Mass Radio Campaign Saves Thousands of Children’s Lives in Africa

A mass radio campaign in Burkina Faso led to a significant rise in sick children getting medical attention and could prove one of the most cost-effective ways to save young lives in poor countries, researchers said Tuesday.

Publishing results of a trial involving a radio campaign in rural areas that promoted treatment-seeking for three of the biggest killers of children under five — malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea — researchers said around 3,000 lives were saved.

“What this study shows is that using mass media to drive people to health centers is actually more cost-effective than almost anything on earth in terms of saving children’s lives,” said Roy Head, who co-led the study.

“And that makes sense — it reaches millions of people at a time — but this is the first time it has been shown in a scientific trial.”

The radio campaign, which the researchers said used a “saturation” method of intensive radio transmissions over an extended period of time to promote behavior change in a population, was run in Burkina Faso between 2012 and 2015.

It was broadcast on seven radio stations at a radius of around 50 kilometers (30 miles), while seven other radio station areas did not broadcast the campaign and acted as controls for comparison.

Routine data from health facilities were then analyzed for evidence of changes in treatment-seeking, with data from over 1.1 million consultations and deliveries evaluated.

The results — published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Global Health on Tuesday — showed a significant increase in the adoption of life-saving behaviors for the specific diseases targeted.

Diagnosis rates for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea rose significantly in all three years of the study, including a 107 percent rise in diarrhea diagnoses in year 3 and a 56 percent rise in malaria diagnoses in year 1. The researchers said there was no change in detection rates for illnesses not covered by the radio campaign, such as coughs and colds.

Using a mathematical modeling tool, the team estimated a mortality reduction of 9.7 percent in year 1, 5.7 percent in year 2 and 5.5 percent in year 3, translating into about 3,000 lives saved as a result of the campaign.

“Pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea are three of the biggest killers of children in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Simon Cousens, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who co-led the work. “This research provides evidence that mass media has an important role to play in persuading parents to seek life-saving treatment for children.”

From: MeNeedIt

Mass Radio Campaign Saves Thousands of Children’s Lives in Africa

A mass radio campaign in Burkina Faso led to a significant rise in sick children getting medical attention and could prove one of the most cost-effective ways to save young lives in poor countries, researchers said Tuesday.

Publishing results of a trial involving a radio campaign in rural areas that promoted treatment-seeking for three of the biggest killers of children under five — malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea — researchers said around 3,000 lives were saved.

“What this study shows is that using mass media to drive people to health centers is actually more cost-effective than almost anything on earth in terms of saving children’s lives,” said Roy Head, who co-led the study.

“And that makes sense — it reaches millions of people at a time — but this is the first time it has been shown in a scientific trial.”

The radio campaign, which the researchers said used a “saturation” method of intensive radio transmissions over an extended period of time to promote behavior change in a population, was run in Burkina Faso between 2012 and 2015.

It was broadcast on seven radio stations at a radius of around 50 kilometers (30 miles), while seven other radio station areas did not broadcast the campaign and acted as controls for comparison.

Routine data from health facilities were then analyzed for evidence of changes in treatment-seeking, with data from over 1.1 million consultations and deliveries evaluated.

The results — published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Global Health on Tuesday — showed a significant increase in the adoption of life-saving behaviors for the specific diseases targeted.

Diagnosis rates for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea rose significantly in all three years of the study, including a 107 percent rise in diarrhea diagnoses in year 3 and a 56 percent rise in malaria diagnoses in year 1. The researchers said there was no change in detection rates for illnesses not covered by the radio campaign, such as coughs and colds.

Using a mathematical modeling tool, the team estimated a mortality reduction of 9.7 percent in year 1, 5.7 percent in year 2 and 5.5 percent in year 3, translating into about 3,000 lives saved as a result of the campaign.

“Pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea are three of the biggest killers of children in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Simon Cousens, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who co-led the work. “This research provides evidence that mass media has an important role to play in persuading parents to seek life-saving treatment for children.”

From: MeNeedIt

Mass Radio Campaign Saves Thousands of Children’s Lives in Africa

A mass radio campaign in Burkina Faso led to a significant rise in sick children getting medical attention and could prove one of the most cost-effective ways to save young lives in poor countries, researchers said Tuesday.

