1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

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An ingenious health campaign in Togo.

For five days in December 2004, about 1 million Togolese children ages five and under received four lifesaving interventions at the same time: vaccines against measles and polio; medication to treat intestinal parasites; and insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is the leading killer of children in Africa. "By combining all four [interventions] at one time," says the WHO, "governments can save money and lives." The cost per child was $6.


And from the Netherlands . . .

A massive public health effort is under way in the central city of Zeist, where a 25-year-old supermarket employee diagnosed with tuberculosis infected his entire family, 40 of his 79 colleagues, and at least 150 shoppers. The city had to test about 17,000 people-more than a quarter of its population.


Guidelines on euthanizing terminally ill newborns, proposed by the Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen (Groningen Academic Hospital), have stirred debate in the Netherlands, which legalized euthanasia in 2002. The "Groningen protocol" has drawn criticism from many ports, including the Vatican. But in a statement on the hospital's Web site, the protocol's initiator, A. A. E. Verhagen, explains that the protocol involves five criteria: "the suffering must be so severe that the newborn has no prospects of a future; there is no possibility of a cure or alleviation with medication or surgery; the parents must always give their consent; a second opinion must be provided by an independent doctor who has not been involved with the child's treatment; and the deliberate ending of life must be meticulously carried out with the emphasis on aftercare." The Dutch health ministry is reviewing the protocol.