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Also In Global Health News: Malaria Drugs In Kenya; Dengue Epidemic In Caribbean; Kenya’s Controversial Draft Constitution; UN Women Budget

Kenya To Benefit From Deal To Cut Malaria Drug Prices In Half

Business Daily reports that “Kenyans are set to benefit from a major deal that is likely to cut prices of malaria drugs by more than half, easing the pressure on family medical costs.” The deal involves the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, six manufacturers of malaria drugs and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the paper reports. Under the new agreement, “manufacturers will sell [artemisinin-based combination therapies] ACTs to first-line buyers from the private sector at the same reduced prices as they sell to those in the public sector,” including government hospitals. The article includes comments from, Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine and former U.S. President Bill Clinton. In addition to Kenya, “the new initiative will benefit Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Uganda and be expanded globally after two years,” Business Daily writes (Mbogo, 7/19).

Health Authorities Voice Concerns Dengue Could Worsen In Caribbean

Dengue fever is “reaching epidemic stages across the Caribbean,” the Associated Press reports. Dozens of deaths have been reported and health authorities are “concerned it could get much worse as the rainy season advances.” The article examines the situation in the Dominican Republic and Trinidad, where hospitals are “running out of beds,” and Puerto Rico where “at least five people have died” and “another 6,300 suspected cases have been reported as of mid-July.” Senen Caba, president of the Dominican Medical Association, “said the last time the country experienced a similar dengue epidemic was a decade ago” (Coto, 7/18).

Three Members Of Congress Accuse U.S. Of Supporting Kenya Draft Constitution They Say Would Widen Access To Abortion Services

“Three Republican members of the U.S. Congress are accusing the Obama administration of using money meant for civic education in Kenya to back a draft constitution that they fear would increase access to abortion in the African country,” the Associated Press writes. The news service reports that the U.S. Embassy provided $11 million in support to 200 subgrantees “in support of constitutional reform”; an investigation found that nine supported a constitutional draft that Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) says “reduces the qualifications needed of the abortion provider from current Kenyan law.” An embassy spokeswoman said it “has since suspended or concluded those nine grants.” The AP also notes that “[a] part of U.S. law known as the Siljander Amendment makes it illegal for foreign assistance funds to be used to lobby for or against abortion” (Odula/Straziuso, 7/17).

U.N. Women Agency Projects $500M Budget, But ‘Enormous Needs’ Remain

The U.N.’s new women’s entity will have a projected annual budget of $500 million which “may still leave the agency lacking in influence and impact, civil society advocates say,” IRIN reports. U.N. Women, which will formally exist in January 2011, will use the bulk of its budget for “programming to directly benefit the world’s most vulnerable women,” the news service writes. Though the budget “more than doubles all the resources now available to the four U.N. gender agencies,” United Nations Development Fund for Women Deputy Executive Director Moez Doraid “says it is minuscule, compared to our needs, and those are enormous needs” (7/16).