Adolescent Health in Rwanda

Adolescents remain a neglected group in Rwanda’s health care model according to a new report on adolescent health by Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Permanent Secretary of Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. While the country’s health care infrastructure has vastly improved since 1994, so that vulnerable groups such as mothers, infants, and people living with HIV/AIDS experience better health outcomes, few efforts focus on behavioral and preventative health care for adolescents. Dr. Binagwaho…

Patients with Borders, Case Study 2

[Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a series of case studies describing the bureaucratic and political barriers to medical access outside of Gaza and the stories of three individual Gazan patients. The first post can be found here. Look for the next case study on Monday, November 2.] Below is one PHR-Israel case study representing a current trend in the provision of exit permits to Gazans for medical…

Patients with Borders

[Editor’s Note: This is the first of three posts covering a series of case studies describing the bureaucratic and political barriers to medical access outside of Gaza, focusing on the stories of three individual Gazan patients. Look for the next case study on Monday, October 26.] The Israeli-imposed border restrictions in Gaza continue to choke off needed medical assistance for Gazan patients. Humanitarian and medical aid can barely squeeze into…

Undercover illness: Interventions needed to detect and treat sickle-cell anemia in Africa

In resource-constrained settings like Kenya, “more than 90% of children with sickle-cell anaemia die before the diagnosis can be made,” most likely due to opportunistic bacterial diseases. Two of the most common infections, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, are preventable or treated readily in developed countries. A recent study published in The Lancet underscores these health inequities suffered by children in sub-Saharan Africa. The report, “Bacteraemia in Kenyan children with…

Self-governance and international treaties

A comment on OpenForum’s August 10th post on the US ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child raised several common misconceptions about US policy on such issues. This presented a good opportunity to speak to these perhaps broadly-held concerns. First, the US has long used both international agreements and domestic law to govern its citizens — the US has been and continues to be a party to…

Sexual Violence in the Congo

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Ms. Katherine Moloney.] Sexual violence against civilian populations during armed conflict is recognized as a deliberate tactic of war, the gravity of which determines whether it is considered a war crime, a crime against humanity, or an element of genocide [see Statute of the International Criminal Court art 7.1(g) and art 8.2(b)(xxii); Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security…

Righting a Century of Wrongs: Whiteclay, Nebraska

Whiteclay, Nebraska, population 14 (more or less) has been called the “skid row of the plains” for its four liquor stores, which all do brisk business — approximately 12,000 cans of beer a day. The visitors buying the beer are from South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation — less than 200 feet from the town line — where alcohol is illegal and alcoholism has ravaged the community. In a New…

Participation as a development tool for the health sector: The Rwandan experience

[Editor’s note: For further discussions of participation and the right to health, see , now available with full text online.] Participation is a right situated at the very heart of the human rights vision. Participation holds this central place because it requires and activates the full range of other human rights. People can only fully exercise their right to participation if they are correctly informed and free to express their…

HIV stigmatization and children: Fear and ignorance prevent HIV-positive children from going to school

The beginning of the school year is both anticipated and bemoaned by students around the world, but most students will never have to worry about being let in the front door. This is not the case for HIV-positive children in some communities, where stigmatization and fear can keep them from going to school. HIV stigmatization is widespread, especially among people who do not understand how the virus is transmitted. Fear…

Childhood malnutrition: Another reason to advocate for reducing tobacco use

It is now common knowledge that smoking is a major contributor to poor health, particularly with respect to respiratory and cardiovascular health. Now there is also evidence that smoking affects health in another, more subtle way — by contributing to childhood malnutrition. In a study published in the October 2009 issue of Economic Development and Cultural Change, two researchers from Tufts University, Steven Block of the Fletcher School of International…