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UNFPA IN THE NEWS MAY 27-JUNE 9, 2006

U.N. HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON AIDS

The Christian Science Monitor reported May 31 that that international health and development organizations are demanding a stronger link between AIDS prevention and treatment campaigns with international reproductive health efforts. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA executive director, said the practical reasons for linking the two efforts would involve: "Scaling up" prevention and treatment programs to make it easier and more efficient if existing reproductive health networks are used. Women especially would be better served by a "one-stop shop" approach, she said. But beyond practicalities, Obaid said linking the efforts has become imperative as AIDS has increasingly affected women. "ABC is a package that is having an impact in many places, but it is not enough when a growing number of infections are among women, and young married women," she said. "We need accessible reproductive health policies that empower women, put more of the decision making in their hands, and address the issues affecting them, such as violence." Read: The Christian Science Monitor

The Associated Press May 31 story reported that Obaid said there were positive results in nations where condoms were properly distributed and women were empowered. "Prevention remains our first and most effective line of defense," Obaid said. Read: Associated Press 

Associated Press reported May 30 that Obaid stressed that more action must be taken to empower women and enable them to take control of their sexuality. This is particularly important in southern Africa where sexual violence against women is a factor in the transmission of HIV. Read: Associated Press

Reuters reported May 31 that Obaid said sex workers in many countries are ignored. She said they also have the right to prevention and treatment, especially since many were poor women or girls, sold into prostitution and victims of violence. Read: Reuters

In a May 26 story by Inter Press Service, Obaid was quoted as saying that moving towards universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support implies that HIV prevention must be at a scale and intensity that is enough to make a critical difference. She added, "We currently reach less than 10 percent of pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and no more than 26 percent of sex workers have any access to HIV prevention support." Obaid said, "World leaders and global organizations need to be judged by the effectiveness of their work and results. We all need to improve, scale up and work more urgently to support evidence-based prevention methods." Read: Inter Press Service

The New York Times May 31 quoted Obaid as saying the world needed to increase its prevention efforts. Newsday also reported May 31 that Obaid said women remain disproportionately vulnerable to the disease, and noted that prevention programs based on abstinence, faithfulness and condom use do not help married women. Read: The New York Times

UN News Centre reported June 1 that at a panel discussion  to end the increased feminization of HIV/AIDS, Obaid said that only by addressing the needs and human rights of women and ensuring their full participation in decision making could the course of the HIV pandemic be changed. Obaid said, “Less than 10 percent of pregnant women in the developing world were offered services to prevent mother-to-child (HIV) transmission in 2005.” In addition, “only 20 per cent of young women can correctly identify the ways to prevent HIV infection.” Read: UN News Centre, The Post, IRIN

Detroit Free Press ran a June 5 that observed the 25th anniversary of HIV/AIDS and reflected on the developments of the high-level meeting. The editorial acknowledged some of the progress in the fight against the disease, but also said, “It is simply unforgivable that the world is not even close to stopping its spread.” In addition, the editorial noted: “It will take a sustained global effort [to stop the disease]. That's why it's so destructive when the United States tries to chip away at the United Nations' credibility.” According to the editorial, “Although the United States has stepped up its anti-AIDS efforts under the Bush administration, it has also stepped back.” The editorial cited evidence of the regress by noting, “On practically the eve of the U.N. conference, the U.S. rejected for a fifth straight year a $34 million allocation for the United Nations Population Fund, primarily an educational agency.” Read: Detroit Free Press

Kazakhstan: KAZINFORM reported June 3 that the Kazakh delegation at the meetingwas headed by Chief Health Inspector Anatoly Belonog who expressed interest in collaborating with UNAIDS, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNFPA, UNICEF and other U.N. and international organizations. Read: KAZINFORM

Latin America and the Caribbean: Inter Press Service reported June 2 that in recent years, the number of women infected in Latin America and the Caribbean region has been rising. “This increase means that we are not doing what we need to do," Raquel Child, an HIV/AIDS prevention specialist for UNFPA, told IPS. "Investigations show that the main reason for this is informal relationships and bisexual relationships," she said. Prensa Latina reported June 1 that Child also said there is currently insufficient implementation of sexual education programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. She criticized stigma and discrimination that still limit rights, as well as gender structures regarding women. Read: Inter Press Service, Prensa Latina

Morocco: Maghreb Arabe Presse reported June 2 that while attending the meeting, Princess Lalla Salma held talks with UNAIDS Executive Director, Peter Piot, President of the Republic of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez, and UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Obaid. Read: Maghreb Arabe Presse

Sub-Saharan Africa: IRIN reported May 31 that although sub-Saharan Africa is the region worst affected by HIV/AIDS, a new report by UNAIDS found significant declines in prevalence in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. "Surveys have shown that condom use has been rising, women have been delaying their sexual debut and people have been reducing the number of sexual partners," said the agency's 2006 report on the Global AIDS Epidemic. "In countries where HIV prevalence is declining among young people, there is behaviour change and comprehensive condom programming,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of UNFPA. "This is encouraging proof that prevention works, and saves lives."