Publishing results of a trial involving a radio campaign in rural areas that promoted treatment-seeking for three of the biggest killers of children under five — malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea — researchers said around 3,000 lives were saved.

“What this study shows is that using mass media to drive people to health centers is actually more cost-effective than almost anything on earth in terms of saving children’s lives,” said Roy Head, who co-led the study.

“And that makes sense — it reaches millions of people at a time — but this is the first time it has been shown in a scientific trial.”

The radio campaign, which the researchers said used a “saturation” method of intensive radio transmissions over an extended period of time to promote behavior change in a population, was run in Burkina Faso between 2012 and 2015.

It was broadcast on seven radio stations at a radius of around 50 kilometers (30 miles), while seven other radio station areas did not broadcast the campaign and acted as controls for comparison.

Routine data from health facilities were then analyzed for evidence of changes in treatment-seeking, with data from over 1.1 million consultations and deliveries evaluated.

The results — published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Global Health on Tuesday — showed a significant increase in the adoption of life-saving behaviors for the specific diseases targeted.

Diagnosis rates for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea rose significantly in all three years of the study, including a 107 percent rise in diarrhea diagnoses in year 3 and a 56 percent rise in malaria diagnoses in year 1. The researchers said there was no change in detection rates for illnesses not covered by the radio campaign, such as coughs and colds.

Using a mathematical modeling tool, the team estimated a mortality reduction of 9.7 percent in year 1, 5.7 percent in year 2 and 5.5 percent in year 3, translating into about 3,000 lives saved as a result of the campaign.

“Pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea are three of the biggest killers of children in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Simon Cousens, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who co-led the work. “This research provides evidence that mass media has an important role to play in persuading parents to seek life-saving treatment for children.”

From: MeNeedIt

UN Envoy: 1.1B People Face Risks from Lack of Cooling

New data from 52 countries in hot climates reveals that over 1.1 billion people face “significant risks” — including death — from lack of access to cooling, a U.N. envoy said Monday.

Rachel Kyte told a press conference that “millions of people die every year from lack of cooling access, whether from food losses, damaged vaccines, or severe heat impact.”

The U.N. envoy, who is promoting the United Nations goal of providing sustainable energy for all people by 2030, said nine countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with the biggest populations that face major risks are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sudan.

Kyte stressed that “cooling for all” doesn’t mean “putting an air conditioner in every home.”

She said an urgent effort is needed to clarify cooling needs, engage governments and the private sector, and develop and test possible new solutions. 

Kyte spoke on the sidelines of this week’s high-level event assessing progress on six of the 17 U.N. goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to combat poverty, promote development and preserve the environment by 2030. One of the goals is universal access to sustainable energy.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the opening session that there has been progress on reducing maternal and child mortality, tackling childhood marriage, expanding access to electricity, addressing global unemployment, and cutting the rate of forest loss around the globe.

But Mohammed said in other areas “we are either moving too slowly, or losing momentum.”

“For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased — from 777 million people in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 — fundamentally undermining our commitment to leaving no one behind,” she said.

Young people remain three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, most of the world’s extreme poor are projected to live in urban settings by 2035, and basic sanitation remains “off track,” she said. And “we are seeing alarming decline in biodiversity, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, extreme weather conditions and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases” that cause global warming.

As for access to energy including renewable energy, Mohammed said the rate of progress “is not fast enough to meet our target.”

“We need to also double our efforts on energy efficiency,” she said. “250 million more people in Africa have no access to clean fuels for cooking compared to 2015.”

Kyte, who is also CEO of the nonprofit organization Sustainable Energy for All, stressed that without ensuring access to cooling for all people, the U.N. goal of universal access to energy will not be achieved.

She stressed that “access to cooling is not a luxury” but “a fundamental issue of equity. And as temperatures hit record levels, this could mean the difference between life and death for some.”

While 1.1 billion people lack access to cooling, Kyte said another 2.3 billion people present “a different kind of cooling risk.”

They represent “a growing lower-middle class who can only afford to buy cheaper, less efficient air conditioners, which could spike global energy demand and have profound climate impacts,” she said.

As examples of other hurdles that must be overcome in the next 12 years, she said, 470 million people in poor rural areas don’t have access to safe food and medicines and 630 million people in hotter, poor urban slums “have little or no cooling to protect them against extreme heatwaves.”

