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Brazil Expanding National HIV Treatment Program To Include Patients With Higher CD4 Cell Counts

Brazil is expanding its national HIV/AIDS treatment program to include about 35,000 additional people, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. “Ronaldo Hallal of the [health] ministry’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Department said people with 500 or fewer CD4 cells per cubic millimeter will receive antiretroviral HIV treatment,” increasing the cutoff from 350 or less CD4 cells per cubic millimeter prior to the expansion, the news service writes. The Ministry of Health noted on its website that the expansion will require spending an additional 120 million reals, or $60,000, annually, according to the news service, which adds, “Hallal said Brazil already spends 1.2 billion reals ($600 million) each year in its free anti-AIDS program that is currently treating 223,000 people.” The AP notes Health Minister Alexandre Padilla said in a statement, “Brazil will be the only large country in the world to offer this kind of treatment that will reduce the risk of opportunistic infections like tuberculosis” (8/29).

World Humanitarian Day An Opportunity To Reflect On, Address Health Crisis In Syria

This Lancet editorial reflects on a medical crisis in Syria, highlighting a new report (.pdf) by Amnesty International that “documents the human rights abuses already occurring in the city.” The editorial states, “A disturbing feature of modern conflicts and, indeed, the Arab uprisings, has been the flagrant disregard for the Geneva Conventions, including targeting of civilians, persecution of health workers, and attacks on hospitals, alongside the failure of the U.N. system to prevent these violations,” and it highlights several examples cited in the report.

Report Explores Strategies To Better Address NCDs

“Over the past year I have been involved with the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, a group of international leaders working to identify how progress can be delivered on critical challenges such as addressing the global burden of chronic disease and the risks (and opportunities) associated with our hyper-connected…

Medical Workers In Syria Struggle With Safety, Ethics, New York Times Reports

“[W]hile the Obama administration claims credit for pushing President Bashar al-Assad into giving up [Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile], some experts say the real credit lies with the doctors who risked their lives — and confronted thorny questions of medical ethics — to bring to light the use of chemical weapons,”…

Family Planning Options Essential For Strong Societies, Economies

“‘Unmet need,’ in the context of family planning, is a rather mundane term that masks an urgent social justice and human rights issue,” Kesetebirhan Admasu, minister of health in Ethiopia, writes in an AllAfrica opinion piece. “Policymakers, public health professionals and donors must provide the necessary leadership, commitment and resources…

Malnutrition Response Should Integrate Health Care, Agricultural Support

Writing in the Huffington Post’s “World” blog, Segal Family Foundation Founder Barry Segal and Julie Carney and Jessie Cronan of Gardens for Health International examine “why an increasing number of clinics and hospitals are including agriculture extension programs as part of their approach to treating malnutrition.” They write, “Seventy percent…

MSF Officials Discuss Organization’s Withdrawal From Somalia

In the PLOS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Unni Karunakara, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) international president from June 2010 through September 2013, and Jean-Christophe Dollé, MSF representative to Somalia since June 2013, “describe the challenges faced by Médecins Sans Frontières’ TB program as the organization withdrew from Somalia in response to…

Afghanistan IG Finds Delays, Overpayments On USAID-Supported Hospital Construction Project

“A U.S.-funded effort to build a 100-bed civilian hospital in eastern Afghanistan has fallen almost two years behind its planned completion because of poor contractor performance and deficient internal controls, according to an inspector general’s audit [.pdf],” Bloomberg reports (Capaccio, 10/23). “The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said…