IRIN reports on a decline in public health services in Lesotho, writing, “In 2007, the government of Lesotho and [the Christian Health Association of Lesotho], which runs 75 health centers and eight hospitals … signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of making health services more accessible to ordinary Basotho who could not afford even the nominal fees that both state and CHAL-run health facilities charged. Patients would now get free medical services and drugs at health centers and subsidized medical care and drugs at hospitals. However, the resulting influx of patients put a huge strain on health centers and their supply of drugs and many over-burdened government and CHAL health centers have taken to referring patients to private clinics and pharmacies.”
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The Guardian examines a text messaging program in Tanzania initiated by Vodacom Tanzania and local NGO Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) that utilizes Africa’s mobile phone banking system, M-Pesa, to provide women suffering from obstetric fistula, caused by difficult childbirth, with the funds necessary to travel to health facilities for treatment. “CCRBT and Vodacom have now appointed a team of 60 ‘ambassadors’ to travel around the country diagnosing women with the condition. Within an hour of an ambassador finding a patient a date is set for surgery and money for transport is texted to the ambassador, who takes the patient to the bus stop,” according to the Guardian.
Cambodia’s director of dengue control at the Ministry of Health, Ngan Chantha, said on Monday that from January to September of this year, 12,392 cases of dengue fever had been reported and 54 children have died of the disease, Xinhua reports. In all of 2010, 5,497 cases of dengue and 37 child deaths from the disease were recorded, according to the news agency.
Use Of Injectable Hormone Contraceptive May Double Risk Of Contracting, Transmitting HIV, Study Shows
“The most popular contraceptive for women in eastern and southern Africa, a hormone shot given every three months, appears to double the risk the women will become infected with HIV,” according to a study involving 3,800 sero-discordant couples in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, the New York Times reports. The study, led by researchers at the University of Washington and published Monday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, also found that when the contraceptive was “used by HIV-positive women, their male partners are twice as likely to become infected than if the women had used no contraception,” the newspaper writes. In addition, the study “found that oral contraceptives appeared to increase risk of HIV infection and transmission, but the number of pill users in the study was too small to be considered statistically significant, the authors said,” according to the New York Times.
“With almost 30,000 cases of measles and eight deaths from the disease recorded in the European Union so far this year, a leading health official is urging doctors to do more to ensure parents have their children vaccinated with” the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, Reuters reports. Marc Sprenger, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), “said MMR vaccine coverage rates across the region are currently around 90 percent, leaving significant groups such as children or young adults unprotected,” and that “it was crucial for pediatricians and family doctors to give balanced, evidence-based information to help parents decide on vaccinations,” Reuters writes.
Uganda’s Daily Monitor reports on the status of the country’s free health care system, which it writes “is in crisis despite the billions of shillings of mostly donor money flowing in every year.” According to the newspaper, “Visits to a dozen health centers across the country revealed a chronic shortage of beds, drugs and medical personnel, confirming a recent verdict by the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda that ‘service delivery and general care is almost not there.'”
Health care workers fleeing the besieged Libyan city of Sirte on Sunday said people wounded in the fighting “are dying on the operating table because fuel for the hospital generator has run out,” Reuters reports. “The fighting has entered its third week and civilians are caught up in a worsening humanitarian crisis,” the news agency writes, adding that “[a]id workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who brought medical supplies into Sirte on Saturday could not reach the hospital because of shooting.” The organization said it plans to return to Sirte and reach the hospital if security allows, Reuters notes (10/2).
In this post in the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Mead Over, a senior fellow at the center, follows up on a post last week in which he wrote that a panel of senior economists commissioned by the Rush Foundation was to address the question of how to…
“More than 12,000 have been infected and 125 people have died over the past two months in Pakistan after coming down with dengue fever, a health department spokesman said Friday,” CNN reports (Habib, 10/1). Citing the same numbers, WHO spokesperson Tarek Jasarevic said the agency is providing support for “case management, community mobilization, vector control and public awareness campaigns,” according to the U.N. News Centre. “Last year, 11,024 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 40 deaths were reported in Pakistan, but this year the number of cases has climbed to 12,466,” the news service writes (9/30).
In this Foreign Policy Association blog post, freelance writer Julia Robinson calls for individuals to start demanding more action on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), writing, “It is possible to have stronger responses to NCDs” than those presented in the political declaration that resulted from last month’s U.N. High-level Meeting (HLM) on…