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Niger: protection, governance and gender interests must be at the heart of all our health planning

Wednesday 17 September 2014 by Tara Brace-John

Saadi is 22 and has just given birth to her third baby.

She is recovering from a Caesarean performed in the Aguie district hospital in the Maradi region of Niger.

Seeing how young she was, Dr Mohamed Moctar encouraged her to get sterilised during her Caesarean. Saadi turned down the offer. Both procedures are free in Niger although a woman must pay CFA 1100 (£1.35) for a normal delivery.

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Fewer under-fives are dying. Let’s celebrate: then let’s bring that figure to zero

Tuesday 16 September 2014 by Elizabeth Stuart

Today the unsnappily-named UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation has put out some very snappy news indeed: the rate at which under-five children are dying is falling faster than in any time over the past two decades.

Or to put it more succinctly: children in poor countries now have a better chance than ever of reaching their fifth birthday.

This is excellent news, which we should celebrate. The worldwide under five mortality rate has almost halved since 1990, dropping from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births to 46 in 2013.

We should also congratulate those governments whose improved policies have brought about this change.

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Central America: an epidemic of violence mars the Independence Day celebrations

Monday 15 September 2014 by Dorothy Sang

15 September marks Independence Day in Mexico and most Central American nations. It’s almost 200 years since Central American leaders accepted a plan, drafted by Mexican Agustín de Iturbide in 1821, that declared the six countries free from Spain. Bells chime in the distance as children and families flood the streets.

Flags hang from every door and shops bustle with jubilant revellers. But I notice the many police. It’s no strange thing: a police presence would be normal in any public celebration of this kind across the world.

Still, having just spent the past few weeks gathering research in four of the independent nations, the sight carries far darker significance, for me.

Violence has woven its way into the very fabric of everyday life in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. From taxi drivers and schoolchildren to my own Save the Children colleagues, there is not one person I have spoken to who has not been affected in some way by the terror infecting their society.

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South Sudan: a lonely journey to Uganda for unaccompanied children

Monday 15 September 2014 by Mike McCusker

Nyumanzi transit camp, northern Uganda.

Hot air beats down on massed people, many selling gadgets and vegetables.

This is the main entry point for refugees fleeing the violence in South Sudan.

Thousands of unaccompanied and separated children have been registered here. Among them is Diana*.

Diana is 15 years old. She is visibly shy and struggles to maintain eye contact as she sits with her two younger brothers and tells us about her arrival in Uganda.

Her story is heartbreaking.

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Landmark moment: Parliament votes to lock in 0.7% commitment on international aid

Friday 12 September 2014 by Ravi Wickremasinghe

Today Britain took a huge step forwards for the world’s poorest children. This afternoon a Private Member’s Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons. The UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on aid is one step closer to becoming the law of the land. That would mean any future government who wanted to cut the UK’s aid will no longer be able to do so without introducing new legislation.

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South Sudan: the challenges for child survival when disease strikes

Thursday 11 September 2014 by Zaeem Ul Haq

Conflict, famine, cholera, and now an outbreak of kala azar – it seems that South Sudan has had an extraordinary number of public health emergencies this year. Its fragile health system has been struggling to cope with one calamity after another.

Properly known as visceral leishmaniasis, kala azar or black fever is the world’s second-biggest parasitic killer, and there are no effective measures for prevention (apart from trying to avoid sandfly bites) and little in the way of reliable treatment.

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International aid: UK Parliament gears up for landmark vote

Wednesday 10 September 2014 by Ben Brill

It’s almost 18 months since George Osborne committed to spending 0.7% of our national income on international development aid. It was a great achievement, but the hard work isn’t over just yet.

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Sierra Leone: Save the Children to take over UK Ebola treatment centre

Tuesday 9 September 2014 by Atanu Roy

Save the Children will be helping the British government set up and manage a new treatment centre near the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, as part of the international effort to combat the deadly Ebola outbreak.

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Read On. Get On. A mission to give every child in the UK a brighter future

Sunday 7 September 2014 by Hollie Warren

Reading is the key to a child’s future. But every year, around 130,000 children in the UK – and 40% of children from poorer backgrounds – leave primary school not reading as well as they should. That’s why today Save the Children and many other organisations are launching the Read On. Get On. campaign.

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Gaza/Israel: How a child’s blue bicycle became a symbol of terrible pain

Friday 5 September 2014 by Cat Carter

t’s a girl’s small, blue bicycle, under the stairs of one small home in the Gaza strip.

Ahmad*, whose home it is, keeps pointing at it. I’m bewildered. It’s a bit battered, seen better days, but still – just a bicycle.

When bombs started falling two weeks ago, Ahmad rushed his pregnant wife and two of his daughters under those stairs. He assumed it would be safe from falling debris and flying shrapnel.

He rushed upstairs to find his other three daughters.

I feel dread wash over me. This story can’t end well. Pausing for the longest moment, he points at the metal front door.

It’s shredded: some of the shrapnel holes are as big as dinner plates. And there are matching holes behind the bicycle: that shrapnel tore through the cowering family, too.

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