Pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Co. is expected to announce on Tuesday it “is pledging $30 million to help fight multidrug-resistant tuberculosis [MDR-TB] in developing countries, a disease that kills more than 150,000 people a year,” according to the Indianapolis Star. The funds, part of the company’s eight-year-old, $165 million Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, will help to “provide training for nurses, doctors and community volunteers; conduct studies on how to combat the disease; and provide access to medicines,” the newspaper notes. The campaign will focus on China, India, Russia and South Africa, “the four countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB, Lilly said,” the Indianapolis Star writes (10/25).
Programs, Funding & Financing
With the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial results showing “moderate” success, helping to reignite “optimism about eradicating malaria entirely,” “there are other big hurdles still to surmount,” a New York Times editorial states. “There are hints that the protection may wane over time and results from administering a booster shot won’t be known until 2014,” and side effects could be a concern, the editorial writes.
Though the number of new polio cases has dropped by 99 percent over the past 20 years, World Polio Day is recognized “because we havenâ€™t done enough yet,” Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in his blog, “The Gates Notes.” He continues, “The last one percent is the hardest percent, and we have to do even more than weâ€™ve already done if we hope to finish the job on polio. The day the world is declared polio free is the day we can really begin celebrating” (10/21).
A news and perspectives piece in the current issue of JAMA examines a recent funding analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS showing that “[g]overnments that support treatment and services for people with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries cut their annual contributions in 2010 by 10 percent,” spending $6.9 billion last year compared with $7.6 billion in 2009. The article quotes Bernhard Schwartlander, the UNAIDS director for evidence, strategy, and results; Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation; and Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS policy adviser with the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Voelker, 10/19).
In this post in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s “ASTMH Blog,” Rick Steketee, science director of PATH’s Malaria Control Program and ASTMH council member, responds to the results of the RTS,S malaria vaccine trial, writing, “It’s milestones like this week’s findings that remind us all that ambitious…
Positive results announced this week from a large clinical trial testing the efficacy of the RTS,S malaria vaccine are “encouraging,” but they are also “a reminder of how much work remains to be done,” an Economist editorial reports. The WHO abandoned its first efforts to eradicate the disease 14 years after setting out to do so in 1955, but “a new wave of enthusiasm,” beginning in 1998 with the establishment of the Roll Back Malaria partnership and culminating with Bill Gates’s call for malaria eradication four years ago, “has helped to lower the number of malaria deaths by 20 percent over the past decade,” the editorial states.
Though the humanitarian response to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa has lessened the suffering of thousands of people in the region, “more resources are needed to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in famine-hit areas of Somalia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said” in a progress report released Thursday, the U.N. News Centre reports. Releasing the report, Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, “called for the scaling up of integrated interventions in health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, education and child protection,” according to the news service (10/20).
A Lancet editorial responds to the WHO’s sixteenth annual report on global tuberculosis (TB) control, released on Oct 11, which shows that the incidence of tuberculosis has been falling worldwide since 2002, writing, “Successes in disease control in China and other countries show what sustained political and economic support can achieve. Rather than waiting for the elixir of economic success to arrive in all high-burden countries, committed action by donors, agencies, and governments in the most challenging settings is needed in the global campaign against tuberculosis.”
WHO Director-General Calls For Sustainable Development, Investment To Address Social Determinants Of Health
“Representatives from more than 100 governments around the world, health experts, civil society organizations and other stakeholders are converging in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for three days” at the WHO-convened World Conference on Social Determinants of Health “to discuss how social, economic and environmental conditions could be improved to reduce the health gaps within and between countries,” a WHO press release states (10/19). “The conference is expected to produce a political declaration expressing the commitment of WHO Member States to address the social determinants of health through national action plans and strategies,” European Hospital writes (10/20).
Global Fund To Transfer Management Of HIV/AIDS Grant In Mali After Investigation Finds Misuse Of Funds
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will transfer management of a $28.77 million HIV/AIDS grant from Mali’s national AIDS council, the Haut Conseil de Lutte contre le Sida (the High Council for the Fight Against AIDS, or HCLNS), to a new principal recipient at the end of the year” after mismanagement of funds was discovered in the country, a Global Fund press release reports (10/19). “The Global Fund said in a statement that it will suspend funding all but essential services under the grant until a new structure can be found to manage the money,” the Associated Press writes (Vogl, 10/19).