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USAID’s Shah On Six-Day Visit To Africa

“[O]n his first visit to Africa since taking charge as the administrator of USAID in January,” Rajiv Shah said in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday that the agency “is working to make Africa a bigger priority within the organization,” the Associated Press writes. USAID, which “funds and runs programs to improve health, food security, democracy and entrepreneurship in Africa,” has offices in 23 countries on the continent, according to the AP (5/15).

Two-Thirds Of Child Deaths In 2008 Due To Infectious Diseases, Report Finds

Pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and other infectious diseases account for more than two-thirds of the 8.8 million deaths in 2008 among children under age 5 around the world, according to a Lancet study published on Wednesday, HealthDay News/Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. The highest numbers of childhood deaths were in Africa (4.2 million) and Southeast Asia (2.39 million), according to the news service (5/11).

AU Chair Discusses Proposed Food Security Compact Ahead Of World Economic Forum On Africa

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika “said he planned to work with other African leaders to devise a programme on food security that was sustainable ‘regardless of who is looking at it,’ and set up what he called an African compact on food security to act as an independent advisory body to the African Union (AU) on agriculture and food issues,” the Guardian’s “Katine” blog reports.

FAO Head Calls For More African Agriculture Investment To Boost Food Security

Country and donor under-investment in agriculture has hindered food security across Africa, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said on Thursday at the group’s 26th Regional Conference for Africa in Luanda, Angola, Reuters reports.

WHA Endorses Interim Targets To Eradicate Measles As WHO Warns Disease On The Rise

“Measles is making a rapid comeback in African, Asian and even some European countries despite being easily avoided through vaccination, the World Health Organization said Friday as countries pledged to sharply cut infections and deaths worldwide by 2015,” the Associated Press reports (Jordans, 5/22). On the final day of the 63rd Annual World Health Assembly, the assembly endorsed a series of interim targets towards the global eradication of measles, VOA News reports.

Globe And Mail Examines Links Between Maternal Health, HIV/AIDS Ahead Of G8 Summit

“While the G8 is putting maternal health at the top of its agenda for next month’s summit, fears are growing that the club of wealthy nations is neglecting one of the biggest killers of women: AIDS,” the Globe and Mail reports in a piece that examines the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and what the newspaper describes as the G8’s “backtracking” on previous pledges to provide universal access HIV/AIDS drugs.

KPBS Examines Microbicide Research As M2010 Concludes

KPBS reports on researchers’ efforts to develop novel methods to protect women from HIV infection that have been examined at the International Microbicides Conference (M2010) in Pittsburgh this week. In sub-Saharan Africa, one of the region’s hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, “six out of ten adults living with the virus are women,” KPBS writes. The piece names several factors that increase women’s vulnerability to HIV transmission in the region and the need “for protection [against HIV] that women can use discreetly,” such as microbicides.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Comment Asks: What’s Next For Global Fund? Reflecting on the recent annual report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Lancet comment writes, “Two big challenges remain [for the Global Fund]: first, to show, reliably and independently, that the Fund’s investments have delivered the benefits that it…

Africa Not On Track To Halve Poverty By 2015, Economic Commission for Africa Head Says

U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary Abdoulie Janneh said the global economic downturn will keep Africa from meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty by 2015, Reuters reports. According to the news service, “Africa was thought to be largely insulated against the worst effects of the global economic crisis but saw healthy growth projections slashed due to the crisis.”

U.N. Official Addresses Increasing Drug Addiction In Developing Countries

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Monday warned of an impending “health disaster facing developing countries if wealthy nations fail to control drugs,” the Agence France-Presse reports. During a speech delivered in Vienna, UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costas pointed to “increasing use of heroin in East Africa, cocaine in West Africa, and synthetic drugs in the Middle East and South East Asia as warning signs” of a growing drug problem in impoverished nations (3/8).

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