Also In Global Health News: Male Circumcisions In Zimbabwe; Ruling On China’s First HIV Discrimination Case; Business And Global Health; HIV/AIDS In Africa

USAID-Backed Program Facilitates Male Circumcisions In Zimbabwe

The Canadian Press reports on how a USAID-backed program operating in Zimbabwe is helping provide male circumcision services. Despite what the article describes as tension between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the U.S., the “program, begun in May 2009, has carried out 12,000 circumcisions. The U.S. spent $6.6 million on it in the first year and more money is promised as the program scales up,” the news service writes. “The U.S. is Zimbabwe’s biggest aid donor – more than $1 billion since 2002 – and the biggest contributor to nationwide modern AIDS clinics that have tested and counselled 2 million people.” The article describes how previous studies have shown male circumcision drives down HIV transmission rates, profiles a 32-year-old man from Zimbabwe who receives a circumcision through the U.S.-supported program, and describes its expansion plans. The piece includes quotes from Bill Jansen, a senior adviser with USAID in Zimbabwe (Shaw, 11/14).

Chinese Court Rules Against Man Who Alleged HIV Discrimination

A Chinese court on Friday ruled against the plaintiff who “says he was denied a teaching job because he is HIV positive,” the man’s lawyer said, the BBC reports (11/12). According to state media, “[t]he lawsuit alleged city officials denied the plaintiff, a recent college graduate, a teaching job after a medical screening for illnesses including syphilis and hepatitis C revealed he had HIV … after he had already passed written tests and interviews,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/12). However, the Canadian Press reports, “Anqing’s Yinjiang District Court ruled the city education bureau had correctly followed public service health standards in assessing his unsuitability for the position, lawyer Zheng Jineng said by phone” (Bodeen, 11/12). According to Xinhua, the case was the “Chinese mainland’s first employment-related HIV-discrimination case (11/12). Lawyers for the man said they planned to appeal the case, the New York Times reports in an article that describes concerns among HIV/AIDS advocates that “Fridays’ ruling will … provid[e] legal cover for employees who do not want to hire people with HIV” (Jacobs, 11/12).

Corporations’ Roles In Global Health

John Tedstrom, chief executive of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, spoke at the Future in Review Global West Coast conference about how businesses are working to improve health care in the developing world, the Seattle Times reports. Corporations’ marketing skills can be used to help spread public health messages. “These guys can sell anything to anybody,” Tedstrom said, adding, “They can sell safe sex.”

“Some corporations are playing a role in global health to boost their image, while others see investments as a way to fulfill an immediate business need,” the newspaper writes. Tedstrom said regardless of the motivation, “if you structure this right, everybody wins.” He added, “Eventually, you need less and less of the philanthropy” (Heim, 11/11).

CNN Examines Business-Focused Approach To Fighting HIV/AIDS In Africa

CNN’s “Marketplace Africa” features an interview with Ernest Darkoh, chairman and founding partner of BroadReach Healthcare, “a company that is working with governments to develop public and private sector solutions to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa,” where Darkoh describes what CNN call’s his company’s “business-focused approach” to delivering health services. “One of the principles of which we approach all of our work is to be extremely target and goal oriented and results oriented,” Darkoh said, according to CNN. “The developing world had been characterized by a lot of funding but often very little accountability for results of that funding. And it’s important to deliver the results, because people are dying.” During the interview, Darnkoh described his company’s “fast checkout lane” approach to health care and addresses the need for Africa to use innovation to look past “conventional [Western] models that work in environments that don’t match [the] context” in Africa (Elgabir, 11/11).

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