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Recent Releases In Global Health

Community Groups Offer Cost-Effective Mechanism For Reducing Maternal Mortality

“Achieving the [Millennium Development Goal] MDG 4 target of reducing newborn and child mortality will require concerted efforts to scale up evidence-based interventions, especially community-based preventive and therapeutic strategies in primary care,” according to a Lancet comment that reflects on the challenges associated with developing “the appropriate mix of strategies” to improve maternal health. “The deployment of women’s groups or community-support groups through trained community health workers offers a cost-effective mechanism for reaching populations at risk and linking appropriate domiciliary and care-seeking practices,” the authors write pointing to the results of two studies appearing in this week’s Lancet. “These strategies also offer a unique opportunity to move beyond survival” (Bhutta/Lassi, 4/3).

WHO Bulletin Editorial Reflects On Differences In Dengue Outbreaks In Two Brazilian Cities

A WHO Bulletin editorial states that while “[m]ost of the recent dengue epidemics in Brazil have been concentrated in the city of Rio de Janeiro (Rio) … [in] Niteroi, a neighbour city to Rio, has been much less affected by the recent epidemics,” differences that are present despite the fact the cities share similar climate conditions. Where the cities do differ, the editorial notes, are in their primary care services, with Rio possessing a city health system “still strongly based around its federal and state hospitals and primary care is almost nonexistent,” compared to Niteroi, “one of the first Brazilian cities to fully implement primary health care,” the editorial writes. “The similarity in climate matched with the differences in health care between Rio and Niteroi make this a unique opportunity to study the effect of the latter variable on dengue epidemic dynamics” (Roriz-Cruz et al., April 2010).

Human Resources For Health Study Examines Potential For Task-Shifting To Expand HIV Care In Sub-Saharan Africa

A Human Resources for Health study examines the results of a literature review on the topic of task-shifting – the “delegating of tasks performed by physicians to staff with lower-level qualifications … as a means of expanding rollout” of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-poor settings. Based on an analysis of 41 articles, including research from 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the authors conclude, “our literature review finds that task shifting is a viable and rapid response to sub-Saharan Africa’s human resources crisis in HIV care. Carefully focused action is needed at this stage, not to determine whether task shifting is possible or effective, but to define the limits of task shifting and determine where it can have the strongest and most sustainable impact” (Callaghan/Ford/Schneider, 3/31).

BMC Infectious Diseases Study Examines Health Problems In Patients With HIV-TB

A BMC Infectious Diseases study examines the contributing factors to the deteriorating health of patients co-infected with HIV and tuberculosis during the initiation of anti-tuberculosis treatment. The study, which examined 292 adults who initiated antituberculosis treatment during a 3-month period from a TB clinic in South Africa, found HIV infection and low CD4 count levels at the time of TB diagnosis were risk factors for patient deterioration and death. To reduce the high burden of clinical deterioration among patients with HIV and TB, the authors propose initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) before CD4 levels go below 350 cells/uL (Pepper et al., 3/30).

Blog: How Mobile Phone Networks Might Advance Health-Related MDGs

The “U.N. Dispatch” blog examines how companies are working to develop new ways to use mobile networks and devices to transform health care globally – a topic discussed at a recent gathering of the U.S. Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association in Las Vegas. “In emerging markets where chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity are on the rise … mHealth [mobile health] also hold tremendous promise for advancing the health-related U.N. Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] of reducing maternal mortality, improving children’s health and tackling specific diseases like HIV/AIDS,” the blog writes. “Particularly in remote areas where access to hospitals or doctors is limited, low cost mHealth interventions can play a significant role in closing the health services delivery divide” (Waugaman, 3/30).

ONE Blog Features Audio From Recent Conference Call On Women’s Issues

The ONE blog features audio from a recent conference call with Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, about ongoing efforts to improve conditions around the world for women. According to the blog, “women are one of the best investments in global development and are really key to improving education, healthcare, agriculture and economic progress in communities across the developing world” (Thornton, 3/30).  

Blog Series On QDDR: Resources For Civilian-Led Groups; QDDR Should Embrace Humanitarian Response

The “ModernizeAid” blog has additional posts in its series featuring analysis of the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy & Development Review by development experts. One post discusses the “need for more resources for our civilian-led agencies and programs” (Schrayer/Glenn, 3/29). “Although not all foreign policy issues are so clear cut, we hope that the upcoming draft QDDR will embrace humanitarian response, development, and poverty reduction not just as tools of foreign policy, but also as goals in their own right,” according to a second post, which makes suggestions for how to elevate development in U.S. policy (Klosson/Campbell, 3/30).

CSIS Commission On Smart Global Health Policy Videos

After the release of its final report, CSIS’ Commission on Smart Global Health Policy’s has released a series of six videos from the commission’s trip to Kenya, which helped shape the recommendations put forth in the report (3/26).

COD Aid Could Reduce Maternal Mortality

Views from the Center” has a post suggesting that a cash-on-delivery (COD) initiative – when aid is provided after measurable results have been achieved – could be used to reduce maternal mortality. “It is actually a good time for such an initiative,” the blog writes pointing to an African summit and the upcoming G8 meeting. “If the G-8 agreed to develop a joint initiative to reinvigorate the MDG on reducing maternal mortality by expanding skilled birth attendance, a COD Aid agreement could probably be designed and in place within a year” (Savedoff, 3/25).