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VOA News, PlusNews Examine Tuberculosis In South Africa

Several articles published on Tuesday examine tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa. “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the country has the highest rate of new TB cases annually,” VOA News writes, adding, “Thousands of people in South Africa continue to be infected by a disease that’s been virtually eradicated in the developed world.” The news service discusses TB among children in the country and notes, “The WHO says every year at least 500,000 babies and children become infected with TB worldwide and an estimated 70,000 die of it — many in South Africa, India and China” (Taylor, 6/19).

Aidspan Founder, Executive Director Bernard Rivers Stepping Down

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog profiles Bernard Rivers, founder and executive director of Aidspan, a watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, who is leaving his position after 10 years. “He will not be running Aidspan anymore, but plans to continue to research and write about Global Fund issues,” the blog states. In the blog, Rivers discusses his motivation behind founding Aidspan and his hopes for the future of the Global Fund (Barton, 8/30).

U.S., Nigeria Inaugurate Defense Reference Laboratory In Abuja

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley spoke on Monday in Abuja at the inauguration of a Defense Reference Laboratory, Leadership reports, noting he said the laboratory, “which is the first of its kind in the sub-region,” was supported by U.S. funding. According to the newspaper, McCulley said the Reference Laboratory Program is part of U.S. assistance to Nigeria through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Nigeria’s Ministry of Defense (NMOD) through the Walter Reed Program (WRP-N) and the Emergency Plan Implementation Committee (EPIC), which began in 2005 (8/30).

MDR-TB, XDR-TB More Widespread Than Previously Believed, Study Shows

In a study published on Wednesday in the Lancet, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “[a]mong 1,278 patients who were resistant to two or more first-line tuberculosis drugs in Estonia, Latvia, Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Thailand, 43.7 percent showed resistance to at least one second-line drug,” which “suggest[s] the deadly disease may become ‘virtually untreatable,'” according to the study, Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Kitamura/Narayan, 8/29). “In about a fifth of cases, they found resistance to at least one second-line injectable [versus oral] drug,” according to Reuters, which states “[t]his ranged from two percent in the Philippines to 47 percent in Latvia.” Overall, 6.7 percent of patients had extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), meaning patients are resistant to the first-line drugs isoniazid and rifampicin as well as drugs in the fluoroquinolone antibiotic class and a second-line injectable antibiotic, Reuters adds, noting “[r]ates in South Korea, at 15.2 percent, and Russia at 11.3 percent, were more than twice the WHO’s global estimate of 5.4 percent at that time” (Kelland, 8/30).

Global Fund Board Approves 45 New Two-Year Grants As Part Of Transitional Funding Mechanism

“The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved 45 new two-year grants, from 37 countries, totaling $419.2 million, to fund essential prevention, treatment, and care services provided to the people affected by the three diseases,” according to a Global Fund press release. “Another 11 proposals worth a total of $91.2 million were sent back for revision, and are subject to a further independent technical review before they can be approved,” the press release adds, noting the grant approvals are part of the Transitional Funding Mechanism and “will bridge the financing of essential interventions until the next opportunity to apply for grants” (8/28). According to the U.N. News Centre, the Global Fund “has approved funding of $22.9 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries, and helped programs provide AIDS treatment for 3.6 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 9.3 million people, and 270 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria” (8/28).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Infectious Diseases Reflects On TB Diagnosis In Children “[N]ew diagnostic techniques [for tuberculosis] need to be studied in children,” according to a Lancet Infectious Diseases Reflection. “Tuberculosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide, but estimates of disease burden are inaccurate because most cases are…

Health Leaders Gather To Discuss WHO’s Work In Africa

Health leaders from 46 African WHO member states gathered in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Monday for the 60th session of the Africa Committee of the WHO, Agencia AngolaPress reports. According to the news service, meeting attendees will discuss a report on the WHO Africa’s activity in the region during the 2008-2009 period to evaluate the success and challenges associated with efforts to improve health outcomes in Africa (8/30).

Also In Global Health News: Polio In Russia; Water Scarcity In Iraq; Global Fund Grant For Rwanda; South African Health Report; Mobile Phone Systems Prevent Fake Drug Purchases

Infant From Tajikistan Is Russia’s First Confirmed Polio Cases In 13 Years “Russia has confirmed its first polio case in 13 years in an infant visiting from Tajikistan, but there is no immediate threat of a wider outbreak, the country’s main public health body [Rospotrebnadzor] said Friday,” Reuters reports. “All the…

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