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Also In Global Health News: Drug Trafficking In Kenya; Violence In S. Sudan; Uganda Bill; Sleeping Sickness

Drug Trafficking, Use Spreading HIV/AIDS In Kenya

Drug trafficking and use are fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS in Kenya, according to a recent report by the U.N. Security Council, the Nation reports. “A statement from the council’s Presidency currently … states that Afghan heroin was being imported, causing a dramatic increase in heroin addiction and spreading HIV/AIDS in the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya’s two main cities,” the newspaper writes. The article examines efforts underway to stop drug trafficking and includes comments by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (12/14).

Violence In S. Sudan Exacerbates Health Problems In Region, MSF Report Finds

“At least 2,000 people have died and 250,000 have fled their homes following violence in southern Sudan this year, worsening a humanitarian crisis in a region seeking its independence, officials from” Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Monday during the release of their report (.pdf) on the region, the Associated Press reports (Odula, 12/14). The “displacement of thousands from their homes, … has led to outbreaks of diseases, such as cholera and malaria,” CNN reports (12/14). “The rising violence aggravates the already dire medical situation in Southern Sudan, where 75 percent of people have no access to even the most basic healthcare, and where large-scale outbreaks of diseases threaten lives,” an MSF press release adds (12/14).

Passage Of Anti-Gay Bill May Keep Uganda From Hosting AIDS Vaccine Program, UNAIDS Rep. Says

U.N. and Ugandan health officials announced Monday that the Uganda Virus Research Institute, located in Entebbe, Uganda, will host the African AIDS Vaccine Program (AAVP), the New Vision reports. Formerly headquartered in Geneva, the institute helps to coordinate AIDS vaccine research in Africa. “As two-thirds of the global AIDS epidemic is situated in Africa, we welcome the transition of the AAVP to Africa,” Ugandan Health Minister Stephen Mallinga said during the announcement at the 5th AAVP conference in Kampala (Baguma/Nabusoba/Kalibbala, 12/14). Agence France-Presse reports that Catherine Hankins, the chief scientific advisor for UNAIDS, said Monday that Uganda may lose its chance to host the institution if it passes anti-gay legislation. “Criminalising adult consensual sex is not only a human rights issue, it goes against a good HIV strategy,” Hankins said, adding, “If the bill passes, UNAIDS and WHO would have to decide what happens and to see whether this is an appropriate place” (12/14).

BBC Examines Animal Health Program Aimed At Reducing Spread Of Sleeping Sickness In Uganda

BBC examines an animal health program in Uganda aimed at preventing the spread of trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. Previous studies identified that tsetse flies feed first on cattle’s blood, before biting humans, infecting them with the parasite that causes sleeping sickness. “The research has now proved a clear link between the movement of cattle in Uganda and the spread of the acute form of the disease,” the news service writes. The article examines how veterinarians are reaching out to local farmers to educate them on practices that can protect their animals and families from infection (Wood, 12/15).