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In Brief: Liberia fares better in governance index
5 October 2009 (IRIN ), West Africa ranks third after Southern Africa and North Africa on the 2009 Mo Ibrahim index of African governance assessing governance across the continent's five regions, spanning 53 countries.
AFRICA: Why family is best for orphans
30 September 2009 (IRIN ), Africa's orphans will experience a richer, more wholesome childhood if they are raised within a family rather than in a childcare institution, according to speakers at a conference on family-based care for children in Nairobi.
Analysis: Scrapping user fees "just the first step"
24 September 2009 (IRIN ), Donor-backed user fees for health services were supposed to decentralise primary healthcare and provide revenue for essential drugs: instead, advocacy groups charge, they have ended up killing the poor in the developing world.
AFRICA: Trying to work from the same weather page
8 September 2009 (IRIN ), Climate scientists describe Africa as an information "black hole". The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) notes that there are only 744 weather stations, but only a quarter of them are of international standard; at least 3,000, evenly spaced across the continent, are needed, with another 1,000 in densely populated areas; ideally, Africa should have at least 10,000 stations.
HEALTH: Climate change - burden or opportunity?
8 September 2009 (IRIN ), Despite an international resolution to avoid environmental health hazards, the medical community - already overburdened with health challenges - has remained largely outside the climate change dialogue, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) climate change specialist.
WEST AFRICA: Seasonal rains, seasonal misery
31 August 2009 (IRIN ), Across West Africa residents are crossing streets in canoes, carrying babies overhead in suitcases and navigating waist-high water to find shelter as seasonal rains bring severe flooding throughout the region.
AFRICA: Trees "vital for food security"
28 August 2009 (IRIN ), Countries tackling food insecurity and climate change adaptation can greatly benefit from agroforestry - integrating fleshy plants and trees into their farming systems, environmental specialists say.
WEST AFRICA: Babies force-fed to free time for fields
7 August 2009 (IRIN ), With limited access to time-saving agricultural tools and technologies, rural women in West Africa are forced to cut down on the time they spend breastfeeding, in some cases over-feeding their newborns into slumber to free time for the fields.
WEST AFRICA: The hour-window to find the breast
6 August 2009 (IRIN ), One of nature’s most nutrient-packed foods, breast milk, is thrown out by mothers in parts of West Africa who do not see the value of colostrum – the thick, yellow form of breast milk that appears in the earliest days after delivery – calling it dirty, worthless and not recognizing it as milk.
AFRICA: Relax trade rules, US urged
5 August 2009 (IRIN ), The US should rethink subsidies for American farmers and relax stringent market rules, among other measures, to encourage trade in agricultural commodities from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), says an advocacy group.

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