“Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are disappearing in some parts of Africa, … indicat[ing] controls such as anti-mosquito bed nets are having a significant impact on the incidence of malaria in some sub-Saharan countries,” researchers report in a paper published in Malaria Journal, according to BBC News. But the team of Danish and Tanzanian “researchers say mosquitoes are also disappearing from areas with few controls,” and “[t]hey are uncertain if mosquitoes are being eradicated or whether they will return with renewed vigor,” the news agency writes (McGrath, 8/26).
Integrating Rapid Syphilis And HIV Testing For Pregnant Women Could Reduce Maternal, Child Morbidity And Mortality
“A study conducted in Uganda and Zambia by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) found high rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection among pregnant women in both countries,” but showed that “integrating rapid syphilis screening and HIV testing for pregnant women was feasible, cost-effective, and helped to prevent transmission of syphilis and HIV from mother-to-child,” PlusNews reports.
WHO Study Finds Global Neonatal Mortality Rate Down 28% Since 1990, But Progress Slow In Developing Countries
“Global death rates among newborns under one month old are dropping,” but “developing nations are still reporting a disproportionately high level of child deaths,” with “99 percent of all newborn deaths occur[ing] in developing countries,” according to a study published Tuesday in PLoS Medicine, Agence France-Presse reports. The study, conducted by the WHO, Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, showed that half of those deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the news agency notes (8/30). The study authors “used civil registration systems, household surveys, and other data sources to compile statistical models to estimate that in 2009, 3.3 million babies died during their first month of life compared to 4.6 million in 1990,” a decrease of 28 percent, according to a PLoS press release (8/30).
Speaking at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, on Thursday, African Regional Director of WHO Luis Sambo said “that 46 Africa member countries still had remarkable challenges to scale before meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Nigeria’s The Nation reports.
The U.N. “announced Monday that Somalia’s famine had spread to a sixth area within the country, with officials warning that 750,000 people could die in the next few months unless aid efforts were scaled up,” the New York Times reports (Gettleman/Kyama, 9/5).
Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith arrived in Kenya on Monday to assess and raise awareness of the famine conditions in the Horn of Africa, Capital FM News reports (Kaberia, 8/8). “Biden’s trip is the highest-profile U.S. visit to drought-stricken East Africa since the numbers of refugees began dramatically increasing in June,” according to the Associated Press (Straziuso, 8/8).
The Seattle Times on Sunday examined efforts by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “to boost the levels of vitamins and minerals in crops many Africans rely on for the bulk of their diets.”
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who is traveling in East Africa with a U.S. delegation “to study the famine affecting the lives of over 12 million people, many of them children,” writes in the Huffington Post’s blog, “Huffpost Impact,” that the group will assess “what more we as a nation can do.”
“President Obama has approved an additional $105 million for ‘urgent humanitarian relief efforts’ in the Horn of Africa, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced in a statement Monday afternoon,” Politico’s “Politico44” blog reports (8/8). “Carney says the money will help provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation and health services to those in need,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (8/8). The money will come out of the Emergency Relief and Migration Assistance Fund, Carney said, adding that the U.S. has provided about $565 million in humanitarian aid so far this year, Reuters notes (8/9).
“Experts in Africa, the continent worst-hit by malaria, reacted with optimism but also caution on Tuesday to news that the first vaccine against the killer disease may soon reach the market,” Agence France-Presse reports. “GlaxoSmithKline said it was seeking approval for a prototype vaccine that reduced the risk of malaria…