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African Ministerial Conference Concludes With Health Priority Commitment

Health and environment ministers from at least 46 African countries concluded the Second Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa in Luanda, Angola on Friday, “with the adoption of the ‘Luanda Commitment,’ which lists the continent’s health and environment top priorities in the years ahead,” PANA/Afrique en ligne reports.

GAVI Says Pentavalent Vaccine Price To Fall, But $3.7B Still Needed To Vaccinate Children In Developing Countries

The average price of a vaccine that protects children against five diseases is expected to “drop to $2.58 next year compared to the current average price of $2.97,” the GAVI Alliance said Friday, Reuters reports. The group credits the expected price decline, which “represents a decrease of 30 percent over the last seven years,” in part to an “increased demand for the pentavalent, or five-in-one vaccine,” according to the news service (Kelland, 11/26).

Poor Governance Major Cause Of Africa’s Water Problems, AfDB Report Says

A report released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 3rd Africa Water Week, points to poor governance as a major cause of the inadequate water supply that threatens the health of millions living in Africa, 234next.com reports (Abutu, 11/24).

Media Outlets Continue To Follow Major HIV/AIDS Developments This Week

Media outlets continued to track the major developments in HIV/AIDS this week, including: prevention research using an antiretroviral; new UNAIDS estimates of HIV/AIDS around the world; and Pope Benedict XVI’s stance on condoms for HIV prevention.

Daily Oral Antiretroviral Reduces HIV Infection Risk In MSM By 44%, Study Finds

A study that included nearly 2,500 HIV-negative men and transgender women who have sex with men has shown that a daily dose of Truvada, a pill containing the AIDS drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir, “can reduce risk of contracting [HIV] by an average of 44% – and by more than 70% if the subjects” follow the regimen closely, Los Angeles Times reports (Maugh, 11/23).

UNAIDS Report Finds New HIV Infections Dropped By 20% Over 10 Years, Deaths From AIDS-Related Illness Dropped By 20% Over 5 Years

The number of new HIV infections “has dropped by about one-fifth over the past decade but millions of people are still missing out on major progress in prevention and treatment,” according to the annual UNAIDS report released Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports. “In 2009, 2.6 million people contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS, a decline of 19 percent over the 3.1 million recorded in” 1999 the report found, according to the news service (11/23).

Meningitis Immunization Program To Launch In 3 African Countries Next Month

At a press conference in London, health officials said that the anticipated roll-out of the MenAfriVac for meningitis in three African countries will start on Dec. 6, the BBC reports. “The vaccine, which has been developed in India, costs less than fifty U.S. cents a dose and clinical tests suggest it could offer protection for between 10 and 15 years,” the news service writes (Bowdler, 11/22).

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