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Recent Releases: Corruption; Mental Health; U.S. Global Health Policies; Non-Physician Administered ARV; African Health Ministers

Lancet Infectious Diseases Features Reflection On ‘Abuse’ Of HIV/AIDS Money In Mozambique

A Lancet Infectious Diseases Reflection and Reaction piece says while PEPFAR’s “investment of over $228 million into Mozambique in 2008 alone” resulted in “an exponential increase in the number of people on” antiretrovirals and exposed to prevention programs, “[t]here is more money available for HIV/AIDS than can reasonably be spent, especially given Mozambique’s poor infrastructure and large geographical area. Unfortunately, one side-effect has been an associated increase in corruption.” To maximize aid money and limit corruption, “careful and creative resource management will be needed,” the author concludes (Johnson, 9/09).

Lancet Devotes Weekly Issue To Mental Health

In light of the Global Mental Health Summit held this week in Athens, Greece, the Lancet devotes its weekly issue to mental health. The issue seeks “to highlight challenges and achievements in the global campaign against mental illness,” according to an editorial in the journal, and includes original research and commentary articles. The authors of the editorial conclude: “We and other members of the Movement for Global Mental Health believe that mental health should take an equal place next to other great global health programmes of the day, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Join us” (8/22).

Urbanization Poses Health Risks

In a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective piece reflecting on the increasing rates of urbanization worldwide, the authors write, “Although many expect urbanization to mean an improved quality of life … Urbanization, in fact, is a health hazard for certain vulnerable populations …”  Such change can contribute to “rising rates of endemic disease and a greater potential for epidemics and even pandemics. To protect global health, governments and international agencies need to make commensurate shifts in planning and programs, basing all changes on solid epidemiologic and operational research.” The authors conclude, “As the world becomes increasingly urban, the health of the urban poor may suffer. Decades of progress in public health could be erased, and the stage could be set for devastating pandemics of infectious disease. Action is needed now to avert such a disaster” (Patel/Burke, 8/20).

Blog: Can Better Global Health Policies Have Worse Results?

“It’s entirely possible that the Obama administration will institute better global health policies than its predecessor, and appear to get worse results,” Ruth Levine, writes on the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog. According to Levine, the Obama administration’s “emphasis beyond HIV/AIDS and malaria, to maternal and child health and health systems” and “the language we’re hearing of integration and country-ownership – music to the ears of many of us – are by no means synonyms for better health fast.” The post explores some challenges associated with the Obama administration’s new global health approach and makes recommendations for how to address them (8/18).

Study Finds Non-Physicians Strongly Agree With Physicians About When To Start ARVs

A Human Resources for Health study of non-physician clinicians in Uganda found that “both nurses and clinical officers demonstrated strong agreement with physicians in deciding whether to initiate antiretroviral therapy in the HIV patient,” which could “lead to immediate benefits with respect to antiretroviral therapy scale-up and decentralization to rural areas.” The researchers recommend further study and that policy makers “more carefully explore task-shifting as a shorter-term response to addressing the human resource crisis in HIV care and treatment” (Vasan et al., 8/20).

Global Health Magazine Examines African Health Ministries

Global Health magazine has six blog posts examining health ministries in Senegal and Sierra Leone and analyzing how policies affect people in the country (8/13).