Angola Press Agency reported June 4 that at the meeting, Angolan Deputy Minister of Health José Van-Dúnem said HIV/AIDS is a humanity problem that requires a doubled effort from the international community. The story noted that the report on the disease published by UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNFPA indicates that HIV is on the rise in Africa, despite the effort to control it. Read: Angola Press Agency

Vietnam: Vietnam News Service reported June 7 that  Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem at the meeting reassured the international community of Vietnam's pledges to contain HIV/AIDS by 2015. On the sidelines of the summit, Khiem met with the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Jan Eliason; the general director of UNDP, Kemal Dervis; the executive director of UNICEF, Ann Veneman; the executive director of UNAIDS, Peter Piot; and the executive director of UNFPA, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. Read: Vietnam News Service

AFRICAN COUNTRIES CONSIDER MALE CIRCUMCISION TO CURB AIDS

Agence France-Presse reported June 2 that Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia are in talks with UNAIDS to make circumcision more accessible to men as part of their HIV prevention efforts. The new strategy followed the results of a three-year study in a South African township that showed that circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent. The story quoted UNFPA’s Helen Jackson who said a recent meeting of health experts in Lesotho had concluded that southern Africa's failure to bring down HIV infection rates was driven by "a lethal cocktail of multiple concurrent partners and lack of male circumcision." She said, "If we can roll out male circumcision, it would make an enormous difference.” Read: Agence France-Presse

Reuters May 31 story quoted Helen Jackson, an AIDS advisor for UNFPA, who said:  “Nobody is saying that male circumcision is a silver bullet. But it is a strategy that could make an enormous contribution.” Read: Reuters

ARMENIA: New Program to Increase Adolescent Reproductive Health

ARMINFO News Agency reported June 7 that Garik Hayrapetian, deputy representative of UNFPA in Armenia, said UNFPA’s new program to increase awareness of adolescent reproductive health is in collaboration with the European Commission in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Hayrapetian said the 3-year program, "The Equals to the Equals," will target youth ranging from 14-25 years and will include the opening of 32 consultation centers at the cost of 3 million Euros.

AUSTRALIA: UNFPA Consultant on the Ageing

The Advertiser reported June 3 that Gary Robert Andrews, one of the world's best-known contributors to, and advocate for, the achievement of health and wellbeing for the ageing, died on May 18.  The story noted that he consulted extensively on planning, research, policy and program development and evaluation in population ageing and health and aged care with the WHO, UNFPA and other national and international organizations.

BANGLADESH: Pilot Program on Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening

The New Nation reported June 1 that with UNFPA's assistance, the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of BSMMU in collaboration with Bangladesh government has successfully completed the "Pilot Program to Train Health Providers on Cervical Cancer Screening based on VIA Test." The story noted that cervical cancer screening has been introduced in selected 16 districts with help of UNFPA’s 6th Country Program. Read: The New Nation

BRAZIL: Reproductive Health in the UN Agenda

University of Brasilia reported June 6 that a series of seminars on population and development included a presentation by UNFPA’s Assistant Representative in Brazil Tais de Freitas Santos on reproductive health issues in the U.N. agenda. Read: University of Brasilia

CONGO-Brazzaville: Condoms to Combat AIDS Among Refugees

La Collecte reported 29 May that UNFPA handed over more than 400,000 condoms to UNHCR to help provide refugees with dual protection agains HIV and unwanted pregnancies. "Lack of access to health services and supplies is one of the difficulties of being a refugee," said Richard Dackam-Ngatchou, UNFPA representative in Congo.

CONGO-Brazzaville: Securing the Supplies

La Collecte reported 30 May that only 13 per cent of women in Congo use a modern form of contraception, and that the government has no budget line for procurement of contraceptves. A workshop to help create a national strategy for commodity security in Congo was organized by UNFPA from 15 to 29 May, with participation of national experts.

