Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and the official theme for this year is “Equality for women is progress for all.”
The origin of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900’s and now every year on March 8, people around the world rally together to commemorate and support women. International Women’s Day is not only a time to celebrate achievements, but also a time to reflect on the progress made and call for increased changes. From women’s rights and gender equality to abuse and sex trafficking, various social, political, and economic issues concerning women are highlighted and become points of discussion (and even protest) around IWD.
The Millennium Development Goals call for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and during the IWD opening ceremony at the United Nations today, Hilary Clinton, known for being a champion of women, said “women and girls and the cause of gender equality must be at the heart” of the UN’s agenda to promote development around the world. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed her sentiments, saying in his message, “This International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.”
This plays nicely into the ongoing debate on the post-2015 development agenda. We all know there are major issues around the access, quality, and availability of health services to women in developing countries, and that these issues are often further complicated by cultural and religious norms. I think it’s safe to say that although IWD is only one day a year, the discussion on women’s rights as a core component of global development will continue. It is essential.
Here’s a roundup of some IWD 2014 content in case you missed it:
“The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” — Charles Malik
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments below.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are goals the United Nations and its global partners established in 2000. There are eight goals focused on addressing worldwide social issues including poverty, health, hunger, inequality, education, environment, and sustainability with the target to make measurable improvements in all these areas by 2015.
Earlier this month, UNICEF released a report outlining trends and progress towards MDG 4, which is to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. The report highlights work being done to meet this MDG, as well as challenges and disparities that have slowed progress.
One of the biggest takeaways from the report is that Ethiopia has already achieved MDG 4 despite facing major obstacles such as a severe shortage of health professionals (there is only one doctor for every 36,000 people). The driving forces behind this achievement included strong commitment from the Ethiopian government, support from external organizations, and the use of innovative programs to reach communities throughout the country. Ethiopia joins Bangladesh, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Timor-Leste, and United Republic of Tanzania as another high-mortality country that reached MDG 4 before 2015.
This news is quite timely considering the 68th session of the UN General Assembly opened last week with a focus on defining a post-2015 development agenda. As 2015 approaches, I am eager to see increased analysis of MDG progress and heightened discussions among members of the international development community about what’s next for global health. Stay tuned!
Politics and Policies:
- The government of Australia is preparing to soon offer a 20-minute HIV test in Melbourne. It has yet to decide which clinics will offer the test.
- The National Population Commission has announced that China has planned to improve county-level family planning services.
- Regulations have been issued by the government of Indonesia to bear graphic photographic warnings on the cigarette packets.
- The United Nations has allowed Bolivia to return to the United Nations main anti-narcotics treaty and has given its approval on chewing the coca leaf.
- Twelve nations have signed a new United Nations treaty which aims to counter the illegal tobacco trade.
- New York City (U.S.) hospitals will adopt new guidelines that will forbid emergency room doctors to give out more than three days’ worth opioid painkillers to the patients.
- Pfizer Inc. has included its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to expand its pediatric immunization program in Tanzania.
- UNICEF calls for cessation of child recruitment in the Central African Republic. More than 300,000 children have been affected by the violence which has led to their limited access to education and health facilities.
- US$176 million announced by IMF and World Bank for debt relief for the Union of the Comoros. It will help the country to fight poverty and improve health and education facilities.
- European Union gives EUR 16million support to Ghana. This money will support the implementation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Accelerated Framework and Country Action Plan developed to combat maternal mortality.
- $25 million has been awarded by Abt Associates for a three-year malaria prevention project in Kenya.
- The FCC has launched $400 million heath care development fund with an aim to create and expand telemedicine networks.
- According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry there is a relationship between mental health and spirituality.
- According to the Journal of Infectious Diseases, nosocomial transmission responsible for XDR-TB outbreak in South Africa.
- A study identifies the chances of infection (co-infection) with another disease when a person is infected with a disease.
- A study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, climate can be the reason for a neurological condition, hydrocephalus in children in Uganda.
- Number of new annual cases of HIV/AIDS cases in India has dropped by 57 percent in the last decade.
- A study published in J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry links loneliness with higher chances of dementia or memory loss.
- Researchers have identified role in obesity and diabetes. They have found that blocking the expression of gene TRIP-B2r in mice protects them against obesity and insulin resistance.
