IRIN reports on a decline in public health services in Lesotho, writing, “In 2007, the government of Lesotho and [the Christian Health Association of Lesotho], which runs 75 health centers and eight hospitals … signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of making health services more accessible to ordinary Basotho who could not afford even the nominal fees that both state and CHAL-run health facilities charged. Patients would now get free medical services and drugs at health centers and subsidized medical care and drugs at hospitals. However, the resulting influx of patients put a huge strain on health centers and their supply of drugs and many over-burdened government and CHAL health centers have taken to referring patients to private clinics and pharmacies.”
Access to Health Services
The Guardian examines a text messaging program in Tanzania initiated by Vodacom Tanzania and local NGO Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) that utilizes Africa’s mobile phone banking system, M-Pesa, to provide women suffering from obstetric fistula, caused by difficult childbirth, with the funds necessary to travel to health facilities for treatment. “CCRBT and Vodacom have now appointed a team of 60 ‘ambassadors’ to travel around the country diagnosing women with the condition. Within an hour of an ambassador finding a patient a date is set for surgery and money for transport is texted to the ambassador, who takes the patient to the bus stop,” according to the Guardian.
In this post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Rick Scott, mission director of USAID in Timor-Leste, reports on a health-focused field trip to the “sub-village” of Hatugeo in Timor-Lesteâ€™s central highlands where USAID-trained community health workers are working to improve maternal and child health by providing pre- and postnatal care information to expectant and new mothers. Hatugeo is located in the district of Ermera, where the infant mortality rate is 70 deaths per 1,000 live births, only three percent of mothers deliver their babies in a health care facility, and a higher percentage of children show signs of malnourishment and illness than in the rest of the country (10/3).
In this post in the Guardian’s “Sustainable Business Blog,” Mark Kramer, founder and managing director of the non-profit consulting firm FSG and senior fellow at the CSR Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, examines how “[g]lobal corporations are increasingly finding ways to create shared value — pursuing business initiatives that improve social and environmental conditions while earning the company a profit and conferring a competitive advantage.”
VOA News profiles a medical clinic in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, called Alam Sehat Lestari, or ASRI, and established by American Kinari Webb, that aims to promote health and wellness through quality medical care and conservation. In addition to allowing patients to pay for health care “through non-monetary means, such as woven baskets, seedlings or labor exchanges,” clinic workers educate patients about conservation as they wait to register, and each month they visit surrounding communities to determine whether they are illegally logging from a nearby national park, the news service notes. “Communities that do not participate in illegal logging pay about 40 percent less than those that do,” according to VOA News (Schonhardt, 10/4).
In this Guardian opinion piece, Jill Filipovic, a freelance writer and blogger at Feministe, reports on how Unitaid, an organization “largely funded through innovating financing methods, including a tax on airplane tickets,” is working to increase access to HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis treatments in developing countries through “patent pools” and urges pharmaceutical companies to “get on board.”
Investments to keep 3.5 million people living with HIV on antiretroviral drugs provided by programs co-financed through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through 2020 will cost an estimated $14.2 billion, but “the financial savings would amount to between $12 billion and $34 billion,” according to a study published in the journal PLoS One, Sarah Boseley reports in her “Global Health Blog” in the Guardian (10/5).
In this Scientist opinion piece, Edward Partridge, president of the American Cancer Society and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, and Ralph Sacco, immediate past president of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and professor and chairman of neurology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, write that while last month’s U.N. High-level Meeting to discuss non-communicable diseases (NCDs) helped to raise awareness about the burden of NCDs, several important steps must be taken immediately to prevent and control the diseases.
The Huffington Post, as part of a collaboration on trade issues with the Dylan Ratigan Show, examines how “a new trade deal the Obama administration is pushing to complete with Vietnam and seven other Pacific nations threatens to seriously hinder both U.S. and international efforts to combat AIDS — including the government’s own efforts in Vietnam.” Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “U.S. negotiators are seeking to impose a set of restrictive intellectual property laws that would help American drug companies secure long-term monopolies overseas,” according to leaked documents, the Huffington Post writes.
In a special report, CNBC.com examines “the world of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, from the dangers they pose and where they’re made, to what is being done to combat them.” The news service notes that “[i]n some countries, counterfeit prescription drugs comprise as much as 70 percent of the drug supply and have been responsible for thousands of deaths in some of the world’s most impoverished nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO),” and adds that counterfeit drugs also affect people in developed nations (Toscano, 10/4).