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News Outlets Report On Polio Outbreaks In Central, East Africa

“Bad immunisation strategy has been blamed for an outbreak of polio, which has killed nearly 200 and is believed to have caused paralysis in more than 2,000 others across Angola, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),” the Mail & Guardian writes in a story examining the emergence of the disease in the three countries and efforts to control it.

Guardian Examines Difficulty Of Delivering Polio Vaccines In War-Torn Parts Of Africa, Like DRC

UNICEF is calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) so that polio vaccinators can access millions of children in an effort to beat back the re-emergence of the disease in several African nations, the Guardian reports. “We are calling on all parties to the conflict to respect the vaccination days and cease fighting,” said Pierrette Vu Thi, UNICEF’s representative in the DRC. “All children have the same right to health,” Vu Thi said.

Campaign To Inoculate Millions Across Africa Against Meningitis Kicks Off In Burkina Faso

On Monday, a campaign started in Burkina Faso to “inoculate tens of millions of West Africans with a new vaccine in what scientists hope will be the beginning of the end of ravaging meningitis epidemics” across the continent, the New York Times reports. Burkina Faso marks the first country in a drive aimed at “bringing the disease under control and saving an estimated 150,000 lives by 2015 in a belt of 25 nations that girds the continent,” according to the newspaper (Dugger, 12/4).

Recent Releases In Global Health

‘Complacency Is Dangerous’ In Global HIV/AIDS Fight: A Lancet Editorial is critical of UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe’s statement in the annual UNAIDS report that “We have halted and begun to reverse the epidemic.” The editorial states, “These words, from the head of a U.N. agency, are reckless and premature, and…

Also In Global Health News: New GAVI Alliance Board Chair; HIV/AIDS-Related Updates

Former Norwegian Health Minister To Chair GAVI Alliance Board The GAVI Alliance Board announced on Tuesday that it “has elected former Norwegian Health Minister and current MP Dagfinn Hoybraten as its new chairman, succeeding Mary Robinson,” PANA/Afrique en ligne reports (11/30). Hoybraten “has been a member of the GAVI Board since…

GAVI Says Pentavalent Vaccine Price To Fall, But $3.7B Still Needed To Vaccinate Children In Developing Countries

The average price of a vaccine that protects children against five diseases is expected to “drop to $2.58 next year compared to the current average price of $2.97,” the GAVI Alliance said Friday, Reuters reports. The group credits the expected price decline, which “represents a decrease of 30 percent over the last seven years,” in part to an “increased demand for the pentavalent, or five-in-one vaccine,” according to the news service (Kelland, 11/26).

Haiti Requires Additional Trained Nurses, Doctors To Address Cholera Epidemic, U.N. Official Says

Haiti needs about 1,000 additional trained nurses and at least 100 more physicians to control the cholera epidemic, Valerie Amos, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said during a recent visit to the capital of Port-au-Prince, Reuters reports. “We clearly need to do more,” Amos said of the global response to the cholera outbreak. “But it’s not just money, it’s crucially people, in terms of getting more doctors, nurses, more people who can help with the awareness-raising and getting information out there,” she said. The U.N. plans to work with countries and aid groups that have the capacity to quickly provide more health workers, according to Amos.

Meningitis Immunization Program To Launch In 3 African Countries Next Month

At a press conference in London, health officials said that the anticipated roll-out of the MenAfriVac for meningitis in three African countries will start on Dec. 6, the BBC reports. “The vaccine, which has been developed in India, costs less than fifty U.S. cents a dose and clinical tests suggest it could offer protection for between 10 and 15 years,” the news service writes (Bowdler, 11/22).