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Also In Global Health News: North Korean Health Crisis; HIV/AIDS In India; Antibiotics For Malaria Prevention; WHO Flu Pandemic Status; Dengue In Florida; HIV/AIDS Among IDUs In Ukraine

Amnesty International Report Describes North Korea’s ‘Desperate Picture of Health’ A new report by Amnesty International paints a “desperate picture of the health of North Korea’s population,” the Guardian reports. Amnesty International describes “a country of stunted children, where the hungry eat poisonous plants and pigfeed … amputations are conducted without…

The Atlantic Examines China’s Role In Counterfeit Medicines, Medical Aid In Africa

Noting “[a] small but growing body of evidence partly faults China for the massive upswing in counterfeit medications in Africa,” The Atlantic examines whether “the Chinese pharmaceutical industry [can] overcome its reputation for producing bogus medicine.” The magazine describes China’s role in the discovery of artemisinin and the resulting artemisinin…

Lancet Series Revisits Issue Of Global Mental Health Four Years After First Examination

Four years after the Lancet “published a special series on global mental health, highlighting the gap in provision between rich countries and the rest of the world,” the journal has published a new series, including an “editorial accompanying the series, welcom[ing] the initiatives in global mental health in the past four years, but [saying] ‘there is still a long way to go and many challenges to face,'” IRIN reports (10/18).

Eli Lilly To Pledge $30M To MDR-TB Partnership

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).

Social Determinants Of Health Conference Releases Final Declaration

The final document of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, which concluded last week in Rio de Janeiro, “calls for better governance for health and development, with transparent decision-making and social participation,” and “[g]overnments are urged to develop policies and measure progress towards defined goals,” Inter Press Service reports.

Problems In India’s Public Health Care System Lead To Growth Of Private Medicine

Toronto’s Star reports on how problems within India’s health care system — such as absent doctors and nurses, a lack of necessary equipment, corruption and one of the lowest health budgets in the world — has led to the mistrust of the public system and has paved the way for private medicine in the country. According to the newspaper, “In a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey in India, 79 percent said they opted for private doctors or traditional healers rather than government-run hospitals,” and that “they spent an average seven percent of their monthly income on health care.”

PlusNews Examines Shortages Of HIV Treatment Supplies In Swaziland

PlusNews examines Swaziland’s national shortages of antiretroviral (ARV) stocks, HIV tests, and lab tests necessary to initiate and manage HIV patients on treatment, and the country’s efforts to find funding to prevent stock-outs of these supplies. “Despite several bail-outs this year by international donors, neighboring countries and international NGOs, Swaziland remains in the grips of a months-long shortage of lab reagents needed for CD4 count testing, which measures the immune system’s strength and is needed to start patients on ARVs, as well as toxicity testing important in monitoring patients’ responses to treatment,” the news service writes, noting that funding received in April from PEPFAR will help supply first-line ARVs through April 2012 (11/15). According to BBC News, about 65,000 of the country’s 230,000 people living with HIV relies on state hospitals for ARVs (Simelane, 11/15).

Malawi Government Addressing Drug, Medical Supply Shortages In Wake Of Aid Withdrawals

As international donors “remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector” in Malawi “amid allegations of pilfering and corruption in the procurement of drugs,” “patients seeking medical treatment at government-run medical facilities are unable to access medication such as antiretrovirals (ARVs), anti-malarial drugs and even painkillers,” Inter Press Service reports, adding, “Health facilities are also experiencing a shortage of medical equipment such as gloves, and malaria and HIV/AIDS testing kits.”

U.S. Government Pledges Funding For Maternal Mortality Programs In Zambia, GHI Executive Director Says

“The [U.S.] government has said it is hopeful that Zambia will be able to reduce maternal and child mortality, and has pledged to contribute” millions in funding to programs to help further that goal, the Times of Zambia reports. “Speaking during a meeting between U.S. government officials and the media, Global Health Initiative (GHI) Executive Director Lois Quam pledged her government’s commitment to partnering with the Zambian government in order to address major health concerns in the country,” the newspaper adds.

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