Also In Global Health News: HIV/AIDS Services For LGBT; WHO Flu Review; Water Productivity; Midwifery In Mexico

PEPFAR Working To Provide HIV Prevention, Care, Treatment To LGBT, Clinton Says

“Secretary of State Hillary [Rodham] Clinton pledged to end violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians at home and abroad Tuesday,” CNN’s “Political Ticker” reports. At an event marking LGBT Pride Month, Clinton spoke “about the linkages between gay rights and U.S. foreign policy” and said “she is asking embassies in Africa and elsewhere to report on rights of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities,” according to the blog (Labott, 6/23). “Eric Goosby, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, is working to ensure that HIV prevention, treatment, and care are provided to all members of the LGBT population. For example, in the greater Mekong sub-region, we support the Purple Sky Network, which helps protect the health of gay men and transgender people who are too often overlooked or excluded from lifesaving social services,” Clinton said, according to a State Department transcript (6/22).

Two Experts Step Down From WHO Flu Review Board

“The World Health Organization said Tuesday that two members of an expert panel reviewing the global body’s response to the swine flu outbreak have resigned over concerns about perceived conflict of interest,” the Associated Press reports. The experts, John MacKenzie and Tony Evans, stepped down because of a “close association” with the WHO during the flu outbreak – both “were on the emergency committee that advised WHO’s Director-General Margaret Chan before she declared swine flu a pandemic.” Panel chairman Harvey Fineberg said “they each concluded it would be better to avoid the position as reviewer of their own earlier actions,” according to the AP (6/22).

Increasing Water Productivity For Food Security

Inter Press Service analyzes the role of water productivity in increasing food security. “[T]he world needs an effort to raise water productivity similar to the one that nearly tripled land productivity over the last half-century.” Central to boosting water productivity is increasing irrigation efficiency by improving the type and condition of irrigation systems. “Institutional shifts – specifically, moving the responsibility for managing irrigation systems from government agencies to local water users associations – can facilitate the more efficient use of water. In many countries farmers are organising locally so they can assume this responsibility, and since they have an economic stake in good water management, they tend to do a better job than a distant government agency,” IPS writes (Brown, 6/22).

Mexican Midwifery School Revives Tradition, Modernizes

PRI’s The World produced a story on Mexican midwifery, “a tradition that’s literally dying out, as more women deliver their babies in hospitals.” The show reports on CASA, a school in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, that trains women to become professional midwives. The school teaches traditional techniques such as brewing herbal teas to induce labor, and it integrates modern obstetrics and neonatalolgy. “But, there’s a problem,” PRI notes. “Mexico’s health system doesn’t recognize a midwife as a legitimate health care professional.” CASA is pushing for federal legislation that would allow midwives to practice in public hospitals. Carlos Abad Ortiz, who heads the OB/GYN unit at San Miguel General Hospital, said, “I think this country needs midwives. Even the World Health Organization has recommended them as yet another option to care for pregnant women, as long as they have the proper training” (Uribe, 6/22).

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