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Fatal Snakebites ‘Vastly Underreported,’ Researchers Report At Annual ASTMH Meeting

“Fatal snakebites worldwide have been vastly underreported because many die before seeking or reaching medical care, researchers” from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany, reported on Monday at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s (ASTMH) annual meeting, UPI.com writes (12/5). NPR’s “Shots” blog notes that, “even at the low end of estimates, deaths from snakebites would exceed those from better-known scourges, such as cholera, dengue fever and Chagas disease,” according to researchers at the symposium (Hensley, 12/6).

Reuters Examines Role Of Family Planning At Durban Climate Change Talks

“[W]ith studies suggesting that 215 million women around the world want — but cannot get — effective contraception, making sure birth control methods are available to those who want them could be one of the cheapest, fastest and most effective ways of addressing climate change, experts said at the U.N. climate conference in Durban” this week, AlertNet reports. “But getting U.N. climate negotiators to even mention the controversial issue is nearly as difficult as getting them to agree on a long-delayed new global climate treaty,” the news agency adds.

Incorporate Other Diseases Into Fight Against AIDS

“The public and private sectors have achieved remarkable success in Africa in the battle against AIDS, and the question now is: Where do we go from here?” James Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and former under secretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy, writes in this Forbes opinion piece. Noting the “incredible accomplishment” made in fighting HIV/AIDS over the past decade, Glassman says “the first answer to where we go from here is more of the same, and then some,” and states that the UNAIDS targets of “Zero new HIV infections” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths” “soun[d] right.”

Reflecting On Bush’s Global Health, Foreign Policy Initiatives In Africa

In this Brookings opinion piece, Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), and Jessica Smith, a research assistant at AGI, reflect on George W. Bush’s four-day tour of Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia, where he will “focus on some of the initiatives that [he] advocated for and strongly supported while in office.” They write, “Despite demonstrating a unique commitment to the African continent, …­ Bush’s record tends to be underrated,” but he “has high approval rating on the continent itself, making it instructive to reflect on the former president’s African initiatives, which bring him such admiration from sub-Saharan Africa.”

16th International Conference On AIDS, STIs Opens In Ethiopia

The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) opened Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, “with mixed messages of hope and fear,” Afrique en ligne reports, adding, “With about 7,000 people in attendance, the opening ceremony witnessed the celebration of past successes and fear over future uncertainties in funding for HIV/AIDS” (12/4). According to Next, the conference “will provide a platform for effective African solution toward defeating the scourge once and for all” (12/5).

CSIS Releases Compilation Of Papers On China’s Health, Foreign Aid Engagement In Africa

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) released a compilation of papers “[f]ocusing specifically on China’s health and foreign aid engagement in Africa,” which “includes contributions by U.S. and Chinese experts.” According to the organization’s website, the papers “were written for the Conference on China’s Emerging Global Health and Foreign Aid Engagement,…

GlobalPost Examines U.S. Response To HIV/AIDS ‘Scientific Advances, Economic Realities’

GlobalPost examines the “collision of scientific advances vs. economic realities” in the fight against HIV/AIDS in a special report as part of its “Healing the World” series. “Thirty years after the discovery of AIDS, scientists believe for the first time that they now have the tools to beat back the deadly virus. … But the gloomy global economic situation, and recent scale-backs in HIV funding around the world, have cast great doubt as to whether policymakers will take advantage of the combination of new prevention tools to fight AIDS,” the article states, noting that “President Obama is expected on Thursday — World AIDS Day — to talk about his administration’s next steps on AIDS, … his first major speech on AIDS as president” (Donnelly, 11/30).

Prioritizing HIV/AIDS Prevention And Treatment

In his ForeignPolicy.com column, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that despite an “abundance of tools to fight the global AIDS epidemic,” including male circumcision and treatment as prevention, “the breakthroughs don’t amount to a global reprieve.” The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s announcement it is postponing Round 11 grants, “on top of news that donor funding for HIV/AIDS leveled in 2009 and then declined 10 percent in 2010, should be a wake-up call to focus on cost-effective responses,” he writes.

African Countries Lose Billions Of Dollars Training Doctors Who Then Leave For Developed Nations, Study Says

Nine African countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – “have lost approximately $2 billion in their investment in doctors who have subsequently migrated abroad,” with South Africa and Zimbabwe suffering “the greatest economic losses,” according to a study published Friday in BMJ, VOA’s “Breaking News” blog reports (11/25). The researchers, led by Edward Mills, chair of global health at the University of Ottawa, found “Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States benefit the most from recruiting doctors trained abroad” and “called on destination countries to recognize this imbalance and invest more in training and developing health systems in the countries that lose out,” Reuters writes (Kelland, 11/25). The Los Angeles Times’ “World Now” blog writes, “Rich countries saved money by training fewer doctors than they needed and making up the gap by importing medical staff, according to the report” (11/25).

Guardian International Development Journalism Competition Results Posted

The Guardian this week posted the results of its 2011 International Development Journalism Competition. “Sixteen finalists — eight amateur, eight professional — were sent to the developing world to write a feature on a theme suggested by the non-governmental organization that hosted their trip,” the newspaper notes. Many of the themes are health-related, including fighting malaria in Ghana, improving medical care in India, using insecticide-treated bed nets in Nigeria, access to family planning services in Zambia, and gender-based violence in Haiti (George, 11/22).