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Rescue, Relief Efforts Continue In Haiti, 200,000 People Estimated To Have Perished In Quake

Rescue efforts continue in Haiti after a major earthquake hit the country last week, CNN reports (1/18). While teams still search for survivors under the rubble, the priority is shifting to relief for those who survived the quake, Nicholas Reader, spokesperson for the U.N.Offices for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, TIME reports (Newton-Small,1/18).

WHO, CDC Issue H1N1 Updates

Though H1N1 (swine flu) activity worldwide has slowed, the potential of a new wave of infections in the northern hemisphere in late winter or early spring remains viable, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, said Monday at the start of the WHO’s weeklong Executive Board meeting, Reuters reports. The H1N1 pandemic “initially sparked widespread concern about antiviral and vaccine supplies, especially in developing countries, but many nations have cut back their vaccine orders recently because the pandemic has not turned out as deadly as originally feared,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 1/18).

WHO Official Rejects Claims Agency Overhyped Threat Of H1N1

Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO director general on pandemic influenza, on Thursday dismissed allegations that the agency exaggerated the threat of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic and has been influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, the Washington Post reports. Fukuda’s defense came amid reports this week that the Council of Europe will investigate the WHO’s actions and as several countries slash H1N1 vaccine orders.

Study Raises Concerns About Drug-Resistant HIV

The emergence of drug-resistant strains of HIV could one day threaten efforts to control the global HIV pandemic, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science, HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report reports. The researchers based their findings on “a mathematical model that tracks the transmission of multiple strains of HIV” in San Francisco, the news service writes (1/14).

Also In Global Health News: Family Planning In Philippines; Drug Pricing In Africa

Government Releases Family Planning Survey In Philippines A government survey in the Philippines “found 73 percent of married women would use birth control if it were available, 22 percentage points higher than the 51 percent that did use such methods,” Agence France-Presse reports. The country is facing a rapid population…

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.

Opinions: Haiti Aid Efforts

Former Pres. Clinton: ‘We Will Create Better Tomorrows By Building Haiti Back Better’ Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.N. special envoy for Haiti, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece that “early estimates indicate that nearly 3 million people – almost a third of Haiti’s population – may need aid, making this one…

WHO To Review Its Handling Of H1N1 Pandemic

Amid recent complaints that the WHO exaggerated the threat of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, the agency announced Tuesday an upcoming independent review of the agency’s handling of the pandemic, Agence France-Presse reports (1/12).

U.S., World Mount Response To Haiti 7.0 Earthquake

Rescue teams and aid groups headed to Haiti on Wednesday to offer help and “assess damage from a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake that crippled the island nation, severing communications with the outside world and crumbling countless buildings,” the Miami Herald reports (Charles et al., 1/13). Tuesday’s “earthquake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years and left the country in a shambles,” according to the New York Times (Romero/Lacy, 1/13).

UNAIDS Chief Calls For Reducing MTCT Of HIV In Africa

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe on Monday during a five-day trip in Kenya, called for a drastic reduction in mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, Capital News reports. “In our continent we still have 400,000 babies born every year with HIV and we know if we are capable of making sure that testing will become available universally to all our pregnant women, (and) that pregnant women also have access to treatment, we will prevent the transmission,” Sidibe said (Karong’o, 1/11).