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Also In Global Health News: TB Research; MDGs In Africa; U.S. Aid To Pakistan; Sanitation In India, Kenya; TB Vaccine

Dallas Morning News Examines UT Southwestern Medical Center TB Research

The Dallas Morning News reports on the research of Tawanda Gumbo, a tuberculosis researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “Gumbo’s latest search has focused on the emergence of drug-resistant TB strains that require different medications to control the symptoms. His lab is attempting to isolate drugs used to treat other diseases that could benefit TB patients,” according to the newspaper. He “also is searching for ways to accelerate TB treatments and improve patient compliance” (Jacobson, 4/15).

Regional MDG Policy Advisor Discusses Africa’s Progress, Challenges

News24 examines Africa’s progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets and the challenges that lie ahead, as described by Osten Chulu, Regional MDG Policy Advisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa, in a Q&A with the news service. “From a global perspective, considerable progress has been made in achieving some of the MDGs,” Chulu said. “For instance, the overarching goal of reducing absolute poverty by half is within reach for the world as a whole, but Africa, especially the sub-Saharan region is seriously lagging behind.”

After highlighting Africa’s gains in MDGs relating to AIDS, malaria and measles, Chulu notes, “In Africa by far, the greatest challenges [to achieving MDGs] lie in reducing poverty, achieving gender parity, maternal mortality and HIV and AIDS. … The recent food price crisis, as well as the global recession have exacerbated the already dire situation currently facing the continent” (Madhomu, 4/14).

U.S. To Direct More Aid To Pakistani Government, USAID Head Says

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said Wednesday said the U.S. wants to direct more aid through Pakistan’s government, Reuters reports. “Our investments have often gone to U.S.-based contractors and U.S.-based organisations, and too much of those resources have landed back in the U.S.,” Shah said at a news conference. “Our team is committed to increasing the proportion of spendings that we provide directly to the government and directly to the Pakistani institutions,” he added (Anthony, 4/14).

More People In India Have Access To Mobile Phone Than Sanitation, Study Finds

In India, more people “have access to a mobile telephone than to a toilet,” according to a United Nations University study on sanitation access, the IANS/Times of India reports (4/15). “India has some 545 million cell phones, enough to serve about 45 percent of the population, but only about 366 million people or 31 percent of the population had access to improved sanitation in 2008,” according to the U.N. News Centre. The study includes nine recommendations on how to increase the number of people who have access to sanitation. It also suggests changing the Millennium Development Goal target from a “50 percent improvement by 2015 to 100 percent coverage by 2025; and to reassign official development assistance equal to 0.002 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to sanitation” (4/14).

PBS’ NewsHour Examines Use Of Private Capital For Kenyan Sanitation

PBS’ NewsHour reports on private investment projects that are being used to install toilets in some of the poorest areas in Kenya (de Sam Lazaro, 4/14).

Experimental TB Vaccine For HIV-Positive People Enters Phase II Clinical Trials

Biopharmaceutical company Crucell and the Aeras Global Tuberculosis Vaccine Foundation announced the start of “Phase II clinical trial of a tuberculosis-vaccine candidate targeted at adults infected with HIV,” MarketWatch reports. Trials will test the “safety and efficacy of Aeras 402/Crucell Ad35” and will be led by the Aurum Institute in Klerksdorp, South Africa (Daniel, 4/14).