The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) is “spearheading the fight against malaria” in Africa, bringing together 40 heads of state and “offer[ing] a compelling example of what is possible through co-operation, leadership, commitment, and sound management of national and international funds,” Tanzania President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” With the launch of the “groundbreaking” ALMA scorecard for accountability and action last week, leaders are now able “to measure our own performance against a set of key malaria metrics including national policies, financial controls, delivery of prevention and treatment commodities, and, most importantly, lives saved,” Kikwete writes.
In this post in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, responds to the GAVI Alliance’s announcement on Tuesday that it will supply more than $1 billion in childhood vaccines to 37 of the world’s poorest countries, writing, “As the Alliance takes perhaps the most significant step ever toward increasing access to lifesaving immunization with this new and exciting round of country approvals, the challenge will be to ensure that every piece of the puzzle is in place to deliver on GAVI’s tremendous promise.”
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “[a]long with our partners, both donors and implementers, [is] changing the story of scores of nations that were once devastated by three killer diseases — diseases which seemed invincible,” Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece, adding “we are now saving more than one million lives every year.”
“The clear pattern of increasing antiretroviral resistance in lower-income settings must be considered in the context of the worldwide HIV-control agenda,” especially because “the increasing rates of antiretroviral resistance in low-income settings represent a potential threat to the emerging treatment-as-prevention strategy,” Evan Wood and Julio Montaner of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS write in a Lancet Infectious Diseases opinion piece, adding, “Urgent action is needed.” They describe steps to help lower the threat of resistance, including deploying proven preventive strategies, “early and sustained” highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to prevent vertical transmission, and programs to provide HAART to 15 million people worldwide by 2015.
New York Times reporter Lawrence Altman recounts his experience in the mid-1960s with a measles immunization campaign in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) during his time with the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the CDC in a “Doctor’s World” perspective piece in the newspaper. Altman says that although the effort to expand the immunization campaign from a small field trial to a regional program “failed miserably,” the “lessons learned from these blunders led to a new program that wiped out smallpox, still the only human disease to have been eradicated from the planet.”
In this New American opinion piece, Beverly Eakman, an author and former editor-in-chief of NASA’s newspaper in Houston, writes of humanitarian aid, “With the U.S. debt having surpassed 100 percent of gross domestic product August 3, to $14.58 trillion, it’s crudely entertaining to see how multimillionaire lawmakers in Congress and administrations both past and present find ‘compassionate’ ways to spend ever-more of taxpayers’ money,” asserting that “such expenditure is not specifically sanctioned by American taxpayers, and therefore constitutes theft by the U.S. government for what the State Department probably hopes will buy international good will.”
Gordon Alexander, director of the office of research at UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre, writes in this post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” that a series published in Friday’s Lancet on early child development (ECD) shows “that the payoff from concerted, integrated action around ECD would be enormous.” Additional focus on and investment in ECD, particularly in the areas of nutrition, maternal and family health, and poverty alleviation, would help children reach their full potential in adulthood, which means “investing in ECD now will quite literally yield billions of dollars in later years,” he says.
In addition to “essential money,” “the right policies, government commitment and citizen accountability” are needed to decrease child mortality and improve other global health indicators, “[b]ut the sine qua non for effective health care delivery is health workers. Whether it’s prevention, treatment or care, it’s all about health workers,” Jonathan Glennie, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, writes in a post on the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”
Recent findings on HIV vaccine research, some presented recently at the AIDS Vaccine 2011 conference in Bangkok, “show that the science of an AIDS vaccine is vibrant and vital,” Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC-Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, writes in a “Science Speaks” guest blog post. “Now is exactly the…
Though “[c]holera vaccines are not a magic bullet and are not available in adequate numbers” to vaccinate everyone in Haiti, where at least 10 people die each day in an outbreak that began in October 2010, “there are compelling reasons to add vaccinations to the arsenal of public health weapons that has been deployed against cholera in Haiti,” a Washington Post editorial states. Efforts to improve access to clean water, educate the public about cholera transmission and treat those infected are ongoing, “[b]ut those efforts should be supplemented with an ambitious vaccination program starting as soon as practicable,” the editorial writes.