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Gates Annual Letter Addresses Importance Of Innovation For Global Health, Agriculture

In his second annual letter, Bill Gates reflects on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work and the importance innovation will play in overcoming some of the world’s greatest challenges, including in global health and agriculture, the Associated Press/Wall Street Journal reports. “Gates says the foundation currently is backing 30 areas of innovation including online learning, teacher improvement, malaria vaccine development, HIV prevention, and genetically modified seeds,” according to the news service (1/25).

New York Times Examines U.S. H1N1 Reponse

As the number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in the U.S. continues to wane, the New York Times reflects on how federal officials handled the pandemic and other contributing factors. “The outbreak highlighted many national weaknesses: old, slow vaccine technology; too much reliance on foreign vaccine factories; some major hospitals pushed to their limits by a relatively mild epidemic,” the newspaper writes.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Series Papers Examine Surveillance, Economic Impact Of NTDs “As national programmes respond to the new opportunities presented for scaling up preventive chemotherapy programmes for the coadministration of drugs to target [several neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] possible synergies between existing disease-specific policies and protocols need to be examined,” write the…

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.

AFP Reflects On WHO’s Response To H1N1

Agence France-Presse examines the WHO’s response to H1N1 (swine flu) one year since the virus was first reported in Mexico and the U.S. “A year on, questions linger as to whether a decision by the World Health Organization to declare swine flu a pandemic, thereby unleashing the slew of health measures, was over-dramatic or even tainted by commercial interests,” the news service writes.

Also In Global Health News: Iraq’s Health System; HIV Travel Restrictions; India Cholera Vaccine; HIV/AIDS Prevention In Indonesia; U.S. Federal Quarantine Regulations

IRIN Examines ‘Long And Complicated’ Process To Developing Iraq’s Health System IRIN examines how decades of conflict in Iraq have stymied development of the country’s health system. The piece includes comments by Iraqi Health Minister Salih al-Hasnawi, who describes the process of “developing [the country’s health facilities] to reach international…

Also In Global Health News: Medical Technology Network In N. Korea; MDR-TB Drug Maker Closes; Global Fund Financing; Zuma’s HIV Test; HIV Vaccine; UNICEF Head’s Term Ends

N. Korea Launches Medical Video Conference Network North Korea on Tuesday formally launched a medical video conference network “aimed at giving smaller, rural hospitals access to specialists in the capital Pyongyang,” the Associated Press reports. “WHO has been providing cameras, computers and other equipment to North Korea to help the reclusive,…