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PBS Blog Features Stories Looking At Mobile Technology And Health In Africa

PBS’s “Rundown” blog features two stories as part of the “Cheers Report,” a “series of reports on the impact of mobile technology and health in 10 African countries.” In the first story, Imani Cheers, the director of educational resources and a multimedia producer for the PBS NewsHour, describes how mobile…

Blog Examines Drug Donation Programs, Big Pharma’s Role In Public Health Agenda

“Drug donations, reinvestment of profits in developing countries and a more flexible approach to intellectual property have all signaled a more collaborative approach from industry with the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Merck all performing well in the 2012 Access to Medicine Initiative,” Adam Robert Green, senior…

To Reach ‘FP2020′ Goal, Targets Must Be Re-Examined

Participants at the 2012 London Family Planning Summit “pledged $2.6 billion dollars in additional funding to achieve a worthy goal: provide 120 million new women who have ‘unmet need’ with family planning products and services by 2020 in 69 of the world’s poorest countries,” a movement dubbed “FP2020,” Christopher Purdy,…

Examining Funding In Light Of New Evidence On HIV Prevention, Treatment Strategies

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, reports on a World Bank- and USAID-sponsored debate she moderated last week as part of a series on HIV/AIDS issues, the topic of which was “Countries should spend a majority of what is likely to be a flat or even declining HIV prevention budget on ‘treatment as prevention.'” She notes several of her reactions to the debate and asks with regard to global health spending, “What about the pie? Even if it grows, there will be tradeoffs.”

Potential Cuts To Global Health Spending Threaten Vision Of ‘AIDS-Free Generation’

The vision of an “AIDS-free generation” presented in a speech earlier this month by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “is under threat in Congress,” as “[t]he House and the Senate are discussing significant cuts to the 2012 Obama administration request for global health funding,” Jeanie Yoon, a physician with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece. Yoon describes an MSF program in Zambia working to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), saying such programs “provide an opportunity for mothers be tested for HIV (as well as other dangerous conditions for pregnant women) and to take the steps needed for them and their babies to live healthy lives; as well as for communities to gain productive members instead of incurring yet more losses.”

Aid Targeting High Mortality Diseases ‘Lays The Groundwork’ For Improving Primary Health Care Services

“In recent years, initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria have helped rein in some of the biggest scourges,” Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. “Scaling up PEPFAR, alongside other health initiatives, would bring a high return,” because “as we deepen the response to specific diseases such as AIDS or TB, we can broaden access to primary health services,” which “lays the groundwork for addressing health problems of all kinds,” he continues.

Significant Drops Seen In AIDS-Related Deaths, New HIV Infections, UNAIDS Report Shows

UNAIDS on Monday released its World AIDS Day Report 2011 (.pdf), “which shows more people than ever living with HIV, but deaths and new infections steadily dropping,” the Guardian reports (Boseley, 11/21). The number of AIDS-related deaths in 2010 was 21 percent lower than its peak in 2005, and the number of new HIV infections in 2010 also was down 21 percent from its peak in 1997, according to the report, BBC News notes (11/21). The report credits more widespread treatment, behavior change and male circumcision for significant drops in the number of new cases, according to the Guardian (11/21). “Of the 14.2 million people eligible for treatment in low- and middle-income countries, around 6.6 million, or 47 percent, are now receiving it, UNAIDS said, and 11 poor- and mid-income countries now have universal access to HIV treatment, with coverage of 80 percent or more,” Reuters notes, adding, “This compares with 36 percent of the 15 million people needing treatment in 2009 who got AIDS drugs” (Kelland, 11/21).

UNICEF Report Says More Than 30M Children In East Asia, Pacific Lack Essential Services

“More than 30 million children in seven countries in East Asia and the Pacific are deprived of at least one essential service such as basic health care, safe drinking water or access to education, according to a United Nations study (.pdf),” AlertNet reports. According to UNICEF’s “Child Poverty in East Asia and the Pacific: Deprivations and Disparities” report, “more than 13 million of the 93 million children in Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam suffer from two or more such deprivations.”

Examining The Effects Of Trade Rules On Public Health, Access To Medicines

In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of the Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Access to Essential Medicines Campaign, examines the interface between trade rules and public health, discussing the implications of the Doha Declaration on public health since its inception 10 years ago, and addresses the question of how “countries balance the need to protect public health against patent rights that lead to high medicine prices and limited access for people in need.” He notes that the winners of an MSF “ideas contest on the theme of ‘Revising TRIPS for Public Health'” will present their ideas at a conference in Geneva next month, concluding, “I hope the winning ideas can generate some discussion and look towards affecting change, so that the next decade sees us moving towards more access to medicines for those who need them most” (11/22).

Five Ways Pharmaceutical Companies Can Address NTDs

In this Forbes opinion piece, journalist Sarika Bansal examines five ways in which pharmaceutical companies can address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including creating cross-sectorial research partnerships for neglected diseases; joining patent pools for neglected diseases; donating drugs for neglected diseases; creating facilities dedicated to neglected disease research; and allowing scientists to work on neglected disease, both formally and informally.