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Also In Global Health News: Poverty In W. Africa; USAID Grants In Zimbabwe; TB Control; Pakistan’s Drug Users

ECOWAS, UEMOA Release Strategy For Reducing Poverty In W. Africa

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) on Monday released a 204-page strategy paper aimed at reducing poverty in West Africa, the Guardian reports. “The regional strategy paper was developed in response to a directive of Heads of State and Government for a regional instrument that would provide a coordinated mechanism for overcoming the limitations of existing national strategies by member states to enable them [to] meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) …,” the newspaper writes (Obayuwana, 1/12).

USAID Awards $14M Grants To Farmers, Ag Businesses In Zimbabwe

USAID has awarded approximately $14 million in grants to support over 52,000 famers and agricultural businesses in Zimbabwe, the Herald reports. “Grant activities include vouchers for agricultural inputs, provision of extension services to farmers, training in conservation farming, strengthening agro-dealers and processors, development of local commodity associations, re-establishment of market linkages, business training, seed retention, creation of internal savings and lending groups, and small-scale irrigation,” according to the newspaper (1/11).

San Francisco Chronicle Examines Threat To TB Control In The U.S.

The San Francisco Chronicle looks at public health officials’ concern about tuberculosis control in the U.S., with a focus on San Francisco. “Public health officials say they worry that as rates of disease level off, politicians will stop funding TB programs,” the newspaper writes. Masae Kawamura, director of San Francisco’s TB Control Section, notes that federal funding for domestic TB control has gone down over the past two years. A “large foreign-born population” contributes to the city’s high TB rate – at 14.6 cases per 100,000 people, the rate is “more than three times the national rate of 4.2 cases per 100,000,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Though “[i]mmigrants are screened before coming to the United States,” the disease “can lie latent in the lungs for years … so many people don’t get sick until after they move here” (Allday, 1/11).

Al Jazeera Examines Program Helping Pakistan’s Drug Users

Al Jazeera examines efforts to mitigate the drug problem in Pakistan, home to an estimated five million drug users. The article details a program that provides counseling and clean needles to drug users to help reduce the spread of HIV and teaches recovering drug users farming skills. According to the news service, the program, which receives funding from state and international donors, targets 22,000 drug users in the country (Fisher, 1/11).