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African Ministerial Conference Concludes With Health Priority Commitment

Health and environment ministers from at least 46 African countries concluded the Second Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa in Luanda, Angola on Friday, “with the adoption of the ‘Luanda Commitment,’ which lists the continent’s health and environment top priorities in the years ahead,” PANA/Afrique en ligne reports.

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).

Haiti Requires Additional Trained Nurses, Doctors To Address Cholera Epidemic, U.N. Official Says

Haiti needs about 1,000 additional trained nurses and at least 100 more physicians to control the cholera epidemic, Valerie Amos, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said during a recent visit to the capital of Port-au-Prince, Reuters reports. “We clearly need to do more,” Amos said of the global response to the cholera outbreak. “But it’s not just money, it’s crucially people, in terms of getting more doctors, nurses, more people who can help with the awareness-raising and getting information out there,” she said. The U.N. plans to work with countries and aid groups that have the capacity to quickly provide more health workers, according to Amos.

Also In Global Health News: Access To ARVs In Mozambique; HIV/AIDS In Bolivia; Sierra Leone’s Food Security Plan

NewsHour Looks At ARV Programs In Mozambique PBS NewsHour examines “how policy decisions made in Washington affect people in the Southern African nation of Mozambique,” where one in eight adults is HIV-positive. With antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) paid for by the U.S. keeping millions across Africa alive, NewsHour looks at the debate that “has emerged:…

Haiti Cholera Death Toll Increases, U.N. Boosts Estimate For Number Of Expected Cases

“The cholera epidemic in Haiti is gathering pace and some violence is expected when the country holds elections this week, U.N. officials warned Tuesday,” Agence France-Presse reports. The official death toll from cholera is now above 1,400, but “experts believe that the real toll is close to 2,000 dead and the number of cases is between 60,000 and 70,000 rather than the 50,000 given by the authorities, Nigel Fisher, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti said,” according to the news service (11/23).

USAID’s Shah Announces Bureau For Food Security; Bread For The World Releases 2011 Hunger Report

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced on Monday the creation of a Bureau for Food Security within the agency “to manage the Obama administration’s Feed the Future initiative, which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to turn over to USAID,” National Journal Daily reports. According to the article, Shah said, “This bureau will lead a whole-of-government effort to implement President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, a multibillion-dollar international effort led by USAID to develop the agricultural sectors of a number of countries throughout the developing world.”

Daily Oral Antiretroviral Reduces HIV Infection Risk In MSM By 44%, Study Finds

A study that included nearly 2,500 HIV-negative men and transgender women who have sex with men has shown that a daily dose of Truvada, a pill containing the AIDS drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir, “can reduce risk of contracting [HIV] by an average of 44% – and by more than 70% if the subjects” follow the regimen closely, Los Angeles Times reports (Maugh, 11/23).

UNAIDS Report Finds New HIV Infections Dropped By 20% Over 10 Years, Deaths From AIDS-Related Illness Dropped By 20% Over 5 Years

The number of new HIV infections “has dropped by about one-fifth over the past decade but millions of people are still missing out on major progress in prevention and treatment,” according to the annual UNAIDS report released Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports. “In 2009, 2.6 million people contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS, a decline of 19 percent over the 3.1 million recorded in” 1999 the report found, according to the news service (11/23).