COTE D'IVOIRE: Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Adopt Action Plan

Fraternitè Matin reported May 31 that a network of women minsters and parliamentarians, supported by UNFPA, had adopted an action plan to advance women's status in Cote d'Ivoire. Spreading information to make women more aware of their rights was among the planned initiatives.

COTE D'IVOIRE: Clean Maternity Clinics

Fraternitè Matin ran a story June 7 about a national competition to select the country's most hygenic maternity clinic, "Operation maternité propre". When the winning clinc was announced, UNFPA representative Philippe Delanne declared that UNFPA stands ready to support Cote d'Ivoire to strengthen its maternal health. At the same time, he announced a donation of contraceptive supplies in support of the national strategy for reproductive health commodity security.

CUBA: Abortions Preferred over Contraception

Inter Press Service reported June 1 on a study published with the support of UNFPA that revealed many women in Cuba resort to abortion as though it were just another contraceptive method. "Over decades, the rate has indeed declined, which reflects well on family planning, health education and sex education. It has to be taken into account that whenever the birth rate falls, as has been happening in Cuba, abortions nearly always decline as well," said Miriam Gran, researcher of the study entitled "Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy and Contraception: Two methods of fertility control.” Read: Inter Press Service

 CUBA: Population on Track to Be Oldest in Hemisphere

Inter Press Service reported May 31 that UNGPA statistics indicate that by 2025 Cuba will have the oldest population in the hemisphere, with 25.9 percent of the population over 60, followed by Barbados (25.4 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (20.5 percent), Uruguay (20 percent) and Chile (18.4 percent). Read: Inter Press Service, Prensa Latina

GEORGIA: Training on Gender Analysis of Legislation

The June 2-8 issue of Georgia Today reported that on May 22-25 in Gudauri, UNFPA, in collaboration with the Consultative Council on Gender Equality Issues and the Speaker of the Parliament, conducted ministerial training on gender analysis of legislation for staff members of the Georgian parliament. Read: Georgia Today 

GEORGIA: First Lady Talks about Family Planning and Reproductive Health

The June 2-8 issue of Georgia Today also reported that Sandra Roelofs-Saakashvili, Georgia’s First Lady, spoke about family planning and reproductive health. The story noted that Georgia has one of the highest abortion rates in the region and fastest growing rates of sexually transmitted diseases. The First Lady, with the assistance of UNFPA and in cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Health, is heading up a public awareness program for family planning and healthy motherhood. Read: Georgia Today

GHANA: Fistula Prevention Campaign

Ghana News Agency reported May 31 that obstetric fistula occurs all across the country but it has been found to be more prominent among communities which practice female genital mutilation, particularly in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions. Early this year, the country office held a National Experts Experience Sharing Session on Obstetric Fistula. At the opening of the session, Country Representative of UNFPA, Makane Kane, told participants that his organization believed that prevention, as well as treatment, was the key to ending fistula. “Making family planning available to all who want to use it will reduce maternal disability and death. Complementing that with skilled attendance at all births and emergency obstetric care for those women who develop complications during delivery will make fistula as rare in the developing world as it is in the developed world,” he added. Read: Ghana News Agency

GHANA: Counselors Urged to Educate Communities on HIV/AIDS

Ghana News Agency reported June 5 that during the graduation ceremony of the Distance Education Course in HIV/AIDS Counseling and Care Giving, Samuel Badu-Nyarko, Principal of the Institute of Adult Education in Kumasi, asked graduates to form clubs in churches, mosques, communities and workplaces to educate people on HIV/AIDS. The course was jointly organized by the Institute of Adult Education and UNFPA. Read: Ghana News Agency

HAITI: HIV Prevention through Music

Ticket Magazine ran a story June 2 about the band K-danse, who works with UNFPA in a campaign to raise awareness of HIV prevention among youth. During a recent press conference, UNFPA representative Hernando Clavijo said that music is one of the best ways to reach youth with a message of being responsible while having fun.

HAITI: UN Population Award to Organization from Haiti

Le Nouvelliste ran a June 9 story about the Population Award to FOSREF (Fondation pour la Sante Reproductive et l'Education Familiale), a private, non-profit organization devoted to reproductive health and the promotion of family life in Haiti. Established in 1988, FOSREF provides reproductive health care that covers more than 1.2 million people through a network of 26 centres. UNFPA representative to Haiti, Hernando Clavijo, praised FOSREF's work and its outreach to young people.

