Also In Global Health News: HIV/AIDS Programs in S. Asia; Drug Shortages In Kenya; HIV/AIDS In China; Climate Change And Malaria

Report Calls For Countries In S. Asia To Step Up HIV/AIDS Support Services For Migrants

A report released by the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), UNAIDS and the International Labour Organization on Tuesday highlights the failure of HIV/AIDS programs in South Asia to reach populations migrating to the region and calls upon governments to do more for such populations, IANS/Sify News reports (11/30). “Among the report’s recommendations are safe mobility and migration under international labour standards and conventions; non-discrimination and protection against abuse and other human rights violations; minimum wage and gender equity; improved access to HIV services, welfare, security and safety as well as information, counseling services and legal aid; and protection from deportation on grounds of HIV positive status,” according to a UNDP press release (.pdf) (11/30).

IRIN Examines Contributing Factors To Drug Shortages In Kenya

IRIN examines how “poor supply chain management, corruption and insufficient funding of the health service” often lead to drug shortages in Kenya, the article also looks at recent efforts taken by the government to remedy the situation. For instance, instead of Kenya’s health centers receiving standard kits with essential medications, “the country is piloting a new ‘pull’ system where drug supply is based on orders from health centers, in the hope that this will improve the ability to provide essential drugs in the quantities required,” IRIN writes. The government also started to allow the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency to purchase drugs through local suppliers in an effort to drive down the number of stock-outs and has requested additional funds from the Treasury to purchase essential drugs (11/30).

News Outlets Report On Growing Pressure On Chinese Government To Acknowledge How Blood Transfusions, Donations In 1990s Contributed To Spread Of HIV/AIDS In China

The Los Angeles Times examines the factors that contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS among people living in China who donated blood and received blood transfusions at government-run hospitals in the 1990s. According to the newspaper, “the Chinese government has yet to offer an apology or investigate a massive cover-up that allowed the disease to spread exponentially after it was well known that the blood supply was tainted. … Besides free [anti-]retroviral drugs, victims have received almost no compensation.” The article includes quotes from several people living with HIV/AIDS in China who say they became infected during blood transfusions (Demick, 11/27).

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that a retired Chinese health official this week appealed for the government “to come clean about a 1990s blood-selling scandal that infected tens of thousands of people with the virus that causes AIDS. … His appeal this week for a full and open investigation highlights a contradiction in China’s AIDS policy. Even as the government has become more open and better at treating HIV, it has refused to acknowledge past lapses, which it fears could embolden citizens to challenge its legitimacy” (Wond, 11/30).

AFP Looks At Debate Over Climate Change, Malaria Link

Agence France-Presse examines the debate over whether global warming could lead to an increase in malaria in some parts of the world. “‘There is a very direct link between malaria and climate. As climate changes further, more areas will become suitable for transmission’ of the malaria parasite,” said Andrew Githeko, a Kenyan physician who leads a research project on climate change and human health. But according to Oxford University’s Simon Hay, despite temperature increases, the Malaria Atlas Project “shows clearly there has been no expansion of malaria in the last 100 years.” Hays added, “It has systematically retreated from the temperate regions to the tropics.” The piece includes quotes from a Ugandan doctor, the head of Uganda’s malaria program and a UNICEF official (Bachorz, 11/28).

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