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Grand Challenges Canada, Gates Foundation Announce Grants To Develop Portable Diagnostic Tools

The Canadian government-funded non-profit Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “have invested around $32 million in the discovery and development of new and improved diagnostic tools to help health workers in developing countries, with the aim of speeding up treatment and saving lives,” IRIN reports (12/16). “Innovative point-of-care diagnostic tools such as a piece of woven fabric which can test blood or urine for disease and a simple, easy to use test for diagnosing diarrheal disease which is the biggest killer of developing world children under the age of five are some of the projects which are receiving funding,” according to a Grand Challenges press release (.pdf) (12/16).

Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline To Increase Sales Of Pneumococcal Vaccines Through GAVI

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are increasing their sales of reduced-cost pneumonia vaccines to developing countries through the GAVI Alliance “by more than 50 percent, marking the scale-up of an international program to protect millions of children,” Reuters reports (Hirschler, 12/16).

IPS Profiles Maternal Shelter In Kenya’s North Eastern Province

Inter Press Service profiles the Garissa Maternal Shelter in North Eastern Province, Kenya, “the only such facility in an area with the country’s highest maternal mortality rate.” The news service writes, “At 1,000 deaths per 100,000 live births, [the maternal mortality rate] is almost double the country’s average, [b]ut despite this, there are only seven women here in a facility that can accommodate 24.”

BMJ News Reports On S. Africa’s HIV Prevention, Treatment Efforts

BMJ News reports on South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s visit to the U.S. last week, where he spoke at a forum in Washington, D.C., on the efforts the government is making to promote HIV prevention and treatment and improve the country’s health system. The publication notes that the health ministry has set a goal of testing the HIV status of 15 million people in the country by the end of the year – “nearly a third of its population of 50 million.”

Also In Global Health News: Radiation Risk, Aid Delivery In Japan; HIV/AIDS In PNG; Counterfeit Drugs; Health Spending In Myanmar

Radiation’s Effect On Health; Aid Distribution In Japan In light of the damage to nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the New York Times examines how increased radiation exposure affects human health. “Certain levels of radiation exposure are known to increase the risk of cancer, but scientists disagree about…

Health Experts Release Recommendations For Fighting Breast Cancer In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

“Worldwide breast cancer incidence and mortality are expected to increase by 50 percent from 2002 and 2020 – and those rates will be highest in developing nations,” according to a review article published Friday in Lancet Oncology that describes several challenges low- and middle-income countries face in diagnosing and treating such conditions, the Huffington Post reports. The review features a series of recommendations, generated from discussions and reports presented during the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) meeting last year, which drew together more than 150 health experts from 43 countries to discuss breast cancer management in low- and middle-resource countries (LMCs).

Opinions: Budget Talks, Foreign Aid; Making Drugs More Accessible To Poor

Federal Government Shutdown Would Be Over Ideological Demands Of GOP, Not Spending “If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Friday – which seems likely unless negotiations take a sudden turn toward rationality – it will not be because of disagreements over spending. It will be because Republicans are refusing to…

Marking World Health Day, WHO Warns Misuse Of Antibiotics Undermining Global Fight Against Infectious Diseases

U.N. officials on Thursday marked World Health Day with a warning that “the misuse and irrational use of antibiotics has undermined the global fight against tuberculosis and malaria, warning of a possible return to the days before the drugs were developed,” and called for urgent action to control the spread of drug resistance, Reuters reports. In addition to growing resistance to TB and malaria treatments, “treatment for gonorrhea was threatened by growing resistance to the last-line treatment, and the WHO said hospital-acquired superbugs, resistant to major antibiotics, were becoming increasing frequent,” the news service writes (Mogato, 4/7).

African Health Ministers Adopt Declaration Of Commitment To Tackle NCDs

The first Africa Regional Ministerial Consultation on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) wrapped up in Congo’s capital city Brazzaville on Wednesday with African health ministers adopting a declaration of commitment to tackle NCDs, PANA/Afrique en ligne reports (4/9).

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