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Opinion: Food Aid; HIV Vaccine, Microbicide Research; Global Tobacco Surveillance

Business Day Examines Business Of Feeding World’s Hungry

In a Business Day opinion piece, analyst Shoshana Perrey examines U.S. food aid policy: “When the U.S. Congress passed Bill PL 480 in 1954, the American food aid regime was founded on four principles: find an outlet for the mounting tonnes of surplus agriculture commodities; promote American geo-political interests to combat communism; establish and develop humanitarian assistance programs; and create new markets abroad for U.S. agricultural products,” Perrey writes. “Sixty years of U.S. food aid has only achieved success with two of its four original goals: dumping surpluses and cornering markets.”

Perrey looks at the cost of U.S. food aid deliveries and their impact on local farmers: “Food aid doesn’t address the root causes of hunger: it’s a band-aid for emergencies that require immediate attention. Despite all of its faults, emergency food aid is still extremely important for addressing immediate hunger needs, but must be accompanied by programmes and policies that protect small farmer and pastoralist livelihoods, support sustainable agriculture and protect natural resources” (12/24).

‘This Is A Dynamic, Productive Time In HIV Prevention Research’

In a Washington Post letter to the editor, Alan Bernstein, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, and Rafi Ahmed, science committee chairman of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, challenge a recent Washington Post editorial that questioned the scientific progress being made in the search for an HIV vaccine and microbicide. “The search for a safe and effective method to prevent HIV infection and AIDS is a long journey in which we should expect both success and failure,” the authors write, before highlighting the lessons learned from the recent microbicide gel study and AIDS vaccine trial in Thailand. “Contrary to the impression given by the editorial, this is a dynamic and productive time in HIV prevention research,” the authors conclude (12/24).

VOA News Editorial Examines Role Of Global Tobacco Surveillance System

A VOA News editorial highlights the role of the CDC-led Global Tobacco Surveillance System in shaping comprehensive tobacco control programs in Africa and other regions. “Currently, about 5.4 million people die each year of tobacco-related illnesses, a figure that is expected to rise to 8 million deaths annually over the next 20 years,” according to the editorial. “Sub-Saharan Africa in particular is on the brink of a smoking epidemic that health experts say will boost cancer rates across the continent.”

According to the editorial, the Global Tobacco Surveillance System “works with nations in Africa and other regions to enhance their capacity to monitor tobacco use and guide national tobacco prevention and control programs aimed at protecting the public’s health from the harmful effects of tobacco use” (12/23).