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Gates Foundation's Efforts To Improve Access To Contraceptives Will Improve Health, Lives Of Women, Children

“Supporters of women’s health ought to cheer the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s plan” to provide $1 billion over eight years to increasing women’s access to contraceptives and family planning services because the “effort underscores the critical role of family planning in the international battle to reduce poverty and improve maternal health,” a Seattle Times editorial states. While “Catholic leaders” and “social conservatives” might not agree with the effort, “Bill and Melinda Gates are not looking for a political or religious fight over women’s rights; they’re looking to add their resources to efforts to improve the lives and health of women and children,” according to the editorial.

Commitments Announced At London Summit Show Power Of Family Planning Evidence

“High levels of unmet need for contraception around the world have a very negative impact on women’s and children’s health and survival as well as on the prosperity of communities and nations,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “If these women had access to dependable voluntary contraception, unintended pregnancies would fall by more than 70 percent, 100,000 fewer women would die in childbirth, and nearly 600,000 fewer newborns would die each year,” she continues, adding, “If every woman had the option to leave a two-year gap between a birth and a subsequent pregnancy, deaths of children under five would fall by 13 percent.”

China Should Abandon Family Planning Policy

In this post on the Council of Foreign Relations’ “Asia Unbound” blog, Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the council, argues that China should abandon its so-called “one-child policy,” writing, “Despite the relaxation of the [law], China is increasingly suffering the consequences of a draconian policy that was put in place in the early 1980s.” Noting several reasons why the country should drop the law, including that it has “become a constant source of friction in China’s relations with the Western world” and is “undermining China’s international competitiveness,” Huang states, “Despite the huge social and international cost, it seems to be extremely difficult for the government to abandon the notorious policy” (7/12).

Donor Governments Need To Conduct More Post-Market Oversight Of Generic Medicines

The WHO and FDA approve drugs to treat malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases in low- and middle-income countries, but “some of the manufacturers, predominantly Chinese and Indian firms, may be knowingly producing” poor quality medicines, according to “the conclusion of my research teams’ studies, published this week in the journal Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine,” Roger Bate, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute and lead author of the studies, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. “With little or no oversight, these companies may be cutting corners in the manufacturing process — or worse, watering down the active ingredient in their drugs, perhaps when the price of the raw material spikes and supply becomes harder to obtain,” he states, adding, “By exposing people to insufficient doses of the active ingredient, the drugs may also accelerate drug resistance and cause tremendous harm to whole populations in the long run.”

Financial Boost To Malaria Fight Would Result In Beneficial Gains

“[A] surge in money for [insecticide-treated] nets and other interventions” to fight malaria over the past decade has reduced the malaria-related death rate by 26 percent since 2000, and a “new push” to fight the disease, which killed 655,000 people in 2010, would have beneficial results, according to a report set to be released by Ray Chambers, the U.N. special envoy for malaria, an Economist editorial notes. “But raising the cash will be tricky and getting the promised result harder still,” the editorial states. The African Leaders Malaria Alliance estimates that “[u]niversal deployment of good treatment, diagnostics and preventive measures, including bed nets, would — in theory — prevent 640 million malaria cases and three million deaths by 2015, the paper explains,” and notes “[t]his would cost at least $6.7 billion between 2012 and 2015,” the Economist writes.

Governments Should Mobilize To Address Drowning Deaths Worldwide

“In an age of ethnic conflict, fatal disease and chronic malnutrition, it seems strange to stumble across figures such as this: 388,000 people die every year from drowning, according to the World Health Organization,” a Washington Post editorial writes. “To put this number in perspective, drowning accounts for nearly 1 in 10 deaths worldwide,” the editorial continues, adding, “It is the third-leading cause of unintentional death” and “the greatest cause of injury and unintentional death among children younger than five in both the United States and Asia.” The editorial states, “What makes this public health crisis particularly problematic is that, unlike fatal disease and chronic malnutrition, drowning is not an issue at the forefront of humanitarian aid efforts.”

International AIDS Conference Must Focus On Combination Prevention Strategies To Fight AIDS Among Women

Highlighting statistics showing how HIV affects more women than men worldwide, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), writes in a Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” blog post, “The XIX International AIDS Conference is coming to Washington, D.C., in two weeks and it must be different from its predecessors for one reason: HIV is now a woman’s plague.” She continues, “Our HIV policies and interventions have to respond accordingly or we will never create the AIDS-free generation that [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration have committed to build — where vertical transmission of HIV from a woman to her child is significantly reduced, where HIV-free girls and boys grow up with all the prevention options they need, and those who do acquire HIV have access to treatment.”

Opinion Pieces Address Family Planning Issues On World Population Day

The London Summit on Family Planning took place Wednesday, also recognized as World Population Day. The goal of the summit was to raise money to improve access to family planning services to prevent maternal and child mortality. The following summaries describe opinion pieces that address these issues.

Blog Posts Address London Summit On Family Planning

On World Population Day, observed on Wednesday, July 11, the U.K. Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-hosted the London Summit on Family Planning. The following are summaries of blog posts addressing the summit.

To Achieve 'AIDS-Free Generation,' Apply Scientific Advancements In HIV Treatment In The Field

In this post in GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Katherine Record, a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, explains “[w]hy the wall between the scientific advancements in AIDS treatment and the treatment itself needs to be broken down in order to truly achieve an ‘AIDS-free generation.'” She writes, “The U.S. is pushing its patent laws on trade partners, forcing them to adopt the most robust and longest monopoly rights in the world,” adding, “The result is a move away from the World Trade Organization’s safeguards against prohibitive pricing of lifesaving drugs in low-income nations, deferring any hope of an ‘AIDS-free generation.'”