Foreign Policy examines the HIV epidemic in Swaziland, where nearly one-fifth of residents are infected. Because of the country’s high per capita infection rate, “[o]ne might expect HIV to slap you in the face. But there are no buildings collapsed by an HIV earthquake, no towns flooded by an HIV tsunami. No zombie-sick people dripping HIV from their eyeballs. You don’t see obvious signs of it outside of the clinics and hospitals or the privacy of homesteads,” the article states. While “Swaziland’s HIV orphans present a frightening problem for the country’s future,” the piece describes one program, called Pasture Valley, that is helping a couple dozen orphans gain an education and health care (Raviv, 7/12).
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
“I’d like to pose the question: what more must we do to ensure the health, nutritional, and educational needs of all seven billion are met?” Scott Radloff, director of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health, writes about World Population Day on the agency’s “IMPACTblog.” He continues, “One place to…
Scientists from Rigshospitalet â€“ Copenhagen University Hospital â€“ and the University of Copenhagen have discovered malaria parasites use a type of antibody camouflage to hide from the immune system in the placentas of pregnant women, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a University…
“U.N. officials sounded the alarm Tuesday about a deepening crisis in East Africa, saying they are struggling to cope with the number of people on the move in the region because of the severe drought and continued fighting in Somalia,” the Associated Press reports. “World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the drought has left millions hungry, farmers at risk of losing their livelihoods and the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” the AP writes (7/12).
Al Jazeera reports on the public health situation in South Sudan, which gained its independence on Saturday, and profiles Juba Teaching Hospital, the new country’s largest medical center. “A lack of proper primary care facilities in South Sudan means the doctors here are often overworked: Many of the doctors at the hospital come to work seven days a week,” Al Jazeera writes. “The health ministry has plans to open a network of primary care centers â€“ roughly one per 15,000 people â€“ but none are fully operational,” according to the news service. About 80 percent of the medical care in South Sudan is provided by international aid organizations, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Carlstrom, 7/10).
With the global population expected to reach seven billion by October this year, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin told Inter Press Service that “seven billion represents a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action.”
Significant progress is being made toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline, but the poorest countries are not progressing as quickly and more must be done to improve health and development outcomes in those nations, according to this year’s MDG report (.pdf), VOA News reports. “Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report on Thursday in Geneva (Schlein, 7/7).
“More than half of working women in the world, 600 million, are trapped in insecure jobs without legal protection, according to the first flagship report of the new agency U.N. Women. A similar number do not have even basic protection against domestic violence, it finds, while sexual assault has become a hallmark of modern conflict,” the Guardian reports.
In the second of a two-part Al Jazeera opinion-piece series “examining the methods by which multinational drug corporations inflate their expenses and justify their pricing strategies,” Khadija Sharife, a journalist and visiting scholar at the Center for Civil Society, looks at U.S. tax laws, lax oversight of international clinical trials, the cost of research on new pharmaceutical compounds, and vaccine manufacturing.
Mary Ellen Stanton, a senior maternal health advisor at USAID, and Chris Thomas, global health communications and policy advisor at USAID, outline the agency’s work to promote better health outcomes for women and children in the developing world on GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog.