uganda health
These vitamin-fortified bananas might get you thinking differently about GMOs
More than 100,000 children around the world die every year from a lack of vitamin A.
By Nathanael Johnson

It’s not the first time there has been controversy over the use of genetic engineering to solve vitamin A deficiency. Since 1982, researchers have been trying to genetically engineer carotenes into rice. In 2000, the cover of Time declared that “golden rice,” as it was named, could “save a million kids a year.” But that was premature: The successful development of golden rice has been thwarted by both technical challenges and protesters.

This is a lot bigger than a squabble between student protesters and scientists. More than 100,000 children around the world still die every year from a lack of vitamin A. The pro-GMO and anti-GMO contingents have accused each other of taking advantage of these vulnerable people to advance their own causes. There’s no doubt that biotechnology boosters have used Golden Rice as a public relations tool, and there’s also no doubt that it could be a legitimate solution that has been delayed by protests.

Now we’re seeing the beginnings of the same debate as researchers from Iowa State, Uganda, and Australia team up to reengineer the staple food of Uganda, the cooking banana. Clearly, this strategy can be both difficult and controversial, so why do people keep trying to genetically engineer their way out of malnutrition?

Read more on Vox

The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.

In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:

  • Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
  • Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
  • Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
  • Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

Mildred Apenyo is a 24-year-old Ugandan writer-turned-entrepreneur who is on a quest to get women strong. She was one of 28 honorees selected for President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). She’s quit her job as a copy writer in advertising to pursue her dream of opening a women’s only gym in Uganda – the Fit Clique.

“I believe it is essential to have a space where women can work out in a distraction free, lewd comment free, ogling free environment with trainers who know how to work with ladies,” says Apenyo. “I also believe that it is necessary for the ultra-conservative women. When you are doing something essential and helping better the lives of others, I believe you will always make money eventually.”

Learn more via Daily Monitor.

Photo: Abubaker Lubowa


It is easy to romanticize a life with limited connectivity: candles, campfires and conversations. And how creative of the Ugandans to keep their insulin floating in a ceramic pot buried in the dirt. But the reality is that the only difference between the boy in southwest Uganda and the boy in anytown, USA is one was born powerless, the other empowered at birth. The Oxford dictionary defines power as “the ability or capacity to do something.” It is how things get done.

Picture this: A tale of two babies -

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“Embrace warmers are being used to help save the lives of thousands of low birth weight and premature infants worldwide. There are approximately 186 premature infants born every month at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Rosie Iga, an Embrace Site Manager, is supervising the use of the Embrace warmer to help save lives at Mulago.” -Via Embrace.

This picture, taken in April 2013 in Uganda, shows villagers registering for long-lasting, insecticide-treated malaria bed nets. The SPA grant-funded project, called “No More Malaria!: Village Drama Outreach, Podcasting and Programming for World Malaria Month 2013,” was led by returned Volunteer Chelsea Milko in partnership with her host organization, Radio Pacis.

The project empowered 2,500 people in four rural West Nile villages with a life-saving malaria prevention information presented in the form of a live-acted Lugbara language drama, malaria bed net repair races, malaria jeopardy games, selection of malaria ambassadors and distribution of 450 nets. In addition, an English-language recorded version of the drama was distributed to all Peace Corps Uganda Volunteers and played on nine radio stations reaching 12 million listeners across Uganda and parts of DRC and South Sudan. Chelsea also delivered malaria sessions to 50 radio presenters and journalists about malaria behavior change programming.

- Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Chelsea Milko