Noting “[t]he Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the World Health Organization met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11 to 13 September, 2012,” an article (.pdf) published in the Malaria Journal on Wednesday “provides a summary of the discussions, conclusions and recommendations from that meeting,” according to the article abstract. “Policy statements, position statements, and guidelines that arise from the MPAC meeting conclusions and recommendations will be formally issued and disseminated to World Health Organization Member States by the World Health Organization Global Malaria Programme,” the abstract notes (12/19).
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday during travel to India met with Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nazi Azad and “commend[ed] the country’s progress on health,” its “continued efforts towards achieving universal health coverage,” and its “commitment to the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health,” highlighting “its innovative programs in this area” and “the need to do more to promote the well-being of women and children,” the U.N. News Centre reports (4/26). Recognizing the “work still to be done to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Ban said he would like to showcase India’s experiences and best practices in dealing with maternal and child health issues for others to follow,” according to the IANS/Daily News. Ban also “said [U.N.] member nations … are ready to help India in dealing with polio, malaria, tetanus, measles and HIV transmission-related mortality,” the news service notes (4/26).
“The World Health Organization heralded major gains Tuesday in the fight against malaria, one of the developing world’s biggest killers, but warned universal access to treatment remains elusive,” Agence France-Presse reports, noting, “The assessment came on the eve of World Malaria Day,” observed Wednesday and “designed to shine the light on the mosquito-borne parasite that killed 655,000 people in 2010, including 560,000 children under five” (4/24). “A massive acceleration in the global distribution of mosquito nets, the expansion of programs to spray the insides of buildings with insecticides, and an increase in access to prompt antimalarial treatment has brought down malaria mortality rates by more than a quarter worldwide, and by one-third in Africa since 2000,” but “simply maintaining current rates of progress will not be enough to meet global targets for malaria control,” the agency writes in a news release (4/24).
“Kenya’s High Court ruled on Friday that lawmakers must review legislation that could threaten the import of generic drugs, allowing Kenyans to continue accessing affordable medicine,” Reuters reports. In 2009, three people living with HIV filed a lawsuit arguing that the definition of counterfeit drugs in Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Bill of 2008 was too broad and “unconstitutional because it threatened access to life-saving generic medicine by confusing generic and fake medicine,” the news agency notes (4/20).
The April issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial on the WHO research agenda for influenza; a public health round-up; an article on influenza in Ghana; a research paper on population-based burden of influenza-associated hospitalization in rural western Kenya; and a policy paper on the integration of pneumonia prevention and treatment interventions with immunization services in resource-poor countries (April 2012).
“South Sudan officials are hopeful the country will soon be declared polio-free,” if the nation can go another four months without recording a polio case, VOA News reports. “Before 2008, the area that is now South Sudan had been considered free of polio,” but “[t]hat year the country was re-infected through an imported strain that originated in Nigeria,” the news service writes. The country has not recorded a new case in more than 32 months, Abdi Aden Mohamed, head of the WHO in South Sudan, said, adding, “We are very cautious in the sense of there are a number of countries surrounding South Sudan that cases might be here and there,” according to VOA. Volunteers working to vaccinate every child under the age of six recently concluded the country’s 24th immunization campaign since polio reappeared in the nation, the news service notes (Green, 3/30).
The WHO will convene a meeting of its emergency committee later this month to assess whether H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked, Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO’s director general for pandemic influenza said Thursday, Bloomberg reports. “While the flu continues to spread in parts of the world, notably northern Africa, eastern Europe and eastern Asia, infection activity is declining, [Fukuda] said,” according to Bloomberg (Serafino, 2/11).
Luis Gomes Sambo, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, “is in the U.S. this week” for meetings with senior health officials and development agency representatives to discuss collaborating on health, the New Times/allAfrica.com reports.
During a joint visit to Nigeria this week, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe and Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. global AIDS coordinator, encouraged the country to ramp of its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, Pana/Afrique en ligne reports. At a Monday gathering with Acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Sidibe appealed for Nigeria to “use its position to influence African Union’s Declaration on prevention of Mother to Child transmission of HIV/AIDS,” according to the news service. Also during the gathering, Goosby emphasized the U.S. commitment to a partnership with the Nigerian government to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS (2/23).
The WHO’s emergency committee concluded Tuesday that it was too early to declare that H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked in all parts of the world, the Associated Press reports. The announcement came after the committee met to review the most recent statistics H1N1 activity around the world (2/24).