Author Archives: Humanosphere

Breastfeeding still underused in the U.S., despite obvious health benefits

Unlike most things that sound too good to be true, the list of benefits from breastfeeding is so long (and growing) that this practice could qualify as a bonafide magic bullet for health and wellness. Whether in a poor or rich country, studies show breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk in infants for respiratory tract infections,

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International Rescue Committee makes aid tracking tool open sourced

An aid group is sharing the tool it uses to track aid shipments in Syria with everyone. The International Rescue Committee announced that its Commodity Tracking System is open sourced. Many aid groups use tracking systems to see what is going where, but this is the first time that one such program is available for

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News in the Humanosphere: Polio is nearly out of Africa

Pakistan remains a polio hot spot, but this is welcome news in the push to eradication. “Africa has achieved a year without any new cases of wild polio for the first time, but experts warn that violent insurgencies could yet prove their ‘Achilles’ heel’ in finally eradicating the disease. … No cases have been identified

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Some caution with the good news about an Ebola vaccine

The early results from an Ebola vaccine trial in Guinea show it to be 100 percent effective against the virus. It is  good news after more than 11,000 people died in West Africa over an 18-month period. But there are questions about the trial’s methodology and the rush to vaccinate in the hard-hit areas that

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News in the Humanosphere: Only two Ebola cases remain in West Africa

Some good news from the WHO is being released today. ”Guinea and Sierra Leone each recorded a single cases of Ebola in the past week, putting a year-end goal of ending the deadly epidemic within reach although risks remain, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. ’The progress is real … as of today

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U.N. member states agree on new development agenda framework

Out with the old and in with the new. The 193 states that make up the United Nations agreed to the 17 goals that will replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals. After two weeks of deliberations over things like the symbols that will represent each of the goals, the Sustainable Development Goals are in place to

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Visualizing cervical cancer: Leading killer of African women

Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women in 40 of the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, according to the most reliable health statistics. In high-income countries, cervical cancer ranks in the bottom half of all new cancer cases – below gallbladder, mouth, or brain cancers. In places like Ethiopia, Ghana, and

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News in the Humanosphere: A coming Meningitis outbreak in Africa?

UNICEF, MSF, WHO and the IFRC are urging vaccine manufacturers to ramp up production of the meningitis vaccine. “‘In just the first six months of 2015, there have been 12,000 cases of meningitis C in Niger and Nigeria, and 800 deaths. At the same time, there has been a critical shortage of vaccine,’” said Dr

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News in the Humanosphere: Cuba sets global health milestone


Cuba became the first country in the world to receive validation from WHO that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. “Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and

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Advocates urge U.S. to cease support for African agriculture initiative

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A program meant to help agriculture in Africa is causing more harm than good and should be closed, says an advocacy group. The 3-year-old New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition allowed large corporations to make land grabs that are to the detriment of small farmers, according to a new report by ActionAid. Released ahead

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Health gap between urban rich and poor getting worse


In cities, access to quality health care varies greatly between the rich and poor, from Lagos to Washington, D.C. The poorest urban children in some developing countries are twice as likely to die as their wealthy counterparts. Steps must be taken immediately to eliminate health inequality, says charity group Save the Children. Its annual State of

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Map of the Day: A new future for the World Bank


The World Bank’s influence is waning. Some point to the emerging Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as evidence of the body’s declining power, but it is the World Bank’s own projections that illustrate the change. Thirty-six countries will graduate from World Bank loans over the next four years (see the above gif). The World Bank maintains

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To get people to build toilets, turn to subsidies

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PONKRUM, Ghana — The one public bathroom in Ponkrum collapsed a few years ago. An effort to build a new one yielded a large pit that is used for trash, not defecation. For the people living in the small village near the Ghanian coast, there is no other option than going out in the open.

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Aid to poor countries fell, shows report

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By the amount spent, overall development assistance increased in 2014. But in real terms it fell by 0.5 percent and less of that money went to the world’s least-developed countries than the year prior, shows the data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) this week. With development assistance making up more than two-thirds of

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