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WHO Director-General Pushes For Sustained Commitment To MDGs At World Health Assembly

During her opening address to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called for increased global efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Pana/Afrique en ligne reports. Chan also set-up several global health challenges to be addressed during the five-day meeting, according to the news service.

WHO, UNICEF Issue Guide, Call For More Research Into Medicines For Children

Along with the release of a WHO-UNICEF guide on medicines for children, the U.N. agencies on Friday said the guide “exposed dangerous shortfalls” in medicines designed for children and called for more research into treating children, Reuters reports. “While effective medicines exist to fight disease and treat life-threatening conditions like malnutrition, formulations suitable for children are often difficult to source,” Francisco Blanco, UNICEF’s chief of medicines and nutrition, said, according to the news service.

Also In Global Health News: Canada To Support Health Programs In Africa; Chan on N. Korea; Improving Living Conditions In DRC; Nepalese Sex Trafficking Victims

Canada To Give Africa $178M Over 5 Years, Minister Says  Canada will give $178 million over five years to support maternal, child health and educational projects in nine African countries, Bev Oda, Canada’s international cooperation minister, said on Thursday, a day after the conclusion of a meeting of G8 development…

Family Planning, Access To Safe, Legal Abortion Key To Maternal, Child Health, U.S. Sec. Of State Says

Following a two-day meeting of foreign ministers from G8 countries in Quebec on Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “appeared at odds… with [Canadian] Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s G8 initiative on maternal and child health, saying family planning, contraception and access to legal, safe abortions were vital elements of maternal health care,” Canwest News Service/Ottawa Citizen report (O’Neill, 3/31).

U.N. Releases Report On Poverty In Afghanistan

A new U.N. report (.pdf) finds that “the majority of Afghans live in dire poverty, despite an estimated $35 billion in aid being poured into the country between 2002 to 2009,” the Associated Press reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Asks: What’s Next For Global Fund? Reflecting on the recent annual report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Lancet comment writes, “Two big challenges remain [for the Global Fund]: first, to show, reliably and independently, that the Fund’s investments have delivered the benefits that it…

Canadian Prime Minister Says He’s Open To Including Contraception In G8 Plan For Improving Maternal, Child Health

“Facing a squall of condemnation from aid groups and opposition politicians,” following statements by Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon that Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative would not include family planning, Prime Minister Stephen Harper “disavowed his foreign minister Thursday, promising that the federal government would include contraception programs in its maternal-health foreign-aid initiative,” the Globe and Mail reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…

WHO H1N1 Vaccine Shipments Headed To More Developing Countries

The WHO on Friday announced “it had delivered the first doses of H1N1 [swine flu] vaccine to Cuba, and a dozen countries in Africa would receive millions of doses in coming weeks,” Reuters reports. According to WHO spokeswoman Karen Mah, Cuba received an estimated 1.1 million doses Wednesday, and Honduras and El Salvador shipments are “en route,” according to the news service.