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Kenya To Launch Measles Vaccine Campaign

The Kenya Ministry of Public Health on Saturday will launch a $1.8 million measles vaccination campaign targeting “1.3 million children who have not been vaccinated against the disease since July 2006,” Business Daily Africa reports. “Measles has become a major public concern in the country and in northern Kenya refugee camps in particular,” as the government has found itself “unable to screen refugees flooding into the country through Kenya’s porous northern border,” the newspaper writes.

Nine Countries Pledge H1N1 Vaccine Donations To Developing Countries

A group of nine countries on Thursday announced they would share H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine supplies with developing nations to protect the world’s poorest from the H1N1 virus, Reuters reports. The U.S. joined Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and Britain in the pledge, according to the news service. The new donations add to the 120 million vaccine doses pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Pasteur pledged to WHO.

Two-Day Forum Addresses Maternal, Child Mortality In Asia-Pacific Region

Poor health care, gender inequality, violence and poverty are to blame for Asian-Pacific countries’ failure to significantly reduce maternal and child mortality rates in the region, Noeleen Heyzer, executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said during the Asia-Pacific Forum on International Conference on Population and Development in Bangkok, VOA News reports.

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.”