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Also In Global Health News: Human Trafficking, HIV; Zimbabwe Doctors; Lay Health Care Workers

About 250,000 Women Forced Into Prostitution Annually In Southest Asia

“Up to a quarter of a million women and girls in Southeast Asia, mostly adolescents, are forced into prostitution each year and face violence and the prospect of contracting HIV/AIDS,” researchers said on Wednesday in a report about criminal activity in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand, Reuters reports. They predicted that circumstances could get worse as the financial crisis prompts women in the region to move in search of work, and they called for dialogue between the U.N., NGOs and law enforcement agencies (Lyn, 8/12).

Zimbabwe State Doctors Strike, Demand Higher Pay

Zimbabwe’s state doctors have gone on strike and are asking for an increase in wages and allowances, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (HDA) said on Wednesday, Reuters/Mail & Guardian reports. Doctors

“walked out of the country’s four major hospitals” in the cities of Harare and Bulawayo after “inconclusive” discussions with authorities, the news service writes. “We are concerned about the lack of seriousness and prioritisation of the health sector. We wouldn’t want to go back to last year’s situation where all major hospitals were forced to shut down and turn away patients,” said Brighton Chizhanje, the HDA president (8/12).

IRIN Examines Lay Health Workers’ Role In Kenya

IRIN examines whether training “lay health care workers,” which “has been hailed as the only way Africa can keep scaling up HIV services,” can compensate for the shortage of medical professionals on the continent. In Kenya, there are about 2,000 “trained and certified” lay health workers in the public sector, and Family Health International “has had generally good results,” with its lay counsellors. “There are limitations because they are not adequately trained to deal with severe cases, like the management of discordant couples and dealing with any side effects that might arise from the use of antiretroviral therapy,” said Esther Kathurima, psychosocial coordinator with AIDS Population and Health Integrated Assistance. “Andrew Suleh, chairman of the Kenya Medical Association, said lay counsellors should not become a long-term replacement for professional health workers,” IRIN writes (8/12).