Also In Global Health News: Transparency In Pakistan; Malaria Origin; Health Workers In Zimbabwe

USAID, Transparency International Sign Agreement To ‘Ensure Transparency’ Funds To Pakistan

USAID and Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) signed an agreement Wednesday to “ensure transparency and prevention of corruption in the utilisation of [a] $7.5 billion grant to be provided to Pakistan under the Kerry Lugar Bill,” according to Daily Times. As part of the agreement, TIP will establish a website “where corruption related complaints in the USAID funded projects can be registered” (9/23). PakTribune writes that the agreement “would come as a major shock for the [Pakistan People’s Party] government” because the aid money “has been put under a strict monitoring regime to be supervised by [TIP], the watchdog organization which has already pointed out many corruption scandals in Pakistan” (9/23).

New Research Shows Malaria Parasite Originated In Gorillas, Not Chimps

The human malaria parasite originated in gorillas, not chimpanzees as previously thought, Scientific American reports, citing new research published in Nature. Scientists analyzed 2,500 samples of primate droppings mostly from wild chips, bonobos, and gorillas and “concluded that the modern human P. falciparum [malaria parasite] has its closest correlates in a variety found in western gorillas” (Harmon, 9/22). The Independent writes: “The findings overturn earlier suggestions based on a more limited study that wild chimpanzees were the original reservoir of the human disease, a theory that can now be discounted, the scientists said” (Connor, 9/23). Larry Slutsker, head of the malaria program at the CDC said the finding could influence malaria control efforts in the future, Reuters reports. “If we were trying to eradicate, meaning we were trying to rid the planet of every last parasite and there was a reservoir in western gorillas, that would have implications for eradication. I don’t think we are there, obviously,” Slutsker said  (9/22).

Charges Dropped Against Six Health Workers In Zimbabwe

“Zimbabwe’s government has dropped charges against six health workers accused of dispersing AIDS/HIV drugs without appropriate documentation,” CNN reports (9/23). The health workers’ lawyer Jonathan Samkange said, “The Attorney General’s office has decided not to prosecute them. The police were just being overzealous in arresting them in the first place,” according to Reuters (9/22). Samkange also “told VOA [News] that the physicians intend to seek a license that will allow them to operate in the country without further difficulties” (9/22).