Though emergency humanitarian assistance has helped keep people alive in the Horn of Africa, “this effort is not sustainable,” David Morley, president and CEO of UNICEF Canada, writes in a Globe and Mail opinion piece. “Trucking in water and flying in food and medicine save lives, but we must rethink the way aid agencies operate in the region. We need to blend the immediate life-saving effort with creative longer-term community development … and involve everyone affected by the crisis. Farmers, herders, refugees and displaced people, local communities and government officials have valuable insights that a massive humanitarian response all too often overlooks,” he continues.
In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, William Savedoff, a senior fellow at the center, writes that while the World Bank has “spoken strongly” on the issue of raising tobacco taxes in an effort to “generate revenue, cut health costs and save lives,” it…
“Clearly, there is no room for complacency” in India’s efforts to eradicate polio, defined by the WHO as no recorded case of the disease for three years, because “[t]he goal of complete eradication is within reach,” Deepak Gupta, a senior U.N. professional in Strategic Health/Development Communication, writes in an Asia Sentinel opinion piece. “[T]he next three years — till 2014 — will be crucial,” he writes, meaning experts should focus on “intense communication and preventive work, especially with regard to critical risk-factors like poor routine immunization and lack of proper sanitation,” he states, concluding, “The challenge is to ensure the sustainability of the success achieved so far” (10/19).
Noting advances in bednet, mosquito repellent and malaria vaccine technologies, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in a post on the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, “People used to say eradication was impossible, but we remain optimistic because human beings have a spectacular ability to innovate.”…
Helen Epstein, author of “The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS” examines the implications of the world’s growing population for Africa in this New York Times Opinion piece, writing, “Before this century ends, there could well be 10 billion of us, a billion more than previously expected. Nearly all of these extra billion people will be born in Africa, where women in some countries bear seven children each on average, and only one in 10 uses contraception. With mortality rates from disease falling, the population of some countries could increase eightfold in the next century.”
Though the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99 percent over the past 20 years, World Polio Day is recognized “because we havenâ€™t done enough yet,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in his blog, “The Gates Notes.” He continues, “The last one percent is the hardest percent, and we have to do even more than weâ€™ve already done if we hope to finish the job on polio. The day the world is declared polio free is the day we can really begin celebrating” (10/21).
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of the Doctors Without Borders Access to Essential Medicines Campaign, responds to the results of the RTS,S malaria vaccine clinical trial announced last week, writing, “A malaria vaccine that works would be a major breakthrough. But while the latest advance toward the development is scientifically important, there are several reasons to be cautious about the difference this vaccine could make, on the basis of current results.”
With the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial results showing “moderate” success, helping to reignite “optimism about eradicating malaria entirely,” “there are other big hurdles still to surmount,” a New York Times editorial states. “There are hints that the protection may wane over time and results from administering a booster shot won’t be known until 2014,” and side effects could be a concern, the editorial writes.
Several opinion pieces respond to a report (.pdf) presented on Monday to the U.N. General Assembly by Arnand Grover, U.N. special rapporteur for the Right to Health, that “considers the impact of criminal and other legal restrictions on abortion; conduct during pregnancy; contraception and family planning; and the provision of sexual and reproductive education and information,” according to the report summary. The report also states, “Realization of the right to health requires the removal of barriers that interfere with individual decision-making on health-related issues and with access to health services, education and information, in particular on health conditions that only affect women and girls. In cases where a barrier is created by a criminal law or other legal restriction, it is the obligation of the State to remove it” (8/3).
“Thirty years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed in the United States, the world finds itself at a tipping point in the fight against this deadly disease,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and George W. Bush Inaugural Global Health Fellow Ambassador Mark Dybul, who served as global AIDS coordinator from 2006 to 2009, write in a Huffington Post opinion piece. With the creation of PEPFAR, “President Bush and Congress responded with an effort that reflected … the compassion and generosity of the American people, [with an] insistence on impact,” they write, adding, “Since taking office, the Obama Administration has made building on the success of PEPFAR a priority.”