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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).

WHO Report Calls For Countries To Improve Access To Health Services

“Tens of millions of people are pushed into poverty each year as a result of rising costs for health care, the World Health Organization said Monday” as the agency released a report on financing health systems and universal coverage, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports. It also highlights the vulnerability of populations without access to health care services and outlines the steps countries can take to move toward universal health care, according to the article (11/22).

Health Groups Urge Restrictions On Tobacco Additives

Following five days of deliberations aimed at “fleshing-out the so-called Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC),” delegates on Saturday “approved a proposal to limit the use of tobacco additives, which critics say improve the flavor of cigarettes, encouraging consumers to smoke more,” Reuters reports (Fleitas, 11/20).

World Bank Report Examines Member Banks’ Response To Global Economic Downturn, Highlights Effect On Global Poverty

By the end of this year, an additional 64 million people will fall into extreme poverty as a result of the global economic downturn that started in 2008, the World Bank said in a study on “member banks’ response” to the situation, Reuters reports. The bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 per day. The report is based on the findings of a group, created “to appraise the effectiveness of its response to the global downturn,” the news service writes.