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Also In Global Health News: Food Aid For North Korea; Funds For Congo Polio Outbreak; HIV/AIDS Programs In Swaziland; Drug Shortages In Moscow « » The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Also In Global Health News: Food Aid For North Korea; Funds For Congo Polio Outbreak; HIV/AIDS Programs In Swaziland; Drug Shortages In Moscow

North Korea Urgently Needs Food Aid, U.N. Report Says

North Korea urgently needs food aid especially for young children, pregnant women and seniors, the World Food Program (WFP) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a joint report (.pdf), the New York Times reports. The agencies said though the nation had a “relatively good autumn harvest,” it will still be left with a shortage of staple crops even after significant imports, the newspaper writes (McDonald/Drew, 11/17). WFP and FAO “say international aid is the only way to adequately feed the North’s 24 million people, a third of whom are under-nourished,” VOA News writes (Herman, 11/17). The report recommends donors provide 305,000 tons of food aid for the country, U.N. News Centre reports (11/16).  

IRC Appeals For $1.5M For Clean Water, Sanitation, Worker Training To Stem Polio Outbreak In Congo

“The International Red Cross on Tuesday launched an urgent appeal for 1.1 million euros (about $1.5 million dollars) to help some four million people in the Republic of Congo, where polio has left over 120 dead,” Agence France-Presse reports. The funds will help provide clean water and sanitation to populations impacted by the outbreak and support staff training for those working to stem the outbreak which was first confirmed in early October, according to the news service (11/16).

IRIN/PlusNew Examines How Economic Downturn Might Hurt Swaziland’s HIV/AIDS Programs

IRIN/PlusNews examines how economic issues facing Swaziland could impact the nation’s HIV/AIDS programs. “Revenue from SACU – the world’s oldest customs union, comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa – contributed 76 percent of the Swazi government’s income in 2009 but dropped in 2010 and is expected to continue declining over the next decade,” the news service writes. The article details health experts’ predictions that the country’s HIV/AIDS response will be scaled back. The article also looks at donor funding for the country’s HIV/AIDS programs, including from PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (11/16).

Moscow Times Examines How Drug Shortages In Russia Are Leading Doctors To Prescribe Replacement HIV/AIDS Meds To Patients

In Russia, some patients living with HIV/AIDS, whose regular drug therapy was replaced by “another, less preferable drug,” are bringing lawsuits against state-run treatment centers in the hopes of returning to their preferred drug regimen, the Moscow Times reports. “Supplies were delayed nationwide this year because the Health and Social Development Ministry, which buys medicine for HIV patients once a year, was two months too late initiating a tender for suppliers, Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal AIDS Center, said in a telephone interview,” according to the newspaper. The article examines the reports of HIV drug shortages at clinics throughout country, and describes the side effects from medications patients can experience when switching HIV/AIDS medications. The piece profiles a woman living with HIV/AIDS who brought a law suit against an treatment center and was placed back on her original HIV/AIDS medications, and describes how patients’ concerns over social stigma may lead them to avoid this approach (Krainova, 11/16).