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Laos “land grabs” drive subsistence farmers into deeper poverty

BAN HOUYTHAO, 22 May 2014 (IRIN) - "Land grabs" in Laos are driving poor farmers, including ethnic minorities, off their land, away from livelihoods they know and into further poverty, activists and experts say. full report

More work on HIV in Laos needed

VIENTIANE, 12 March 2014 (IRIN) - Health officials say more work is needed to fight HIV/AIDS in Laos, which has an over-reliance on foreign donors and lack of government support, as well as limited treatment coverage and a widespread gap of awareness and testing. full report

Laos’s urban-rural WASH divide

VIENTIANE, 5 March 2014 (IRIN) - Laos has been growing at 8 percent a year over the past decade but rural areas, where most people still live, are being left behind in terms of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, health experts warn. full report

Little help for UXO victims in Laos

VIENTIANE, 27 February 2014 (IRIN) - Around 25 percent of villages in Laos are contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXOs), mainly from US bombing missions between 1964 and 1973, according to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme, and while UXO casualties have fallen sharply in recent years there is little support for UXO victims, whose injuries can drastically affect their families. full report

Stepping up the fight against drug-resistant malaria in SE Asia

PHNOM PENH, 20 February 2014 (IRIN) - Efforts are being scaled up to stem a further spread of drug-resistant malaria in Southeast Asia. “The emergence of resistance… threatens worldwide malaria control and treatment since there is no alternative to this drug if its efficacy decreases further and the resistance spreads outside the region,” wrote the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is providing some US$150 million for malaria prevention and elimination programmes in the Greater Mekong sub-region within the next two years. full report

Connectivity and emerging infectious diseases in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, 3 February 2014 (IRIN) - Experts sometimes describe Southeast Asia as a “hotspot” for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) because several major outbreaks have started in this region. Now, with unprecedented levels of connection between animals and people through urbanization, and of people with other people through increased air travel, scientists say the threat level for new diseases is high. full report

Analysis: Turning to ancient diets to alleviate modern ills

HONG KONG, 23 January 2014 (IRIN) - Unprecedented levels of chronic non-communicable diseases are prompting health experts and indigenous activists to highlight a need to revert to the diets of our ancestors to regain lost nutrients. This would also assist in improving society's relationship with the earth, and to restoring both human and environmental health. full report

Life-saving hepatitis C drug approved, but cost is high

New York, 23 December 2013 (IRIN) - Following approvals in the US and Europe this month of a new drug to treat hepatitis C, activists are pushing for the medication to be made available in poor countries. full report

Summit spotlights Asia’s food and nutrition security

BANGKOK, 25 November 2013 (IRIN) - Representatives of the UN, governments, NGOs and private sector farming are expected to gather in Bangkok, Thailand, on 26 November for a two-day forum on how to fill the Asia-Pacific’s growing food demands and nutrition gaps in a region more devastated by natural disasters than any other worldwide. full report

Compulsory detention for drug use undermines treatment in Laos

MOKCHONG KHMU, 11 October 2013 (IRIN) - Laos - located between thriving opium and methamphetamine producers in Myanmar and a reported consumer base of more than two million drug users in China - has sought to limit the impact of drug transit, use and production on its population. But the government’s policies, which harshly penalize drug use, are hampering efforts to treat addiction, say health researchers. full report

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