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East Africa Famine Highlights Need For Better Science Communications

The drought in the Horn of Africa “emphasizes the gap between our rapidly increasing ability to predict disasters, thanks largely to advances in science and technology, and our capacity to generate the political will to carry out effective mitigation strategies,” according to a SciDev.Net opinion piece by editor David Dickson.

China's New Leadership Should End One-Child Policy

“Chinese officials are fiercely attached to the one-child policy. They attribute to it almost every drop in fertility and every averted birth: some 400m more people, they claim, would have been born without it,” an Economist editorial states, adding, “This is patent nonsense. Chinese fertility was falling for decades before the one-child policy took effect in 1979.”

“Demography is like a supertanker; it takes decades to turn around. It will pose some of China’s biggest problems. The old leadership is wedded to the one-child policy, but the new leadership, which is due to take over next year, can think afresh. It should end this abomination as soon as it takes power,” the Economist writes (7/21).

Medicines Patent Pool Can Help Many But Has Potential Limitations For AIDS Drug Access In Middle-Income Countries

In a post on the New York Times’ “Opinionator” blog, author and journalist Tina Rosenberg writes about the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and describes how it can help purchase AIDS drugs for “vast numbers of people.” She also notes “its most serious potential weakness” – that drug companies join because they hope that giving earlier drug access to more countries will reduce pressure for access in middle-income countries. Rosenberg highlights a recent agreement with Gilead Sciences, which “only covers very poor countries. It leaves out Egypt, China, Brazil, plus dozens of other developing countries. Current AIDS drug prices in these countries are six or seven times the price of drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. Without help from the patent pool, these countries have little hope of expanding antiretroviral coverage” (7/21).

U.S. Must Implement Long-Term Strategies In Food Security

In a post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah describes the U.S. response to the drought in the Horn of Africa, as well as his visit on Wednesday to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. “Since October 2010, the U.S. Government has provided $459 million in life-saving aid to…

Attention Must Be Paid To Famine Early Warning Systems

Early warnings about rising malnutrition, drought and possible famine in the Horn of Africa “went unheeded” for the past year, but “[w]hat is the point of an early warning system if nobody is listening?” a Globe and Mail editorial asks.

British PM Cameron Should Keep Development Aid Pledge

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s “pledge to increase development aid is something he is finding it harder and harder to defend” to colleagues and voters, because “[f]or more than half a century western nations have been spending on aid – sometimes with relatively little to show for their efforts,” a Guardian editorial states.

HIV Vaccine Discovery Requires ‘Open Mind’

In response to Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson’s July 5 piece in which he highlighted several scientific “breakthroughs” in the search for an AIDS vaccine, Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, writes in a Post letter to the editor, “Although Mr. Gerson correctly noted that these discoveries are unrelated, he misperceived their relative significance.”

USAID Working With International Community To Respond To Drought In East Africa

“Since October 2010, the U.S. Government has provided more than $383 million worth of assistance, including 314,000 metric tons of food,” to countries in the eastern Horn of Africa region, where “[m]ore than 4.1 million people have benefitted from this help,” Donald Steinberg, USAID deputy administrator, writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece.

Lancet Issue Dedicated To HIV/AIDS Ahead Of IAS Conference

The current issue of the Lancet is dedicated to HIV/AIDS, a theme meant to coincide with the 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention taking place in Rome, Italy, July 17-20, according to a Lancet article (7/16).