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Indian Government Rejects Abbott’s Patent Application For Second-Line ARV

India’s patent office “has rejected American drug maker Abbott Laboratories’ patent application for an HIV combination drug, allowing low-cost local drug makers to make and sell their generic versions in India and other countries where the medicine is not patented,” Economic Times reports (1/4). The drug under consideration was Abbott’s “Kaletra, which combines two antivirals, [lopinavir/ritonavir and] is one of the preferred second-line treatments to fight drug-resistant HIV, according to the World Health Organization, which recommends governments include it on their list of essential medicines,” Bloomberg/Businessweek writes (Narayan, 1/4).

Newsweek Reports On Growth Of Safety Net Programs In Developing Countries

“[A] recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization identified 72 different ‘social pension’ plans around the world dedicated to the elderly, the ill, or the down and out,” Newsweek writes in an article exploring the growth in welfare programs around the world. “Most countries on the [WHO/ILO] list are developing nations once considered too destitute to help their poor and that, until recently, had little or no welfare coverage at all. … While fighting inequality and helping the neediest has long been on the docket of Third World leaders, most previous attempts have been sabotaged by inefficiency, corruption, and stagnant or dysfunctional economies,” the magazine writes. “Now roaring economies in Asia, Latin America, and even Africa, coupled with better-functioning governments and sound fiscal stewardship, have stretched the policy horizons for many nations that once lived from one crisis to the next,” according to Newsweek.

Science Magazine Examines Efforts To Improve Disease Eradication Programs

Years after deadlines for polio and guinea worm eradication came and went without achieving their intended goals Science magazine examines efforts to strengthen disease eradication. The topic was front and center of a meeting of public health experts earlier this year in Frankfurt, Germany, that “sought a new way forward” on disease eradication, the magazine reports. “The participants, many of them involved in past and current eradications, believed that eradication campaigns should continue. But ‘proceed with caution’ could have been the motto” of a report the group drafted during the meeting, according to Science.

IANS/Sify News Reports On International Aid Response To Haitian, Pakistani Disasters

“Nearly 260,000 people died in earthquakes, floods, typhoons, heatwaves, fires and landslides in 2010 – the worst toll since 1976 – compared with 15,000 last year, according to reinsurance company Swiss Re. Haiti and Pakistan stood out because of the massive death toll and millions of homeless, and the extent to which both countries tested the limits of international aid. In both countries, the collapsed infrastructure will take decades to rebuild, and the disasters likely set back development gains for generations,” IANS/Sify News writes in an article examining the fall out from the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.

Recent Releases In Global Health

The Problem With A ‘Robo Budget’: In a post on “The Hill’s Congress Blog,” Senator Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.), writes about the recent defeat of the omnibus bill, calling the passage of a continuing resolution a “robo budget” that is a “disservice.” According to Leahy: “The Omnibus would have funded global…

New York Times Reports On How Foreign Governments, Investors Are Pushing Some African Farmers Off Land

“Across Africa and the developing world, a new global land rush is gobbling up large expanses of arable land. Despite their ageless traditions, stunned villagers are discovering that African governments typically own their land and have been leasing it, often at bargain prices, to private investors and foreign governments for decades to come,” the New York Times writes in an article that examines the factors contributing to a growing interest in such land among investors.

Vatican Issues Communique To Clarify Pope’s Statement On Condoms

“The Vatican on Tuesday issued its most authoritative clarification on Pope Benedict XVI’s recent remarks that condoms could sometimes be used for disease prevention, saying that the pope in no way justified their use to prevent pregnancy,” the New York Times reports (Donadio, 12/21).

Also In Global Health News: Disabled People And HIV; HIV/AIDS In Cambodia; South Africa Global Fund Grant; Early Marriage In Zambia; Indian Health Deal In Rwanda

U.N. Agencies’ Efforts To Combat HIV/AIDS Among Disabled People Examined IRIN PlusNews reports on different efforts aimed at addressing HIV/AIDS among people living with disabilities. “More than 600 million people – 10 percent of the global population – live with disabilities, and 80 percent of them live in developing countries. This population often…