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Also In Global Health News: Malaria In Pakistan; Mass Rape And HIV Transmission; Contraceptives In Philippines; Drug Corruption In Uganda; Violence Against Women Bill Delayed; South African HIV Orphans

Two Million Malaria Cases Expected In Pakistan

More than 250,000 cases of suspected malaria have been reported and 2 million more are expected in Pakistan “in the wake of the country’s devastating floods,” the Guardian reports, citing numbers released by the WHO. Large areas of stagnant water combined with heat are serving as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and aiding the spread of malaria. “Last night the U.N. reported 881,000 cases of diarrhoea, 840,000 cases of skin diseases and almost 1 [million] cases of respiratory disorders,” the Guardian also writes. U.N. agencies “have treated five million flood victims; however, the onset of winter may make it harder to reach the remaining stricken victims,” the article notes (Walsh, 10/3).

Study: Mass Rape Increases HIV Transmission

“The widespread rape of women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict-torn African nations could be spurring a significant number of new HIV infections, a new study suggests,” Reuters/Health24 reports. The study, published in the journal AIDS, “estimated that as many as 10,000 girls and women could be infected with HIV in Congo each year as a result of mass rape, assuming ‘extreme’ levels of sexual violence. That figure could be as high as 20,000 in Uganda.” The study also looked at the impact of mass rape on HIV rates in Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and southern Sudan, the news service reports (10/1).

U.S. Will Not ‘Get Involved’ In Philippine Contraception Issue

“The United States government will not get involved in the controversy surrounding the reproductive health bill, which created tension between President Benigno Aquino III and the Catholic Church, Ambassador Harry Thomas said on Friday,” Inquirer.net reports. The article notes that since the 1970s, “the Philippines had relied on international organizations, mainly the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for its population program.” In June 2000, USAID said it would cut back on providing contraceptives “because of limiting funding sources,” and the agency “stopped shipping condoms to the Philippines in 2003, birth control pills in 2007, and injectable contraceptives in 2008,” the news service reports (Kwok, 10/1).

U.K. Media Examine Corruption In Anti-Malaria Drug Distribution In Uganda

An investigation by the U.K.’s Channel  4 “revealed that Ugandan health officials have sold [anti-malarial] pills on the black market, and organised crime gangs are behind a thriving cross-border smuggling operation with Kenya,” the Independent reports. In the past nine months, a government unit set up to investigate theft of drugs “has made more than 100 arrests and seized anti-malarial drugs worth more than £1.5m [$2.4 million]. Convictions include government health workers and three senior Health Ministry officials who manage the national malaria control programme,” the newspaper reports. The article also discusses families that were “told to go to private clinics” to buy anti-malarial drugs and a recent pledge by the British government to increase aid for malaria prevention treatment (Steeds, 10/1).

International Violence Against Woman Act Delayed

The International Violence Against Woman Act, “a bill to drastically expand U.S. government support to end violence against women around the world,” has been delayed in Congress “until after the Nov. 2 midterm elections and probably until next year, when the political makeup of the Senate will have changed dramatically,” Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” reports. A Senate committee meeting, which would have included debate of the bill, was cancelled this week. “Committee sources now tell The Cable that [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.)] intends to bring up the bill during the November lame duck session after the election. If he is able to do that, Wednesday’s delay won’t have a negative effect on the progress of the bill, at least as far as the committee is concerned,” according to the blog (Rogin, 9/30).

AP Examines The Challenges Of South African Children Orphaned By HIV/AIDS

According to the Associated Press, South Africa “has nearly 3 million orphans, many of whom lost parents to AIDS.” As adolescents, these orphans “need more specialized help with the transition into adulthood, especially since so many have HIV themselves and have experienced devastating loss,” the news service writes, adding that approximately “280,000 children younger than 15 are infected with” HIV in South Africa. The article continues: “The government provides financial support to orphans affected by HIV/AIDS but that stops when they turn 18, although free antiretroviral drugs continue to be available to them as well as other South Africans of all ages. There is a growing realization that more specialized attention must be given to the orphans as they become adolescents and young adults” (Gross, 9/30).

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