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7 More Health Workers Killed In Pakistan In Attacks Suspected To Be Linked To Murders Of Polio Vaccinators

“Gunmen ambushed and shot dead six Pakistani women aid workers and a male doctor on Tuesday, police said, and the charity they worked for said it suspected the attacks were linked to recent murders of polio vaccination workers,” Reuters reports. “Two weeks ago, gunmen killed nine health workers taking part in a national polio vaccination drive in a series of attacks,” the news agency notes (Ahmad/Houreld, 1/1). The murders of the polio workers “brought the work of 225,000 vaccinators to a standstill,” the New York Times writes, adding, “Polio eradication officials have promised to regroup and try again. But first they must persuade the killers to stop shooting workers and even guarantee safe passage.” The newspaper examines the history of resistance to polio vaccination campaigns in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Mali (McNeil, 12/24).

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).

Wall Street Journal Examines Potential Implications Of Allegedly Fake U.S. Vaccination Campaign In Pakistan

The Wall Street Journal reports on how “a reportedly fake vaccination campaign conducted [by the U.S.] to help hunt down Osama bin Laden has caused a backlash against international health workers in some parts of Pakistan and has impeded efforts to wipe out polio in the country,” one of only four worldwide where polio remains endemic. The article quotes a UNICEF country representative, a U.S. Embassy official, a Muslim cleric, a non-governmental organization representative, a local health care worker, and an official with a provincial health department (Tohid, 12/3).

Global Health Service Corps Essential To Improve African Health Systems, Achieve ‘AIDS-Free Generation’

“A notable feature of Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton’s ‘AIDS-free generation’ initiative is to strengthen health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa, … a view echoed by many eminent voices in the global health community,” Anand Reddi of the University of Colorado Medical School writes in a post on Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “To address the African health care workforce shortage, I encourage Secretary Clinton to adopt the principles of the” Global Health Service Corps (GHSC), which would be composed of U.S. health professionals who could “provide medical education and technical assistance to enhance the health care workforces in low-income countries,” Reddi says. In addition, the GHSC would focus on “infrastructure development, knowledge transfer, and capacity building,” Reddi writes.

Ethiopia Reduced Child Mortality Rate By More Than Half Over Past 20 Years

Ethiopia has reduced its child mortality rates by more than half since 1990, from about 20 percent to 8.8 percent, “through campaigns to increase the number of health workers and clinics throughout the country, government and aid officials said on Friday,” Reuters reports. “Reducing malnutrition, which is an underlying factor in at least half of all under-five deaths, has had a profound impact on the survival rates of children,” Ethiopia State Minister of Health Keseteberhan Admassu “told a gathering of representatives of United Nations agencies,” according to the news agency. “Keseteberhan said the nationwide malnutrition rate has been slashed by 32 percent, with prevalence to being underweight dropping to 28.7 percent in 2010 from 42.1 percent in 2000,” Reuters writes (Maasho, 11/11).

Problems In India’s Public Health Care System Lead To Growth Of Private Medicine

Toronto’s Star reports on how problems within India’s health care system — such as absent doctors and nurses, a lack of necessary equipment, corruption and one of the lowest health budgets in the world — has led to the mistrust of the public system and has paved the way for private medicine in the country. According to the newspaper, “In a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey in India, 79 percent said they opted for private doctors or traditional healers rather than government-run hospitals,” and that “they spent an average seven percent of their monthly income on health care.”

Study Identifies Five Areas Of Global Health On Which Canada Can Focus

A “year-long assessment done by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences concluded there is a strong rationale for Canada to play a more strategic role in global health, while recognizing the scale of humanitarian needs,” and to “focu[s] on five areas where its research is strongest, including indigenous health,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The report, released at the Global Health conference in Montreal on Sunday, identified five areas where Canada could have significant impact on global health, including public health programs, community-based primary health care, partnerships with developing countries in research/education and global health innovation,” the newspaper writes (Priest, 11/13).

IRIN Examines Efforts To Train Midwives, Improve Maternal Health In Laos

“In 2010, for the first time in more than 20 years, 140 midwives graduated in Laos but specialists say their skills may go untapped because the country’s women are not used to visiting health workers,” IRIN reports. “Only 34 percent of women in Laos seek the advice of medical professionals; even fewer see one when they are pregnant, according to government data from 2009-2010,” the news service writes.

Malawi Government Addressing Drug, Medical Supply Shortages In Wake Of Aid Withdrawals

As international donors “remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector” in Malawi “amid allegations of pilfering and corruption in the procurement of drugs,” “patients seeking medical treatment at government-run medical facilities are unable to access medication such as antiretrovirals (ARVs), anti-malarial drugs and even painkillers,” Inter Press Service reports, adding, “Health facilities are also experiencing a shortage of medical equipment such as gloves, and malaria and HIV/AIDS testing kits.”

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.