Also In Global Health News: Flu, Cholera In PNG; Improving Life Awards; HIV/AIDS In Rwanda; Men And Maternal/Child Health; MDR-TB In India

Flu, Cholera Strikes Papua New Guinea

“Twin outbreaks of a flu-like illness and dysentery in a remote region of Papua New Guinea have killed 47 people and infected another 2,000 villagers, a senior medical official said Monday,” Agence France-Presse reports. According to provincial health adviser Doctor Theo Likei, the WHO has collected and is testing samples of the virus from the “stricken villages” (8/31). Additionally, the country is experiencing a cholera outbreak – “the first time the disease has officially been confirmed in the country,” the BBC reports (Mercer, 8/31).

Danish Government ‘Design To Improve Life’ Awards

The New York Times examines the five winners of the INDEX: Award 2009, “the biennial design prize funded by the Danish government to celebrate examples of ‘design to improve life.'” Several winners developed ways to improve health and development in developing countries and other remote areas. The Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor, “which can be used during childbirth in remote areas without access to electricity,” won an award as did the “Chulha stove, a safe cooking device for people in developing countries,” the newspaper writes. Each winner receives about $142,000 in prize money (Rawsthorn, 8/30).

UNAIDS Executive Director Discusses HIV/AIDS Control In Rwanda

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe on Thursday praised Rwanda for its successes in combating HIV/AIDS and highlighted prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus as an area that needs work, New Times/ reports. He said, “Rwanda has registered good results with regard to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the last fifteen years especially by lowering transmission levels and increasing access to treatment for those who are infected.” More than 350,000 babies worldwide get HIV/AIDS at birth each year even though it is preventable, Sidibe said (Nambi, 8/29).

IPS Examines Grant To Get Men Involved With Maternal, Child Health In Swaziland

Inter Press Service examines a $2.57 million three-year grant from the Japan Social Development Fund aiming “to improve maternal and child healthcare programmes” in Swaziland through “community mobilisation initiatives,” which will focus on “getting men involved in caring for the health of their wives and children.” According to IPS, “Research has shown that lack of male involvement in maternal and child healthcare slows down the mother’s healing process after giving birth and hinders the development of the baby” (Phakathi, 8/28).

New Indian Lab To Test MDR-TB In 24 Hours At No Cost

A lab opened in India on Thursday at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital that will reduce test times for drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis and offer tests for free, Indian Express reports. At the new lab, test results can be given within 24 hours, which could reduce TB mortality, Indian Express writes. The new lab is part of a partnership project between the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics and the State TB Training and Research Centre. “With the single-day test being possible here, a large number of patients can be tested and put on treatment without wasting time in sending samples to Chennai,” said Ravi Saxena, the state health secretary (8/28).

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