Document - AI Bulletin Vol.12 No. 15, 11 September 2009


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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

NEWS FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

AI Bulletin Vol.12 No.15, 11 September 2009

AI Index: ACT 84/015/2009

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Contents:


Amnesty International reports & statements

News articles

Children

Death Penalty

Food Security and Poverty

Health Services

Health Workers

HIV and AIDS

Malaria, TB and Other Diseases

Prisons

Refugees and Migrants

Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Torture

Violence against Women

Water and Sanitation

Women’s Rights

Publications


Amnesty International reports & statements:


10 September: Japan:The government of Japan’s continued practice of executing prisoners with mental illness is inhuman and must come to an end, Amnesty International said today with the publication of a new report on the treatment of the mentally ill sentenced to death in Japan.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/japan-stop-execution-mentally-ill-prisoners-20090910


10 September: Iran:Victims of rape and other torture by Iranian security forces are facing renewed risk after documents detailing abuses against them were confiscated, Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said today.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/iran-rape-and-other-torture-victims-renewed-risk-20090910


9 September: Egypt:The Egyptian authorities must control their forces at the border with Israel and prevent them from killing migrants attempting to cross it, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/egypt-four-migrants-killed-authorities-must-reign-border-guards-20090909


8 September: Chad:The Chadian government must stop the forced evictions which have left tens of thousands homeless in the capital city of N’Djamena, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/chad-end-forced-evictions-and-provide-emergency-shelter-tens-thousands-m


4 September: Iran: Caspian Makan, the fiancé of the young woman killed in the recent protests in Iran, has been held in detention since 26 June, after he made a statement linking her murder to pro-government militia.Amnesty International said it fears he may be forced to sign such a "confession" under torture or other ill-treatment, given the pattern of human rights violations in Iran following the election.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/neda-agha-soltan-murder-witness-risk-torture-tehran-prison-20090904


4 September: Sudan:As a Court in Khartoum prepares to resume its trial of Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, Amnesty International called on the Sudanese government to withdraw the charges against her and repeal the law used to justify the flogging of women for wearing clothing deemed to be “indecent”.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/sudan-amnesty-international-calls-government-repeal-law-penalizing-women


Children:


Australia: Between 2007 and 2008 some 317,526 cases of suspected child abuse and neglect were reported to Australian state and territory authorities, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the national agency for information and statistics on health and welfare. IPS(3 September): http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48312


Colombia: Despite significant Government efforts, children in Colombia continue to be killed, maimed, tortured, raped, recruited and abducted in the long-running conflict, mainly by illegal armed groups, a new United Nations report warns, calling on all parties to abide by their international obligations. UN News Centre(8 September): http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31982&Cr=children&Cr1=armed+conflict


Ghana: The Bawjiase Area Manager of Plan Ghana, Mr Joseph Chris Assan, has said sexual abuse was a contributing factor to girls dropping out of schools in the Central Region. Ghana News Agency(2 September): http://www.ghananewsagency.org/s_humaninterest/r_8015/


International: An attempt to help educators around the world develop sex-education programmes as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young people has become bogged down in controversy. IRIN(4 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=86013


International: Every day thousands of girls endure forced circumcision. It's a controversial cultural tradition common in parts of Africa, South America, Middle East and Asia and that regularly results in infection and even death. CNN(2 September): http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/02/female.circumcision.surgery/


International: More than a million children die every year from two pneumonia-causing diseases easily prevented with vaccines, researchers reported on Thursday. Reuters(10 September): http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSN10422648._CH_.2400


International: The first study of global patterns of death among people aged between 10-24 years of age has found that road traffic accidents, complications during pregnancy and child birth, suicide, violence, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) are the major causes of mortality. WHO(11 September): http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2009/adolescent_mortality_20090911/en/index.html


North Korea: Onethird of North Korea women and young children are malnourished and the country will run short of almost 1.8 million tonnes of food this year, according to a UN relief agency report seen Monday. AFP(7 September): http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hn9qFI2WL11ZW6Bk69-u_6Ys2f8Q


