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Also In Global Health News: Methadone Maintenance In Africa; Dengue Vaccine; HIV/AIDS In Ukraine; Human Rights In Russia; Chevron, USAID $50M MOU

First Methadone Maintenance Program In Sub-Saharan Africa Opens Its Doors In Tanzania

The New York Times examines “the first methadone maintenance program in sub-Saharan Africa,” which opened this month in a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with funding support from PEPFAR. “While heroin use is not common in Africa, it has been growing recently in Tanzania’s port cities, which are used to ship the drug, usually from Afghanistan to Europe. … Tanzania now has an estimated 25,000 drug injectors, 40 percent of them infected with HIV, according to the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, a San Francisco-based group that is advising the Tanzanian government on the program,” according to the newspaper. The article notes some of the challenges health experts anticipate the program may face (McNeil, 2/21).

Sanofi Pasteur Partners With IVI To Raise Awareness About Dengue Vaccines

Vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur on Monday announced plans to partner with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) “to speed the adoption of its experimental dengue fever vaccine, which is currently in late-stage development,” Reuters reports (Hirschler, 2/21). “The two groups aim to raise awareness and move dengue vaccination higher on the global health agenda,” according to Media Post (Irwin, 2/21). Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for dengue fever, “which is a threat to nearly half of the world’s population and a public health priority in many countries of Latin America and Asia,” according to Sanofi, RTTNews reports (2/21).

U.S., Ukraine Sign Agreement To Partner Against HIV/AIDS

“Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryschenko on Feb. 15 signed an agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the U.S. government on cooperation in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in 2011-2015,” Interfax-Ukraine/KyivPost reports. The document outlines how the countries will work together on controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Ukraine, which according to the Foreign Ministry’s press service “has seriously worsened in recent years, despite efforts by [the] state,” according to the newspaper (2/16). “As of November 1, 2010, Ukraine registered 108,434 people living with HIV, and in the 10 months of 2010, more than 15,000 new cases were revealed,” the National Company of Ukraine reports (2/17).

U.N. Official Calls For Russian Government To Improve Its Human Rights Record

During her five-day visit to Russia, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday challenged the Russian government to do more to improve the country’s record on human rights, Reuters reports. “Weighing into a controversial debate in Russia, Pillay also said she asked the Ministry of Health to not withhold treatment, such as the heroin substitute methadone, from addicts amid a worsening HIV/AIDS crisis in Russia,” the news service adds. “Unlike most countries, Russia refuses to finance harm reduction programs such as needle exchanges, or to legalize methadone, evoking condemnation from global health bodies,” according to the article (Ferris-Rotman, 2/17).

Chevron, USAID To Spend $50M To Improve Living Standards In Nigerian Region

Chevron Corp. recently released a statement announcing that its foundation had signed a memorandum of understanding with USAID to spend $50 million with the goal of improving living standards in Nigeria’s southern delta, the Associated Press reports (2/17). Chevron and USAID will each contribute $25 million over four years, according to Agence France-Presse. Chevron said the funds will be used for programs “designed to promote economic development, improve the capacity of government and civil society institutions, and help reduce conflict in the (Niger Delta) region” (2/17). 

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