INDIA: Expert Needed for Health Ministry’s Program to Protect Girl Fetus

Indian Express reported June 2 that the Health Ministry's mission to prevent the illegal practice of the killing of female fetuses has yet to take off since an expert to head the project has not been appointed. In April Dr. Baljit Singh Dahiya, former health chief of Haryana, was picked for the national program, but his hesitation in accepting the position is due to, he says, “jealous activists and former colleagues who are campaigning against me.” Dahiya said, “I am not ready to beg and run after the bureaucrats at this stage.” In the meantime, he will continue his mission, funded by UNFPA, of motivating officials in checking doctors who help couples get rid of female fetuses.

INDONESIA: U.N. Team Assesses Needs of Earthquake Survivors

Antara reported May 30 that a U.N. team assessed the healthcare needs of 100,000 Indonesian earthquake survivors, including emergency treatment for pregnant women and other reproductive health services. In a statement by UNFPA, the agency said it planned to dispatch supplies and equipment to the affected areas as needed. UNFPA aims to ensure that relief efforts address reproductive health needs, which are often neglected in emergencies. "Our goal is to prevent unnecessary deaths due to a lack of quality services," said Dr. Bernard Coquelin, UNFPA representative in Indonesia. Read: UN News Centre

Agence France-Presse reported June 4 that based on the UNFPA's rough estimates of the birth rates in devastated Bantul and Klaten districts, dozens of women were expected to deliver in the coming week, many with little support. Melania Hidayat, a reproductive health expert for UNFPA, said: "The main problem is lack of access to hygiene, to water and lack of access to antenatal care. If basic care is not taken care of immediately or properly, it can end in premature deliveries.” The agency has started distributing gloves, syringes and other sterile equipment to help midwives. "Our objective during this emergency period is to ensure that all the pregnant women receive appropriate, continuous antenatal care, and all the deliveries are assisted by health professionals," Hidayat said.  

IRELAND: Over €40m in Contributions to U.N. Announced

BreakingNews.ie reported June 2 that Ireland announced it was contributing over €40m to the United Nations for vital development work. The contributions include €10.6m for UNICEF, €16.2m for UNDP, €3.1m for UNFPA, €3.3m for UNHCR and €2.75m for the WHO. Read: BreakingNews.ie 

JORDAN: Studies Find Women Accept Idea of Physical Punishment by Husbands

IRIN reported June 1 that women's rights activists said that they were "horrified but not surprised" to learn that a majority of single women in the kingdom approved of physical punishment by husbands for disciplinary reasons. A health ministry study released on May 30 revealed that 53 percent of unmarried women accept the idea of physical punishment, compared to only 40 percent of their male counterparts. Another study released on the same day, conducted by the Queen Zein al-Sharaf Institute for Development and UNFPA, indicated that 65 percent of citizens living in impoverished areas attest to physical violence against women in their communities. Read: IRIN

KAZAKHSTAN: Conference Held on Migration, Gender and Development

Kazakhstanskaya Pravda reported June 6 on a conference on migration, gender and development by UNFPA in Kazakhstan in cooperation with the Kazakhstan parliament and the Association of Business Women.  

KENYA: Gender Data Sheet Launched

East African Standard reported May 31 that at the launch of the Kenya Gender Data Sheet 2005, gender equality in government offices has significantly improved except in the provincial administration, assistant minister Alicen Chelaite said. The story noted that World Bank, UNFPA and the National Central Bureau of Statistics offered financial and technical support in developing the survey that found there are only 41 female chiefs out of the 2,424 and 225 female assistant chiefs out of the 5,394 countrywide. The study found that 32,643 female students enrolled in universities in 2004/2005 compared to 57,180 male students. Read: East African Standard   

KENYA: Sexual Offences Bill Threatened

The East African Standard reported May 30 that Vice-President Moody Awori has described an attempt by MPs to shoot down the Sexual Offences Bill as "malicious." UNFPA Country Representative Kemal Mustafa urged women MPs to pass bills and policies addressing gender violence. "Women should speak at every level about the great gains that equal rights for women offer the family and to take concrete and urgent action to make these rights reality," Mustafa said. Read: East African Standard

LATIN AMERICA: Poverty Reduction Programs Proved Successful to Many Women

Folha de Sao Paulo News reported May 28 that poverty reduction programs might have helped enhance living conditions of many women. To assess the impact of such programs, UNFPA announced it will evaluate similar initiatives in four different countries: Bolsa-Familia (Brazil), Chile Solidario (Chile), Oportunidades (Mexico), and Bonus Solidario (Ecuador). According to UNFPA’s CST Advisor in Mexico Luis Mora: "Most of these programs still reproduce traditional patterns of labor distribution. Nevertheless, they can promote changes and strengthen the economic autonomy of women. That’s what we want to investigate.” Read: Folha de Sao Paulo News  

