Madagascar

The UN children's fund has denied that there has been a polio outbreak in the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. It said that its office in Madagascar had issued a statement last week that led to the mistaken belief there had been an outbreak of wild poliovirus. In fact the last such case was detected on the island in 1997, Unicef said.

Madagascar's de facto premier has resigned along with his cabinet, paving the way for the formation of a new government by consensus, according to a letter. The official letter of resignation was the first step towards ending two years of political stalemate in the country. Albert Camille Vitalis resigned as premier, so a new person could be chosen for the job by November, to create a transitional government that would lead the country to elections in about a year.

In Madagascar the minimum legal age for women to marry is 14 years, and girls under the age of 18 can be married without giving their consent, providing their parents agree. A 2004 UN report estimated that 34 per cent of Malagasy girls between 15 and 19 were married, divorced or widowed, and more than a quarter had at least one child. The organisation Femmes Interessee au Development de Antalaha (FIDA) provides information about reproductive health and better access to contraceptives, but fun...read more

A surge in new leprosy cases in a remote region of Madagascar could not have come at a worse time. Once a prosperous vanilla-exporting town, Antalaha has suffered the economic consequences of two years of political instability that began with the March 2009 coup in which Andry Rajoelina, with the support of the military, deposed President Marc Ravalomanana. Numerous foreign aid and trade benefits on which the country was heavily reliant, particularly for the funding of social sectors, have si...read more

Wikileaks has exposed a US cable examining Marc Ravalomanana's landslide re-election victory which saw him emerging ahead of 13 other candidates with 55 per cent of the vote. 'At the same time, rather than growing more relaxed and comfortable in power, he appears increasingly to see enemies around him, broaching little dissent as he becomes more isolated and autocratic,' says the cable.

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