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Despite Improvements, Aid Delivery Bottlenecks Persist In Haiti

Three weeks after a major earthquake struck Haiti, challenges in getting aid to those in need persist, the Washington Post reports. “Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said the relief effort has escalated in recent days and will continue to do so. Emergency food aid has been provided to more than a million people in and around Port-au-Prince, but 2 million people are estimated to need such assistance, he said.

New York Times Examines WHO Process For Getting H1N1 Vaccines To Countries In Need

The New York Times examines the WHO’s role as “clearinghouse” for getting H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines to lower income nations. Though H1N1 has died down in North America and many wealthier nations “are trying to get rid of their [vaccine] surpluses,” the virus continues to circulate in regions of North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, according to the newspaper.

Experimental Vaccine Reduced TB Rate Among HIV-Positive People In Tanzania, Study Finds

An experimental vaccine was found to reduce the rate of tuberculosis infections in patients living with HIV, “the first time a shot has been shown to reduce cases of the most common AIDS-related cause of death in poor nations,” Bloomberg reports (Bennett, 1/29). Tuberculosis accounts for up to one-third of AIDS deaths worldwide, CBC News reports.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Under Shah’s Leadership, USAID Poised ‘To Regain Its Prominence’ In Global Nutrition, Lancet Opinion Says  Rajiv Shah’s appointment as USAID administrator “comes at a crucial time of challenge and opportunity for the Agency to improve the nutritional well-being of impoverished societies,” write the authors of a Lancet Comment that examines…

Canada To Donate 5M Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine To WHO; Agency Has Received Commitment Of 200M Vaccines

The Canadian government on Thursday announced the country would donate five million doses of H1N1 vaccines to the WHO from the country’s current surplus, the Canadian Press reports (Branswell, 1/28). “[T]he donation will help the Geneva-based international body in its efforts to redistribute the vaccine to developing countries that couldn’t afford their own supplies,” the Globe and Mail reports (Alphonso, 1/28).

Rotavirus Vaccine Could Save Millions Of Children In Developing Countries, Studies Find

Over the next decade, efforts to vaccinate “infants against rotavirus could save the lives of millions of children in developing nations who would otherwise die from the diarrhea-causing disease, two new studies show,” HealthDay/BusinsessWeek reports. The studies track diarrhea deaths among children vaccinated against rotavirus in Africa and Mexico and appear in the Jan. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (Thomas, 1/27).

African Vaccine Maker Plans To Increase Production Capacity Sevenfold By 2013

Biovac Institute, a South African vaccine maker, said Monday that it is working with other major pharmaceutical firms to increase its annual capacity sevenfold to 35 million doses by 2013, Reuters reports. Morena Makhoana, the company’s deputy chief executive, said that 25 million of those doses will remain in Africa.

WHO Addresses Handling Of H1N1 At Council Of Europe Meeting

During a Council of Europe meeting on Tuesday to address the WHO’s handling of the H1N1 virus, the WHO said it had not “fallen under the sway of drugs firms and exaggerated the dangers of the H1N1 flu virus, but said it might have handled the crisis better,” Reuters reports. “Critics say the WHO relied too much on advice from advisers in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry, triggering an internal review by the WHO and an inquiry by the Council of Europe, a pan European human rights watchdog,” writes the news service (Reilhac, 1/26).