Doctors warn of demand for ‘vaginal seeding’ despite thin evidence

British doctors say more parents are requesting so-called “vaginal seeding”, when a swab from the mother’s vagina is wiped into a newborn’s mouth after caesarean-section birth, despite a lack of evidence for its medical benefits. The practice, also known as microbirthing, involves wiping the swab over the baby’s mouth, eyes, face and skin to bring…

Why you can’t just wipe out mosquitoes to get rid of the Zika virus

On Saturday Colombia’s national health institute confirmed that more than 2 100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the Zika virus, which has been linked to a devastating birth defect that affects a foetus’ brain. The mosquito-borne disease, for which there is no vaccine or treatment, has been quickly spreading across the Americas since May, when…

Tanzanian lawyers say up to 50 women divorced for defying husbands in vote

Up to 50 women in Zanzibar have been divorced for taking part in the recent Tanzanian elections against the will of their husbands, according to lawyers and women’s rights campaigners. Mzuri Issa, coordinator of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association in the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, said 47 women were divorced for voting contrary to their husband’s…

Captured by cotton: Girls duped into ‘bonded labour’ in India’s textile mills

From her two-room concrete home nestled among the lush coconut plantations of southern India, housewife Kavita has seen the region’s textile industry flourish for a decade, thanks to the labour of poor, lower caste women like herself. Promising a better life, “agents” have for years visited these poor, rural parts of Tamil Nadu and taken…