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Recent Releases: TB Plans Compared; Seasonal Hunger; Getting Health Workers In Underserved Places; Antiretroviral Drugs To Prevent HIV

Economic Benefits Of Global Plan To Stop TB Examined

A study, recently published in the journal Health Affairs, analyzes the costs associated with the Global Plan to Stop TB and compared them to the cost of sustaining the DOTS treatment program. The study finds that the “economic benefits” of the Global Plan, relative to paying for DOTS “were unambiguously greater than the incremental costs in all nine high-burden countries in Africa and in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia” (Laxminarayan et al., 6/30).

PLoS Medicine Essay Examines Successful Ways To Fight Seasonal Hunger

Though seasonal hunger has devastating effects on populations worldwide, the authors of an essay appearing in the journal PLoS Medicine argue “seasonal hunger is not inevitable.” The essay explores the various policies governments across the world have implemented that have proven successful in combating seasonal hunger. While “progress towards achieving the hunger-related [U.N. Millennium Development] Goal has been slow … focusing on seasonal hunger could leverage existing funds to accelerate the rate of global hunger reduction,” the authors write (Vaitla et al., 6/30).

Journal Examines Financial-Incentive Programs Aimed At Driving Health Workers To Underserved Areas 

The journal Human Resources for Health reviews how financial-incentive programs to attract health workers to a “medically underserved area” for a designated period of time can help to “alleviate local and regional health worker shortages.” Drawing from prior studies of financial-incentive programs, the study addresses several management functions necessary for the success of financial-incentive programs (Barnighausen/Bloom, 6/26).

Article Examines Preventive Capability Of Antiretroviral Therapies

In the latest edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, several researchers from the WHO’s HIV/AIDS department examine the use of antiretroviral (ART) treatments to prevent the transmission of HIV. “There is little doubt that ART has preventive effects; what is uncertain is how best to apply it and combine it with other evidence-based prevention interventions for maximal synergy and benefit,” they write. “At a time when other avenues of HIV prevention research, including vaccine evaluations, have given discouraging results,” the authors write that “the most pressing question in HIV research” is perhaps “how to use ART for the greatest simultaneous therapeutic and prevention benefit” (7/09).