Rwanda: Investing in impoverished girls, -- especially very young adolescents and those who are married or out of school – is key to achieving health development goals. Yet these girls are virtually invisible in programming. UNFPA(28 August): http://www.unfpa.org/public/News/pid/3536


Uganda:Fewer than a quarter of the 125,000 Ugandan children who need life-prolonging anti-retroviral treatment have access to it, mainly because of stigma and inadequate education of parents, say specialists. IRIN(10 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=86080


UK: One in three teenage girls has suffered sexual abuse from a boyfriend and one in four has experienced violence in a relationship, according to an in-depth study published today. The Guardian(1 September): http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/sep/01/teenage-sexual-abuse-nspcc-report


Death Penalty:


China: China has started to move away from using organs from executed prisoners for transplantations. BMJ(2 September): http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/339/sep02_1/b3567


Japan: Prisoners on death row in Japan are being driven towards insanity by harsh conditions, according to human rights group Amnesty International. BBC(10 September): http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8247319.stm


South Korea: It has been confirmed by the Ministry of Justice that the South Korean government is agreeing to the non-application of the death penalty asked by the Council of Europe as part of its agreement to adhere to the Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. The Yankyoreh(2 September): http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/374472.html


USA:For years, death-penalty opponents and supporters have been on what now looks to be an ethical snipe hunt. Everyone was looking for a moment at which everything would change: a case in which a clearly innocent defendant was wrongly put to death. Slate(5 September): http://www.slate.com/id/2227222/


Food Security and Poverty:


East Africa: A sweeping drought across East Africa has left millions of people at risk of starvation, in a region plagued by increasingly erratic rainfall, humanitarian organisations and officials warn. AFP(3 September): http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jDjxYVdJ420CiZHYU6JxiQdsyxKg


Guatemala:Urgent funding is needed to help combat an acute hunger crisis that is ravaging much of Guatemala, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. UN News Centre(10 September):http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=32010&Cr=hunger&Cr1=


Nigeria: The National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and the Federal Ministry Of Health have identified areas of collaboration that will lead to poverty reduction in Nigeria. AllAfrica.com(11 September): http://allafrica.com/stories/200909110533.html


Pakistan: Continuously rising food prices, stagnant incomes and growing unemployment have worsened the food security situation in Pakistan and placed a growing section of the population at risk of malnutrition and hunger. Daily Times (Pakistan)(1 September): http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\09\01\story_1-9-2009_pg5_15


Zimbabwe:The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have appealed for US$26 million to augment humanitarian assistance for vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe in the face of a continued food crisis in the country until next year. Zim Online(8 September): http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=5075


Health Services:


Africa: African health ministers ended the 59th Session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa at the weekend in Kigali, Rwanda, with the adoption of four resolutions aimed at scaling up action in areas deemed key to improving the health situation on the continent. The Guardian (Nigeria)(8 September): http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/article04/indexn3_html?pdate=080909&ptitle=WHO%20adopts%20new%20health%20resolutions%20on%20Africa&cpdate=080909


Burkina Faso:Flooding has affected an estimated 150,000 people in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, claimed at least five lives and partially shut down the country’s main hospital, according to government and hospital officials. IRIN(2 September):http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=85976


USA:President Obama says it's time for Congress to act to reduce the cost of health-care and ensure that all Americans have access to good quality, affordable health-care. VOA(10 September): http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-09-10-voa59.cfm


Health Workers:


Israel/OPT:Palestinian medical personnel who tried to reach a critically injured boy near the Jelazon refugee camp north of Ramallah were threatened at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers and shot at. IPS(3 September): http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48326


Uganda:Shortages of medical staff in Uganda mean clinical officers, nurses and midwives are prescribing life-prolonging antiretroviral therapy (ART) without proper training, a new study reveals. IRIN(3 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=85979


USA:Doctors and psychologists the CIA employed to monitor its "enhanced interrogation" of terror suspects came close to, and may even have committed, unlawful human experimentation, a medical ethics watchdog has alleged. The Guardian(2 September): http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/02/cia-usa


Yemen:Yemeni tribes have kidnapped a Russian doctor in the northeast of the country, an official told Reuters on Friday. Reuters(11 September): http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE58A18320090911


