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Funding, Health Professional Shortage Could Prevent South Africa From Reaching 2011 ARV Target, Health Minister Says

South Africa’s shortage of health professionals combined with a budget shortfall of over $130 million for the government’s HIV programs could keep the country from reaching its goal of providing 80 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS in need of treatment with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) by 2011, South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

FDA Approves H1N1 Vaccines, Paving Way For Large-Scale U.S. Vaccination Campaign

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines produced by four manufacturers — CSL Ltd., Novartis, Sanofi-Pasteur and Medimmune — had won FDA approval, paving the way for a U.S. large-scale vaccination campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports. The application for GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s vaccine is still being considered.

WHO Says 3B People Worldwide Could Receive H1N1 Vaccine

Recent findings that a single dose of an H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine offers protection against the virus and anticipation of vaccination programs starting earlier than predicted will increase the number of people worldwide with access to the vaccine and the likelihood health officials may be able to control the spread of the virus, Bloomberg reports.

Improving Childhood Immunization Campaigns Could Reduce Sickle-Cell Deaths In Africa, Study Finds

By offering all children in Africa vaccines that protect against bacterial infections, researchers say the number of deaths among children living with sickle-cell anaemia could be reduced, Reuters reports. An estimated 200,000 children in Africa annually are born with sickle-cell anaemia, a genetic disease “in which red blood cells deform into a sickle shape and cluster, blocking blood flow and causing pain, vulnerability to infections and organ damage.”

American Medical News Examines Clinical Trials Outsourcing

American Medical News examines the ethical considerations of outsourcing pharmaceutical clinical trials to developing countries. The article highlights how it is less expensive for a drug company to conduct a trial in India, where it runs about $2,000 to track a patient through a trial, compared to the cost in the U.S., which is “10 times more.” The disparities between participants in the two countries in terms of income, education and access to care are “stark” and the playing field “uneven,” writes American Medical News.

WHO’s Chan Says Swine Flu Will ‘Test’ World On ‘Fairness’

Addressing a meeting of South East Asian health ministers Tuesday, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the H1N1 (swine) flu pandemic will “test the world on the issue of fairness” and “reveal in a measurable and tragic way the consequences of decades of failure to invest adequately in basic health systems and infrastructure,” Agence France-Presse reports.