Also In Global Health News: Breast Cancer In Developing World; Burkina Faso ITN Distribution; Diarrhea In People Over Age Five; Gates Q&A

Researchers Highlight ‘Troubling Increase’ In Breast Cancer In Developing Countries

“International cancer specialists meet this week to plan an assault on a troubling increase of breast cancer in developing countries, where nearly two-thirds of women aren’t diagnosed until it has spread through their bodies,” the Associated Press reports. Researchers will also look at “some worrisome data” that suggests breast cancer affects “women, on average, about 10 years” earlier in developing countries than it does in the U.S. (Neergaard, 11/3). “We used to think breast cancer was a problem of only wealthy women, but now we know breast cancer shows no favorites: It strikes rich and poor women alike,” Felicia Knaul, head of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, said, Agence France-Presse reports (11/3).

Burkina Faso
To Distribute 6.6M ITNs In 2010, Health Officials Say

Burkina Faso health officials on Monday said they plan to work with partners to distribute 6.6 million insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) as part of a national campaign to cover the country’s whole population in 2010, Agence France-Presse reports. Victor Nana, who leads the preventive wing of the National Programme to Fight Paludism (malaria), said the ITNs will cost more than $40.5 million and be funded by the government as well as WHO, UNICEF and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (11/2).

Diarrhea Kills 1.15M Annually, Study Finds

The WHO on Friday released data showing that diarrhea kills at least 1.15 million people over the age of five annually — three times more than previous estimates suggested, Agence-France Presse/Tehran Times reports (11/1). The preliminary results from a study that has yet to be published were presented last week during a meeting of the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) in Switzerland, SciDev.Net reports. “These estimates highlight the significant burden of diarrhoeal diseases in adolescents and adults in the developing world,” said Martyn Kirk, chair of the FERG Enteric Diseases Task Force, who presented the results (Lewis, 10/30).

Newsweek Q&A With Bill And Melinda Gates

Newsweek interviewed Bill and Melinda Gates last week during their visit to Washington, D.C., for their foundation’s Living Proof Project. In response to a question about the most pressing health issue facing developing countries, Melinda Gates said there has been “amazing progress on the deaths of children under 5. But we have not made much progress on deaths in children within the first 30 days of life. … Saving these children would not be that difficult. A lot of it is cultural. We need to educate the mothers.” Issues covered in the Q&A include the recent HIV vaccine trial in Thailand and President Barack Obama’s global health plan (Guo, 10/31).

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