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Researchers To Expand Malaria Vaccine Study After Initial Trial Yields Encouraging Results

Encouraged by early results of a study of an experimental malaria vaccine involving 45 children in Burkina Faso, researchers led by Pierre Druilhe at the Pasteur Institute in Paris are set to expand the clinical trial, resulting in a larger study involving 800 children in Mali, BBC News reports. The initial trial aimed “to test the safety of the vaccine but this follow up study found that children who received it had an incidence of the disease three to four times lower than children who did not,” BBC writes.

UNFPA Working To Ensure Health Of Future Generations In Dadaab Refugee Camps

The health care system in the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, which were established “long ago,” are “currently challenged and stretched by the recent influx of refugees,” UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimihen writes in this BMJ Group Blogs entry, noting that efforts are underway “to strengthen the existing system with supplies [and] human resources at clinic and outreach levels” to increase access. UNFPA is working “to improve reproductive health care in Dadaab and in accessible parts of Somalia through the provision of related life-saving medical supplies and equipment, which will lead to a reduction in adult and child morbidity and death,” he writes.

Leaders Address Nutrition On Sidelines Of U.N. NCD Meeting

On the sidelines of the U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on Tuesday, “[r]epresentatives of governments, civil society and the private sector joined United Nations agencies … to emphasize the importance of good nutrition, which is vital not only for human health but also for national economic and social development,” the U.N. News Centre reports. The event “took place one year after the launch of the Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, a global initiative that aims to improve maternal and child nutrition,” the news service reports (9/20).

USAID Launches 'FWD' Campaign To Raise Awareness Of Famine, Drought In Horn Of Africa

The PBS NewsHour blog “The Rundown” features an interview with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, in which he discusses a new website initiative called “FWD,” “aimed at giving viewers a better sense of the scope of the famine in the Horn of Africa — its worst in more than 60 years.” The site includes infographics and data maps “intended to contextualize the problem by showing the recent increase in food prices, where internally displaced peoples camps are located, and where various aid groups are operating,” according to the blog (Epatko, 9/20).

U.N. Calls For Advancement On Goal To Save Women And Children; Poorest Countries, Drug Company Contribute To Fight

Speaking at a high-level meeting at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while lauding the progress made under the Every Woman Every Child initiative since its launch one year ago, noted that millions of women and children “are still dying needless deaths and called for advancing the goal of saving 16 million lives by 2015,” the U.N. News Centre reports. A one-year progress update launched at the meeting, Saving the Lives of 16 Million, “shows that in the first year of the effort, commitments have been implemented and enhanced, new partners have come on board, funding has been increased, policies improved and services strengthened on the ground,” according to the news service (9/20).

U.N. Set To Announce Expansion Of 'Every Woman Every Child' Program

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday is expected “to announce a significant expansion of the organization’s ambitious global program to tackle infant and maternal mortality and boost access to reproductive health over coming years,” the Financial Times reports. The announcement “will highlight the doubling of commitments from governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations on funding and policy initiatives for the ‘Every Woman Every Child’ program,” the newspaper writes (Raval et al., 9/19). The announcement comes “[a]s the U.N. General Assembly opens a new session” and is “being called on [by the international community] to provide more family planning services to hundreds of millions of women,” according to VOA News (DeCapua, 9/19).

World Leaders Should Commit To Closing Health Care Worker Gap

Recent U.N. statistics showing a drop in child mortality are both good and bad, because the number of child deaths continues to drop, but “progress isn’t reaching all families around the world, and it isn’t reaching newborn babies as often as older children,” Joy Lawn, director of Global Evidence and Policy for Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program, writes in a GlobalPost opinion piece. While the knowledge and technology exist to save lives, “too often, there is simply no one equipped to deliver basic lifesaving care to families who need it most. More than anything else, babies and children die for lack of frontline health workers,” she writes.

Test To Properly Diagnose Fever In Children Needed 'Desperately'

“[F]ar too many children in Kenya and other African countries continue to suffer unnecessarily each year due to the misdiagnosis of fever, which contributes to the deaths of nearly three million children of less than five years of age from malaria and pneumonia,” Willis Akhwale, head of Kenya’s Department of Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, writes in a Daily Nation opinion piece, saying that health care workers “desperately need a test that can quickly and accurately identify and distinguish between fever-causing diseases.”

Three Reports Evaluate Global Progress To Meet MDGs 4 And 5

Three recent reports — a one-year assessment released by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) of the WHO on Tuesday, an analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington published on Tuesday in the Lancet, and a Save the Children report released on Monday entitled “No Child out of Reach” — examine the progress of the global campaign to save mothers and children under five in developing nations and evaluate whether Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, reducing child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 and maternal deaths by three-quarters over the same period, can be met.

Major Donors Should Consider Funding For Potential Malaria Vaccine

When the results of a large clinical trial testing the effectiveness of the RTS,S malaria vaccine among children in Africa are made available later this year, “it will be time to start discussing what to do with the vaccine,” Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece. “If the vaccine is safe and effective, one of the most important questions will be how to pay for it … and even though Andrew Witty, the CEO of the vaccine’s manufacturer, GSK, has promised to price the vaccine at a point just above its production cost, this price may still end up being too high for many malaria-affected countries to pay for it,” he writes.