With disease burden shifting from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) over the coming years, “African health scientists need more funding and support to overcome the barriers and deal with a changing health situation on the continent,” Olive Shisana, chief executive officer of the South African Human Sciences Research Council, said during a keynote address at last week’s World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany, SciDev.Net reports. “Many of these diseases can be prevented by putting scientific research and health technologies to work, said Shisana, adding that this ‘epidemiological transition is an opportunity for us to build capacity and to collaborate to tackle these diseases together for the benefit of the globe,'” the news service writes.
Programs, Funding & Financing
In the clinic of Hilaweyn, one of four camps at Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado complex for Somali refugees seeking relief from famine and poor security conditions, “[a] massive infusion of humanitarian resources … appears to be turning the tide” against child mortality, according to Doctors Without Borders, which operates the clinic, VOA News reports. “When Doctors Without Borders opened the Hilaweyn clinic … in August, children were dying of malnutrition at the rate of more than one a day. Two months later, the clinic’s emergency coordinator Aria Danika said they treat 1,000 cases a day, and only one child has died in the past two weeks,” VOA writes (Heinlein, 10/28).
In this post in the “Health Affairs Blog,” diplomacy and global health consultant Judith Kaufmann writes about the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Independent Monitoring Board quarterly report released last week, stating, “What is really new about this report … is that it does not, as so many GPEI reports have…
At the recent International Lung Health Conference in Lille, France, IRIN/PlusNews spoke with Stop TB Director Mario Raviglione about the threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), its treatment and “the precarious TB funding gap,” the news service writes. In the interview, Raviglione discusses the Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) approach to TB treatment, the issue of second-line TB drugs, and the future of TB funding, among other issues (10/31).
“Despite [the] economic crisis rippling around the world,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “is pushing countries to continue foreign aid efforts to poor and developing nations, saying that every dollar of aid ‘makes a huge difference,'” ABC News reports. ABC’s “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour interviewed Gates last week after he visited Capitol Hill “to make his case to members of Congress.” Gates is expected to “present a plan at the G20 Summit next week in France calling on the wealthiest countries to continue their aid efforts, despite austerity measures being taken around the world,” the news agency writes.
“Commonwealth government leaders meeting in Australia agreed Saturday to step up efforts to eradicate polio worldwide, despite the Afghanistan war setting back vaccination efforts there and in neighboring Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports (10/29). “Leaders from Britain, Canada, Australia and Nigeria, and” representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “on Saturday pledged tens of millions of dollars in extra funding to wipe out the disease” in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria — the four countries where polio remains endemic, Reuters states (10/29).
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, notes some of the parallels between the development of RTS,S, the experimental malaria vaccine currently being tested in Africa, and the polio vaccine, but he says “there are also some particularly disappointing ways in which the polio and malaria efforts could differ.”
“Despite a massive increase in humanitarian operations and international funding since famine was formally declared 100 days ago, the relief effort in Somalia is expected to miss almost all its key targets for 2011, a draft United Nations report reveals,” the Guardian reports, adding, “[m]alnutrition rates have more than doubled, less than 60 percent of the 3.7 million people targeted have received monthly food assistance, and only 58 percent of a targeted 1.2 million people received critical non-food aid items.”
World Bank, Experts Discuss Findings, Approaches And Policy Implications Of Conditional Cash Transfer Program Evaluations
A Center For Global Development “Global Health Policy” blog post reports that the World Bank this week “brought a distinguished group together to discuss new findings, evaluation approaches and policy implications” of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, writing, “Although 75 percent of published evaluations on [CCT programs] are sourced from Latin America,…
“The shortage of health workers in Uganda is a ‘crisis,’ says the Minister of Health, and activists say expectant mothers are bearing the brunt of the country’s staffing deficiency,” IRIN reports. “Just 56 percent of Uganda’s available health positions are filled,” the news service writes, adding, “A parliamentary committee’s recent attempt to redirect 75 billion Ugandan shillings — about US$27.5 million — out of a national budget of more than 10 trillion shillings ($3.6 billion) towards hiring enough health workers was rebuffed in September.”