HIV and AIDS:


Ethiopia:Ethiopia is sending text messages to mobile phone users offering free HIV/AIDS tests ahead of New Year celebrations, in a drive to have more people checked in sub-Saharan Africa's second most populous nation. Reuters(8 September): http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5874V720090908?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews


India: AIDS activists have praised a decision by the Indian patent office to reject patent applications for two life-prolonging antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, allowing Indian manufacturers to keep on making and exporting generic versions. IRIN(3 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=85995


International: Leading UK and international organisations have written to Britain's largest drug company urging it to pool its patents on HIV medicines to help save millions of lives in developing countries. The Guardian(6 September): http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/sep/06/glaxosmithkline-hiv-drugs-urged


International: Male circumcision among heterosexual men in high HIV prevalence and low male circumcision settings is beneficial and cost effective, says a new article in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.UNAIDS(8 September): http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/Resources/FeatureStories/archive/2009/20090907_Male_circumcision_programmes.asp


International:Many countries struggle to pay for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for all those who need them, but a new study has found that some nations are paying up to three times more for the life-prolonging medicines than others with similar HIV prevalence and income levels. IRIN(9 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=86074


South Africa:New research from UCSF examining HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the township of Soweto in South Africa has found that a third of gay-identified men are infected with HIV. Medical News Today(1 September): http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/162371.php


Malaria, TB and Other Diseases:


Africa:House screening can reduce the amount of mosquitoes and prevent malaria related anaemia in children, a Lancet study has shown. Health-e(2 September): http://www.health-e.org.za/news/easy_print.php?uid=20032482


Asia:The race to mass-produce vaccines for the lethal H1N1 virus has attracted contenders from Asia’s developing countries, confirming a noticeable expansion of a field that has been dominated by flu vaccine production centres in Europe and North America. IPS(10 September): http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48391


Papua New Guinea:Papua New Guinea's Angau Hospital in Morobe Province is on high alert and treating people affected by an already deadly outbreak of cholera. MSF(9 September): http://www.msf.org.uk/articledetail.aspx?fId=cholera_papua_new_guinea_20090907


Sudan:A renewed effort to reduce the risk of malaria in Sudan will get underway on Sunday 13 September, as the National Malaria Control Programme, local health authorities and UNICEF and WHO lead the distribution of 440,000 long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets in five states in the north of Sudan. UNICEF(10 September): http://www.unicef.org/media/media_51093.html


Uganda:In the past six months, Uganda has seen an increase in cerebral malaria cases, which experts at the Malaria Consortium, an international organisation that controls the disease at all levels, are attributing to a shortage of malaria drugs throughout the country. New Vision(6 September): http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/9/34/693745


Prisons:


Namibia:AS the number of H1N1 flu cases continue to rise, with 54 cases now confirmed in Namibia, health services at Namibian prisons are making efforts to ensure the impact is minimised behind bars. The Namibian(11 September): http://www.namibian.com.na/news/full-story/archive/2009/september/article/prisons-to-beef-up-flu-response/


Refugees and Migrants:


Philippines: The United Nations health agency today said it is seeking nearly $1 million to provide assistance to hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. UN News Centre(4 September): http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31942&Cr=Flood&Cr1=


Yemen:UNHCR staff have helped distribute pasta, sugar and dates to thousands of mainly Somali refugees in Yemen's Kharaz Camp thanks to the generosity of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates and the president of the Gulf federation. UNHCR(3 September): http://www.unhcr.org/4a9fd6b96.html


Sexual and Reproductive Rights:


International: Children as young as five should be taught about explicit sex acts, abortion and homosexuality, according to controversial guidelines drawn up by the UN. The Telegraph(10 September): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/6165174/Children-as-young-as-five-should-be-taught-about-abortion.html


International:Access to sexual and reproductive health will boost development targets and promote gender equality, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today, stressing that women have the right to choose for themselves whether or when to have children. UN News Centre(2 September): http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31925&Cr=reproductive&Cr1=


