A WHO official on Tuesday backed the Afghan government’s decision to declare H1N1 (swine flu) a health emergency, forcing the closure of all schools in the country for three weeks in an effort to contain the virus, IRIN reports. H1N1 has reportedly infected over 300 people, resulting in two deaths.
Pneumonia & Flu
To mark the first World Pneumonia Day, Inter Press Service examines how vaccines and other strategies can be used to combat the disease, which kills more children under age 5 each year “than measles, malaria, and AIDS combined, according to the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia.”
U.S. Clinical Trials Show Single Dose Of H1N1 Vaccine Protects Pregnant Women, Children Under 10 Need Two Doses
U.S. government data released on Monday confirmed that a single dose of the vaccine protects pregnant women from the virus, while children under the age of 10 years need two doses of the vaccine, the Washington Post reports. The findings came the same day that a team of experts tasked with monitoring the national H1N1 vaccine campaign for any adverse side effects met for the first time.
The number of deaths from H1N1 (swine flu) rose by 700 in a week, to top 5,700 since the virus was first identified in April, the WHO reported Friday, Agence France-Presse reports (10/30). “The biggest rise in the past week was recorded in the Americas, w[h]ere 636 more people were reported killed by swine flu, bringing the region’s death toll to 4,175, the UN agency said, AFP reports in a second story. “Fatal cases in Europe also climbed to at least 281, while those in Asia-Pacific rose to 1,070” (10/31).
To mark the first World Pneumonia Day on Monday, the WHO and UNICEF launched a $39 billion Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) aimed at preventing 5.3 million child deaths from the disease by 2015, the Associated Press reports (Cheng, 11/1).
JAIDS Supplement Focuses On Global Health Systems “Action always leads to reaction, a fundamental law of nature,” write the authors of an introduction appearing in a Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) supplemental issue that focuses on global health systems. “Central to the debate [over investments in HIV/AIDS spending]…
The New York Times examines how Saudi Arabia is preparing for the upcoming annual pilgrimage of some “2.5 million people from 160 countries” to Mecca, some who “will be bringing the swine flu.”
The New York Times examines the “debate over whether the United States and other rich nations spend too much on AIDS, which requires lifelong medications, compared with diarrhea and the other leading killer of children, pneumonia, both of which can be treated inexpensively.”
The U.S. will hold off on donating H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine stockpiles to developing countries until “at-risk Americans” receive the vaccine, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. Last month, the U.S. pledged to donate H1N1 vaccine stockpiles to developing countries. However, manufacturing delays of the H1N1 vaccine have driven the supply to “about 10 million doses short of the 40 million doses they had expected to have by the end of this month,” the news service writes.
Gates Foundation Praises U.S. Global Health Investments, Calls For 15-Year Goal Of Cutting Child Deaths Worldwide By Nearly Half
As part of a “major push to convince the United States to maintain government spending on worldwide health initiatives, despite the financial crisis and a soaring U.S. budget deficit,” the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is urging U.S. policymakers to commit to cutting “the number of child deaths each year, from 9 million to 5 million” by 2025, CNN reports.