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Also In Global Health News: Food Needs In Sudan; Malaria Vaccine; Agriculture In India; Generic Drugs

Drought, Conflict More Than Triple Food Needs In S. Sudan

“The number of people in Southern Sudan needing food aid has quadrupled to about 4.3 million this year from a year ago because of violence and drought, the United Nations World Food Programme said” Tuesday, Bloomberg reports (Maier, 2/2). The agency, which is facing a funding shortfall of $485.4 million, estimates more than 11 million people in the country will need food assistance this year, Agence France-Presse reports (2/2).

GlobalPost Examines Ongoing Malaria Vaccine Trials In Africa

The GlobalPost examines the ongoing clinical trial of the malaria vaccine, RTS,S – or Mosquirix – in seven African countries. The trial expects to enroll 16,000 children to test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and should last between three and five years. “The vaccine would be an important weapon in the fight against deadly malaria but would be just one part of an arsenal that includes insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying, effective treatment once malaria takes hold and preventative anti-malarials for pregnant women. Even pop music is being used to spread education about preventing malaria,” the news service notes (McConnell, 2/1).

Indian Prime Minister Calls For Focus On Agriculture

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday at a meeting of officials from the country’s 28 states “that India had been lulled into a ‘false sense of security’ over its food reserves, and warned that income and population growth were pressuring supplies,” Agence France-Presse reports. He called for a larger emphasis on agriculture (2/1). “Our agricultural productivity still ranks far below the best in the world,” he said, the IANS/Times of India reports. Singh said, “Our experience in the past two years has brought to the fore the importance of food security and the need for containing prices” (2/1).

Drugmaker Cephalon To Purchase Generic Drugmaker

Cephalon Inc., the U.S. drugmaker, said Monday it plans to buy Mepha AG, the Swiss generic drugmaker, for approximately $590 million “to diversify its product line and expand internationally,” Reuters reports. Cephalon will gain treatments for malaria, anemia, bacterial infections and a range of other conditions. According to the news service, “Pharmaceutical companies around the world are looking to acquire generic drugmakers to help them offset declining revenue from big branded products” (Clarke, 2/1).