In this U.N. Dispatch blog post, Mark Leon Goldberg, managing editor of the blog, examines the costs of second-line antiretroviral treatments (ARVs), which “are several orders of magnitude more expensive than traditional, first-line ARV treatments” and are a “huge barrier to providing care” for resource-poor countries. He writes of “a huge gap in the way governments and donors have historically approached people living with HIV,” adding that “as more people access first-line treatment, there will be more opportunities for people to develop resistance to that first line. Donors and governments in the developing world simply can’t afford that kind of outlay.”
Access to Health Services
In Sierra Leone, “one of Africa’s poorest countries, … scarce health care resources and the stigma surrounding epilepsy add up to a ‘treatment gap’ of more than 90 percent — meaning that fewer than 10 percent of the estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Sierra Leoneans with epilepsy are getting the treatment they need,” the New York Times reports. “Epilepsy treatment gaps are driven largely by low income and rural location, making sub-Saharan Africa a treatment-gap hot spot. Treatment in Sierra Leone is not expensive,” but “[t]he costs of untreated epilepsy, on the other hand, are enormous, especially in lost productivity,” the newspaper writes.
“Tripoli’s hospitals have put the worst behind them after an end to the fighting in Libya’s capital opened the way to a flood of aid and enabled medical staff to get back to work, aid agencies said on Monday,” Reuters reports, adding, “Although the violence in Tripoli has not completely ended, the relative peace has reassured aid agencies that they can now get into the capital.”
The New York Times examines the “growing drug addiction problem” in Afghanistan, where, in 2010, about 900,000 people, or seven percent of the adult population, were using drugs, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. The newspaper notes “a recent report by the Ministry of Public Health in partnership with Johns Hopkins University … found HIV present in about seven percent of drug users, double the figure just three years ago, said Dr. Fahim Paigham, who until recently directed the Ministry of Public Health’s AIDS control program.”
Russia “is in a demographic crisis, shedding 2.2 million people (or 1.6 percent of the population) since 2002, and the government is trying to encourage more women to bring Russian citizens into the world,” journalist Natalia Antonova writes in a Foreign Policy opinion piece, in which she describes her experience with the Russian medical system after “unexpectedly” becoming pregnant shortly after receiving her visa to work in Moscow.
Though the Asia-Pacific region “has seen impressive gains” in the fight against HIV/AIDS “– including a 20 percent drop in new HIV infections since 2001 and a three-fold increase in access to antiretroviral therapy since 2006 — progress is threatened by an inadequate focus on key populations at higher risk of HIV infection and insufficient funding from both domestic and international sources,” according to a UNAIDS report (.pdf) released on Thursday at the 2011 International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Busan, South Korea, a UNAIDS press release states (8/26).
“Conditions in Tripoli’s hospitals could become catastrophic without a rapid improvement in security in the Libyan capital, the emergency coordinator of aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) told Reuters on Wednesday.”
GlobalPost Examines Whether U.S. Policy Prohibiting Funding For Abortion Services Hurting GHI Efforts In Nepal
GlobalPost reports on President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) in Nepal, one of eight GHI focus countries, and examines whether “a long-standing U.S. law” that “prohibits U.S. funds from being used for abortion services overseas for the purpose of family planning … is hurting its efforts to improve health care” in the country.
PEPFAR recently released its 2012 Country Operational Plan Guidance, “which highlights seven program priorities: increasing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) coverage and effectiveness; improving and refining the country’s approach to treatment; programming for prevention impact; TB/HIV integration; testing and counseling; training new health care providers; and capacity building,” according to…
With “[l]ooming budget cuts for FY2012 and recent reports about the decline in AIDS funding from the USG in FY2010 relative to FY2009 … now, more than ever, PEPFAR needs to better demonstrate the effectiveness and value of its programs,” Nandini Oomman, director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the Center…