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More Affordable Bednets, Increased Transparency In Market Will Save $22M, UNICEF Executive Director Says

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said Wednesday “that a more transparent and competitive market will lead to savings of more than $20 million over the next 12 months through a price reduction of 20 percent for bednets that protect people from malaria,” a UNICEF press release reports, noting, “The price of an insecticide-treated, long-lasting bednet has dropped to under $3” (6/6). “‘Never before have bednets been as accessible and affordable for children and families in developing countries,’ said the Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen, Shanelle Hall, adding that the price reduction is the result of a long-term strategy to create a healthy global market for bednets,” the U.N. News Centre writes (6/6).

UNAIDS Governing Body Meets In Geneva

The “UNAIDS governing body, the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), is holding its 30th Board meeting from 5-7 June in Geneva,” the agency reports on its website. “This year’s thematic segment will take place on the second day of the meeting and will focus on combination prevention or the urgent need to reinvigorate HIV prevention responses globally by scaling up and achieving synergies to halt and begin to reverse the spread of the AIDS epidemic” the agency writes (6/5).

U.N. Women Becomes 11th Member Of UNAIDS Partnership

“The U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women) [on Tuesday] became the 11th member of the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), a partnership that focuses on achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” the U.N. News Centre reports, adding, “UNAIDS and U.N.…

UNITAID Urges India To Join Agency's Airline Tax Initiative

“Millions of the world’s poorest people could have easier access to life-saving drugs if India introduces an air ticket tax to help fund purchases of cheap medicines for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, a senior U.N. official said,” AlertNet/Reuters reports. “UNITAID, a U.N. agency which negotiates for cheap medicines from pharmaceutical manufacturers to treat deadly diseases, is lobbying countries such as India to join its air ticket levy initiative which began in 2006,” the news service writes.

WHO Warns Of Drug-Resistant Strains Of Gonorrhea

“Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea have spread to countries across the world, the U.N. health agency said on Wednesday, and millions of patients may run out of treatment options unless doctors catch and treat cases earlier,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 6/6). “Already several countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are reporting cases of resistance to cephalosporin antibiotics — the last treatment option against gonorrhea,” a WHO press release states (6/6).

Blog Examines WHO Funding

In this globalhealthpolicy.net blog post, Andrew Harmer, a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, examines funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), highlighting two documents circulated as background reading for the just-concluded World Health Assembly. The documents, titled A65/29 Add.1 (.pdf) and A65/30 (.pdf), “tell you how much…

June Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

The June issue of the WHO Bulletin includes an editorial on the management of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries; a public health round-up; an article on anti-smoking measures and tobacco consumption in Turkey; and a research paper on mortality in women in Burkina Faso in the years following obstetric complications (June 2012).

Joint UNAIDS/UNDP Brief Highlights Potential Impacts Of Free Trade Agreements On Public Health

“A new UNAIDS/UNDP joint issues brief [.pdf] highlights the potential impacts of free trade agreements on public health,” UNAIDS reports in a feature story on its website. “The brief concludes that ‘to retain the benefits of [flexibilities in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)], countries at a minimum should avoid entering into free trade agreements that contain obligations that can impact on pharmaceutical price or availability,'” the article states. It adds that “the potential impact of a number of current or planned free trade agreement negotiations taking place across the world — particularly affecting countries in the Asia and the Pacific region — can hinder countries’ rights to implement such flexibilities” (6/1).

IRIN Examines Next Steps In Global Fight Against NCDs

IRIN examines the next steps in fighting non-communicable diseases (NCDs), “the leading cause of death worldwide,” noting, “The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), aims to reduce preventable deaths from [NCDs] like diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers, by 25 percent by 2025.” According to IRIN, “WHO is coordinating negotiations on the surveillance, indicators and voluntary targets that will form an eventual global plan to fight NCDs, and is drafting recommendations to be considered by member governments in October 2012.” IRIN provides a link to a WHO summary of “recent discussions [.pdf] with civil society and government representatives on the best ways to rein in NCDs, and how to measure progress.”

On World No Tobacco Day, WHO Calls On National Leaders To Stand Together Against Tobacco Industry 'Attacks'

“On World No Tobacco Day (31 May), WHO is calling on national leaders to be extra vigilant against the increasingly aggressive attacks by the industry which undermine policies that protect people from the harms of tobacco,” a WHO press release reports, noting that nearly six million people die of tobacco-related illnesses each year and tobacco is a leading preventable cause of illness and death worldwide. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, “In recent years, multinational tobacco companies have been shamelessly fuelling a series of legal actions against governments that have been at the forefront of the war against tobacco. … We must now stand together with these governments that have had the courage to do the right thing to protect their citizens,” according to the press release. “More countries are moving to fully meet their obligations under the 2003 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC),” the press release adds (5/30). PANA/Afrique en ligne reports that WHO has released a technical resource paper based on 2008 guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the FCTC “to help guide countries on ways to combat tobacco industry interference” (5/30).