Also In Global Health News: Kenya Approves Constitution; Angola Vaccinates Against Polio; Misoprostol In Kenya; Preventing HIV In IDUs

Kenya Approves Constitution In Peaceful Election

“Kenyans voted in favour of a new constitution in a peaceful referendum that could reshape the political landscape of east Africa’s largest economy, partial results showed on Thursday,” Reuters writes. The new constitution “addresses the corruption, political patronage, land-grabbing and tribalism which have plagued Kenya since it won independence from Britain in 1963” (Obulutsa/Kanina, 8/5). The constitution also changes abortion laws in the country (Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, 8/4).

Angola Steps Up Polio Vaccine Efforts

Nearly 400,000 children under age 5 “will be vaccinated” against polio in Angola’s southern province, AngolaPress reports. The effort is the second phase of an immunization campaign “promoted by the Broad Vaccine Programme” (8/5). A third phase will occur in September aiming to reach “5.6 million children under the age of five,” according to a UNICEF press release. Angola’s ministry of health has reported 19 cases of polio so far this year and “global experts have expressed concern about further spread in the region and the high cost of conducting emergency response campaigns” (8/4).

Kenya OB-GYN Society Endorses Misoprostol For Hemorrhaging; Expert Calls For Government Guidelines

Kenya’s Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society is “pushing for recognition of the drug known as misoprostol,” but one health expert says controversy surrounding “its use to procure abortions has clouded its merits” in the country, Inter Press Service reports. Joachim Osur, with women’s health organization Ipas, said misoprostol “which retails across the counter for as little as 240 shillings (roughly $3) will help save the lives of many women who die from post-partum bleeding or unsafe abortions” and believes the drug should be available in community health centers. He also “argues that the health ministry should come up with guidelines expanding the approved use of the drug while ensuring it can only be obtained from health facilities” (Anyangu-Amu, 8/4).

Ukrainian HIV/AIDS Activists Allege Intimidation, Imprisonment Of Doctors And Patients

Inter Press Service reports that Ukranian doctors legally providing substitution drugs to injecting drug users are “facing illegal police intimidation and imprisonment,” according to HIV/AIDS advocates. “Two doctors have been arrested, medical centres treating drug users raided by police, and drug users receiving substitute treatments detained en masse in a series of recent concerning events,” IPS reports. The article includes statistics on Ukraine’s HIV epidemic, “one of the fastest-growing” in the world, and comments from international and local advocates, including Andriy Klepikov, director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, which has “documented dozens of cases of human rights abuses of patients and medical staff” (Stracansky, 8/4).

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