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Recent Releases In Global Health

TB Control Strategies Should Target Women, Children

A Lancet Comment highlights “unique susceptibilities” to tuberculosis among women and children, who also “might encounter substantial barriers to access appropriate care.” In addition to overall TB control improvement, the article calls for “innovative strategies to advance tuberculosis prevention and treatment in women and children” to help with the “attainment of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by reduction of the mortality rate in young children and women of reproductive age, particularly in tuberculosis-endemic areas” (Marais et al., 6/12).

Effective TB Control Requires Community Engagement

Tuberculosis programs require “broader community engagement,” according to the authors of a Lancet Comment. “The persisting mindset of top-down tuberculosis control urgently needs to be scrutinised and challenged at all levels of health leadership. We need a much more progressive model to harness and optimise the effect of community participation, without which our collective potential to overcome this community disease cannot be realized” (Akugizibwe/Ramakant, 6/12).

Funding Priorities In Global Health

“Global HIV/AIDS Policy in Transition,” published in Science, discusses “how global health funding should be rebalanced between AIDS treatment and HIV prevention, as well as other health care interventions.” The piece includes a chart that displays cost-effectiveness of selected public health interventions and notes antiretroviral therapy “for AIDS is one of the least cost-effective.” The authors conclude that “donors must protect and expand resources for the most cost-effective health interventions, focusing on HIV prevention, childhood immunization, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, and family planning” (Bongaarts/Over, 6/10).

Blog: U.S. To Head New Negotiations For U.N. Women’s Agency

The U.S. “strongly supports consolidating” the U.N.’s “current gender-related units into a single women’s agency” and is heading up negotiations to create the agency, according to Esther Brimmer, assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, said, Devex’s blog, “Obama’s Foreign Aid Reform” reports. “Our hope is that the Security Council can support a final set of indicators in October 2010 enabling the U.N. to embark on its initial phase of their implementation,” Brimmer said (Leonzon, 6/10).

Blogs: Enlist Men To Help Improve Health Of Women And Girls

A piece on the Washington Post’s “Post Partisan” blog notes that global health initiatives need to address the role of men in improving the status of women and girls. “If women and girls are to be empowered to make decisions about their health that also benefit the overall health of their families and their communities, then changing regressive, repressive and inhumane views of them held by men is paramount,” according to the post (Capehart, 6/10). Similarly, USAID’s “ImpactBlog” features a post arguing that “to improve maternal health outcomes for women in developing countries, men must be equal partners since they are the decision makers about health care in the family” (6/9).

Women’s Conference Focuses On Maternal, Reproductive Health

A UNAIDS article looks at the Women Deliver conference, which convened in Washington, D.C. this week to address “maternal and reproductive health as a global priority … The event’s main focus is to highlight that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) will not be achieved without investing in women and that there is just enough time, if the world commits funding now, to achieve the MDG’s fifth goal of improving maternal health.” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said, “If we integrate HIV into maternal health programs, we can make huge progress on almost every global development goal” (6/8).

The Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog also reports on activity at the conference. “The renewed energy and level of commitment to maternal and child health is exhilarating, inspiring, and absolutely essential for the world to move forward … Unfortunately, it’s also all too familiar,” according to the blog, which also notes a recent paper prepared ahead of the conference. The writers make recommendations on how to further progress on maternal and child health worldwide (Ooman/Douglas, 6/8).

The Next Generation Of Sexual Health Interventions

A PLoS Medicine Comment discusses the findings of a study that showed a 15-year adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) intervention in Tanzania did not significantly reduce HIV prevalence among participants. The aritlce calls the results “very disappointing” and asks “what are the implications for the next generation of sexual health interventions?” The comment also addresses some reasons why the program was ineffective (Jewkes, 6/8).

Ms. Magazine Argues For Legal Abortion, Accessible Contraception

Ms. Magazine published the second article in its “Three Ways To Save Women’s Lives” series. “To lower maternal mortality in developing countries, contraception and abortion must be made legal, accessible and affordable,” the authors argue. “In far too many countries, women not only can’t easily obtain safe abortions, but they face obstacles in preventing unwanted pregnancies. In fact, according to the UNFPA, about 200 million women and girls globally who want to use contraceptives don’t have access to them,” the article notes (Coeytaux/Taylor-McGhee, Spring 2010).