“Half of the 340,000 deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes each year occur in Africa, almost all in anonymity,” the New York Times writes in an article profiling several cases of women who have died during childbirth in Ugandan hospitals.
Access to Health Services
In a guest post on the GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Janet Fleischman, a senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, describes the Malawian government’s “plans to launch a ‘test and treat’ program in which all HIV-infected pregnant women will immediately be put on antiretroviral treatment (ART) drugs for life.” But she adds that “[t]he growing political and economic crisis in Malawi, highlighted by the government’s use of force against peaceful demonstrators last week, could also imperil the groundbreaking expansion of Malawi’s national HIV/AIDS program.”
More than 3,000 demonstrators gathered across Swaziland on Thursday for a second day of protests over the king’s handling of an economic crisis that they say is causing a shortage of medical supplies, including antiretroviral therapy (ART), the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (7/28).
In her latest piece on the New York Times’ “Opinionator” blog, author and journalist Tina Rosenberg argues that the terms of Gilead’s recent agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool is “confirmation of a dangerous new trend: middle-income countries as a target market for drug makers.” “The new strategy is to treat people in Egypt, Paraguay, Turkmenistan or China â€“ middle-income countries, all â€“ as if they or their governments could pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year each for AIDS drugs. This low-volume high-profit strategy might make business sense. But in terms of the war against AIDS, it means surrender,” she writes.
South Africa Could Reduce HIV-Associated Long-Term Costs, Extend Lives With Earlier Treatment, Study Says
If South Africa followed WHO recommendations for earlier therapy for people living with HIV, thousands of lives could be extended and the country would start saving money after 16 years, according to a study recently published online in PLoS One, United Press International reports.
While Cote d’Ivoire studies several options for financing public health services, its temporary policy of providing free care â€“ “which the government said was aimed to help people after the post-election crisis â€“ is causing grief for doctors and patients alike,” IRIN reports.
Medicines Patent Pool Can Help Many But Has Potential Limitations For AIDS Drug Access In Middle-Income Countries
In a post on the New York Times’ “Opinionator” blog, author and journalist Tina Rosenberg writes about the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and describes how it can help purchase AIDS drugs for “vast numbers of people.” She also notes “its most serious potential weakness” â€“ that drug companies join because they hope that giving earlier drug access to more countries will reduce pressure for access in middle-income countries. Rosenberg highlights a recent agreement with Gilead Sciences, which “only covers very poor countries. It leaves out Egypt, China, Brazil, plus dozens of other developing countries. Current AIDS drug prices in these countries are six or seven times the price of drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. Without help from the patent pool, these countries have little hope of expanding antiretroviral coverage” (7/21).
A new report released on Wednesday by Save the Children says that about 40 million children under age five live in what the organization calls “healthcare deserts,” areas with few health clinics or health care workers, Sarah Boseley writes in her “Global Health Blog.” She notes, “The report looks at…
The 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention taking place in Rome this week “started optimistically as the hype surrounding the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent HIV infection gained momentum. But the focus of much discussion â€¦ will undoubtedly be on how to transform the recent promising research findings into workable policy,” PlusNews reports (7/18).
PBS Newshour’s global health unit on Monday began a four-part series examining major health challenges in Indonesia, which “sheds light on the diverse nation’s changing political landscape, deplorable conditions for people there with severe mental illness, the effect of rising food prices and research into a plant that could be used as a male contraceptive,” the Newshour’s “The Rundown” blog states. The blog links to other video, photo and written reports from the team, including a piece on an Indonesian law that encourages breastfeeding (Miller, 7/14).