army, the residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas find access to treatment for HIV/AIDS harder than in most other parts of the world.
Three-quarters of a million people are facing death by starvation in Somalia according the United Nations, who declared Monday that famine had spread to a sixth southern region of the beleaguered Horn of Africa state. Meanwhile, an investigation has revealed that masses of food meant for famine victims in Somalia are being stolen. There have also been reports of rioting and killings during food distribution at camps for famine victims.
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck 100km southwest of the city of Medan, Sumatra and 110km beneath the earth’s crust.
A New York Times editorial castigates the international community’s response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti.
The CEO of insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk says the WHO should buy low cost diabetes drugs in bulk for the developing world.
Messages of good health and positive self-esteem for girls aren’t hard to come by in kid lit, so what’s the deal with all the attention for a not-yet-published rhyming picture book about an obese, unhappy 14-year-old named Maggie?
INFOGRAPHICS AND OTHER MEDIA
Interaction has published an online “Horn of Africa Aid Map” showing 98 aid and development projects working on immediate famine relief as well as long-term development in East Africa.
A new index from Save the Children establishes the safest – and most dangerous – places in the world for a child to fall sick, which correlate closely with their chances of getting to see a health worker.