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Also In Global Health News: Nigeria Global Fund Grant; Pakistani Refugees; Guinea Violence

Nigeria Gets $669M Global Fund Grant For Health System Strengthening

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria awarded Nigeria a $669 million Round 8 grant for health system strengthening over five years, This Day/allAfrica.com reports. “During the grant signing ceremony in Abuja yesterday, Chairman of the occasion and former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, disclosed that the [The Global Fund] had spent $15.6 billion in 140 countries worldwide especially in Africa to support large scale prevention treatment and care programmes against these diseases. According to him, since the inception of the fund in Nigeria in 2002, the country had received $1.1 billion to fight the diseases in Rounds 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8” (Nwezeh/Aguiyi, 10/21).

Pakistani Refugees Put Strain On Health Services

The exodus of tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians from South Waziristan is significantly straining health services in the areas, according to Paul Garwood, a WHO spokesperson, VOA News reports. Though the “WHO has pre-positioned supplies … more supplies are needed, particularly the strengthening of health facilities in areas where IDPs [Internally Displaced People] are streaming into. As yet, we have no sign of casualties or disease outbreaks in this area. But, we are standing ready to prepare for this,” Garwood said. He said health workers will be stationed on the border with Afghanistan and will immunize children against polio (Schlein, 10/20). Fiona Hesselden, UNICEF’s deputy executive director, said, “The displaced families come from one of the poorest areas of Pakistan … Families have minimal resources and they urgently need safe water, clothing, food and health care,” Reuters AlertNet reports (Kilner, 10/20).

NPR Examines ‘Alleged Sexual Violence’ Against Women In Guinea 

NPR’s “All Things Considered” examines “the wave of alleged sexual violence perpetrated by soldiers” against women in Guinea during a pro-democracy rally last month. “Human-rights campaigners say dozens of women were victimized, though the true number may never be known, because many women in Guinea are afraid to come forward,” NPR notes. A doctor, who helped to treat the women, explained that they “feel ashamed about these rapes. They feel guilty, and yet they are the victims. And because of possible retribution, we are also fearful about treating them, because no one knows what might happen if we’re found out. But the real drama is that if these women aren’t treated, they risk being infected by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.” The piece includes information about mounting international pressure for further investigation into the military’s actions as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reaction (Quist-Arcton, 10/20). The Citizen/allAfrica.com reports U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has approved the establishment of a commission to investigate the Guinea “massacre that left 150 dead and thousands injured” (Jean-Matthew, 10/20).