“There are few ideas as powerful as the eradication of a human disease. But the euphoria around the world’s single success to date â€“ that of smallpox â€“ has led to ever more costly efforts to do the same for polio. World leaders need either to radically step up their commitment or have the courage to abandon the goal explicitly,” a Financial Times editorial states.
In a post on the New York Times’ “On the Ground” blog, Rwanda Works Director Josh Ruxin writes about two cousins who are “fighting the international brain-drain trend that is dangerously affecting medicine in the developing world, and [have] committed themselves to building local medical capacity in their native country” by establishing a university and medical school, called the Kigali Medical University (KMU).
“The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) produce a devastating level of chronic disability in sub-Saharan Africa, with some estimates suggesting that the NTD disease burden exceeds tuberculosis and is one-half that of malaria,” Julie Noblick and Richard Skolnick of George Washington University and Peter Hotez of the Sabin Vaccine Institute write in a PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases editorial. With noted relationships between the prevalence of NTDs and HIV, the diseases “demand a public health response from the established global HIV/AIDS community, in parallel with efforts to scale up NTD control,” they argue.
In a guest post on the GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Janet Fleischman, a senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, describes the Malawian government’s “plans to launch a ‘test and treat’ program in which all HIV-infected pregnant women will immediately be put on antiretroviral treatment (ART) drugs for life.” But she adds that “[t]he growing political and economic crisis in Malawi, highlighted by the government’s use of force against peaceful demonstrators last week, could also imperil the groundbreaking expansion of Malawi’s national HIV/AIDS program.”
The Global Democracy Promotion Act (.pdf), recently introduced in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), “would bar the use of U.S. foreign aid to restrict people’s liberty â€¦ [and] says that organizations accepting U.S. assistance cannot be forced to quash perfectly legal activities in return,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President Latanya Mapp Frett writes in a New York Daily News opinion piece. She says the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s recent vote to reinstate and expand the so-called “global gag rule” would “foste[r] unintended pregnancy, increasing the need for abortion and endangering women’s health.”
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece that “amid all the good news” about HIV prevention recently presented at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, “one stubborn fact was hard to ignore: AIDS remains a metaphor for inequality.” With discrepancies in access to HIV treatment and prevention between developed and developing countries, “[i]t is hard not to conclude from all this that life is not valued equally across the world. This is morally wrong and unacceptable,” he writes.
“Research evidence has undoubtedly been crucial in formulating countless global health policies which have saved many millions of lives,” but “at the same time, we believe there are several common fallacies about its ‘real world’ application,” Gavin Yamey and Richard Feachem of the Evidence to Policy initiative write in an Evidence-Based Medicine perspective.
In a Huffington Post opinion piece, Gro Brundtland, a member of the U.N. Foundation board of directors, former WHO director general and former prime minister of Norway, discusses global progress on childhood vaccines. Brundtland discusses the upcoming launch of the U.N. Foundation’s global vaccines campaign aimed at inspiring Americans “to provide children in the developing world with immunizations against deadly diseases.”
“Given the competing factors of Americaâ€™s growing international interests and shrinking resources to engage on the global arena, the federal government must take a more critical look at how best to deliver accountable, transparent, and sustainable development aid to countries in need and ask itself how best to support our national security, economic, and humanitarian goals.
Mara Hvistendahl, a correspondent with Science magazine and author of the recently published “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” writes in a Foreign Policy feature that “as American politicians argue over whether to cut Planned Parenthood’s U.S. funding and the Christian right drives through bans on sex-selective abortion at the state level, the effects of three decades of sex selection elsewhere in the world are becoming alarmingly apparent. In China, India, Korea, and Taiwan, the first generation shaped by sex selection has grown up, and men are scrambling to find women, yielding the ugly sideblows of increased sex trafficking and bride buying.”