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Also In Global Health News: Synthetic Blood Development; HIV In Mozambique; Health Care Access In India; Health Care Workforce In Low-Income Countries

Los Angeles Times Examines Challenges, Potential Benefits Of Developing Artificial Blood

The Los Angeles Times examines scientists’ efforts to develop synthetic blood substitutes, writing that many attempts have “failed to meet rigid safety standards.” The WHO “estimates that 44% of women who die in childbirth succumb to blood loss” in sub-Saharan Africa and 41 countries don’t screen some blood for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis, underscoring uses for artificial blood. The article looks at hemoglobin substitute PolyHeme, developed by HemoBioTech Inc., which was given to 349 accident victims. Patients who received PolyHeme “were slightly more likely to suffer multiple organ failure and other adverse effects, such as high blood pressure and inflammation,” and 3% had heart attacks. But 30 days later, they were just as likely to be alive. Still, the FDA “concluded that all hemoglobin-based carriers are dangerous.” The article also looks at substitutes MP4OX by Sangart and PHER-O2 by Sanguine Corp (Dance, 10/25).

New Technology In Mozambique Makes Diagnosing, Monitoring Patients Living With HIV/AIDS Quicker, Easier

IRIN/PlusNews writes of how “Mozambique’s Ministry of Health has increasingly begun experimenting with new technology to make diagnosing and monitoring HIV patients quicker and easier.” By reducing wait times for HIV test results, patients are able to start treatments earlier, the article writes, noting differences in wait times. “After a successful 2009 pilot the country has nationally rolled out SMS or text message printers, which transmit the results of infant HIV tests electronically from two central reference laboratories in Maputo and the northern provincial capital, Nampula, to more than 275 health centres,” the news service writes. “Clinic-based, or point-of-care (PoC), CD4 count machines – vital to measuring an individual’s readiness to start antiretroviral treatment – will also be rolled out to selected clinics by the end of November 2010, following positive results from a seven-site trial.” The article details how the technology works and how future implementation of such technology may require additional training for health workers (10/25).

Health Care In India Still Not Accessible To Rural Population, Paper Says

Pharmabiz.com reports on the accessibility of health care to India’s rural population, citing a recent white paper by consulting firm Technopak and Philips Healthcare India. The article examines the utilization of health services, the availability of hospital beds in various states, health care financing, the state of paramedical education and the availability of health insurance. Today, “patients travel miles of distance to avail medical facilities resulting in huge financial and physical burden. Although varied health care delivery formats have come up in the recent years, access has not yet percolated to the rural and semi urban areas,” the white paper states (Alexander, 10/25).

WHO Calls For Governments In Low-Income Countries To Expand Health Care Workforce Education, Training Programs   

The WHO “has called on all governments to expand their education and training programs, along with measures to improve recruitment, performance, and retention of health care workers, especially in rural and underserved areas,” after learning that only 5 of the 49 low-income countries prioritized by the U.N. Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health “meet the minimum threshold of 23 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 population that was established by WHO as necessary to deliver essential maternal and child health services,” the Manila Bulletin reports. According to a WHO statement, “A comprehensive approach, supported by strong national leadership, governance and information systems, is needed to ensure skilled, motivated and supported health workers in the right place at the right time.” The Manila Bulletin reports that “[t]he world health body expressed concern about the failure of poor countries to provide skilled care at birth to significant numbers of pregnant women, as well as emergency and specialized services for newborn and young children because it has direct consequences on the numbers of deaths of women and children” (Luci, 10/23). 

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