Also In Global Health News: HIV/AIDS Prevention For Drug Users; Obstetric Fistulas; Ugandan Health Spending

U.S., Tanzanian Leaders Launch Program Aimed At Reducing Spread Of HIV/AIDS Among Drug Users

The U.S. together with the Tanzanian government on Monday unveiled a plan for “the first Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) programme for drug users in sub-Saharan Africa, a crucial part of HIV control that allows addicts to return to a regular, productive and healthier life,” to launch in the cities of Dar es Salaam and Zanibar, Pana/Afrique en ligne reports. According to the news service, U.S. Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and Tanzania’s Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Phillip Marmo were on hand in Dar es Salaam for the announcement. “As the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to introduce MAT, Tanzania will serve as a model as well as a public health leader in the field of HIV prevention,” the news service writes (5/18).

IRIN Reports On Obstetric Fistulas Repair In Kenya 

IRIN reports on a charity service in Kenya, known as Freedom From Fistula Foundation, that offers free surgical care to women who are obstetric fistula patients. “According to experts, Kenya records at least 1,000 new fistula cases annually, with thousands of cases pending surgery. Globally, fistula affects at least two million women and girls in developing countries, with 100,000 new cases each year.” The piece details the factors that contribute to fistula, including homebirth deliveries and poor health systems (5/18).

Daily Monitor Examines Health Spending In Uganda

The Daily Monitor examines Uganda’s health budget and the government’s efforts to get 80 percent of the population covered by bed nets, offer national health insurance and build additional health facilities. “The numbers tell a story we don’t like to face: every day, spending decisions by a host of different players – the national government, local governments, international donors, and millions of Ugandans who pay for their health care with their own money – determine what health services are available and hence who lives and who dies. Yet the different actors often fail to plan or coordinate their spending decisions or to ensure that the money is spent to achieve the greatest impact,” according to the Daily Monitor. Though health sector funding allocations have increased over the last few years, health ministry officials “say this total is simply not enough to fund the basic minimum health care package and at the same time hire health workers to deliver these services” (Lirri, 5/18).

In related news, Stephen Malinga, Uganda’s health minister, said poor training for health workers is contributing to the country’s high maternal mortality rate, the Guardian’s “Katine” blog reports. The story looks at issue of health care working training in the country (Malinga/Ford, 5/17).