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Recent Releases In Global Health

ASTMH Meeting Blog: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s (ASTMH) “Annual Meeting Blog” has a number of posts from this week’s gathering, including: “The ethics of overseas clinical research”; an interview with John Cook, former ASTMH president; American attention to dengue fever; a profile of Michele Barry, senior associate dean of global health at Stanford University; and a look at the Carter Center’s work on Guinea worm (November 2010).

Universal Access To HIV/AIDS Drugs: “2010 is the landmark year for achieving universal access to HIV treatment. Although the 2006 [goal] did not imply 100% coverage, the words ‘universal access’ raised expectations. The goal will not be met by the end of this year, but that does not mean those living with HIV/AIDS should believe that universal access is not achievable; it is imperative that it is,” states a Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial that examines the recent report (.pdf), “Towards Universal Access,” from UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the WHO (November 2010).

Action Needed Against Female Genital Mutilation: “[D]espite legislation several African states continue to tolerate female genital mutilation [FGM],” Mary Mugyeni, second vice-president of the Pan-African Parliament, and Safina Kwekwe Tsungu, chairperson of the women’s forum of East African Legislative Assembly, write on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” The two call for “parliaments to give priority to” anti-FGM legislation and for “alliances outside of parliaments,” including a “community-based strategy which also works with civil society, traditional chiefs and religious leaders, youth movements, health personnel, teachers and local government” (11/5).

Sex Work, HIV Prevention: The Economist’s “Banyan” blog examines how the treatment of sex workers in Asia is “hampering the fight to curb the spread of AIDS” writing, “[a] simple and effective way to cut HIV transmission is to ensure that sex workers have access to condoms, know how to use them and always do so. Yet the U.N. estimates that only a third of Asia’s sex workers are reached by HIV-prevention programmes. And in some countries possession of condoms is taken as evidence of involvement in prostitution, and hence a cause for harassment, extortion or detention” (11/4).

Quelling Global MDR-TB Epidemic: How to control multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) “is no secret. … The same interventions [used in the 1980s] are urgently needed to stem the global epidemic of MDR tuberculosis: rapid case detection, proper infection control, timely access to quality-assured second-line drugs, and the building of capacity to deliver treatment effectively,” Paul Farmer and Salmaan Keshavjee of Harvard Medical School’s global health program write in a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective (11/4).

ONE Campaigns For Congress To Fund Food Security: ONE has “launched a new campaign asking Congress to invest in fighting hunger and to help prevent another food crisis” in the developing world by funding Feed the Future “at $1.3 billion in 2011,” Research Assistant Kelly Hauser writes on the organization’s blog (11/4).

Global Health May Be Absent At The G20: In advance of next week’s G20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea, the Global Health Council’s David Olson asks in a “Blog 4 Global Health” post, “Where is global health at the Seoul Summit?” His answer: “At the moment, nowhere,” possibly because “Koreans have their own view of development, [but] I would like to see them show more appreciation for the established international development agenda (a la the Millennium Development Goals)” (11/3).

Pharmaceutical Drug Property Protections: In advance of President Obama’s trip to India, James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, writes: A “number of NGOs working on public health issues are concerned that the President may push India to adopt more strict intellectual property protections on pharmaceutical drugs” because some U.S. policies, which he further outlines in his Huffington Post blog post, are “are designed to raise drug prices in India, and make it harder for India to export low cost generic drugs to other countries (11/1).

U.S. Leaders ‘Fall Short’ On Global AIDS: Three years after President Obama made a campaign-trail “commitment to spend $50 billion over five years on global AIDS programs,” he has “fallen short” because of the small increase in PEPFAR funding compared with previous years, Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, writes in a Huffington Post blog post. Zeitz adds that the U.S.’s Global Fund pledge is “$2 billion short of its fair share” (10/29).

MCC’s Incomplete Board: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is “missing all four public (non-government) board members. And the MCC board of directors is required by legislation to have at least one public member to form a decision-making quorum. … In the midst of major U.S. development policy reform … it is shocking that the equally innovative MCC board structure would be allowed to lapse,” writes Sarah Jane Staats on the Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog” (10/29).

Emanuel Discusses TB, HIV Programs: On the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog, John Donnelly interviews Ezekiel Emanuel, U.S. special advisor for health policy, focusing on his recent trip to Africa. The first post addresses his visit to St. Peter’s Specialized TB Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while “Emanuel talks about the importance of matching prevention tools with the specific dynamic of HIV transmission in a community” in the second post (October 2010).