VOA News examines the Eugene Bell Foundation’s work in North Korea to detect and treat patients with multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The foundation is treating about 600 patients in North Korea, where “[c]onditions … are ideal for the spread of TB. The climate is cold. Most citizens live and work in small spaces, and lack proper nutrition to maintain a strong immune system,” VOA writes (Herman, 11/11).
Access to Health Services
Ethiopia has reduced its child mortality rates by more than half since 1990, from about 20 percent to 8.8 percent, “through campaigns to increase the number of health workers and clinics throughout the country, government and aid officials said on Friday,” Reuters reports. “Reducing malnutrition, which is an underlying factor in at least half of all under-five deaths, has had a profound impact on the survival rates of children,” Ethiopia State Minister of Health Keseteberhan Admassu “told a gathering of representatives of United Nations agencies,” according to the news agency. “Keseteberhan said the nationwide malnutrition rate has been slashed by 32 percent, with prevalence to being underweight dropping to 28.7 percent in 2010 from 42.1 percent in 2000,” Reuters writes (Maasho, 11/11).
Leia Isanhart Balima of Catholic Relief Services writes in this ONE blog post about the successes of the AIDSRelief program in Rwanda, and how that country’s Ministry of Health has taken ownership over operations. The program is funded by PEPFAR, and Catholic Relief Services is the lead agency for AIDSRelief in…
Reuters examines how a worsening economic crisis in Greece is affecting the country’s health system, highlighting a 36 percent decrease in health spending by Greeks this year, according to the National School of Public Health, and an increase of more than 50 percent in new cases of HIV from the first five months of 2010 to the same period this year. The news service also notes a rise in depression and suicide, writing, “Greeks are swallowing 35 percent more antidepressants than they did five years ago, according to the National School of Public Health. The health ministry says suicides are up 40 percent so far this year.”
Global Health Service Corps Essential To Improve African Health Systems, Achieve ‘AIDS-Free Generation’
“A notable feature of Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton’s ‘AIDS-free generation’ initiative is to strengthen health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa, … a view echoed by many eminent voices in the global health community,” Anand Reddi of the University of Colorado Medical School writes in a post on Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “To address the African health care workforce shortage, I encourage Secretary Clinton to adopt the principles of the” Global Health Service Corps (GHSC), which would be composed of U.S. health professionals who could “provide medical education and technical assistance to enhance the health care workforces in low-income countries,” Reddi says. In addition, the GHSC would focus on “infrastructure development, knowledge transfer, and capacity building,” Reddi writes.
“With the HIV prevalence rate higher among women than men in Zambia, experts say the epidemic now has a women’s face here and, therefore, requires more specialized intervention programs,” and “[w]omen living with HIV say that women must be taught how to live positively with it,” the Global Press Institute reports in a story examining the epidemic among women in Zambia. The article looks at factors influencing higher HIV rates among women and government efforts to provide treatment and prevention programs, and includes comments from Nkandu Luo, a Zambian HIV/AIDS advocate and researcher; Viola Morgan, U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) country director; and Clementine Mumba, executive secretary for the Network of ARV Users, a support and advocacy group for people living with HIV/AIDS (Katongo, 11/10).
South Africa Draws Inspiration From Brazil’s Health Care System Despite Skepticism By Some Brazilians, IPS Reports
Inter Press Service reports on how the South African government, in setting up its own universal health coverage scheme, was inspired by Brazil’s Sistema Unico de Saude or Single Health System (SUS), which was shaped during the 1980s when the system was restructured to make health care a universal right. However, IPS notes that the news may be met with skepticism by Brazilians with a negative opinion of the country’s public health care system. “The SUS made it possible to provide everyone with health care, while reducing the chaos in the health sector,” but “[c]orruption, aggravated by insufficient inspections, has contributed to the poor execution of the” system, according to IPS.
In this post on the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Grania Brigden, the tuberculosis (TB) adviser to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, writes that while “[t]his year’s Global Tuberculosis Control report shows the beginning of a decline in the global tuberculosis epidemic, … there is…
In this Lancet editorial, Giuseppe Raviola, Anne Becker and Paul Farmer, professors with the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, write, “Unprecedented opportunities to promote excellence and equity in health care delivery for the world’s most underserved populations are upon us,” but “delivery of mental health services in low-resource settings lags unacceptably and unjustly far behind that of other services.”
The Guardian profiles Brian Brink, chief medical officer at Anglo American, South Africa’s largest private-sector employer, and the company’s efforts to treat and prevent HIV among its employees. According to the newspaper, “HIV affects 12,000 of its employees, or 16 percent of its 70,000-strong permanent staff.” The Guardian continues, “For Anglo, a healthy workforce is a more loyal and productive one,” which is why it offers HIV testing and treatment free-of-charge to employees, runs HIV prevention programs, and promotes gender equality. “Not only is it a moral imperative to get on top of the AIDS problem, it’s also good for business, and the wider South African economy. The prevalence of AIDS and HIV [the virus that leads to AIDS] probably lops one percent off the country’s GDP,” Brink said (11/3).