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Conference on Education for Health

Prensa Latina reported June 6 that the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, PAHO and UNFPA sponsored the 2nd Conference on Education for Health in the sub region of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The meeting's agenda includes issues like primary health care, food and nutrition, development of public health policies, social communication, research, planning, development and education. Read: Prensa Latina

MAURITANIA: Hospital gets Equipment

Horizon reported May 30 that on the occasion of the third national week of reproductive health, a second operation theatre was inaugurated at the Regional Hospital of Kiffa, in the interior of the country. The equipment for the operation theatre, worth US$ 90,000, was donated by UNFPA  and will enable the hospital to perform caesareans and save the lives of mothers and babies.

NEPAL: UNFPA Hails Legislation Furthering Women and Girls’ Rights

UN News Centre reported June 6 that Junko Sazaki, UNFPA representative in Nepal, said a resolution passed by Nepali legislators is a milestone in the advancement of women's civil and political rights. The story noted that the recently reinstated House of Representatives granted citizenship rights to children born to Nepali mothers, called for 33 percent of civil service jobs to be reserved for women, and asked the government to review all laws that discriminate against women and girls. “These are key steps towards empowering women and alleviating poverty,” said Sazaki. “Gender equality is essential for Nepal to achieve sustainable development. Every women and girls should be treated with dignity and respect.” Read: UN News Centre 

NICARAGUA: Collaboration on the Advocacy/Incidence Plan

La Prensa ran a June 7 opinion piece by Maria Elena Artola, a member of the communications network for human rights and HIV/AIDS, on collaborative work with UNFPA in Nicaragua to create the Advocacy/Incidence Plan. Read: La Prensa  

NIGERIA: Census 2006 Examined

The Business Leadership’s June 1 story examining the recently held census that quoted UNFPA’s Director of Oversight Services Olivier Brasseur as saying the 2006 census is “a success and it went well, considering the size of Nigeria and that the exercise was conducted in one week.” Dr. Lucy Idoko, UNFPA assistant country representative, said that “UNFPA went out to monitor census in Nigeria and there was nobody that we saw that didn’t know about census 2006.” 

NIGERIA: Nigerians Still Unaware of the MDGs

This Day reported May 29 that UNFPA Deputy Country Representative in Nigeria Dr. Salma Burton has identified lack of adequate information in simple and comprehensive manner as the reason many Nigerians are still ignorant of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. At a ceremony in Abuja to present books on population, reproductive health, and advocacy on gender development to management of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Burton noted that the exchange was part of an ongoing countrywide collaboration with the Nigerian government to increase people’s capacity in the quest for a better society as well as the attainment of the millennium development goals. 

NIGERIA: Chike Okoli Foundation Launched

This Day reported June 5 on the launch of the Chike Okoli Foundation, an effort to ensure that every young Nigerian will be fully aware of the causes of cardiovascular diseases and also to equip young Nigerians with entrepreneurial skills. The story noted that government and private sector participation are also being explored, as well support from international agencies such as WHO, National and Regional Heart Associations, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP and grants from foreign donor agencies. Read: This Day

PHILIPPINES: Mandaluyong City Celebrates World Environment Day

Manila Times reported May 28 that Mandaluyong City celebrated World Environment Day with a series of activities capped by a cleanup of Maytunas Creek on Shaw Boulevard. The cleanup drive, "Tao at Kapaligiran Ating Alagaan Para sa Kaunlaran," was led by the Population Commission, UNFPA and the Mandaluyong City government.

PHILIPPINES: Concern for Inadequate Health System and Maternal Mortality

BusinessWorld reported May 30 that Lynn Freedman, lead writer of the U.N. Millennium Project Task Force report on child and maternal health, said maternal deaths caused by an inadequate health system remains a major concern in developing countries like the Philippines. UNFPA Country Representative in the Philippines Zahidul Huque said the country is taking initial steps to address the healthcare challenges with politicians at the local level by promoting the campaign on reproductive health. "It is naive to say that healthcare is not a political issue [because] allocation is controlled by government. [Government involvement] is good. It will encourage more and more politicians to get involved in healthcare," Huque said. 

