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Also In Global Health News: Leishmaniasis Treatment; China’s National Health Plan; Zimbabwe Food Security; HIV/AIDS Spending In India

Heating Device Effectively Treats Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, Study Says

“A heating device that uses radio frequency energy to heat parasites and kill them could provide a new way to treat … cutaneous leishmaniasis in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, military researchers reported Monday,” the Los Angeles Times’ blog “Booster Shots” reports. “The new device, called ThermoMed, uses radio frequency radiation to heat the area of the lesion, killing the parasite without damaging nearby healthy cells,” according to the blog. Currently, the disease is treated with a 10-day course of Pentostam, “which has many side effects, including pancreatitis and damage to blood vessels. Some parasites are becoming resistant to it as well.” Scientists tested the device on 56 military personnel who picked up the disease in Iraq. The study – which found that both the drug and the device had comparable rates of healing, but that ThermoMed had fewer side effects – was published Tuesday online in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (Maugh, 3/8).  

Bloomberg News/Seattle Times Examines China’s Plans For National Health Insurance

Bloomberg News/Seattle Times examine China’s plans to implement a national health insurance system. “More than 300 million Chinese are without health insurance, the World Bank says, and the remaining 1 billion have only partial coverage. In part to pay for those costs, Chinese save about one-quarter of their income each year and have accumulated as much as $5 trillion, said Stephen Green, chief China economist for Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai. Unlocking those savings is key to China’s plan to shift its economic drivers from exports and investment to domestic consumption after the global crisis and a 16 percent export decline in 2009 laid bare the country’s vulnerability to swings in external demand,” according to the news service (Balfour, 3/8).

Swaziland’s CAADP Membership Could Address Food Security, Other Issues

Swaziland recently “became a member of the Common Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – an initiative by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to address food security and agricultural production,” IRIN reports in an article looking at the links between agriculture and health and development issues, including HIV/AIDS. The article examines how Swaziland’s CAADP membership could address the country’s food security issues, in addition to other factors that could further its progress on the Millennium Development Goal targets (3/8).

World Bank Warns India To Scale Up Its Investment In HIV Prevention

The World Bank on Sunday warned that if India failed to scale up its HIV prevention efforts, the percentage of the country’s health budget for treating HIV/AIDS patients would likely continue to grow, Reuters reports. Currently, “New Delhi spends about 5 percent of its $5.4 billion healthcare budget on treating AIDS patients. But with HIV cases showing signs of rising in the capital New Delhi, in the financial hub of Mumbai, in the north and the northeast, the cost of treatment in India could rise to $1.8 billion by 2020, about 7 percent of the total health expenditure, the World Bank says,” the news service writes. Health experts worry about what a shift in spending could mean for funding for other health issues facing the country, according to Reuters (Majumdar, 3/7).

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