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Health Check - Health Data and Ethnicity

A new report calling for ethnicity to be taken into account when collecting health data. New midwives being trained again in Cameroon. Rise in whooping cough in the United States.

The organisation Health Poverty Action has brought out a new report calling for ethnicity to be taken into account when data is collected. There has been progress in the amount of data collected, but is it precise enough? The rates of infant mortality might drop in a country overall, but this could still mask problems in a particular community. Head of Policy and Campaigns Sarah Edwards outlines the problem. Getting pregnant Is it true that you can’t get pregnant if you have sex standing up? Professor Patrick O’Brien, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at University College London Hospital sheds light on this old myth. Cameroon midwives There’s been a worldwide drive to reduce the numbers of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth and in some places there has been some success, but in Cameroon more women have been dying after midwife training was suspended back in 1988 as a cost-cutting measure. Now, 25 years on, the training of new midwives has finally resumed and our reporter Angela Robson went to Bamenda in the northwest of the country to meet some of the new recruits. Whooping Cough If you’ve ever heard the distinctive, painful sounds of a child with whooping cough trying to breathe between coughs it’s not something you forget. Whooping cough is a serious bacterial infection which still kills as many as 300,000 a year worldwide. The majority of children in the world are now vaccinated against it as babies, but in some places the disease is still making something of a comeback. In 2010 the state of California in the United States reported the highest rates seen there in 52 years. Professor Kathryn Edwards, who leads the Vaccine Research Programme at Vanderbilt University in Nashville told Dr Mark Porter what the current situation is in the US. Picture credit: Medical records, Science Photo Library

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