In India, Kyte said, “nearly 20 percent of temperature-sensitive health care products arrive damaged or degraded because of broken or insufficient cold chains, including a quarter of vaccines.”

From: MeNeedIt

UN Envoy: 1.1B People Face Risks from Lack of Cooling

New data from 52 countries in hot climates reveals that over 1.1 billion people face “significant risks” — including death — from lack of access to cooling, a U.N. envoy said Monday.

Rachel Kyte told a press conference that “millions of people die every year from lack of cooling access, whether from food losses, damaged vaccines, or severe heat impact.”

The U.N. envoy, who is promoting the United Nations goal of providing sustainable energy for all people by 2030, said nine countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with the biggest populations that face major risks are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sudan.

Kyte stressed that “cooling for all” doesn’t mean “putting an air conditioner in every home.”

She said an urgent effort is needed to clarify cooling needs, engage governments and the private sector, and develop and test possible new solutions. 

Kyte spoke on the sidelines of this week’s high-level event assessing progress on six of the 17 U.N. goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to combat poverty, promote development and preserve the environment by 2030. One of the goals is universal access to sustainable energy.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the opening session that there has been progress on reducing maternal and child mortality, tackling childhood marriage, expanding access to electricity, addressing global unemployment, and cutting the rate of forest loss around the globe.

But Mohammed said in other areas “we are either moving too slowly, or losing momentum.”

“For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased — from 777 million people in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 — fundamentally undermining our commitment to leaving no one behind,” she said.

Young people remain three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, most of the world’s extreme poor are projected to live in urban settings by 2035, and basic sanitation remains “off track,” she said. And “we are seeing alarming decline in biodiversity, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, extreme weather conditions and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases” that cause global warming.

As for access to energy including renewable energy, Mohammed said the rate of progress “is not fast enough to meet our target.”

“We need to also double our efforts on energy efficiency,” she said. “250 million more people in Africa have no access to clean fuels for cooking compared to 2015.”

Kyte, who is also CEO of the nonprofit organization Sustainable Energy for All, stressed that without ensuring access to cooling for all people, the U.N. goal of universal access to energy will not be achieved.

She stressed that “access to cooling is not a luxury” but “a fundamental issue of equity. And as temperatures hit record levels, this could mean the difference between life and death for some.”

While 1.1 billion people lack access to cooling, Kyte said another 2.3 billion people present “a different kind of cooling risk.”

They represent “a growing lower-middle class who can only afford to buy cheaper, less efficient air conditioners, which could spike global energy demand and have profound climate impacts,” she said.

As examples of other hurdles that must be overcome in the next 12 years, she said, 470 million people in poor rural areas don’t have access to safe food and medicines and 630 million people in hotter, poor urban slums “have little or no cooling to protect them against extreme heatwaves.”

In India, Kyte said, “nearly 20 percent of temperature-sensitive health care products arrive damaged or degraded because of broken or insufficient cold chains, including a quarter of vaccines.”

From: MeNeedIt

World’s Oldest Bread Found at Prehistoric Site in Jordan

Charred remains of a flatbread baked about 14,500 years ago in a stone fireplace at a site in northeastern Jordan have given researchers a delectable surprise: people began making bread, a vital staple food, millennia before they developed agriculture.

No matter how you slice it, the discovery detailed on Monday shows that hunter-gatherers in the Eastern Mediterranean achieved the cultural milestone of bread-making far earlier than previously known, more than 4,000 years before plant cultivation took root.

The flatbread, likely unleavened and somewhat resembling pita bread, was fashioned from wild cereals such as barley, einkorn or oats, as well as tubers from an aquatic papyrus relative, that had been ground into flour.

It was made by a culture called the Natufians, who had begun to embrace a sedentary rather than nomadic lifestyle, and was found at a Black Desert archeological site.

“The presence of bread at a site of this age is exceptional,” said Amaia Arranz-Otaegui, a University of Copenhagen postdoctoral researcher in archaeobotany and lead author of the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Arranz-Otaegui said until now the origins of bread had been associated with early farming societies that cultivated cereals and legumes. The previous oldest evidence of bread came from a 9,100-year-old site in Turkey.

