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GAVI Says Pentavalent Vaccine Price To Fall, But $3.7B Still Needed To Vaccinate Children In Developing Countries

The average price of a vaccine that protects children against five diseases is expected to “drop to $2.58 next year compared to the current average price of $2.97,” the GAVI Alliance said Friday, Reuters reports. The group credits the expected price decline, which “represents a decrease of 30 percent over the last seven years,” in part to an “increased demand for the pentavalent, or five-in-one vaccine,” according to the news service (Kelland, 11/26).

Leaders Speak At Partnership for Maternal, Newborn And Child Health Conference

Education for women is the most important factor for positively influencing the health of women and children, Indian President Pratibha Patil said on Saturday at a meeting in New Delhi of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), IANS/Sify News reports. “Education is a powerful driver of health. The relationship between poverty, lack of education and limited access to health services, is well recognised,” Patil said at the start of the two-day conference (11/13).

Also In Global Health News: Nigerian Drug Institute Funding; Food Security, Climate Change; Heat-Stable, Nasal Vaccine Works In Mice; Task-Shifting In Swaziland; Bird Flu In Hong Kong

Nigerian Drug Research Institute Halts Research Because Of Funding Shortfall Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), which focuses on developing traditional herbal remedies into drug candidates, has had to discontinue research after the Nigerian health ministry did not provide the full amount of expected funding and a “key grant…

Canada To Donate 5M Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine To WHO; Agency Has Received Commitment Of 200M Vaccines

The Canadian government on Thursday announced the country would donate five million doses of H1N1 vaccines to the WHO from the country’s current surplus, the Canadian Press reports (Branswell, 1/28). “[T]he donation will help the Geneva-based international body in its efforts to redistribute the vaccine to developing countries that couldn’t afford their own supplies,” the Globe and Mail reports (Alphonso, 1/28).

WHO, CDC Issue H1N1 Updates

Though H1N1 (swine flu) activity worldwide has slowed, the potential of a new wave of infections in the northern hemisphere in late winter or early spring remains viable, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, said Monday at the start of the WHO’s weeklong Executive Board meeting, Reuters reports. The H1N1 pandemic “initially sparked widespread concern about antiviral and vaccine supplies, especially in developing countries, but many nations have cut back their vaccine orders recently because the pandemic has not turned out as deadly as originally feared,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 1/18).

UNICEF Program Aimed At Curbing Deaths In West Africa Falls Short Of Goals, Study Finds

A $27 million UNICEF program that aims to decrease disease-related child deaths in West Africa did not meet its goal of reducing death rates by at least 25 percent at the conclusion of 2006, according to a Lancet study published on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. “The U.N. children’s agency pursued strategies like vaccinating children, giving them vitamin A pills and distributing bednets to protect against malaria from 2001 to 2005 in parts of 11 countries,” according to the article.

Media Outlets Examine U.S. Plans For Leftover H1N1 Vaccine, Efforts To Keep Flu Vaccine Production On Track

After working to ensure the U.S. had access to enough H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, health officials may now face a new dilemma – a vaccine surplus, the Associated Press reports. “Get ready for a huge flu-shot push as health officials try to rekindle interest in protection against this new influenza strain that, despite plummeting cases, still is threatening lives – even as they reassess just how much more vaccine needs to be shipped,” the news service writes.

WHO Addresses Handling Of H1N1 At Council Of Europe Meeting

During a Council of Europe meeting on Tuesday to address the WHO’s handling of the H1N1 virus, the WHO said it had not “fallen under the sway of drugs firms and exaggerated the dangers of the H1N1 flu virus, but said it might have handled the crisis better,” Reuters reports. “Critics say the WHO relied too much on advice from advisers in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry, triggering an internal review by the WHO and an inquiry by the Council of Europe, a pan European human rights watchdog,” writes the news service (Reilhac, 1/26).

African Vaccine Maker Plans To Increase Production Capacity Sevenfold By 2013

Biovac Institute, a South African vaccine maker, said Monday that it is working with other major pharmaceutical firms to increase its annual capacity sevenfold to 35 million doses by 2013, Reuters reports. Morena Makhoana, the company’s deputy chief executive, said that 25 million of those doses will remain in Africa.

WHO Director-General Highlights Global Health Gains, Challenges At Executive Board Meeting

During the WHO’s recent executive board meeting, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan reflected on public health gains over the past decade and the challenges that lie ahead, Nigeria’s Guardian reports. Chan commended the international community’s response to H1N1 and global efforts to reduce child mortality, fight malaria and tuberculosis.

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