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Also In Global Health News: Pakistan Flood Relief; Blood Pressure Reader

U.S. Gives $90M To WFP For Pakistan Flood Relief

A $90 million donation from the U.S. to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) “will help prevent a reduction in food aid to millions of people affected by the recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan,” the Associated Press of Pakistan reports. “The U.S. contribution – divided equally into $45 million in cash as well as in-kind food aid worth $45 million consisting of wheat flour, vegetable oil and dried peas – will be used to provide food assistance to more than 7 million flood-affected people, according to WFP,” the news service reports (11/8). According to UNICEF, “[a] shortfall in international aid is jeopardising key potable water, nutrition and vaccination programmes for more than a million Pakistani flood victims,” Agence France-Presse reports. The agency said that if sufficient funding does not arrive by the end of the year, it will have to cut back on its assistance programs in the country, according to the news service (11/6).

$32 Solar-Powered Blood-Pressure Reader Could Help Drive Down Cardiovascular Disease In Low-Income Countries, Scientists Say

“A solar-powered blood-pressure measuring device that’s reliable and affordable could help reduce rapidly rising rates of cardiovascular disease in low-income nations, according to a new study” published in the journal Hypertension, HealthDay/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. “Field tests at three medical centers in Africa – two in Uganda and one in Zambia – showed that the $32 automated device is 94 percent in agreement with the standard blood-pressure testing method for systolic blood pressure,” the news service writes. The system “was less accurate for diastolic blood pressure” – an issue the study authors said could be corrected, according to the news service (Preidt, 11/8). The “HEM-SOLAR device” was field-tested against a traditional manual blood-pressure meter among 716 subjects. Some 85% of health-care professionals rated the solar device as good or very good, with 97% recommending its use, “the Wall Street Journal’s “Health Blog” reports. The researchers involved in the study “write that the device will allow non-physician health workers to ‘participate in the diagnosis and management of hypertension’ and will hopefully help to better control blood pressure in low- and middle-income countries. Next up: a program to use the device to diagnose hypertension in pregnancy, which is a contributor to maternal mortality,” according to the blog (Hobson, 11/8).

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