“[F]ar too many children in Kenya and other African countries continue to suffer unnecessarily each year due to the misdiagnosis of fever, which contributes to the deaths of nearly three million children of less than five years of age from malaria and pneumonia,” Willis Akhwale, head of Kenya’s Department of Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, writes in a Daily Nation opinion piece, saying that health care workers “desperately need a test that can quickly and accurately identify and distinguish between fever-causing diseases.”
Access to Health Services
Some of the issues to be addressed at the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) taking place this week in New York “are controversial, including those relating to intellectual property rights for new medicines, diagnostics and medical devices,” James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, writes in an Al Jazeera opinion piece. “By continuing to assert that the Doha Declaration is in fact limited in various ways, U.S. and European trade negotiators have tried to discourage the granting of compulsory licenses on patents for high-priced drugs for cancer and other non-communicable diseases,” he continues, before outlining a proposal called the “cancer prize approach” that would de-link drug prices from research and development incentives.
“A health policy shift that saw the introduction in May of free caesarean section operations in 35 hospitals across the Republic of Congo — to curb the growing rate of maternal and infant mortality — seems to have prompted a proliferation of such operations, according to health officials,” IRIN reports. “‘We are virtually living in the hospital because there are so many consultations,’ said Jean-Claude Kala, head of gynecology at Makelekele Hospital, south of Brazzaville,” the news service writes.
“Innovation can transform a company, a culture, and even the world. But innovation doesn’t have to come in the form of a gadget. It can come in the form of a smiling neighbor knocking at a family’s door, toting some basic supplies and the skills to address matters of life and death,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece.
“The annual number of children who die before they reach age five is shrinking, falling to 7.6 million global deaths in 2010 from more than 12 million in 1990, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday” in their annual report (.pdf) on child mortality, Reuters reports. “Overall, 12,000 fewer children under age five die each day than a decade ago,” according to the report, the news agency notes. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement that “many factors are contributing to reductions in child mortality, including better access to health care for newborns, prevention and treatment of childhood diseases, access to vaccines, clean water and better nutrition,” the news agency writes (Steenhuysen, 9/14).
“The number of cases and deaths from breast and cervical cancer is rising in most countries across the world, especially in poorer nations where more women are dying at younger ages, according to a global study of the diseases” by researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Reuters reports. Between 1980 and 2010, breast cancer cases more than doubled worldwide, rising from 641,000 cases in 1980 to 1.6 million cases in 2010, while deaths from breast cancer rose from 250,000 a year to 425,000 a year, according to the study, which was published in the Lancet on Thursday, Reuters notes. The “number of cervical cancer cases rose from 378,000 cases in 1980 to 454,000 in 2010, and deaths from cervical cancer rose at almost the same pace as cases,” the news service writes (Kelland, 9/15). The majority of new cases occurred among women under age 50 in low-income nations, BBC News writes (Briggs, 9/14).
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) “are spreading at an alarming rate in Europe and will kill thousands unless health authorities halt the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday” during the launch of “a new regional plan to find, diagnose and treat cases of the airborne infectious disease more effectively,” Reuters reports. “The WHO said that if the plan is fully implemented — at an estimated cost of $5 billion — 127,000 people will be successfully treated for drug-resistant TB and 120,000 deaths will be averted by 2015,” according to the news agency (Kelland, 9/13).
U.S.-based pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company on Tuesday announced it will spend $30 million over five years to fight the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in developing nations, the Indianapolis Star reports (Swiatek, 9/13). According to a Lilly press release, the company is launching the Lilly NCD Partnership “to identify new models of patient care that increase treatment access and improve outcomes for underserved people” (9/13).
“The United States and British governments have launched a four-year, Shs213.5 billion [US$75 million] project to increase the use of contraceptive services among Ugandans,” Uganda’s Daily Monitor reports. “Through the project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) will provide family planning services in all parts of Uganda,” with Britain contributing 35 million Pound Sterling (US$55 million) and the U.S. contributing US$20 million, the newspaper reports.
U.S. Trade Representative Issues White Paper Regarding Trans-Pacific Partnership And Access To Medicines
This post in USAID’s “IMPACTblog” reports on a white paper issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on Monday “outlining a new strategic initiative entitled ‘Trade Enhancing Access to Medicines (TEAM)'” that “describes how, under the TEAM approach, the United States proposes to work with partners Australia, Brunei…