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Atlantic Examines Drug-Resistant TB Control Worldwide

The Atlantic examines the emergence of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis around the world, with a look at the situation in South Africa. “[T]he resurgence of tuberculosis is not limited to South Africa. India and China have the largest numbers of tuberculosis cases, and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has been found in nearly every country, with XDR [extensively drug resistant]-TB in at least 57 countries,” according to the article.

Aid Begins Flowing Into Haiti, Up To 3M May Be Affected

“Aid started flowing into Haiti Wednesday in the wake of the earthquake that slammed the impoverished nation late Tuesday afternoon,” CNN reports. “One of two [U.S] military cargo planes carrying a 30-man assessment team arrived at Port-au-Prince airport Wednesday evening to assess Haiti’s needs.” The article outlines aid groups’ strategy for coordinating efforts and also lists countries’ contributions to relief efforts (1/14).

WHO Director-General Highlights Global Health Gains, Challenges At Executive Board Meeting

During the WHO’s recent executive board meeting, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan reflected on public health gains over the past decade and the challenges that lie ahead, Nigeria’s Guardian reports. Chan commended the international community’s response to H1N1 and global efforts to reduce child mortality, fight malaria and tuberculosis.

AFP Examines Rise In TB Cases In Madagascar

Agence France-Presse examines a rise in tuberculosis (TB) cases in Madagascar, writing, “Last year alone, 26,700 people contracted TB, according to the health ministry, a jump of more than 16 percent compared with 2009, when a military coup precipitated an economic crisis as donors suspended aid to one of the world’s poorest countries.” The news service notes, “Chronic malnutrition and poverty deepened, contributing to the spike in TB, experts say” and adds, “Even before the political crisis, Madagascar suffered one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world.”

New Diagnostic Test For Drug-Resistant TB Allows 'New Approach' To Fight Disease

The widespread incidence of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) “calls for a new approach to TB in the developing world,” a Bloomberg editorial states. A “breakthrough test,” called Xpert MTB/RIF, “makes mass screening [for drug-resistant TB] feasible,” according to the editorial, which notes the test, developed by “California-based Cephied Inc. in collaboration with the non-profit Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” detects resistance to the TB drug rifampicin, provides results in two hours, and can be used without advanced laboratory facilities.

OPINION: To See An End To AIDS, International Community Must Put An End To TB

In this Politico opinion piece, Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, and Gerry Elsdon, a South African businesswoman and television host — both tuberculosis (TB) survivors — write that one priority at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C., this week “should be spearheading a joint global effort against HIV and tuberculosis.” They write, “The rationale for a joint effort is clear,” adding, “Where HIV and TB are most common, the epidemics have merged, or are in the process of merging, into a single co-epidemic,” and “[t]hose whose immune systems are weakened by HIV are at extreme risk of dying from TB.” They conclude, “Thanks to a series of recent scientific breakthroughs, this week’s conference is the first in 30 years that has activists seriously contemplating the end of AIDS. Yet to see a real end to AIDS, we must put an end to TB. So let’s combine our efforts to reach these two goals” (7/24).

Blog Continues Coverage Of International Treatment As Prevention Conference In Vancouver

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog continued its coverage of the 2nd International Treatment as Prevention Workshop in Vancouver. One post describes a presentation by Zunyou Wu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who “offered … new information about China’s response to new evidence on treatment as prevention” (Lubinski, 4/25). A second post discusses a presentation by Vladimir Novitsky of the Harvard School of Public Health, who “offered … a snapshot of a four-year treatment as prevention study planned for Botswana (Lubinski, 4/25). “Chewe Luo, a senior adviser for UNICEF, discussed efforts to eliminate vertical HIV transmission from the perspective of treatment as prevention,” according to a third post (Lubinski, 4/26). Finally, Stephen Lawn of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine “reminded the audience … that antiretroviral therapy (ART) goes a long way to protect HIV-infected individuals from tuberculosis (TB),” a fourth post notes (Lubinski, 4/26).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Mass Media Campaigns’ Effect On Health Behaviors: A Lancet Review examines how campaigns have affected various behaviors, including tobacco use, sexual activity, child survival and others. “Mass media campaigns can directly and indirectly produce positive changes or prevent negative changes in health-related behaviours across large populations,” according to the researchers.…

Donors Pledge Nearly $12B For Global Fund, Missing Lowest Funding Target

Donors at a replenishment meeting in New York on Tuesday pledged $11.7 billion over three years for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “higher than past support but below the lowest target set by the agency in its efforts to combat disease in the developing world,” the Financial Times reports (Jack, 10/5).