SIERRA LEONE: “The Death of a Single Woman during Child Birth Is a Concern”

Awareness Times reported May 30 that at the meeting on the reproductive health policy, UNFPA Representative in Sierra Leone Mariama Diarra said, “Even the death of a single woman during childbirth is a concern.” Diarra said, “As a right for every woman to give birth, it must be noted that in the cause of child bearing, both the child and the mother must be safe and healthy.” Read: Awareness Times: May 30a, May 30b

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: Contraceptive Needs

The Vancouver Province reported May 28 that for millions of families in sub-Saharan Africa, the need for contraceptives really is as simple as that: Those already struggling to survive dive deeper into poverty every time they have another child. Around the globe, according to UNFPA, 201 million women would like to use contraceptives, but are unable to access it. Meeting that demand would avert 52 million pregnancies each year – 26 million would be delayed to a later time and 26 million would be prevented altogether – and 142,000 pregnancy-related deaths. 

TIMOR-LESTE: Supplies Headed for People Affected by Civil Unrest

UN News Centre reported May 31 that with violence decreasing in Timor-Leste, United Nations agencies stepped up aid for 100,000 people uprooted by weeks of turmoil. The story noted that UNFPA, UNICEF and the WHO are providing hospital supplies and assisting pregnant women in the camps. “Three babies were born over the last three days in the camp opposite the U.N. compound. “Help has to reach these camps immediately,” UNICEF country representative Shui-Meng Ng said. “Babies are being born in these camps under conditions which are unsuitable. They and their mothers need looking after. We need to take care of the preventive health care needs of these people.” Read: UN News Centre: May 31, June 8

VIETNAM: Funding for the 2006-10 National Program Action Plan

Vietnam News Service reported June 6 that UNFPA will provide $28 million to help Vietnam implement the 2006-10 National Program Action Plan on reproductive health and population issues. The action plan, aiming to improve the capacity of ministries and seven selected provinces, was signed in Hanoi on June 1 by UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Ian Howie and Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Cao Viet Sinh. In a speech at the signing ceremony, Howie said the Millennium Development Goals of eliminating hunger and reducing poverty could not be achieved if issues of population and reproductive health were not comprehensively addressed. "Gender mainstreaming that aims at gender equality demands attention by both leaders and communities as it considerably contributes to socio-economic development," he emphasized. Read: Xinhua General News Service 

Vietnam News Service reported June 7 that UNFPA has granted $1.35 million to the National Statistics Office (NSO) to assist a capacity building project. According to UNFPA officials, aside from the short-term objective of raising the capacity of the NSO's staff, the project is expected to improve the living conditions of Vietnamese people, giving them easier access to reproductive healthcare services and improving the implementation of population policies and programs. Read: Vietnam News Service 

YEMEN: Health Professionals Attend Training on Reducing Maternal Mortality

IRIN reported June 7 that health professionals received training to reduce maternal mortality. Dr Sameera al-Tuwaijri, UNFPA regional advisor for reproductive health policy for Arab states, affirmed that Yemen was one of five countries in the region that had made the least progress in terms of reducing maternal risk. “A lot of mothers end up in a condition that makes their lives miserable,” she said. “This issue needs much attention.” Read: IRIN 

YEMEN: Minister Concerned about Population Growth

Al-Thawra reported June 5 that Abdulkareem Al-Arhabi, the Minster of Planning and International Cooperation, stated that the population growth issue is the most important issue facing his ministry. He emphasized the key role that UNFPA has played as a crucial partner. Read: Al-Thawra 

YEMEN: Meeting Held to Improve Partnership

Yemen News Agency reported May 28 that the Minister of the Planning and International Cooperation Abdul Kareem al-Arhabi met with the UNFPA Country Representative in Yemen Hans Abidjan to improve relations between Yemen and the agency.  

YEMEN: A Call for More Midwives

The Yemen Observer reported May 31 on the WHO’s call for more well-trained midwives during a debate on healthcare of mothers and children in Yemen to reduce mortality. The debate was organized by the Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with UNFPA, the Dutch embassy, the British Development Department and WHO. Read: Yemen Observer

ZIMBABWE: A Closer Look at Gender-Based Violence Needs

The Herald reported May 29 that during a workshop on population and development for reporters, UNFPA said the public needs to be educated on the dynamics of gender-based violence (GBV) to successfully eradicate it. According to Anna Mumba, a gender and advocacy official within UNFPA, people need to be aware of the various forms of GBV. Her advice comes at a time when the nation is awaiting the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill. "First of all people need to know what we are talking about when we talk about gender, that it is the social rather than the biological differences between men and women,” said Mumba. "Then they have to know what GBV is all about and that it can happen to anyone, irrespective of whether they are male or female."


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