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Opinions: Genetically-Modified Crops Can Improve Vaccines; MDG Focus On Women And Girls; U.S. Leadership For MDGs; Boosting Access To Drugs; Merits Of Bilateral Development Assistance

‘Hysteria Over Genetically-Modified Crops’ Hampers Vaccine Improvement “The U.N. estimates that diarrheal diseases kill 1.8 million people every year. … So you might take it as good news that American company Ventria Bioscience says it has hit on an improvement to existing rehydration therapies, which could mean another tool in the…

World Leaders Address Country Ownership, Accountability, Women At MDG Summit

“African leaders said on Tuesday they could do more to meet U.N. goals to slash extreme poverty and urged stronger leadership among developing countries to tackle hunger and disease and attract investment,” Reuters reports in an article that examines the leaders call for African nations to take greater ownership of their development.

U.S. Special Envoy To Pakistan Highlights U.S. Flood Relief Efforts

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan, “sought to highlight Washington’s aid efforts Wednesday during his first visit” to the country since the severe floods hit, the Associated Press reports. “Holbrooke stressed that U.S. support is focused on saving lives, rather than winning hearts and minds or pushing Pakistan to step up operations against al-Qaida and the Taliban.”

Summit Negotiators Seek To Get MDGs ‘Back On Track’

“World powers are moving slowly toward an accord on the strategy to be embraced at a looming United Nations summit aiming to get the lofty Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] back on track,” Agence France-Presse writes in an article examining the ongoing debates over how best to achieve the MDGs before the 2015 deadline.

WHO Regional Meeting In South-East Asia Addresses Antimicrobial Resistance, Developing Country Access To Medical Devices

During the WHO’s 63rd Regional Committee Session for South-East Asia in Bangkok on Wednesday the WHO called for enhanced “efforts at the national and international level to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobial agents through the rational use of antibiotics,” Indian Express reports (Thacker, 9/9). The appeal follows the news of a Lancet study published last month which identified a gene that enables bacteria to resist most antibiotics and documented an increase in the prevalence of the gene in parts of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan (Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, 8/11).

Gates Foundation 2009 Annual Report Released

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday released its 2009 annual report (.pdf) highlighting some of the foundation’s work over the last year, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports (Holtzman, 9/7).