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Also In Global Health News: Gates Foundation Global Health Head To Step Down; Drug, Medical Supply Shortages In Gaza; Food Security In N. Korea

Gates Global Health Program President To Step Down In June

Tachi Yamada, president of the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Monday announced he would step down in June after five years serving in the position, the Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports (2/14). “During his tenure, Dr. Yamada oversaw the tripling of the global health grant portfolio, and has transformed the way the program tackles the diseases and health conditions of the poor,” a Gates Foundation press release states (2/14). “At the foundation, Yamada, 65, sharpened the focus on vaccine development as the most cost-effective way to battle disease in the developing world,” the Seattle Times writes. “He drew on his experience as chief of research and development for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to help accelerate the manufacture and distribution of existing vaccines against meningitis and childhood diarrhea, while also sponsoring research on vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS,” the newspaper adds. The article looks at his work to rank “drug companies based on their efforts to provide low-cost medications to low-income people and countries around the world” and his role in pushing the foundation and its grantees to improve measurement of program results (Doughton, 2/14). KPLU’s “Humanosphere” blog features a Q&A with Yamada (Paulson, 2/14).

IRIN Examines Gaza’s Shortages Of Drugs, Medical Supplies

“The main reason for the worsening shortages of essential drugs and medical supplies in the Gaza Strip is that the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of health in the West Bank has not delivered enough drugs and medical supplies to Gaza, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), international aid organizations and Gaza health ministry officials,” IRIN reports in an article that examines how tensions between the PA and Gaza’s health ministry are contributing to the problem. “According to WHO figures shown to IRIN, in 2010 only 40 percent of requested drugs and medications were sent to Gaza by the PA health ministry, and only 50 percent were sent in 2009,” the news service writes. The article describes the impact the shortages are having on patients living in Gaza (2/14).

FAO, WFP Launch Food Security Assessment In N. Korea

U.N. officials on Friday announced they have launched “a mission in North Korea to assess the food security situation after a particularly harsh winter and amid a sharp rise in global food prices,” Agence France-Presse reports (2/11). Radio Australia News notes that “mission follows a formal request from North Korea” (2/12). The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will work together on the food assessment mission through March 6, according to WFP spokesman Greg Barrow, the news service writes. Based on the findings, WFP could launch an emergency operation in April, said a U.N. official speaking on the condition of anonymity, AFP writes (2/11).

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