Latin America and Caribbean

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Brazil Expanding National HIV Treatment Program To Include Patients With Higher CD4 Cell Counts

Brazil is expanding its national HIV/AIDS treatment program to include about 35,000 additional people, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. “Ronaldo Hallal of the [health] ministry’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Department said people with 500 or fewer CD4 cells per cubic millimeter will receive antiretroviral HIV treatment,” increasing the cutoff from 350 or less CD4 cells per cubic millimeter prior to the expansion, the news service writes. The Ministry of Health noted on its website that the expansion will require spending an additional 120 million reals, or $60,000, annually, according to the news service, which adds, “Hallal said Brazil already spends 1.2 billion reals ($600 million) each year in its free anti-AIDS program that is currently treating 223,000 people.” The AP notes Health Minister Alexandre Padilla said in a statement, “Brazil will be the only large country in the world to offer this kind of treatment that will reduce the risk of opportunistic infections like tuberculosis” (8/29).

Economic Transformation In Latin America An Opportunity To Improve NTD Strategies, DNDi Regional Director Says

“The rise of emerging economies in Latin America is an opportunity to improve strategies for fighting neglected illnesses and increase the region’s contribution to the global struggle against them, says” Eric Stobbaerts, the Latin America director of the independent Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Inter Press Service reports. “Our region is going through a major transformation in economic and social terms,” Stobbaerts told IPS after a meeting on “Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases” (NTDs) held in London on January 30, “mentioning the progress that has been made in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico,” IPS writes.

OAS Members Must Assist U.S. Efforts To Ensure Food Security In Americas

“Together with international partners, the United States has launched an unprecedented effort over the past three years to reverse a decades-long decline in agricultural investments,” with a goal of “alleviat[ing] the chronic hunger that afflicts nearly one billion people around the world, including an estimated 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean,” a VOA editorial states. “In the Americas, Feed the Future invests in rural areas of three focus countries: Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti,” the editorial continues, noting, “Over five years, investments and programs involving the entire agricultural value chain from seeds to farms to markets will assist one million vulnerable women, children and family members, mostly smallholder farmers, to escape hunger and poverty in these countries.” The editorial states, “By working together, the United States believes [Organization of American States (OAS)] members can contribute collectively to food security at both the hemispheric and global levels. To achieve that goal, OAS members must safeguard the political and economic progress that has been made to date” (6/12).

Also In Global Health News: Child Marriages; USAID In Afghanistan; Respiratory Diseases In El Salvador; Food Security Improving In Zimbabwe

Epoch Times Examines Child Marriage Hearing An Epoch Times article discusses a recent congressional hearing held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on child marriage. The piece includes comments by representatives from the Department of State, UNICEF, CARE and the International Center for Research on Women who “described the cycle of…

Study Examines Ways To Reduce Growing Cancer Burden In Developing World

“The growing burden of cancer in developing countries could be reduced without expensive drugs and equipment, scientists said on Monday, but it requires a global effort similar to the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Reuters reports in an article that examines a study published in the Lancet by a group of American scientists who have created the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries (GTF.CCC).

Also In Global Health News: Syphilis In China; HIV Vaccine Development; Tracking Malaria Outbreaks; Ecuador’s Maternity Law

Journal Perspective Piece Discusses Rising Number Of Syphilis Cases In China In 2008, almost 9,500 babies were born with syphilis in China, “a 12-fold increase over a five year period,” according to a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece, the “China Real Time Report” blog reports, adding that the resurgence of the disease is…

Haiti Launches $2.2B, 10-Year Plan To Eradicate Cholera

“The Haitian government’s $2.2 billion, 10-year plan to eradicate cholera was launched on Wednesday against the backdrop of the U.N.’s rejection of a legal claim from more than 5,000 victims” that sought compensation for the cholera epidemic, which “has killed more than 8,000 people and infected nearly 648,000” and is thought to…

U.N.’s Legal Immunity, Refusal To Compensate Haitians For Cholera Claims ‘Cheapens Its Larger Mission’

Noting the U.N. last week “announced that Haitian claims for compensation weren’t receivable under article 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations,” Armin Rosen, a writer and producer for The Atlantic’s international channel, writes in an opinion piece in the magazine, “If a multinational corporation behaved the…

Youth Advocates Working To Improve Reproductive Health Education, Services Access In Latin America

In GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog, Mia Mazer, a media and communications intern with the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, writes about the formation of the Mesoamerican Coalition for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, a regional advocacy initiative of more than 40 different organizations that aims to hold governments accountable to a 2008 Ministerial Declaration, titled “Preventing through Education.” As a tool for HIV prevention, the declaration was meant to improve young people’s access to reproductive health services and education, she writes, adding, “But four years later, the ministries have failed to uphold their promise.”