April 29, 2012
THERE has been an unwritten rule that it can take 15 years or longer between the introduction of new life-saving vaccines in rich countries and their widespread use in the poorest nations. That has cost the lives of millions of children.
But national celebrations in Ghana last week to mark the introduction of two new vaccines highlight how this shameful gap is rapidly being closed. It is another exciting chapter in a story of leadership - and partnership - transforming health in the developing world.
We're the lucky country - it's about time we let that luck rub off on others. Australians are stingy. Do you believe it? Well, when it comes to international aid, among the world's 23 richest countries, we come in a lowly 13th when aid is measured as a percentage of our income.
Built on the principle of the fair go, the notion of Australians failing to support the underdog may be difficult for many of us to comprehend. Don't we always dig deep when our mates are in need? Yet today Australia is giving just 35¢ in every $100 we earn as a nation.
IT IS hard to imagine Christine* in combat. But the diminutive 14-year-old with a cheeky smile and dancing eyes knows how to handle a Kalashnikov and detonate grenades.
A Tamil speaker from northern Sri Lanka, Christine says she was abducted by Tamil Tiger cadres in March and forced to undergo military training. She performed drills using dummy weapons in preparation for battle and, as with many female recruits, her hair was cut short.
"I was full of fear when they came and took me," she said.
BY RUSSELL SKELTON, Herald Correspondent in Tokyo
Hwang Yun Young stands
in the half light of a fading summer sun, her delicate frame revealing
the ravages of North
Korea's "silent" famine and the lingering international disbelief about its severity.
The child is tiny
for her three years, her frail body is dotted with sores - the telltale
signs of malnutrition. According to
the charity, World Vision, she has scabies and almost certainly rickets - the symptoms of starvation. All the children