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Global Abortion Laws, Split on a Clear North-South Divide

The most liberal laws on abortion are found in the richest industrial countries. Does that matter? Advocates for reproductive health care say yes, because the abortion gap is often a bellwether indicating that health care for women in many developing countries offers few or no reproductive choices or respect for reproductive rights. The issue has … Read more

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Indians Ask Why 21 Million Women Are Not on Voter Rolls

Every national election in India is numerically mind-boggling, and this year is no exception. More than 800 million registered voters are expected to participate in an election spanning 39 days from April 11 to May 19. In this huge exercise in democracy, simultaneously organized at national and state levels, the government’s election commission has identified … Read more

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Unsafe Food, a Killer in Poor Nations, Needs Government Action

A World Bank report on foodborne diseases says food-safety regulations are most deficient in low-income countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which can result in early deaths, especially among children. A dried-fish market in Kathmandu, Nepal, above.

Poverty’s companions — hunger, malnutrition and recurring sickness — do not have to be the inevitable fate of people in low-income countries, the World Bank said in a recent report. But from national governments to farmers to market stallholders and their customers, making food safer has not been recognized and tackled as a major deterrent … Read more

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Numbers Are People: Where Will They Be in 2050?   

Right now, the population of the world is growing, paradoxically, at both ends of the age spectrum, for different reasons and with different results. In the developed world, the widely reported concern is that fewer births, and longer lives among the old, whose numbers are rising, will altogether wreak havoc on social security and health … Read more

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South Asian Health Care’s Dismal World Ranking

A health care worker in Pakistan

South Asia, a vast region stretching from Bangladesh to Afghanistan, has produced and exported respected medical professionals, research findings and innovations with universal reach. The poor record in domestic health care in almost every one of the seven countries in the region is a different story. The British medical journal The Lancet reopened discussion this … Read more

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Two Health Alerts: Resurgent Polio and Antibiotic Resistance

Recent research reports published by The Lancet could make a lot of people rethink the assumption that once a disease has been declared eradicated, that’s it. Done. A recent resurge in cases of polio in several countries and concern in Europe that antibiotic resistance is being bought there by refugees and migrants are becoming global … Read more

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Tough Times for Legislators as More Women and Youth Still Fall Short

Marking the first International Day of Parliamentarians on June 28, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, representing legislators in 173 countries, reported that serious challenges are emerging as antidemocratic forces playing on public apathy increase. In a survey of legislatures worldwide in 2018, “Are Parliamentary Democracies in Danger?” the global parliamentary union finds huge challenges to these institutions. … Read more

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As Refugees Await Their Futures, NGOs Offer New Ways to Help Them Prepare

As the school year ends in many countries and children turn with joy to vacation time ahead, millions of other school-age children will have nothing to look forward to but more long days in overcrowded refugee camps. The situation gets worse as they grow into adulthood. Recent studies show that, thanks to United Nations development … Read more

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Europe’s Contraception Gaps: They May Be Wider Than You Think

It is a continent where almost half of the pregnancies are unplanned, where government agencies do not provide enough information on available contraception, where geography is destiny for those needing reliable family planning advice. This is not a developing region, but 21st-century Europe, according to the recently published 2018 Contraception Atlas. The atlas, presented in … Read more

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Data Miners See Poverty Gradations; and More Cases of Harassment at the UN

International organizations, governments and a vast army of nongovernmental organizations justifiably welcome the sharp reductions that have been achieved in global poverty in recent decades. Data researchers show, however, that when it comes to defining who are the poorest, poverty is not a monolithic state. Two analysts from the online site Our World in Data, … Read more

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Lessons From African Kings, Real and Imagined

As ticket sales for the film “Black Panther” rocketed into the stratosphere in the United States and around the world after its opening in February, a real king in the poor West African nation of Burkina Faso won a peace prize for his part in averting bloodshed in a political crisis. On Feb.23, Mogho Naba … Read more

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Trump Team Wants to Slash Funds for Global Women’s Health by Half

There has yet to be a decision in United States Congress on what funds for global women’s health, if any, will survive in the current 2018 national budget, a decision that is nearly six months overdue. But Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, a hard-line social conservative who is playing a larger role … Read more

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A Trove of Resources for Navigating Our Angry World

In the dark shadows of rising populism and hypernationalistic leaders, attempts to intimidate reporters and curb the exchange of information are taking on less visibly crude but still dangerous forms. The menace, highlighted in the United States by Donald Trump’s contemptuous accusations against the press, television and social media, has global echoes. There is no … Read more

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Zimbabwe Stuck With a Health Crisis Left by Mugabe Era

Robert Mugabe, the only head of state that Zimbabwe had known since independence in 1980, was forced out of office by an unexpected coup in November 2017, and citizens of the economically battered country are now forced to tally the costs of his dictatorship. One of them is a health system in collapse. A report … Read more

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Tackling Sexual Violence in Humanitarian NGOs

Nearly three years ago, Megan Nobert, a humanitarian worker in South Sudan, was drugged and raped by an employee of a United Nations agency, according to her account, made public six months later. That was when Nobert decided to form the advocacy group Report the Abuse to encourage others to tell their stories and rally … Read more

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Americans Want an Active Role in the World, Contrary to Trump’s Actions, a Poll Finds

  In the first week of November, more than 200 Americans who had been the beneficiaries of Fulbright international exchanges over many years went to the United States Congress to lobby members from across the country. They were asking their state representatives and senators not to strip the iconic, but now endangered, program of full … Read more

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Where the Hungriest People in the World Live

The 2017 Global Hunger Index produced many sadly predictable findings but also worrying surprises. The report’s subtitle, “The Inequalities of Hunger,” suggests a reason. Naomi Hossain, the guest author of the report, looks at the power structures that can dictate every step of a food chain. “In food systems, power is exercised in a variety … Read more

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A Guide to Trump’s Global Edicts on Women’s Reproductive Health

The Trump administration, which announced early this year that it would curtail American-funded women’s health services around the world that may be involved in any way in abortion, has turned its attention to curbing family planning in the United States. Rules have been issued with immediate effect that American women can no longer obtain contraceptives … Read more

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With US Funds Gone, UN Population Fund Faces Brutal Choices in Helping Women

It will soon be two years since the United Nations adopted a new 15-year development policy encapsulated in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This sprawling, ambitious agenda was designed partly to address the shortcomings of the Millennium Goals, the most disheartening of which for women was the failure to meet promises of improved maternal health … Read more

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Tunisia Acts on Violence Against Women, With Help From UN Women

• Prodded by Tunisian advocacy organizations and assisted by international legal experts, the Tunisian parliament passed a law in late July not only to curb violence against women but also to introduce measures to protect them and provide help to those who have suffered abuse. It is the first such law passed by Tunisian legislators, … Read more

 

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