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UNAIDS Officials Say Progress Being Made Against HIV/AIDS In Africa, Asia

Speaking at a media briefing in Geneva on Thursday, Sheila Tlou, UNAIDS director of the regional support team for Eastern and Southern Africa, said the region is making progress in scaling up access to prevention and treatment services, including behavior change and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs, the U.N. News Centre reports. “We have to now focus on making sure that we scale up voluntary medical male circumcision, behavior change, and all those [interventions] to make sure that we reduce infections,” she said, adding that improving access to treatment also is critical, according to the news service (1/19). “‘There has been quite a lot of progress since 1997 with a 25 percent reduction in new infections in our region,’ said Tlou,” Agence France-Presse notes (1/19).

S&P Warns Some G20 Nations Face Downgrade Unless Reforms To Stem Rising Health Care Costs Enacted

“Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned it may downgrade ‘a number of highly rated’ Group of 20 [G20] countries from 2015 if their governments fail to enact reforms to curb rising health care spending and other costs related to aging populations,” Reuters reports. “Developed nations in Europe, as well as Japan and the United States, are likely to suffer the largest deterioration in their public finances in the next four decades as more elderly strain social safety nets, S&P said in a report,” the news agency writes (Hopfner et al., 1/31).

Estimating Number Of Births Without Skilled Birth Attendants In South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Noting that the “fifth Millennium Development Goal target for 90 percent of births in low- and middle-income countries to have a skilled birth attendant (SBA) by 2015 will not be met,” researchers from University College London estimate “that there will be between 130 and 180 million non-SBA births in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa from 2011 to 2015 (90 percent of these in rural areas)” in this BioMed Central Pregnancy & Childbirth article. They conclude, “Efforts to improve access to skilled attendance should be accompanied by interventions to improve the safety of non-attended deliveries” (1/17).

UNICEF Stresses Need For Higher Breastfeeding Rates In East Asia

UNICEF “has voiced alarm at the decline of breastfeeding across East Asia, stressing the need for mothers to understand its long-term benefits for the survival and development of their children,” Bernama reports (5/2). In Thailand, as few as five percent of all mothers breastfeed, about 10 percent of mothers breastfeed in Vietnam, and approximately 28 percent of mothers do so in China, according to the U.N. News Centre. “The low breastfeeding rates across East Asia result from economic developments that enable more women to enter the workforce, as well as ‘aggressive’ marketing of infant formula in the region, [UNICEF] added in a news release,” the news service reports.

VOA News Examines Water Conditions In Asian-Pacific Region

VOA News examines how growing populations and industrialization are contributing to deteriorating water conditions in the Asian-Pacific region – ranked second lowest in the world for the availability of water, according to a recent U.N. report. “United Nations water resource experts say with a population of four billion people, the Asia-Pacific region faces the risk of conflicts over water as communities struggle to meet their needs,” due to a decrease in the amount and quality of water, according to the news service.

Study Finds Overall Increase In Developing Country Domestic Health Spending, Some Countries Have Reduced Health Budgets As Donor Funding Increases

Researchers on Friday released a study in the Lancet that found while “[m]ost countries in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East doubled their health budgets,” countries in sub-Saharan Africa appear to have trimmed their health spending as donors have boosted their health aid, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Partners In Health Co-Founder Lectures On Global Health Topics The Dartmouth reports on a recent talk by Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, co-founder of Partners In Health. During his lecture, which touched on several global health-related topics, “Kim stressed the need to incorporate ‘health care delivery science’ into undergraduate…

Media Look At Regional Effect Of China’s Drought

In light of the “first-ever summit of Mekong nations,” where participating countries hailed “China’s move to share data on reservoir levels,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek examines the “severe drought” affecting more than 60 million people in countries along Asia’s Mekong river.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Editorial Argues Global Health Community ‘Too Complacent’ On Development Of An Effective, Affordable Malaria Vaccine   “What is still needed [to fight malaria] is the only tool that has ever truly conquered any infectious disease: an effective and affordable vaccine. And here, the global malaria community has been too complacent,” a…

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