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ZAMBIA Public health officials will be watching Zambia closely over the next few years. With a $35 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the country has launched Africa's first nationwide antimalaria initiative, with a three-year plan to get bed nets, medicines and indoor insecticides to 80% of the population. The goal is to reduce deaths from malaria 75% and to show the rest of the world--including donor countries-- that malaria can be contained using low-cost tools that are readily available.
ZINC Got zinc? A study by researchers at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota found that seventh-graders who took 20 mg of zinc--double the recommended dietary allowance--five days a week for as long as three months outperformed their peers on tests of memory, word recognition, attention and learning. Halfway around the world, a study of Bangladeshi children demonstrated the life-saving health benefits of minimal levels of this essential mineral. In a yearlong study of 1,621 children ages 2 months to 1 year, zinc supplements either prevented or lessened symptoms of pneumonia and diarrhea--conditions that kill millions of children each year in the developing world. Compared with the placebo group, children who took a weekly 70-mg dose of zinc had an 85% reduced risk of death.