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South African Public Health Experts Urge Countries To Use TRIPS To Produce Generic Drugs, IPS Reports

South African public health experts from Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) South Africa and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) “are calling on governments to use legally available mechanisms to promote the production or import of generic drugs in their countries,” Inter Press Service reports. The article examines how countries can alter their patent acts under the Doha Declaration — a World Trade Organization declaration on the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Public Health that “exists to ensure that patents do not undermine the ability of countries to achieve the right to health” — “to access generic versions of otherwise patented medicines in cases where prices are prohibitively expensive, the organizations say.”

Bridging The Gap Between Global Health NGOs And Local Governments

In a post on Global Health Hub, blogger and medical student Abraar Karan examines the roles of global health non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments in the countries where they work with regard to development initiatives, writing, “While it is true that NGOs are responsible for a large portion of health…

CNN Profiles Global Soap Project’s Work In Sanitation

As part of its “CNN Heroes” series, CNN examines the Global Soap Project, started by Derreck Kayongo, a Ugandan war refugee and one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011. The organization works with more than 300 hotels in the U.S. to collect used bars of soap, clean them and reprocess them to be distributed in countries such as Haiti, Kenya, Swaziland and Uganda, CNN reports. “Across the globe, 2.4 billion people do not have access to clean sanitation, according to the World Health Organization,” and “[a]n estimated 1.5 million children die every year because their immune systems are not mature enough to battle diarrheal and respiratory diseases spread in contaminated environments,” the news service writes (Fantz, 11/15).

Problems In India’s Public Health Care System Lead To Growth Of Private Medicine

Toronto’s Star reports on how problems within India’s health care system — such as absent doctors and nurses, a lack of necessary equipment, corruption and one of the lowest health budgets in the world — has led to the mistrust of the public system and has paved the way for private medicine in the country. According to the newspaper, “In a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey in India, 79 percent said they opted for private doctors or traditional healers rather than government-run hospitals,” and that “they spent an average seven percent of their monthly income on health care.”

PSI Official Discusses Organization’s Innovations Strategies In Washington Post Feature

As part of its series on innovation, the Washington Post features an interview with PSI Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Communications Kate Roberts, who answers several questions regarding PSI’s work in global health. Roberts discusses providing safe drinking water; creating partnerships between the private sector and non-profit organizations; being a “lone actor” for short periods in order to prove an intervention’s worth; investing in an Innovations Fund “that allows us to experiment with new ideas that PSI believes in but that donor agencies aren’t yet ready to support”; and social franchising, which is “a way of delivering health products and services that ensures that they’re accessible, affordable and desirable to all those in need” (Roberts, 11/8).

Pharmaceutical Industry Should Invest More In NTDs

In this Forbes opinion piece, contributor Sarika Bansal examines “[w]hat needs to happen for the pharmaceutical industry, academic researchers, and other key players [to] begin investing more seriously in” efforts to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). She writes, “Since the term [NTD] was coined [in 2005], there has been considerable activity in the neglected disease space from governments, donors, pharmaceutical companies, and nonprofits alike,” but the status quo “has not yet changed nearly enough, and there is ample room for the pharmaceutical industry to invest more in NTDs.”

Innovation Needed To Improve Water Delivery Systems

With more than one billion people lacking access to clean and safe water, and waterborne diseases causing 7,000 child deaths every day worldwide, “[i]t’s more important than ever that we be willing to look at old problems and find innovative ways to solve them. The issues of water access, quantity and quality need to be addressed at the same time,” Kevin McGovern and Quincy Jones, chair and honorary chair, respectively, of The Water Initiative (TWI), write in a Huffington Post opinion piece.

Private Sector Companies Should Contribute To GAVI Matching Fund

The GAVI Alliance has “announced a major new initiative aimed at engaging private sector leaders: the GAVI Matching Fund,” through which “the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a 100 percent match of contributions to GAVI from corporations and foundations as well as their customers, members and employees,” Bill Roedy, former CEO of MTV Networks and a GAVI Alliance envoy, writes in a post on the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Together, DFID and the Gates Foundation have pledged $130 million to support this effort, which means there’s the potential to generate $260 million for global childhood immunization efforts,” he notes.

Guardian Profiles Anglo American CMO’s Efforts To Fight HIV/AIDS

The Guardian profiles Brian Brink, chief medical officer at Anglo American, South Africa’s largest private-sector employer, and the company’s efforts to treat and prevent HIV among its employees. According to the newspaper, “HIV affects 12,000 of its employees, or 16 percent of its 70,000-strong permanent staff.” The Guardian continues, “For Anglo, a healthy workforce is a more loyal and productive one,” which is why it offers HIV testing and treatment free-of-charge to employees, runs HIV prevention programs, and promotes gender equality. “Not only is it a moral imperative to get on top of the AIDS problem, it’s also good for business, and the wider South African economy. The prevalence of AIDS and HIV [the virus that leads to AIDS] probably lops one percent off the country’s GDP,” Brink said (11/3).