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Also In Global Health News: North Korean Health Crisis; HIV/AIDS In India; Antibiotics For Malaria Prevention; WHO Flu Pandemic Status; Dengue In Florida; HIV/AIDS Among IDUs In Ukraine

Amnesty International Report Describes North Korea’s ‘Desperate Picture of Health’ A new report by Amnesty International paints a “desperate picture of the health of North Korea’s population,” the Guardian reports. Amnesty International describes “a country of stunted children, where the hungry eat poisonous plants and pigfeed … amputations are conducted without…

Also In Global Health News: Disaster Preparedness In Asian Health Sector; PEPFAR In Uganda; Malnutrition In Chad

IRIN Examines Disaster Preparedness In Asian Health Sectors IRIN reports on disaster preparedness in Asian health sectors. According to the news service, nine countries working with Bangkok-based Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) “have emergency preparedness plans in place for their health sectors.” The article includes comments by Frederick John Abo…

Opinions: Abortion In Canada’s G8 Initiative; Security Of Afghan Women; U.S. Global Development Strategy; Mother’s Day; U.S. Food Security Initiative; Polio Eradication

Abortions Are ‘One Small Chunk Of Bigger Puzzle’ For Improving Maternal, Child Health National Post columnist Jonathan Kay examines the ongoing debate over whether Canada’s G8 child and maternal health initiative should include abortions, which according to a 2006 Oxford University Press-World Bank report, are “one small chunk of a…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Examines Health Workers Lost To International Organizations A Lancet Comment discusses how developing country doctors and nurses who are recruited by in-country international organizations, research institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can “prevent government-trained doctors and nurses from contributing to their [national health service] NHS.” The authors write that some of…

New UNICEF Publications Show Universal Health Coverage Achievable Through Social Protection Measures

“Two newly released UNICEF publications demonstrate that while reaching universal health coverage (UHC) is possible in most countries, this requires a comprehensive social protection system of which health insurance is a crucial component,” according to this post on the UHC Forward blog. A recent UNICEF study “finds that even in middle and low-income countries that have adopted a formal policy of universal health coverage … many socio-economic barriers to access persist,” the blog reports, adding, “It is for this reason that the study has been framed in the broader approach recommended by UNICEF’s first global Social Protection Strategic Framework, which stresses the importance of developing and strengthening integrated social protection systems” (O’Connell, 6/4).

Al Jazeera Examines Afghanistan's Health Care System Since Fall Of Taliban

Al Jazeera examines Afghanistan’s health care system since the fall of the Taliban, writing, “Standards of health care in Afghanistan have improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban, but security continues to play a large role in determining access to and quality of care provided.” According to the video report, Afghanistan’s constitution mandates that health services be provided free of charge, which “leaves many small clinics reliant on foreign aid.” The news service notes, “There’s a big difference in the type of care you can get [in] rural areas and in urban areas,” adding, “Many procedures still require patients to travel to city hospitals, putting them at risk from violence and grueling journeys on poorly maintained roads” (Smith, 6/3).

MDR-TB, XDR-TB More Widespread Than Previously Believed, Study Shows

In a study published on Wednesday in the Lancet, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “[a]mong 1,278 patients who were resistant to two or more first-line tuberculosis drugs in Estonia, Latvia, Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Thailand, 43.7 percent showed resistance to at least one second-line drug,” which “suggest[s] the deadly disease may become ‘virtually untreatable,'” according to the study, Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Kitamura/Narayan, 8/29). “In about a fifth of cases, they found resistance to at least one second-line injectable [versus oral] drug,” according to Reuters, which states “[t]his ranged from two percent in the Philippines to 47 percent in Latvia.” Overall, 6.7 percent of patients had extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), meaning patients are resistant to the first-line drugs isoniazid and rifampicin as well as drugs in the fluoroquinolone antibiotic class and a second-line injectable antibiotic, Reuters adds, noting “[r]ates in South Korea, at 15.2 percent, and Russia at 11.3 percent, were more than twice the WHO’s global estimate of 5.4 percent at that time” (Kelland, 8/30).

Indian Government Plans To Launch National Urban Health Mission To Complement Rural Program

Building on its seven-year-old National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), India’s government plans to launch the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), which “will focus on improving health care delivery and public health systems,” the Lancet reports. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently “expressed hope that the two programs together will in the future lead to a unified National Health Mission,” according to the journal. “Unplanned urbanization brings forth a whole set of new health problems. [The] urban poor are three times more likely to die before attaining the age of five years, 20 times more likely not to have any antenatal care, three times less likely to get primary immunization, and two and a half to three times more likely to be stunted and wasted than urban richest,” Chandrakant Pandav, head of the Centre for Community Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, said, citing the third National Family Health Survey, the Lancet notes (Bhaumik, 8/11).

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