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Former President Clinton, Bill Gates Encourage U.S. Global Health Investment At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

Former President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “that U.S. investments in fighting [HIV/]AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations save lives and play a vital role in improving America’s image abroad,” the Associated Press reports.

Also In Global Health News: Child, Maternal Mortality; AIDS 2010; Food Aid To N. Korea; Millennium Challenge Corporation; Family Planning Conference; Parasitic Disease Test

AU Summit To Examine Progress Toward Child, Maternal Mortality MDGs When leaders of African states gather for the African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda, in July, they will assess the continent’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals relating to child and maternal mortality, Isaac Musumba, Uganda’s state minister for…

Reproductive Health Forum In Ghana Addresses Unsafe Abortions In Africa

The issue of unsafe abortion and its role in women’s health was the focus of a four-day conference this week in Accra, Ghana, involving health experts, policymakers and health workers from across Africa, Ghana News Agency reports. According to the news service, the conference agenda was to include: “a review of regional and national progress in addressing unsafe abortion, lessons from research and experience that could improve safe abortion care, post abortion care and related reproductive health care, such as preventing unwanted pregnancy, discussion of an agenda for action for the African region and ways to improve collaboration among governments, NGOs and other stakeholders” (11/9).

Also In Global Health News: Congo Polio Outbreak; Aid Groups Ordered Closed In Afghanistan; Subsidized Malaria Drugs In Kenya; Gates Grand Challenges; Contraception In The Philippines

Polio Outbreak In Congo Leads To Emergency Immunization Effort “Eighty-five deaths and 184 cases of paralysis were reported in the port city of Pointe Noire, the epicenter of the Republic of Congo’s first polio outbreak in a decade, the World Health Organization said in a statement yesterday,” Bloomberg reports. “The…

Also In Global Health News: Malaria In Pakistan; Mass Rape And HIV Transmission; Contraceptives In Philippines; Drug Corruption In Uganda; Violence Against Women Bill Delayed; South African HIV Orphans

Two Million Malaria Cases Expected In Pakistan More than 250,000 cases of suspected malaria have been reported and 2 million more are expected in Pakistan “in the wake of the country’s devastating floods,” the Guardian reports, citing numbers released by the WHO. Large areas of stagnant water combined with heat…

Jenna Bush Hager Reports On Family Trip To Africa To Visit Health Programs On NBC’s Today Show

In this video clip from NBC’s Today show, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager reports on a recent family trip to Africa to visit PEPFAR-funded programs and to announce a new initiative by the George W. Bush Institute to fight cervical cancer. In the video, the Bushes travel to Tanzania, where they visit a PEPFAR-funded program called Jipende!, which trains hairstylists as health educators in 70 salons throughout the country, and to Zambia, where they visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and discuss a new initiative for cervical cancer testing, treatment and vaccination (12/22).

Philippine President Signs Family Planning Bill Into Law

“The Philippine President has signed into law a family-planning bill that was blocked by the Catholic Church for more than a decade,” Al Jazeera reports (12/28). “President Benigno Aquino III signed into a law a bill that promotes contraception and sex education in schools,” the Wall Street Journal writes, adding, “On Saturday, a deputy presidential spokeswoman confirmed in a statement that Mr. Aquino had quietly signed the act into law on Dec. 21, and it will take effect in January, guaranteeing contraceptives will be available to the poorest Filipinos” (Sandique-Carlos, 12/29).

Pushing 14 Years For Philippines Reproductive Health Bill Took ‘Courage’

Jose “Oying” Rimon, deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Ben de Leon, president of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc., write in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog that the many people who worked for 14 years to pass a reproductive health bill in the Philippines are “profiles in courage.” They continue, “This is the story of these courageous people but it’s also a story of resolution in staying the course, abiding with scientific evidence and facts, and the nobility of staying positive against on onslaught of insults and misinformation.” The bill represents “an unparalleled educational process in which common sense and science prevailed,” they conclude (1/2).

New York Times Profiles Work Of Abortion Hotline In Chile

The New York Times profiles the Safe Abortion Hot Line in Chile, where abortion has been entirely illegal since 1989. Thirty volunteers throughout Chile operate the telephone hotline, which takes “tense calls from women seeking information about abortion every evening from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” the newspaper writes, adding the volunteers have taken “more than 12,000 calls so far, and they continue rolling in at a steady clip.” The newspaper examines the history of abortion laws in Chile and several other countries in South America; says the country’s Ministry of Women began its own hotline to “answer calls from men or women looking for information or support when facing what the ministry calls an ‘abortion situation’ or ‘post-abortion syndrome'”; describes how the drug misoprostol, which “was taken off pharmacy shelves in Chile under Michelle Bachelet, the former president,” who now heads U.N. Women, is used for safe medical abortions; and discusses the establishment of abortion hotlines in Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela by the group Women on Waves (Nelsen, 1/3).

International Family Planning Focus In 2013

“In many ways, 2012 was a banner year for international family planning and reproductive health,” Philip Harvey, president and co-founder of DKT International, and Christopher Purdy, executive vice president of DKT International, write in a post in RH Reality Check, highlighting the London Family Planning Summit and noting contraception “even became an issue in the U.S. presidential election.” Looking forward to 2013, they write that the focus will remain on commitments from the London Family Planning Summit, the role of the private sector in the delivery of products and services, new contraceptive technologies, access to medical abortion, and family planning aid to middle-income countries (1/3).