Also In Global Health News: Meningitis Vaccine; Women And HIV/AIDS Response; Rain Hits West Africa; AIDS 2010
New Meningitis Vaccine Scheduled For ‘Mass Campaign’ In October
The WHO “recently gave approval to a new meningitis vaccine that is expected to cost only 50 cents a dose, a price many African governments and donors can afford,”Â the New York TimesÂ reports. The vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India following development by the WHO and PATH, a medical research group, and five years of clinical trials supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The article notes Africa’s “meningitis belt,” comprised of “25 countries along the bottom edge of the Sahara,” is particularly vulnerable to epidemics when dry winds arrive in March and reports that the vaccine will be used “for the first time” in a mass campaign in October (McNeil, 8/2).
UNIFEM Report Finds Women Often Excluded From Decision-Making Over HIV/AIDS Response
A reportÂ by theÂ U.N. Development Fund for WomenÂ (UNIFEM) highlights “the world’s failure to include women in decision-making in the HIV and AIDS response, despite a significant rise in the epidemic among women,”Â the Jamaica ObserverÂ reports.Â “According to Ines Alberdi, executive director of UNIFEM, accelerating progress in the response to HIV is impossible when women are invisible in decision-making.” For the report, UNIFEM interviewed women who “cited stigma, lack of access to information, the burden of caregiving â€¦ as well as illiteracy” as barriers to involvement in decision-making (Brown, 8/2).
Rain, Hail Hit West Africa Affecting Food and Water Supply
West Africa’s rainy season “has opened with hail storms in Guinea and the heaviest rain in 50 years in northern Chad,” according to IRIN, which also reports that floods have killed at least 80 people and washed away homes, livestock, crops and food stocks. “The floods come as communities across West Africa are facing food shortages and livestock losses,” IRIN writes. The article summarizes the impact of the floods in eight countries including Burkina Faso, where “thousands of people are living in schools and other buildings,” Cameroon, Chad and Cote d’Ivoire (8/2).
Philadelphia InquirerÂ Reflects OnÂ HIV/AIDS Researchers, Advocates’ Cautious OptimismÂ About Future Fight Against HIV/AIDS
The Philadelphia Inquirer examines how recent scientific discoveries â€“ some of which were presented at the International AIDS Conference â€“ AIDS 2010 â€“ have HIV/AIDS experts and advocates feeling “optimistic about the possibility of finding a cure for AIDS. They know that a cure may still be years away; the long journey to progress against this three-decades-long ‘restless assault’ is measured in baby steps, not leaps and bounds,” the newspaper writes. The article includes comments by former International AIDS Society president Helene Gayle, now president and CEO of CARE, andÂ Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (Curry, 8/1).