“We now have to assess whether there was a relationship between bread production and the origins of agriculture,” Arranz-Otaegui said. “It is possible that bread may have provided an incentive for people to take up plant cultivation and farming, if it became a desirable or much-sought-after food.”

University of Copenhagen archeologist and study co-author Tobias Richter pointed to the nutritional implications of adding bread to the diet. “Bread provides us with an important source of carbohydrates and nutrients, including B vitamins, iron and magnesium, as well as fiber,” Richter said.

Abundant evidence from the site indicated the Natufians had a meat- and plant-based diet. The round floor fireplaces, made from flat basalt stones and measuring about a yard (meter) in diameter, were located in the middle of huts.

Arranz-Otaegui said the researchers have begun the process of trying to reproduce the bread, and succeeded in making flour from the type of tubers used in the prehistoric recipe. But it might have been an acquired taste.

“The taste of the tubers,” Arranz-Otaegui said, “is quite gritty and salty. But it is a bit sweet as well.”

From: MeNeedIt

China’s Economic Growth Cools Amid Trade Tensions

China’s economic growth slowed in the quarter ending in June, adding to challenges for Beijing amid a mounting tariff battle with Washington.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.7 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 6.8 percent, the government reported Monday.

Even before the dispute with Washington erupted, forecasters expected growth to cool after Beijing started tightening controls on bank lending last year to rein in surging debt.

Economic activity is expected to decline further as global demand for Chinese exports weakens and lending controls weigh on construction and investment, major contributors to growth.

Beijing has responded to previous downturns by flooding the state-dominated economy with credit. But that has swelled debt so high that global rating agencies have cut China’s government credit rating.

Chinese leaders are in the midst of a marathon effort to encourage self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment. 

Consumer spending is rising more slowly than planned, leaving economic growth dependent on debt-supported investment.

From: MeNeedIt

China’s Economic Growth Cools Amid Trade Tensions

China’s economic growth slowed in the quarter ending in June, adding to challenges for Beijing amid a mounting tariff battle with Washington.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.7 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 6.8 percent, the government reported Monday.

Even before the dispute with Washington erupted, forecasters expected growth to cool after Beijing started tightening controls on bank lending last year to rein in surging debt.

Economic activity is expected to decline further as global demand for Chinese exports weakens and lending controls weigh on construction and investment, major contributors to growth.

Beijing has responded to previous downturns by flooding the state-dominated economy with credit. But that has swelled debt so high that global rating agencies have cut China’s government credit rating.

Chinese leaders are in the midst of a marathon effort to encourage self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment. 

Consumer spending is rising more slowly than planned, leaving economic growth dependent on debt-supported investment.

From: MeNeedIt

China’s Economic Growth Cools Amid Trade Tensions

China’s economic growth slowed in the quarter ending in June, adding to challenges for Beijing amid a mounting tariff battle with Washington.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.7 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 6.8 percent, the government reported Monday.

Even before the dispute with Washington erupted, forecasters expected growth to cool after Beijing started tightening controls on bank lending last year to rein in surging debt.

Economic activity is expected to decline further as global demand for Chinese exports weakens and lending controls weigh on construction and investment, major contributors to growth.

Beijing has responded to previous downturns by flooding the state-dominated economy with credit. But that has swelled debt so high that global rating agencies have cut China’s government credit rating.

Chinese leaders are in the midst of a marathon effort to encourage self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment. 

Consumer spending is rising more slowly than planned, leaving economic growth dependent on debt-supported investment.

From: MeNeedIt

China’s Economic Growth Cools Amid Trade Tensions

China’s economic growth slowed in the quarter ending in June, adding to challenges for Beijing amid a mounting tariff battle with Washington.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.7 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 6.8 percent, the government reported Monday.

Even before the dispute with Washington erupted, forecasters expected growth to cool after Beijing started tightening controls on bank lending last year to rein in surging debt.

Economic activity is expected to decline further as global demand for Chinese exports weakens and lending controls weigh on construction and investment, major contributors to growth.

Beijing has responded to previous downturns by flooding the state-dominated economy with credit. But that has swelled debt so high that global rating agencies have cut China’s government credit rating.

Chinese leaders are in the midst of a marathon effort to encourage self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment. 

Consumer spending is rising more slowly than planned, leaving economic growth dependent on debt-supported investment.

From: MeNeedIt