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Also In Global Health News: Liberian Debt Relief; Elections In Haiti; Mexico Ends H1N1 Emergency; Male Circumcision In Uganda « » The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Also In Global Health News: Liberian Debt Relief; Elections In Haiti; Mexico Ends H1N1 Emergency; Male Circumcision In Uganda

IMF, World Bank Endorse $4.6B Debt Relief For Liberia

“The International Monetary Fund [IMF] and the World Bank said on Tuesday they supported a $4.6 billion debt relief program for Liberia,” Reuters reports. The debt relief would make available resources for Liberia to use for rebuilding after years of civil war that damaged infrastructure and has resulted in a “generation of traumatized child soldiers” (6/30).

“Liberia can now mobilize additional resources to rebuild the road network and the electricity supply system, providing the infrastructure needed to allow economic growth, while continuing to expand the health care and education systems,” Chris Lane, IMF mission chief for Liberia, said in an IMF press release, Agence France-Presse reports. Pamela Gomez, a policy advisor for Oxfam, said the move was a “step in the right direction.” Gomez said the a recent study by Oxfam and partners “found that Liberia is facing a public health crisis – three out of four people have no access to safe water, and lack of water and sanitation cause 18 percent of deaths in that country,” AFP reports (6/29).

Haitian Elections To Be Held In November

Nov. 28 has been established as the date for Haiti’s elections after the country’s president, Rene Preval, on Tuesday signed a “much anticipated decree” along with the prime minister and members of the Cabinet, the Associated Press reports.

“The date itself is not a surprise: Haiti’s current constitution mandates elections be held the last Sunday of November in the fifth year of the president’s term. But opponents had expressed concern that Preval was dragging his feet on holding the election, especially after he signed a decree extending his term by three months if voting was not held on time,” the AP writes. In addition to voting for a new president, Haitians will also elect new “legislators for Haiti’s now mostly vacant parliament” (Katz, 6/29).

14 Months After H1N1 Emerged, Mexico Lifts Flu Alert

The government of Mexico on Tuesday lifted its H1N1 (swine flu) alert, “officially ending the health emergency in the country where the illness first appeared 14 months ago,” the Associated Press reports. “Secretary of Health Jose Angel Cordova said that as recently as October, 90 percent of influenza cases in Mexico were swine flu. But by May, it was down to 10 percent, the rest being cases of seasonal influenza virus that is less contagious,” the news service adds. Despite lifting the alert, Cordova said Mexico’s government will continue to monitor the flu cases (6/29).

Male Circumcision Program To Begin In Uganda

“The Ugandan government will begin a nationwide male circumcision programme in July as part of its HIV prevention strategy, a senior government official has said,” IRIN/PlusNews reports. There has been “criticism of the delay in launching the circumcision programme,” which the government began drafting in 2008. “We needed funding; PEPFAR … has stepped in to give the ministry and its partners US$5 million for male circumcision over the next year,” Alex Opio, assistant commissioner in Uganda’s health ministry said. According to IRIN/PlusNews, circumcision is “relatively new to Uganda, where only 25 percent of the adult men are circumcised.” However, one study found that “62 percent of men in four districts would consider being circumcised,” IRIN/PlusNews reports (6/29).