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.
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).
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.”
In this post in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s “ASTMH Blog,” Rick Steketee, science director of PATH’s Malaria Control Program and ASTMH council member, responds to the results of the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial, writing, “It’s milestones like this week’s findings that remind us all that ambitious…
A Lancet editorial responds to the WHO’s sixteenth annual report on global tuberculosis (TB) control, released on Oct 11, which shows that the incidence of tuberculosis has been falling worldwide since 2002, writing, “Successes in disease control in China and other countries show what sustained political and economic support can achieve. Rather than waiting for the elixir of economic success to arrive in all high-burden countries, committed action by donors, agencies, and governments in the most challenging settings is needed in the global campaign against tuberculosis.”
“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.”…
“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective health investments in history,” Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, writes in this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. Because vaccines have saved millions of lives, “donors, the global health community and developing countries themselves [must] stay focused on immunization,” he writes.
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Marcelo Giugale, director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programs for Africa at the World Bank, examines the issue of universal health coverage in developing nations and writes that while the social health care debate rages in the U.S. and Europe, “successful developing countries like Brazil, Chile, China, India and Indonesia have figured out a way forward, and are moving ahead.”
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.