By Faraz Honarvar, University of Toronto


Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease is a dangerous communicable disease that has the potential to propagate many life-threatening illnesses such as meningitis and pneumonia, mainly amongst children 3 months to 3 years of age. The disease has been a significant threat to infants in Indonesia for many years, but with new vaccination programs being implemented and significant collaboration between organizations such as the Indonesian government, UNICEF, The GAVI and the WHO, promising results have been achieved. This paper focuses on challenges Indonesia – as the fourth largest populated country in the world – has had in attempting to mitigate the effects of Hib and also provides an in depth explanation of the newly implemented plans to provide vaccines for all infants in the country.

“Roughly one in ten children will suffer from neurological impairment after cerebral malaria, be it epilepsy, learning disability, changes in behaviour, loss of coordination or impairments to speech. As well as being discomforting physically, these problems can also lead to stigmatisation in the community and can reduce individuals’ capacity for work, imposing an additional economic burden.”

by Lena Elisabeth Faust, University of Toronto
"Golden Rice grains" © International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
“Golden Rice grains” © International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)


Vitamin A deficiency is a condition primarily affecting young children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, who do not have regular access to Vitamin A-rich foods.1Vitamin A deficiency is the cause of over 5.2 million cases of blindness in children around the world.2 Furthermore, this deficiency has even more severe immunological effects, which can lead to increased mortality rates among affected individuals. It is estimated that Vitamin A deficiency causes up to 2.5 million deaths per year. A promising development in the field of genetic engineering hopes to provide a sustainable solution to the problem in the form of biosynthetic, Vitamin A-rich rice, but its commercial implementation remains a challenge.