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UNAIDS Report Finds New HIV Infections Dropped By 20% Over 10 Years, Deaths From AIDS-Related Illness Dropped By 20% Over 5 Years

The number of new HIV infections “has dropped by about one-fifth over the past decade but millions of people are still missing out on major progress in prevention and treatment,” according to the annual UNAIDS report released Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports. “In 2009, 2.6 million people contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS, a decline of 19 percent over the 3.1 million recorded in” 1999 the report found, according to the news service (11/23).

First African Tapped As New Head Of U.N. Population Fund

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Friday that former Nigerian Health Minister Babatunde Osotimehin has been appointed to head to head the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the U.K. Press Association reports. Osotimehin, “a 61-year-old medical doctor and AIDS expert, is the first African to head the agency,” according to the news service (11/20).

UNICEF Report Identifies Factors Helping, Hindering Efforts To Drive Down FGM/C In Five African Countries

A report (.pdf) released on Thursday by UNICEF highlights the recent progress made in reducing the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) despite ongoing social pressures in five African countries, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports. (11/18). “Millions of girls worldwide are cut or mutilated each year,” according to a UNICEF press release (.pdf). “The practice, a serious violation of their human rights, can cause severe, lifelong health problems including bleeding, problems urinating, childbirth complications and newborn deaths,” the release adds (11/18).

Recent Releases In Global Health

New This Week In The Kaiser Global Health Policy Tracker: The President’s Malaria Initiative announced a new focus country and USAID released a new fact sheet on the agency’s reform initiative. Kaiser’s Policy Tracker provides a timely single reference point for the latest information on congressional and administration action on global health. Strengthening…

Leaders Speak At Partnership for Maternal, Newborn And Child Health Conference

Education for women is the most important factor for positively influencing the health of women and children, Indian President Pratibha Patil said on Saturday at a meeting in New Delhi of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), IANS/Sify News reports. “Education is a powerful driver of health. The relationship between poverty, lack of education and limited access to health services, is well recognised,” Patil said at the start of the two-day conference (11/13).

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).

U.N. Agencies, Rotary International Launch Mass Polio Immunization Campaign In Central Africa

The WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International on Thursday announced they will kick off a “mass polio immunization campaign in three Central African nations” on Friday “in response to a polio outbreak suspected in more than 100 deaths and deemed ‘unusual’ because it targets adults more than children,” that was first confirmed in the Republic of Congo on Nov. 4, the Associated Press reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Developing World Access To Medication: “Access to life-saving, essential medicines must be improved,” Josh Ruxin, founder and director of the Access Project and director of Rwanda Works, writes in a Forbes’ “Science Business” blog. After looking at the debate over whether the free market can help improve access and examining programs,…