Also In Global Health News: Fortified-Rice; Fake Malaria Drugs; HIV In Philippines; Male Circumcision; Uganda DDT Spraying

, Organizations To Research Zinc-Fortified Rice

At least 20 universities and research organizations in India will collaborate to develop rice bio-fortified with zinc in an effort to prevent childhood diarrhea, chronic liver disease and other health problems, reports. “The organizations will work to identify genes in plants that may be combined to produce zinc-enhanced rice,” the Web site writes (Koshy, 7/21).

New York Times Examines Use Of ‘Cutting-Edge’ Technology To Identify Fake Malaria Drugs Worldwide

The New York Times examines the activities of Interpol and “an informal group of researchers and government officials spanning Africa, Asia and” the U.S. and how they “use cutting-edge technology in tracking fake drugs that claim to treat malaria.” Although scientists have “been able to analyze the ingredients of a pill or capsule using mass spectrometers, which identify chemicals by measuring molecular weights,” the process was “time-consuming” and took about an hour per sample, the newspaper writes. In 2005, a “scientific breakthrough” added an “ion gun” to the machines, which allows researchers “to check hundreds of pills a day,” according to the New York Times (Fuller, 7/20).

UNDP To Help Philippines Combat ‘Rising’ HIV Cases

“The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) said Tuesday it will help the Philippines fight rising HIV infections, which reached record monthly levels for the country this year,” AFP/ reports. In May, a record 89 new HIV cases were registered, bringing the total number of new cases for 2009 to 322. On Thursday, Manila and the UNDP will launch a three-year program that aims to mitigate “the negative impacts of HIV and AIDS on human development,” writes the news service (7/20).

New York Times Examines Male Circumcision

The New York Times examines the Orange Farm, where “[y]oung men have flocked by the thousands to this clinic for circumcisions, the only one of its kind in South Africa.” The article also looks at countries like Kenya and Bostwana, which “are championing the procedure and bringing it to thousands,” in an effort to stem the spread of HIV. The New York Times explores international donors’ interest in funding male circumcision programs while acknowledging how Africa’s health care worker shortage combined with cultural perceptions of circumcision can complicate efforts to circumcise millions of men (Dugger, 7/19).

Uganda Will Resume Indoor DDT Spraying

The Ugandan heath ministry’s plans to resume indoor DDT spraying in malaria endemic districts, after such actions were suspended in response to environmental groups filing a petition with the High Court in May 2008, which has since been dismissed, New Vision/ reports. Beginning in September, the government also plans to distribute 17.4 million free insecticide-treated nets (Bugembe, 7/17).

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