The ongoing conflict between India's Maoist rebels and the government across states in the east and centre of the country has displaced thousands of people. Refugees living in camps and settlements face a multitude of health problems.

- The discovery of the gene behind a rare form of inherited iron deficiency may provide clues for new treatments of poor iron absorption in the general population, according to a study released Sunday. Lack of iron is the most common of all nutritional deficiencies and the leading cause of anemia, which affects nearly a third of the world's population, according the World Health Organisation. In the developing world, every second pregnant woman and about 40 percent of preschool children are estimated to be anaemic, a condition that contributes to 20 percent of all maternal deaths.

Governments could take a big step towards ending world hunger by spending just $1.2 billion a year in developing nations on dietary supplements and education about the food needs of babies, a study showed. Such targeted spending to help a billion of the poorest people in Africa and Asia could save millions of lives and bring annual economic benefits of more than $15 billion in lower health bills and longer and more productive lives, it said.

The Countdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Survival initiative monitors coverage of priority interventions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for reduction of maternal and child mortality. We aimed to report on 68 countries which have 97% of maternal and child deaths worldwide, and on 22 interventions that have been proven to improve maternal, newborn, and child survival.

Being beaten up at home could be making Indian women and children frail and undernourished. In an interesting research, a team of social scientists from Harvard School of Public Health has for the first time found a strong association between domestic violence and chronic malnutrition among Indian women and children.

How does one treat a malnourished child? Common sense suggests a proper meal. Not good enough, says the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. Its prescription is supplying an 80-g

Food-assisted maternal and child health and nutrition programmes usually target underweight children younger than 5 years of age. Previous evidence suggests that targeting nutrition interventions earlier in life, before children become undernourished, might be more effective for reduction of childhood undernutrition.

Malnutrition in India is often blamed on non-implementation of welfare schemes. The argument has always been that the problem is not shortage of food but that it is rarely delivered to the needy.

Ethnobotanist and director-general of Amity Foundation's Institute of Biotechnology at Thiruvananthapuram, Palpu Pushpangadan, tells P R J Pradeep that India can learn a lot from China about making

Zinc supplementation can reduce subsequent morbidity in children recovering from diarrhoea and respiratory illness in developing countries. However, whether routine supplementation would decrease morbidity and mortality in populations with zinc defi ciency is unclear. The researchers assessed the eff ect of daily zinc supplementation on children in southern Nepal. Oct 6-12, 2007

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