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Central African Republic In State Of ‘Chronic Medical Emergency,’ MSF Report Says

“The Central African Republic (CAR) is in the grips of a chronic medical emergency, according to a report released today by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF),” an MSF press release states. “Four mortality studies carried out by MSF over the past 18 months reveal crude mortality rates in some regions of CAR at three times the emergency threshold of one death per 10,000 people per day, which, according to the World Health Organization, is considered a humanitarian crisis,” the press release adds (12/13).

PlusNews Examines African Government Funding For, Engagement In HIV Research

“Unless African governments increase their funding for and engagement in HIV research, the continent cannot hope to attain equal status in determining its research agenda and priorities, speakers said at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa,” PlusNews reports. “Donor-driven funding often means that research starts and ends on the say-so of funders, rather than being based on a country’s needs,” the news service writes. The article includes comments from researchers, funders, and representatives of research initiatives (12/9).

U.N. Seeks Aid Money For Zimbabwe, Half For Food; WHO Says Country Must Spend More On Health

“The United Nations said on Friday it was seeking $268 million for aid efforts in Zimbabwe next year, with half the money to be used to buy food for more than 1.4 million people facing shortages” in 2012, Reuters reports. “The humanitarian situation in the country has continued to improve over the past couple of years. However, challenges still exist such as food insecurity” and lack of access to safe water, which has led to cholera and typhoid outbreaks, Alain Noudehou, country head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said, the news service notes (12/9).

Millions Of People In African Sahel Need Food Assistance, U.N. Agencies Say

“Millions of people in Africa’s Sahel region need urgent help to cope with food shortages brought on by erratic rainfall and drought, and at least one million children in the area face malnutrition next year, U.N. agencies warned,” AlertNet reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP), which called for a new type of response to climate-related crises, estimates that between five and seven million people in the semi-arid zone just south of the Sahara need assistance now,” and it “said the situation would worsen if nothing was done to help the countries in need — as more people are expected to run out of food supplies by February and March next year,” the news service writes (Fominyen, 12/9).

Malawi To Review Laws Banning Homosexuality, According To News Reports

“Malawi is to review laws banning homosexuality in response to public opinion, according to reports,” the Guardian writes. “The move comes just days after the U.S. announced it would” promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people through foreign aid and diplomacy, the newspaper notes, adding that the U.S. provides “Malawi about $200 million (£128m) per year, with most going to health care.” Malawi, which “was condemned by Barack Obama and international activists last year after jailing two men who underwent the southern African country’s first gay ‘marriage,’ … will now review provisions of the penal code concerning ‘indecent practices and unnatural acts,’ Ephraim Chiume, the justice minister, was quoted as saying,” the news service writes (Smith, 12/9).

Global Fund Official Delivers Speech At ICASA Closing Plenary Session

The 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) ended on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where “the final plenary session … left the audience with a notion of hope and urgency that despite the Global Fund’s cancellation of Round 11 disbursements, the organization will continue to campaign, raise funds and place pressure on governments in both the donor and recipient arenas,” an ICASA news article reports (12/8). Speaking at the session, “Global Fund Deputy Executive Director Debrework Zewdie felt compelled to reassure those benefiting from the fund,” saying, “‘Everyone who is on treatment funded by the Global Fund will stay on treatment,'” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (Frentzen/Waswa, 12/8).

CSIS Seminar Examines Global Health Outreach Of BRICS

This post on the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) blog provides resources, including video and publications, related to a December 6 half-day seminar, sponsored by the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, that “focused on the activities, practices, and strategies that characterize the global health outreach of Brazil, China,…

Science Examines HIV Prevention Trials, Challenges To Implementing New Strategies

Science examines recent successes in clinical trials in the HIV prevention field, limitations to mathematical models resulting from these trials, and funding issues facing campaigns to ramp up HIV prevention interventions. “[M]odels now suggest that combining [prevention strategies] might virtually stop HIV’s spread,” but “there’s a vast difference between a study having success and thwarting HIV in the real world,” according to Science. “Models only point out routes to ending AIDS, and many will surely differ,” the magazine writes, concluding, “But for the first time since AIDS surfaced 31 years ago, many researchers believe the destination itself is no longer a mirage” (Cohen, 12/9).

MCC Invests $122M In Lesotho Health System To Address Key Challenges, Including HIV, TB

“The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), through its partnership with the Millennium Challenge Account-Lesotho, is helping Lesotho address key challenges in its health sector through a $122 million investment in health infrastructure and health systems,” IIP Digital reports. “More than 720,000 Basotho are expected to benefit from the MCC health project over the next 20 years,” the news service writes.

Progress In AIDS Fight In Peril As Governments Renege On Funding Pledges

In this Toronto Star opinion piece, Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Nicci Stein, executive director of the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, discuss how progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last 30 years “is in peril, due to governments reneging on repeated promises to fund the fight against the pandemic.”

“[S]topping the AIDS pandemic requires sustained engagement from both donor and developing countries, political commitments that are backed by dollars. … Yet many donor countries have chosen precisely this moment to abandon their promises,” they write. They discuss the cancellation of Round 11 grants by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and ask the Canadian government to deliver on its HIV/AIDS funding pledges. Elliott and Stein conclude, “We can turn the tide on the spread of HIV — victory has never been closer. But we need to make sure that those with the power and the money use it toward achieving the goal of an end to AIDS” (12/7).