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A Call For Continued Investment In Global Health, Development

In this Politico opinion piece, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who chairs the non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, writes, “Continued investment in the fight to end global AIDS is more than an investment in the lives of families and communities in developing nations — it is an investment in security, diplomacy and our moral image worldwide.” He says the goals announced by President Barack Obama on World AIDS Day — including providing antiretroviral treatment to a total of six million people by the end of 2013 — “must have the support of Congress.” Frist continues, “Under the current budget cuts, more than four million people will likely lack mosquito nets, a cheap way to prevent malaria. More than 900,000 children will lack access to vaccinations for measles, tetanus and pertussis.” He stresses the “need for accountability, transparency and results,” citing the Millennium Challenge Corporation as “a good example of promoting aid effectiveness from ‘input to impact.'” He concludes, “Foreign aid is less than one percent of our national budget, so cutting it would have a miniscule effect on our deficit reduction” (12/14).

HIV Testing Remains Important Amid Push For Expanded Treatment In Africa

“With a needle puncture on your finger and a drop of blood, the magic of modern science can give you a rapid HIV test in seconds, and so, knowing your status, you are better able to negotiate the rocky road of surviving HIV where timely detection is key,” Farai Sevenzo, a columnist and filmmaker, writes in this BBC News opinion piece, part of a series from African journalists. “But human nature is not so straightforward and despite hundreds of rapid HIV test centers in many capitals, the knee-jerk response is not to want to know,” he continues, adding, “It is this attitude which may account for the continuing high rates of infection.”

U.N. Issues $1.5B 2012 Joint Appeal For Humanitarian Aid In Somalia

The U.N. on Tuesday issued its 2012 consolidated appeal process (CAP), or joint appeal, for $1.5 billion to fund 350 projects in Somalia, “where famine and conflict have already cost tens of thousands of lives,” the Guardian reports (Chonghaile, 12/13). “The $1.5 billion appeal is based on a realistic assessment of the emergency needs of four million people in crisis, tens of thousands of whom will die without assistance,” Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said, Agence France-Presse notes.

Malaria Mortality Rates Down, But Progress Threatened By Funding Shortfall, WHO Report Says

“Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000, and by 33 percent in the WHO African Region, according to the World Malaria Report 2011, issued [Tuesday] by [the] WHO,” the organization reports in a press release. “This is the result of a significant scaling-up of malaria prevention and control measures in the last decade,” the press release adds. However, the press release notes, “WHO warns that a projected shortfall in funding threatens the fragile gains and that the double challenge of emerging drug and insecticide resistance needs to be proactively addressed” (12/13).

Chevron’s Role In Fight Against HIV/AIDS In Africa

In this Africa.com opinion piece, Ana Ruth Luis, medical director of the Southern Africa Strategic Business Unit at Chevron Africa and Latin America Ex in Angola, discusses what she calls “the important role Chevron has in driving down the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Africa.” She writes, “Chevron was able to drop new infections to zero among our employees and their babies by educating our employees, establishing a culture of voluntary, confidential testing and treatment, addressing stigma and discrimination in the workplace, and providing comprehensive medical care for expectant mothers.”

PlusNews Examines African Government Funding For, Engagement In HIV Research

“Unless African governments increase their funding for and engagement in HIV research, the continent cannot hope to attain equal status in determining its research agenda and priorities, speakers said at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa,” PlusNews reports. “Donor-driven funding often means that research starts and ends on the say-so of funders, rather than being based on a country’s needs,” the news service writes. The article includes comments from researchers, funders, and representatives of research initiatives (12/9).

Millions Of People In African Sahel Need Food Assistance, U.N. Agencies Say

“Millions of people in Africa’s Sahel region need urgent help to cope with food shortages brought on by erratic rainfall and drought, and at least one million children in the area face malnutrition next year, U.N. agencies warned,” AlertNet reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP), which called for a new type of response to climate-related crises, estimates that between five and seven million people in the semi-arid zone just south of the Sahara need assistance now,” and it “said the situation would worsen if nothing was done to help the countries in need — as more people are expected to run out of food supplies by February and March next year,” the news service writes (Fominyen, 12/9).

Examining Visceral Leishmaniasis/HIV Co-Infection In East Africa

In this post in the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ (NTDs) “End the Neglect” blog, Julien Potet, NTD policy adviser at Medecins Sans Frontieres’ Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, examines the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis among people living with HIV in East Africa. He writes, “With new and…

Horn Of Africa Food Crisis Could Last Into Summer 2012, E.U. Aid Commissioner Says

“The crisis in the Horn of Africa, which has left more than 13 million people at risk of starvation, will continue into the spring, and possibly the summer,” European Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday, Reuters reports (Batha, 12/6). She “said investing in the Sahel now was not just the ethically and morally right thing to do, but would be less expensive than waiting for disaster to strike, as was the case in Somalia,” the Guardian writes, adding, “Seven million people are already facing shortages in Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, with major shortfalls in food production in many areas. The figures point to a massive problem of food availability next year, according to the European commission” (Tran, 12/7).

Fatal Snakebites ‘Vastly Underreported,’ Researchers Report At Annual ASTMH Meeting

“Fatal snakebites worldwide have been vastly underreported because many die before seeking or reaching medical care, researchers” from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany, reported on Monday at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s (ASTMH) annual meeting, UPI.com writes (12/5). NPR’s “Shots” blog notes that, “even at the low end of estimates, deaths from snakebites would exceed those from better-known scourges, such as cholera, dengue fever and Chagas disease,” according to researchers at the symposium (Hensley, 12/6).

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