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Gates Foundation Praises U.S. Global Health Investments, Calls For 15-Year Goal Of Cutting Child Deaths Worldwide By Nearly Half

As part of a “major push to convince the United States to maintain government spending on worldwide health initiatives, despite the financial crisis and a soaring U.S. budget deficit,” the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is urging U.S. policymakers to commit to cutting “the number of child deaths each year, from 9 million to 5 million” by 2025, CNN reports.

Gateses To Appeal For Ongoing U.S. Funding Of Global Health

Bill and Melinda Gates are expected to ask Washington officials on Tuesday to “continue funding global health initiatives despite the recession and to commit to nearly halve the number of child deaths worldwide by 2025,” the Washington Post reports.

Health, Policy Experts Gather For 3-Day Conference On Family Planning

By offering family planning services to people seeking HIV/AIDS information and treatment, Africa’s population growth rate could be curbed by 2.5 percent, health experts said Monday during an international family health conference in Kampala, Uganda, Agence France-Presse reports (11/16).

Microbicide Does Not Reduce Women’s Risk Of HIV Infection, Study Shows

Pro 2000, a vaginal microbicide gel designed to reduce women’s risk of HIV infection, showed “no evidence that it reduces the risk of HIV infection,” according to the results of a series of clinical trials in Africa, Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC) said on Monday, Reuters reports.

Survey Examines Disease R&D Investment In 2008

According to an annual survey released Tuesday by the George Institute for International Health that looks at R&D funding of diseases that affect the developing world, the U.S. government in 2008 “remained the single biggest contributor as it again provided almost half of the total funding but the report notes developing countries like Brazil [and] India … were becoming a growing force,” AAP/Sydney Morning Herald reports (Rose, 12/15).

U.K.’s DFID Might Reduce Funding For FAO In Light Of ‘Patchy’ Performance

The U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID) on Saturday said it might reduce its contribution to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) if the agency does not improve its performance, Reuters reports. According to a DFID review, “FAO’s performance is patchy, particularly at country level, and that reforms need to be prioritised.”

Also In Global Health News: Disasters In Indonesia; Maternal Health In Pakistan; Gates Grand Challenges Grants; Development Innovation Ventures; Dengue Fever Treatment

Death Toll Rises From Two Disasters In Indonesia; Minister Says Aid Not Needed Yet The death toll from two recent disasters in Indonesia – a tsunami and volcano eruption – “rose to more than 340 Thursday” and hundreds were reportedly missing, the Associated Press reports. According to an official, “a warning system installed…

Reuters Examines Experts’ Concerns About Global Polio Eradication Effort

Reuters examines the global effort to eradicate polio and how failure to eliminate the disease could affect future global health undertakings. “Global health and vaccines experts say they have polio ‘on the ropes,’ but are frustrated that the goal of eradicating it continues to elude them more than 20 years after they set their sights on it. They fear failure could crush trust in other major disease projects such as fighting malaria, HIV or measles,” according to the news service.

Media Examine Women Deliver Conference

New outlets continued to report on the Women Deliver conference, which wrapped up last week. As the conference closed, Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield said advocates would address the economic dimensions of maternal mortality, the BBC reports. “Finance ministers are on our list – and they’re not going to stay safe,” she said. “They don’t always see this as a critical issue. Our economic arguments for investing in women’s health are pretty dramatic.”

Also In Global Health News: HIV-Positive Children In Uganda; Vietnam Launches PMTCT Campaign; Sierra Leone Health System Strained; Gates Foundation’s Work; Compound Blocks Malaria Parasite

Draft Policy In Uganda Recommends HIV-Positive Children Know Their Status As Early As Age 10 “A Ugandan draft policy recommending that HIV-positive children be informed of their status by the age of 10 has drawn mixed reactions from health workers,” IRIN PlusNews reports. The goal of the policy is to “improve…