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Also In Global Health News: African Researchers; Global Fund’s Missed Target; Maternal Mortality In Nepal; TB In Tanzania

Network Calls For African Scientists To Submit Proposals For Research Funding

The African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) is asking African scientists to submit proposals “to develop affordable medicines to tackle the continent’s most urgent health problems,” including many neglected diseases, Reuters AlertNet reports (Migiro, 10/12). According to a press release from ANDI’s conveners – the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the WHO – the network “is organized to build research capacity on the continent and link biomedical innovation to development and public health.” ANDI is meeting in Nairobi, October 11-13 (10/8). The WHO’s Solomon Nwaka told AlertNet, “Unfortunately, in Africa, people are still dying of these diseases which can be controlled. The people who are most afflicted by these diseases have to take leadership.” According to Kenya’s Health Minister Beth Mugo, “Until Africa can produce our medicines … we will not beat the war of disease” (10/12).

Nature News Examines Global Fund Replenishment

Nature News examines the recent Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria replenishment conference and looks at why the minimum funding goal of $13 billion was not met. “The poor funding outcome starkly highlights a chronic structural weakness of the Global Fund: its narrow base of donors. Just a couple of dozen countries donated, and a mere seven countries gave more than $100 million,” the news service writes. “For the first time in its history, the fund will now be forced to reject otherwise-solid new proposals from recipient countries, and trim others.” The article includes quotes from Global Fund spokesperson Andrew Hurst and Jennifer Cohn, an HIV/AIDS policy adviser at Medecins Sans Frontieres (Butler, 10/12).

Nepal Considers Raising Marriage Age From 18 To 20 In An Effort To Improve Maternal Health

Nepal’s parliament “is considering a bill raising the legal age of marriage from 18 to 20 which officials say would help improve maternal health,” BBC reports. Nepal “has reduced its maternal mortality rate by half over the past 10 years but the number of women dying in childbirth is still very high,” the news service notes. “In remote and less developed areas, women often marry younger than [18] and become pregnant before they are fully sexually mature – leading to a higher risk of complications and death during childbirth.” KC Naresh, director of the family health division of Nepal’s department of health, said, “We want to encourage all Nepali women not to have children until they’re 20” (Jolly, 10/12). Ministry of Health spokesperson Laxmi Raj Pathak said the agency also plans to launch “several programs” to discourage girls from getting married at an early age by offering incentives, Republica writes (Rai, 10/12).

Tanzanian Government Institutes Patient-Centered Approach To TB Treatment

The Tanzanian government has adopted a patient-centered treatment (PCT) program to treat tuberculosis rather than the WHO-recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) because it proved difficult for rural patients who had to travel daily to take their medication at a health facility, East African Business Week/allAfrica.com reports. The National TB and Leprosy program manager in the country’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently announced the new approach. The new program “involves home visits and placing reliable family members to administer the TB drugs to 75 percent of patients country-wide” and will give patients a choice of taking the drugs at home or at a health facility (Mwakisyala, 10/11).

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