Women in Laos are among the first in the developing world to receive a new vaccine against the virus that causes cervical cancer. The vaccine prevents the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus which causes 70% of cervical cancer cases. Laos is one of nearly a dozen countries to benefit from a programme to ensure that poorer countries also receive the latest vaccines. The project is being organised with the support of Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunisation. The BBC’s Fergus Walsh has just returned from Laos and tells us more about the scheme.
How Many Children go Unvaccinated for Common Diseases?
A new report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK suggests that 20% of children globally miss out on basic vaccines that are available. The report estimates that 2 million deaths a year could be averted if vaccines reached more children. Professor Steve Allen leads the international health programme for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. He tells us that more imaginative and innovative ways are needed to overcome the practical and cultural barriers to vaccinating more children.
Breast vs Formula Milk in Venezuela
A row has broken out in Venezuela over the promotion of formula feeds for babies. A new employment law last year gave women the right to take breaks in the day for breast feeding but the number of women who breastfeed still remains low in the country. Twenty-seven percent of children are exclusively breastfed in Venezuela compared to the international average of almost 40%. The government blames the relatively low levels on the free milk products given out by formula milk companies in health centres and wants to legislate against them. The BBC’s Irene Caselli reports.
Picture credit: Girls in Laos receive a new vaccine that could help prevent cervical cancer. Photographer: Fergus Walsh