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Also In Global Health News: Radiation Risk, Aid Delivery In Japan; HIV/AIDS In PNG; Counterfeit Drugs; Health Spending In Myanmar

Radiation’s Effect On Health; Aid Distribution In Japan

In light of the damage to nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the New York Times examines how increased radiation exposure affects human health. “Certain levels of radiation exposure are known to increase the risk of cancer, but scientists disagree about the effects of very low doses of the sort that may have occurred so far in Japan. Some researchers say it is reasonable to use data from high doses to calculate the risk of smaller and smaller doses. … But others say that estimating risk for doses near zero is nonsensical, and some believe there is a threshold dose, or limit below which there is no risk from exposure,” the newspaper writes (Grady, 4/4). In related news, American Public Media’s Marketplace interviews Saundra Schimmelpfennig, a former relief worker in Asia, about disaster aid distribution in Japan and the potential for direct dispensation to victims (Moon, 4/4).

Media Outlets Report On Outcomes Of PNG’s HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Prevention Programs

VOA News examines how increased surveillance and prevention programs in Papua New Guinea have helped to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region. The country has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the Pacific region. Despite progress, the article describes health experts’ concerns about the sustainability of prevention programs (Corben, 4/2). ABC Radio Australia describes the role churches and faith-based organizations have played in educating the community about HIV/AIDS. The piece includes comments by Eddie Kekea, a counselor at the Port Moresby-based Anglican churches division of education, and Linda John, a volunteer with the support group IGAT (Corben, 4/4).

CNN Reports On How Mobile Phones Are Being Used To Prevent Sale Of Counterfeit Drugs In Africa

A CNN video report looks at how mobile phones are being used to distinguish legitimate medications from counterfeit drugs in Africa. Ashifi Gogo, CEO of Sproxil Inc., and Femi Soremekun, managing director of Biofem Pharmaceuticals, are interviewed (Purefoy, 4/4).

IRIN Looks At Calls For Government To Expand Health Spending In Myanmar

Myanmar “is sorely in need of a health insurance programme,” and the government should adopt one similar to the program for poor households instituted by the government in Thailand, said Aung Tun Thet, former Health Ministry director-general of planning and statistics, IRIN reports in an article examining calls for Myanmar’s new government to spend more on health. “According to state media, Health Minister Kyaw Myint recently rejected a proposal by opposition parliamentarians to boost coverage for the poor, stating that the existing cost-sharing system was sufficient,” the news service writes. Riku Eloviano, a technical officer and health financing specialist at the WHO, said having wealthier patients subsidize care for poorer ones can have “some positive impact,” but added, “These schemes often … cover only a relatively small number of the population … They are often not financially viable as a long-term solution” (4/4).

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