“Access to affordable lifesaving medicines will be threatened where they are needed most — in parts of the developing world — if the U.S. insists on implementing restrictive intellectual property policies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement,” states a press release from Doctors Without Borders. According to the release, “a leaked draft of the U.S. position indicates that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is demanding aggressive intellectual property provisions that go beyond what international trade law requires” and that these measures would “delay the introduction of more affordable generic drugs” (9/8).
Access to Health Services
“Having to contend with U.S. army drones and the crossfire between the Taliban and the Pakistani army, the residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas find access to treatment for HIV/AIDS harder than in most other parts of the world,” Inter Press Service reports. People with HIV/AIDS living “in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) must cross the porous border into Afghanistan and take a circuitous route to Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, to get timely anti-retroviral treatment (ART),” at a family care center established by the Pakistan government and the WHO, the news service writes.
Human Rights Watch Report Says Foreign Aid Indirectly Supporting Forced Labor In Vietnam's Drug Rehabilitation Centers
In a report released Wednesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch “accused the United States government, the World Bank and other international donors of indirectly funding forced labor in Vietnam’s drug rehabilitation centers,” Inter Press Service reports. The report “said that Vietnam’s system of forced labor centers for people who use drugs has expanded over the last decade” and they “have been sustained by a variety of international donors, none of which has made objections,” the news service writes.
The Washington Post looks at the conditions within Banadir Hospital in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. “The scenes … reflect the immense challenge facing this Horn of Africa nation, already besieged by multiple woes, from civil war to radical Islamist militants to a weak transitional government incapable of governing effectively, despite massive support from the United States and its allies,” the newspaper writes (Raghavan, 9/7).
Inter Press Service examines what some experts are calling a lack of commitment from health care workers, which they say is “among the reasons why Africa may not succeed in achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 on improving maternal health by 2015 by reducing maternal mortality by three quarters.” According to IPS, “Studies conducted by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) in East, West and Southern Africa found that most countries are struggling to provide universal access to reproductive health.”
Women Struggling To Find Truly Free Health Care In Sierra Leone's System, Amnesty International Report Says
“Sierra Leone’s free health care plan for pregnant women and young children is dysfunctional and hobbled by corruption and a lack of accountability,” according to a report (.pdf) released Tuesday by Amnesty International, Agence France-Presse reports. The nation’s free health care program for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five years old was launched in April 2010 with support from UNICEF, the World Bank, the WHO and the U.K. Department for International Development, AFP notes (9/6).
“Burundian NGOs say at least 20 people have died” as a result of a “months-long shortage” of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), although “Ministry of Health officials could not be reached to confirm the number of people affected,” PlusNews reports. “More than 60,000 Burundians need HIV treatment, but only about 25,000 have access to ARVs,” according to the news agency, which adds, “The shortage has been blamed on dwindling donor funds and a disorganized health ministry.”
“Recent fighting in Libya, especially in the capital Tripoli, has taken a toll on medical services with overstretched personnel working under very difficult conditions, and seriously ill and injured patients unable to reach hospitals and clinics, health workers say,” IRIN reports.
“Tens of thousands of women in Haiti have severely limited access to reproductive and maternal healthcare, many are compelled to trade sex for food and most are vulnerable to rape, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Tuesday,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports (8/30). The report said “[d]espite a mammoth humanitarian-care push in the wake of the Jan. 12, 2010 quake that killed as many as 300,000 people, serious gaps exist in the healthcare that women and girls are receiving,” the Los Angeles Times writes.
Inter Press Service profiles a program launched by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) to develop antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) specifically designed for children living with HIV/AIDS. “The program will focus exclusively on developing child-adapted formulations for children under three, the most neglected segment in terms of availability of ARVs. The DNDi hopes to have new pediatric-specific medicines available between 2014 and 2016,” IPS writes. The article examines pediatric HIV treatment issues in India, Kenya and Brazil (Frayssinet et al., 8/29).