In a post in the National Review’s “The Corner,” Christopher White, international director of operations for the World Youth Alliance, responds to a New York Times opinion piece published Wednesday in which columnist Nicholas Kristof hailed family planning as a solution to “many of the global problems that confront us.” White writes, “Somewhere along [Kristof's] many trips around the globe … he’s failed to realize the ineffectiveness of contraception and see the real needs of poor populations — particularly mothers and girls.”
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The Guardian profiles Brian Brink, chief medical officer at Anglo American, South Africa’s largest private-sector employer, and the company’s efforts to treat and prevent HIV among its employees. According to the newspaper, “HIV affects 12,000 of its employees, or 16 percent of its 70,000-strong permanent staff.” The Guardian continues, “For Anglo, a healthy workforce is a more loyal and productive one,” which is why it offers HIV testing and treatment free-of-charge to employees, runs HIV prevention programs, and promotes gender equality. “Not only is it a moral imperative to get on top of the AIDS problem, it’s also good for business, and the wider South African economy. The prevalence of AIDS and HIV [the virus that leads to AIDS] probably lops one percent off the country’s GDP,” Brink said (11/3).
“The [U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization] FAO index of global food prices hit an 11-month low in October, reflecting sharp falls in grain, sugar and oils prices, the U.N. food agency said on Thursday, Reuters reports (11/3). “The agency attributes the decline to an improved supply outlook for a number of commodities and uncertainty about global economic prospects,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/3). “Nonetheless prices still remain generally higher than last year and very volatile, FAO said,” according to an FAO press release (11/3). On Tuesday, the World Bank Group released its Food Price Watch ahead of this week’s Group of 20 (G20) summit, stating that “[w]orld food prices remain high and are hitting the poorest countries hard,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (11/1).
“Women’s groups in the Somali town of Galkayo are lobbying the authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland to enact a law banning female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), saying the practice was becoming widespread,” IRIN reports. “Activists say FGM/C causes serious health problems to the women and is against their religion,” according to the news service, which speaks with several advocates pushing for the enactment of an anti-FGM/C law. The advocates note that, in addition to passing a law, “a religious fatwa [decree] proclaiming that FGM is Haram [illegal] under Islam” and “convincing and winning the support of traditional elders and religious leaders was crucial to” their efforts, IRIN writes (11/3).
“‘First world’ health problems such as obesity and heart disease may be gaining ground in developing nations, but they are mostly afflicting the rich and middle class while poor people remain undernourished and underweight,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Reuters reports. “Researchers who looked at more than 500,000 women from 37 mid- and low-income nations in Asia, Africa and South America found that there was a clear divide between the better-off and the poor,” Reuters states, adding, “Across countries, the wealthier the women were, the higher their average [body mass index (BMI)], a pattern that held steady over time.” The news service notes, “The pattern is different from that seen in wealthy nations, such as the United States, where lower incomes and less education often correlate with higher weight” (Norton, 11/3).
Health officials in the northern Angolan province of Uige are on high alert “after a 14-month-old boy tested positive for polio, which has made a resurgence in the country, UNICEF said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/3). “After eliminating new polio cases for three years in succession following its 27-year civil war, Angola saw a strain of the crippling virus reappear in 2005,” the news service adds.
“In a report about financing for development delivered [Thursday] at the G20 Summit, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, urged leaders to commit to increasing the pool of resources dedicated to development, or risk causing irreparable damage to the livelihoods of millions of the poorest people,” a Gates Foundation press release states (11/3). “Gates’ report to G20 leaders, whose countries account for 85 percent of the global economy, suggests they can raise over $250 billion (180 billion euros), a modest part of which could accelerate the development of poor countries,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/3).
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday posted the results of several internal audits, showing “that 12 more probes had turned up an additional $20 million of mismanagement, alleged fraud and misspending,” the Associated Press/CBSNews.com reports.
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced on Monday that it will withhold $95 million from the $270 million in grants it had planned to give China” after “months of discussion between the charity and Chinese officials,” China Daily reports (Shan, 10/31). Global Fund spokesperson Jon Liden “said … that during recent discussions, China moved to take over most training expenses and other costs that allowed the saving of about $95 million from unpaid grants,” the Associated Press writes (10/31).
In a post in the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health” blog, Julia Nagel, web and social media assistant at the Global Health Policy Center, examines “the obstacles that global malaria control efforts face,” writing that “eradicating malaria is complex and difficult” because “there are four species…