Sunday, March 27, 2011

Closing the gender gap in agriculture: FAO report says invest in female farmers

(Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million, FAO said in its 2010-11 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture.

Yields on plots managed by women are lower than those managed by men, the report said. But this is not because women are worse farmers than men. They simply do not have the same access to inputs. If they did, their yields would go up, they would produce more and overall agricultural production would increase, the report said.

"The report makes a powerful business case for promoting gender equality in agriculture," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

"Gender equality is not just a lofty ideal, it is also crucial for agricultural development and food security. We must promote gender equality and empower women in agriculture to win, sustainably, the fight against hunger and extreme poverty," he added.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

World Health Organisation releases list of medicines vital for saving mothers and children

Improving maternal and child health is a global priority. An estimated 8.1 million children under the age of five die every year and an estimated 1,000  women – most of them in developing countries – die every day due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth. 

Many of these deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable medicines. However, the availability of medicines at public-health facilities is often poor. 

This  list  of  Priority  Medicines  for  Mothers and Children was developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to help countries and partners select and make available those medicines that will have the biggest impact on reducing maternal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pregnancy myths not backed by science

By Kendall Powell

(LA Times) Once a woman becomes visibly pregnant, it isn't long before she's being asked extremely personal questions by complete strangers:

"Are you going to have an epidural or go natural?

"You're not drinking alcohol, are you?"

"Have you tried ginger for your morning sickness?"

Often, such questions are followed up with unsolicited advice based on folk wisdom or anecdotes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Use of prescription painkillers during pregnancy may cause birth defects

(HealthDay News) -- Moms-to-be who take prescription opioid painkillers such as codeine, hydrocodone or oxycodone (Oxycontin) may increase the risk of birth defects in their newborns, according to a new U.S. government report. (Click here to view report)

Taking these types of analgesics just prior to pregnancy or in the early stages of pregnancy was linked to a modest risk of congenital heart defects in an ongoing population study, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Half of men may have HPV infections: study

(Reuters) - Half of men in the general population may be infected with human papillomavirus or HPV, the human wart virus that causes cervical and other cancers, strengthening the case for vaccinating boys against HPV, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

U.S. vaccine advisers have been weighing whether boys and young men should be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, as they already recommend for girls and young women, but some worry the vaccine is too costly to justify its use.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

FDA Approves First 3-D Mammography Device

( February 14, 2011 — FDA on Friday announced its approval of the Selenia Dimensions System, the first three-dimensional X-ray mammography device for breast cancer screening, which regulators say may reduce the number of women who need second-round testing for issues that often are non-cancerous, the Los Angeles Times reports (Zajac, Los Angeles Times, 2/11).