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Survey Shows Majority Of Americans Support Women’s Right To Access Maternal, Reproductive Health Care

In September 2010, “91 percent of Americans surveyed say they support the right for all women to have access to quality maternal and reproductive health care,” PSI’s “Healthy Lives” blog reports. The blog contains a Population Action International infographic depicting the data and writes, “While support is slightly stronger in some parties, the consensus is hard to ignore” (4/9).

Participation Of Big Pharma Companies Critical To Success Of Drug Patent Pools

In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, David de Ferranti, president of the Results for Development Institute, and Robert Hecht, managing director at the Institute, examine whether patent pools could help increase access to AIDS drugs among the world’s poor, writing, “AIDS program managers and advocates must pursue all measures that can keep the cost of treatment low and affordable. In addition to the actions that are already being taken — like having African governments and donors buy AIDS drugs in bulk from suppliers in order to obtain better prices — could a ‘patent pool’ for new drugs help to make AIDS treatment more accessible?”

Legislation In Congress Is ‘Good Start’ To Raising Awareness Of, Preventing Attacks On Medical Workers

Attacks, kidnappings, and the murders of health care workers in the uprisings taking place across the Arab world violate principles held in the Geneva Conventions and international human rights treaties, Richard Sollom, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, writes in this Global Post opinion piece. “Recently I briefed the U.S. Congress on eight proximate causes — which I describe below — for the recent rise in such abuses across the Arab world,” he says. The eight causes include the unaccountability of military forces; medical workers have first-hand knowledge of the extent and responsible party of attacks; health care workers sometimes are viewed as “helping the enemy” and are attacked out of retribution; “perceived political activism”; “discrimination based on religious identity”; and “[o]f course error is a possible cause for violations of medical neutrality,” he notes.

Government, NGOs Working To Improve Health Services, Education To Prevent Rising Teenage Pregnancy Rate In Guatemala

“Teenage pregnancies are on the rise in Guatemala, along with the drop-out rate in schools, family breakdown and many other related social ills,” Inter Press Service reports, adding that the “impoverished Central American country of 14 million people has an adolescent (under-20) birth rate of 114 per 1,000 women in rural areas, according to the National Mother and Child Health Survey for 2008-2009.” The article discusses efforts by the government and non-profit organizations to prevent unwanted pregnancies, including laws allowing for basic maternity services and sex education classes.

Prepositioning Of Supplies, Knowledge To Handle Disease Outbreaks ‘Future Of Disaster Management’

In this New York Times opinion piece, columnist Tina Rosenberg examines a global rise in cholera cases, writing, “The World Health Organization estimates that there are between three million and five million cases of cholera each year, and between 100,000 and 120,000 deaths. New and more virulent strains are emerging in Asia and Africa, and the WHO says that global warming creates even more hospitable conditions for the disease.” However, “[c]holera should not be a terror. It is easy to treat if you know how,” she writes.

Blog Posts Respond To Melinda Gates’ TEDxChange Presentation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog published several posts in response to the TEDxChange: “The Big Picture” presentation delivered by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation, in Berlin on Thursday.

Study Shows Artemisinin-Resistant Malaria Parasite Spreading Along Thai-Myanmar Border

A strain of malaria that is resistant to artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is spreading along the Thai-Myanmar border and has the potential to spread to Africa if efforts to effectively treat and prevent the disease are not undertaken, according to a study published in the Lancet on Friday, Reuters reports (Lyn, 4/5). Since 2008, patients treated with ACT have been slower to clear the parasite than previously, “[a]nd this precursor to resistance seems to be spreading, despite efforts to carefully use artemisinin (by giving it in combination with other drugs) to avoid the emergence of resistance,” Scientific American writes.

No One Funding Model Is Sufficient To Ensure Availability Of Lifesaving Drugs

“Trade deals are threatening generic drugs — we need new ways to incentivize affordable drug development,” Daniele Dionisio, head of the research project Geopolitics, Public Health and Access to Medicines (GESPAM) and a member of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases, writes in this SciDev.Net opinion piece. “Just under three billion people live on less than $2 per day, in resource-limited countries where key medicines protected by patents are unaffordable,” he writes, adding, “Free-trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and governments adopting intellectual property (IP) policies that favor the brand pharmaceutical sector are also threatening the trade of legitimate generic medicines.”

Blog Examines Coordinated Effort To Monitor Drug Procurement Through Global Fund Grants In Kyrgyzstan

“In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has benefited from a significant increase in international funding to improve health care,” but, “[d]espite this influx of international funding, many people in Kyrgyzstan are unable to get the lifesaving medicines that they need,” Madina Tokombaeva, director of the Harm Reduction Network (HRN) in Kyrgyzstan, and Maryam Beishenova, program coordinator at HRN, write in this Open Society Foundations blog post. The authors describe how, in 2010, “three Kyrgyz organizations working on HIV and health issues — the Harm Reduction Network, Partnership Network, and Unity of People Living with HIV — launched a coordinated effort to monitor and analyze the procurement and distribution of medicines purchased with Global Fund grants.” They recount a court victory in which they gained access to Ministry of Health records and conclude, “Civil society organizations have been energized and we are committed to ensure that government agencies and donors are transparent and efficient” (4/5).

Development Gains In Afghanistan Must Be Made Sustainable

Alex Thier, assistant to the administrator and director in the USAID Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, writes about the agency’s new report, titled “USAID in Afghanistan: Partnership, Progress, Perseverance,” in this IMPACTblog post. “Afghanistan’s literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality statistics, as well as access to communications, electricity, and paved roads, were dismal” in 2002, but a decade later, “Afghanistan has shown incredible gains in health care, education, and economic growth,” Thier writes. The report “outlines these impacts in a transparent and frank accounting of the roughly $12 billion in civilian assistance that USAID has implemented in Afghanistan to date,” he notes. “But these gains are fragile,” he writes, adding, “We must cement the gains from this incredible investment, and make them sustainable” (4/4).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.