Nicaragua: In Nicaragua, pregnant women suffering from cancer are not allowed to receive appropriate treatment; girls pregnant as a result of rape are compelled to face the health risks of teen motherhood; and women carrying severely deformed fetuses are forced to put their mental health at risk over nine months to carry the fetus to term. RH Reality Check(10 September): http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/09/10/nicaragua-the-reality-abortion-restrictions-revealed


Philippines: Many of the urban poor rely on government facilities for contraception, yet the Catholic Church remains immovable in advocating only for traditional family planning methods, labelling condoms and birth control pills abortifacients. IRIN(9 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=86068


South Africa:Maternal, neonatal, and child health services in South Africa still fail poor women and children, recent research says. IPS(10 September): http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48393


Torture:


Australia: Australia is closing a loophole so refugee visas can be granted to potential victims of torture or inhumane treatment who currently do not qualify. ABC News(9 September): http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/09/2680768.htm


Greece: One of the five men arrested last Friday in relation to the clashes that occurred with police forces in Exarcheia, Athens, has exposed the greek police for an unrepenting recourse to torture. Libcom.org(7 September): http://libcom.org/news/greek-police-exposed-torture-victim-pierced-lung-07092009


USA:A number of new articles highlight evidence of illegal human experimentation on U.S.-held “terrorism” prisoners undergoing torture. The Public Record(9 September): http://pubrecord.org/torture/4607/research-torture-charges-human/


Violence against Women:


India: According to a recent report of National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), violence against women is rampant in India, with southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh having the worst record for crimes against women. Pakistan Observer(11 September): http://pakobserver.net/200909/11/Articles04.asp


International: The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, has attributed the scourge of violence against women to the global financial downturn across the world over the past year, while she urged some of the world's richest countries to lead the way in turning the many international pledges to support women and girls into concrete results. AllAfrica.com(11 September): http://allafrica.com/stories/200909110697.html


Malaysia: The Sarawak government will study and take action based on the recommendation of the findings of the National Task Force set up by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry on sexual harassments against Penan women in the state, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said on Friday. Bernama(11 September): http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=439780


Nigeria: Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has expressed the determination of his administration to take the lead in the fight against violence on women, rape on young girls and child trafficking, just as he commissioned a 176-bed facilities transit home for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and related acts. Vanguard(4 September): http://www.vanguardngr.com/2009/09/04/fashola-vows-to-protect-women-against-violence/


South Africa: Dozens of South African policemen have committed murders and rapes in the financial year which ended in March 2009, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said. Reuters(8 September): http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE5870KD20090908


USA:Sheriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County has agreed to direct over $3 million in his FY 2010 budget to testing physical evidence in rape cases for DNA matches, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has announced. The announcement came in a letter to Human Rights Watch, which has been researching the backlog in untested evidence in rape cases. Human Rights Watch(2 September): http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/09/02/us-la-sheriff-commits-3-million-rape-dna-testing


Yemen:Jordan should reform penal code provisions that effectively reduce or eliminate punishment for violence against women instead of establishing special tribunals to hear "honor killings" cases, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the Jordanian Ministry of Justice on August 10, 2009. Human Rights Watch(8 September): http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/09/01/jordan-tribunals-no-substitute-reforms-honor-killings


Water and Sanitation:


Colombia: The Municipality of Pasto in Colombia will ensure its urban and rural residents have access to high-quality, efficient, and sustainable water and sewer services with help from a $27.8 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank today. The Gov Monitor(11 September): http://thegovmonitor.com/world_news/international/colombia%E2%80%99s-pasto-municipality-to-expand-water-and-sanitation-services-with-278-million-idb-loan-4485.html


Indonesia: The city administration needs Rp 11 trillion (US$1.11 billion), or roughly half of its 2009 budget, to build a proper sanitation system for its residents, an official says. The Jakarta Post (9 September): http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/09/11/city-needs-half-its-budget-build-proper-sewage.html


Israel/OPT: 10,000 people in Gaza have no access to water and an additional 60 per cent of the population have only limited access. Merlin(8 September): http://www.merlin.org.uk/Lists/News-Detail.aspx?id=820


