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Also In Global Health News: Kyrgystan Appeals For Aid; TB In Western Pacific; Pakistan Water Crisis; Zimbabwe Medical Fees; Measuring TB

Kyrgystan Asks For $1.2B In Aid To Rebuild Country

“Kyrgyzstan’s government appealed to an international donors conference Tuesday for $1.2 billion in aid to rebuild the country after months of political and ethnic violence,” the Associated Press reports. The conflict “ravaged major markets and businesses, depriving the south of important sources of employment and economic development.” The AP adds that “the most immediate attention is being paid to the humanitarian situation in the south, where thousands have been forced to take refuge in tents or live with relatives” (Leonard, 7/27). In June, the U.S. committed $6.5 million in humanitarian aid to the country (Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, 6/17).

TB Efforts In Western Pacific Need More Financial Support

Xinhua reports that the WHO “warned Monday that the Western Pacific Region’s gains in tuberculosis control over the last decade would be lost” without more financial and technical support. The epidemic concentrates in vulnerable populations with limited access to health care, according to Shin Young-soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific. Shin’s remarks were made at the Stop TB Technical Advisory Group meeting, which also discussed HIV, which he said is a “major threat and has the potential to reverse the gains achieved by the TB control efforts” (7/26).

AP/Washington Post Examines Pakistan’s Water Crisis 

A growing population and inefficient farming practices are causing a “severe [water] crisis” in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press/Washington Post. Nearly 630 children die each day and “up to a third of Pakistan’s 175 million people lack safe drinking water,”  the news service reports, citing a study by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The AP/Washington Post reports that Pakistan’s water availability per person dropped from 5,000 cubic meters in 1947 to 1,000 today and notes that “at least” 90 percent of the country’s water is used for farming (7/26).

Medical Fees Create Barriers To Care For Pregnant Women In Zimbabwe

Health service fees are “opening a growing gap between policy and implementation in maternal health” in Zimbabwe where the government policy is that pregnant women, new mothers and infants should receive free care, Inter Press Service reports. “Expecting mothers are required to pay a 50 U.S. dollar booking fee at clinics and government hospitals, but this is … an amount many here cannot afford.” In some cases, women are told they cannot leave the hospital or are denied documents needed to get a birth certificate until they pay their bills, the news service reports, adding that “the country’s rapid economic decline in the past decade has compelled health institutions to raise their own revenue to meet costs.” The article also examines Zimbabwe’s progress toward Millennium Development Goals on child and maternal health and a “proliferation” of traditional medicine because of women’s inability to access formal health care (Banda, 7/26).

MODS Culture Method Shows Promise In Diagnosing TB In Children

“The microscopic-observation drug-susceptibility (MODS) culture method, using duplicate gastric-aspirate specimens, may be the best diagnostic test for pulmonary tuberculosis in high-risk children in a resource-poor setting, according to research published online” Tuesday in Lancet Infectious Diseases, HealthDay/ModernMedicine reports. Researchers from Tulane University compared 218 children, from a low-income area in Lima, Peru, with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis with 238 controls. Twenty-two cases had “at least one positive M tuberculosis culture,” and the researchers found that MODS was “more sensitive” than the standard Lowenstein-Jensen culture, diagnosing 20 of 22 patients compared with 13 of 22 patients (7/26).