Philippine Inquirer reported on 18 January that five former secretaries of the Department of Health (DoH) had banded together to ask the Supreme Court to let them intervene in a local court case that pits tobacco companies against anti-smoking advocates over the issue of graphic health warnings. The collective move aims to sway the high court into resolving legal questions in favor of a 2010 order from the DoH that required tobacco firms to put disturbing images of nicotine-induced diseases on cigarette packs. The order was issued in May 2010 by then Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, now a senior adviser to the UNFPA, but had remained unenforced after being challenged by big tobacco companies in five different courts. Read: Philippine Inquirer
Business Recorder reported on 18 January that, with a view to increasing the accessibility of quality reproductive health services, including family-planning, and to enhance understanding of the adverse affects of rapid population growth, the local government of Punjab, in collaboration with UNFPA and other donors, had launched projects in various districts of the province. Punjab Minister for Population Welfare, Neelam Jabbar Chaudhry, informed that the government is utilizing all resources for public welfare projects. Highlighting the efforts of the department for checking population growth, she said that the number of males to be mobilized to provide quality family planning services at the union council level will be increased to 3,300. Read: Business Recorder
IRIN reported on 18 January that Pakistan’s problems with militancy, a fragile economy and natural disasters, such as the 2010 floods, have often been discussed; but an even greater threat may be posed by the sheer numbers of people in the country. According to official figures, the country’s projected population for 2015 is 191 million, up from the current figure of 170 million, making it the sixth most populous nation on earth. Rabbi Royan, UNFPA Representative in Pakistan, told IRIN, “There is now increasing evidence that investments, among others, in education and health, including reproductive health, women's empowerment, and slower population growth contribute towards poverty reduction. In general, it has also been found that where there is rapid population growth and high fertility rates, poverty incidence is also at highest.” Read: IRIN
Multiple media outlets reported on 18 January on UNFPA’s presentation of medical material and mobile equipment of a value estimated at 301,845 millions of F CFA ($624,621.888), assigned to the health structures and community personnel of the medical regions of Saint-Louis, Matam, Kolda and Tambacounda.
Rádio Cidade reported on 18 January, that “Geração Biz” activists from Coalizão, a youth association, took part in the opening of the school year at Lhanguene Secondary School, in Maputo. The report says that Coalizão, with the support of UNFPA, will provide extra-curricular education on sexual and reproductive health, including HIV prevention, in the mentioned school during the current year.
Midi Madagaskaria reported on 18 January on a survey that was conducted by UNFPA in 2008 on fistula. Some findings that were highlighted included the health personnel’s weak knowledge related to fistula, adolescent pregnancy, lack of access to health services and poverty. On the basis of this survey, UNFPA has launched a campaign to help eradicate fistula in Madagascar through advocacy and technical support in the training of some 10 medical doctors in fistula surgical repairs and the social reintegration of fistula survivors in their communities through training and other income generating activities.
NIGERIA: ThisDay reported on 18 January on the swearing-in of Babatunde Osotimehin as UNFPA Executive Director, noting that “the appointment of Professor Babatunde Osotimehin as Executive Director of UNFPA has been described by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, as ‘purely on merit and excellent track record.’” Read: This Day