Namibia: A mere 21% of Namibians living in rural areas have access to basic sanitation facilities. According to Isak Katali, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, this will result in the country not achieving the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Namibia Economist(11 September): http://www.economist.com.na/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19736:sanitation-provision-lacking-behind&catid=534:community-a-culture&Itemid=58


Sri Lanka:With the end of this year's seasonal rains in May, Ampara, about 350km southeast of the capital, Colombo, is in the grip of a serious water shortage likely to last until November, affecting lives and livelihoods - not just in Ampara, but in surrounding communities as well. IRIN(8 September): http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=86048


Women’s Rights:


International:A global forum held in Berlin put governments and international donors on notice that advocates for women’s health and rights will now be speaking more frankly and pressing more strongly for speedy action, investment and an end to gender-based discrimination. UNFPA(9 September): http://www.unfpa.org/public/News/pid/3701


Publications:


Abdool Karim S, Churchyard G, Abdool Karim Q, Lawn S, “HIV infection and tuberculosis in South Africa: an urgent need to escalate the public health response”, The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9693, 12 September 2009. Available online at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60916-8/abstract


Amnesty International, “Hanging by a thread: Mental health and the death penalty in Japan”, 10 September 2009. Available online at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA22/005/2009/en


Barros A, Matijasevich A, Santos IS and Halpern R, “Child development in a birth cohort: effect of child stimulation is stronger in less educated mothers”, International Journal of Epidemiology, 28 August 2009, doi:10.1093/ije/dyp272. Available online at: http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/dyp272?ijkey=x2KBZ5SzE3eVWNm&keytype=ref


Donald A and Mottershaw E, “Poverty, inequality and human rights Do human rights make a difference?”Joseph Rowntree Foundation, September 2009. Available online at: http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/poverty-human-rights-full.pdf


Kapadia MZ, Saleem S, Karim MS, “The hidden figure: sexual intimate partner violence among Pakistani women”, European Journal of Public Health2009; ePub. Available online at: http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/ckp110


Khosla N, “HIV/AIDS Interventions in Bangladesh: What Can Application of a Social Exclusion Framework Tell Us”, Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition 27(4) 2009. Available online at: http://www.icddrb.org/pub/publication.jsp?classificationID=30&pubID=10441


Lakhan SE, Hamlet E, McNamee T and Laird C, “Time for a unified approach to medical ethics”Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine2009, 4:13, 8 September 2009. Available online at: http://www.peh-med.com/content/4/1/13


Mayosi B, Flisher A, Lalloo U, Sitas F, Tollman S, Bradshaw D, “The burden of non-communicable diseases in South Africa”, The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9693, 12 September 2009. Available online at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)61087-4/abstract


Oxfam International, “Sexual violence in Colombia: Instrument of War”, Oxfam Briefing Paper, September 2009. Available online at: http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/sexual-violence-colombia


Physicians for Human Rights, “Aiding Torture: Health Professionals’ Ethics and Human Rights Violations Revealed in the May 2004 CIA Inspector General’s Report”, August 2009. Available online at: http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/documents/reports/aiding-torture.pdf


Rispel LC, Palha de Sousa C, and Molomo BG, “Can Social Inclusion Policies Reduce Health Inequalities in Sub-Saharan Africa?A Rapid Policy Appraisal”, Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition27(4) 2009. Available online at: http://www.icddrb.org/pub/publication.jsp?classificationID=30&pubID=10433


Roura M, Wringe A, Busza J, Nhandi B, Mbata D, Zaba B, Urassa M, “"Just like fever": a qualitative study on the impact of antiretroviral provision on the normalisation of HIV in rural Tanzania and its implications for prevention”, BMC International Health and Human Rights2009, 9:22 (9 September 2009). Available online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/9/22/abstract


UNAIDS/WHO/SACEMA Expert Group on Modelling the Impact and Cost of Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention, “Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in High HIV Prevalence Settings: What Can Mathematical Modelling Contribute to Informed Decision Making?” PLoS Medicine6(9): e1000109, 8 September 2009. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000109. Available online at: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000109


UNFPA, “Recent Change in the Sex Ratio at Birth in Viet Nam: A Review of Evidence”, September 2009. Available online at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/site/global/lang/en/pid/3705


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