- A report published by Natural News states that children who are vaccinated according to the CDC recommended schedule are five times more likely to develop diseases as compared those who are not.
- According to the findings of a report, among all rich countries, people of U.S. live unhealthy and shorter lives.
Diseases and Disasters:
- The Flu has surpassed an ‘epidemic’ threshold in the United States. It is widespread in all except the three states of US.
- According to The New Times survey, there is a severe drug shortage in Kigali hospitals (in Rwanda).
- The World Health Organization (WHO) yellow fever has killed about 171 people in Darfur (Sudan).
- Top U.N. Aid officials warn food crisis in two isolated southern states of Sudan. People of South Kordofan and Blue Nile have been feared dying of malnutrition and disease.
- According to the officials, about 80 people have died in Bangladesh due to cold-related diseases like respiratory problems, pneumonia and cough.
- People in Beijing have been warned of extremely hazardous air quality. The density of PM2.5 particulates has reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of city.
- Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has warned the public of possible outbreak of Leptospirosis (rat fever) in flood affected areas.
- According to the health authorities, Barbados has recorded an increase in dengue cases since the last year.
- Paraguay has confirmed reports of outbreaks of dengue in the north and east of the country. It has declared a national epidemics alert.
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Politics and Policies
- The Obama administration on Tuesday defined the “essential health benefits” that must be offered to most Americans and by allowing employers to offer bigger financial rewards to employees who quit smoking or adopt healthy behaviors.
- In the 62nd WHO Regional Committee for Africa session in Luanda, Angola, the World Health Organization (WHO) has presented its updated health promotion strategy for Africa.
- The first unrefrigerated vaccine, MenAfriVac vaccine against meningitis has been approved in Africa.
- According to the International Status Report released in the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC), health warnings in cigarette packets in India only cover 40% of the front face of the packet.
- According to the researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services the Obama health care reform could provide more than a million women in the U.S. with access to potentially lifesaving tests for breast and cervical cancer.
- Scientists are working on small pox vaccine to treat the deadly liver cancer.
- According to the reports released by the United Nations (UN), deaths from HIV/ AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa have dropped down by 32% in the last seven years.
- A study reveals that malnourished, stunted growth children are growing into obese adults in Africa.
- According to a study published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, increase in suicide in the United States between 2000 and 2010 is attributable to increase in hanging/ suffocation that too has increased among the people aged between 45- 59 years.
- A study links between unemployment and heart attack risk.
- A study indicates link between a child having a happy teenage and his/ her chances of having a wealthier adulthood.
- According to a study published in the journal Nature, compounds inhibiting protein synthesis or by utilizing the gene therapy targeting neuroligins in rats, scientists at the McGill University and the University of Montreal have created new hope for treatment / understanding of autism spectrum disorders.
- According to a study published in the journal Radiology concussions may cause brain disruption.
- Researchers in Australia are very close to treating a hereditary disease, dilated cardiomyopathy.
- Experts say that the lifestyle of people of Mexico has led to having a diabetes disaster in that country.
- According to the researchers malaria vaccine is only 30% effective in infants in preventing them getting this deadly disease.
- According to the researcher’s key to feeling younger is to keep smart phones, watching reality television shows and beating younger relatives at games.
- Scientists in Canada have linked “Happy gene” to “Fat gene”.
- According to a study, up to 20% under the 65s liver disease death has risen in England due to high levels of drinking and obesity.
- Scientists have found a link between the drug used to treat Psoriasis inflammation and reduction in dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.
- According to the scientists at London, smoking rots the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning.
- A study reveals that one in every ten children in California, U.S. is uninsured. This is higher than the national average.
- A group of Indian and U.S. scientists in their study have predicted hidden epidemic of neurological disability for people of India.
Diseases and Disasters
- According to the Germany’s national health institute, a patient from Qatar has been confirmed being infected with a new type of coronavirus. He has severe respiratory problems.
- Dengue cases on rise in India.
- Second death has been reported due to Corona virus.
- Large amount of spores of Lichen forming Trechelomonas algae responsible for the red rain in some parts of Sri Lanka.
- About 1000 students of a school in Sri Lanka have been hospitalized following some allergic reaction.
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