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Virus-Sharing Draft Agreement Very Close; U.S. Yet To Formally Approve, Reuters Reports

A draft agreement that would ensure countries would share virus samples in exchange for access to affordable vaccines derived from such samples in the event of a pandemic is nearly complete, senior diplomats told Reuters on Thursday. “Consensus has been reached across all regions, including Indonesia which three years ago stopped sharing influenza samples with the World Health Organization (WHO), but the United States has yet to give formal approval, they said,” according to the news service.

Japanese Officials Raise Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Alert, Expand Evacuation Zone Around Plant

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Tuesday “raised the level of severity at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from 5 to 7 – the highest level on the international scale and equal to the Chernobyl accident,” ABC News reports. The decision by the agency came after an assessment revealed “the damaged reactors have been releasing large amounts of radioactive substances that pose a threat to humans and the environment in a much wider area” than initially suspected, according to the news service (Tangalo, 4/12).

Also In Global Health News: HIV/AIDS In Indonesia; Mobile Phone Application For Malaria; Film Festival; Results-Based Financing; Role Of Civil Society, Private Sector In Fighting HIV/AIDS

Reuters Examines Growing HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Indonesia Reuters examines the growing number of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia, where “widespread ignorance” about the disease and a government afraid of campaigning “effectively against it for fear of being accused by conservatives of promoting promiscuity” have helped fuel the epidemic. Currently, 300,000 Indonesians…

Also In Global Health News: India To Examine NDM-1 Study; Aid For Libya; Food Shortages In North Korea; Global Virus Network

Indian Government Forms Committee To Explore NDM-1 Study Findings The Indian government “has formed a scientific committee” to examine the findings of a recent Lancet Infectious Diseases study, which found bacteria containing the NDM-1 gene were found in water supplies in New Dehli, CNN/IBN-Live reports. “The Health Ministry isn’t pleased…

Marking World Health Day, WHO Warns Misuse Of Antibiotics Undermining Global Fight Against Infectious Diseases

U.N. officials on Thursday marked World Health Day with a warning that “the misuse and irrational use of antibiotics has undermined the global fight against tuberculosis and malaria, warning of a possible return to the days before the drugs were developed,” and called for urgent action to control the spread of drug resistance, Reuters reports. In addition to growing resistance to TB and malaria treatments, “treatment for gonorrhea was threatened by growing resistance to the last-line treatment, and the WHO said hospital-acquired superbugs, resistant to major antibiotics, were becoming increasing frequent,” the news service writes (Mogato, 4/7).

Also In Global Health News: Japan Considering Foreign Assistance Cuts; Conditions In Libya; Flooding In Namibia; Foreign Aid In India; Maternal Mortality In Rwanda; Dengue In Sri Lanka; China’s One-Child Policy

Japan Considering Reducing Foreign Aid By 20 Percent To Help Fund Disaster Relief Japanese media reported on Thursday that the country “is considering cutting foreign aid by 20 percent this fiscal year to help fund its extra budget for disaster relief after last month’s massive quake and tsunami,” Reuters reports.…

Also In Global Health News: Potential Corruption With DFID Funds; HIV/AIDS In Tanzania; Drug Substitution Program In Afghanistan; Rare Disease Consortium; Pnuemonococcal Vaccine In DRC

U.K.’s National Audit Office Warns DFID To Be On Guard Against Possible Corruption The U.K.’s National Audit Office (NAO) on Wednesday issued a report on the financial management of the Department for International Development (DFID) warning that “the UK had no clear picture of the ‘extent, nature and impact’ of…

BMJ News Reports On S. Africa’s HIV Prevention, Treatment Efforts

BMJ News reports on South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s visit to the U.S. last week, where he spoke at a forum in Washington, D.C., on the efforts the government is making to promote HIV prevention and treatment and improve the country’s health system. The publication notes that the health ministry has set a goal of testing the HIV status of 15 million people in the country by the end of the year – “nearly a third of its population of 50 million.”

Also In Global Health News: Radiation Risk, Aid Delivery In Japan; HIV/AIDS In PNG; Counterfeit Drugs; Health Spending In Myanmar

Radiation’s Effect On Health; Aid Distribution In Japan In light of the damage to nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the New York Times examines how increased radiation exposure affects human health. “Certain levels of radiation exposure are known to increase the risk of cancer, but scientists disagree about…

Health Experts Release Recommendations For Fighting Breast Cancer In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

“Worldwide breast cancer incidence and mortality are expected to increase by 50 percent from 2002 and 2020 – and those rates will be highest in developing nations,” according to a review article published Friday in Lancet Oncology that describes several challenges low- and middle-income countries face in diagnosing and treating such conditions, the Huffington Post reports. The review features a series of recommendations, generated from discussions and reports presented during the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) meeting last year, which drew together more than 150 health experts from 43 countries to discuss breast cancer management in low- and middle-resource countries (LMCs).