The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” examines efforts to prevent and treat cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, where “cervical cancer kills large numbers of women, many of whom are never diagnosed because local hospitals do not recognize the disease until it is too late.” However, “[a] very simple and cheap form of screening has begun to be introduced — and now there is the possibility of a vaccination program against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes most cervical cancers,” the blog writes, noting a recent announcement by the GAVI Alliance that it plans to fund HPV immunization programs in several countries. According to the blog, “15 countries [are] asking to be considered,” and “Uganda and Rwanda have already been approved, although some ‘clarifications’ are required from the governments on how their programs will run.” The blog continues, “No one believes it will be easy to introduce the HPV vaccination in Africa, and there may be problems,” including issues with efficacy and cost (Boseley, 12/14).
Private Sector Involvement
“Some 80 health professionals and telecom operators [met last week for the mHealth Africa Summit] in the Ghanaian capital Accra to explore ways to use mobile phones for better healthcare delivery,” IRIN reports in an article that details a variety of successful projects relaying health information through cell phones in Africa. The article describes how mobile phones are being used in Africa to educate populations about HIV/AIDS, TB and improve maternal health, as well as means to track medicines and other health supplies, including mosquito nets.
On Monday, a campaign started in Burkina Faso to “inoculate tens of millions of West Africans with a new vaccine in what scientists hope will be the beginning of the end of ravaging meningitis epidemics” across the continent, the New York Times reports. Burkina Faso marks the first country in a drive aimed at “bringing the disease under control and saving an estimated 150,000 lives by 2015 in a belt of 25 nations that girds the continent,” according to the newspaper (Dugger, 12/4).
“It’s not only biologists, philanthropists and donor governments who are needed to make vaccine projects in poor countries work. Financial engineers â€¦ also have a role,” Reuters writes in an article that examines how “a new kind of bond issue” is helping to support the GAVI Alliance.
India, EU Trade Agreement Will Not Restrict Ability For India Pharmaceutical Firms To Export Generic Drugs, Official Says
“India and the European Union (EU) have agreed that the comprehensive bilateral trade agreement being negotiated by the two will not result in an intellectual property regime that restricts the ability of Indian pharmaceutical firms to export generic or off-patent drugs by being far more stringent than the TRIPS [Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights] regime of the World Trade Organization,” LiveMint.com reports in an article that describes recent debates over the agreement. “The two sides agreed to this at a meeting between Indian trade minister Anand Sharma and his counterpart in the European Commission (EC), Karel De Gucht, at Brussels on 29 November, said a senior commerce ministry official on condition of anonymity,” the news service reports.
EU, India Leaders Meet To Discuss Trade Deal, Some Concerned Deal Will Jeopardize Drug Access In Developing Countries
On Friday, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht met to “present a status report on the ongoing free trade talks” that some health advocates fear could limit the supply of generic medications in developing countries, according to Business Standard. “An EU source said the report would signal that talks had made excellent progress and should be wrapped up by early next year,” according to the news service (Aiyar, 12/10).
Most Of World’s Poorest Still Live In Rural Areas, Despite Progress Over Last Decade, U.N. Report Says
A report from the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) found that approximately 350 million people living in rural areas have escaped extreme poverty over the past decade, but most of the world’s poorest citizens continue to live in rural regions, the BBC reports (Melik, 12/6).
Also In Global Health News: Mass Rape In Congo; Malaria Research At Walter Reed; Nevirapine For Infants; Aid To Pakistan Improved Trust; Child Mortality In Bolivia; Jamaica Global Fund Grants
U.N. Now Estimates 500 Raped In Congo “Approximately 500 women were raped in eastern Congo in July and August,” U.N. officials said Tuesday, revising an earlier report of 242 victims, according to the New York Times. Atul Khare, deputy head of peacekeeping who was sent to the region to investigate,…
Participants at the first meeting of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) â€“ which wrapped up recently in Accra, Ghana â€“ drew up a “Green Revolution” action plan aimed at ensuring food security in Africa, SciDev.Net reports.
The three-day U.N. Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ended Wednesday with world leaders “adopting a declaration agreed [to] earlier this month, which promised intensified efforts by the 192 U.N. member states to achieve the world body’s so-called Millennium Development Goals by 2015,” Reuters reports (Worsnip/Wroughton, 9/22).