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Also In Global Health News: Tweeting For Malaria; DDT; Water, Sanitation In Mozambique; Uganda’s National Development Plan; Maternal Mortality In S. Mexico; Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS Programs

Bill Gates, Colin Powell To Participate In Twitter Fundraiser For Malaria

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Wednesday will join former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Queen Rania of Jordan and a host of other Hollywood celebrities for the launch of a Twitter campaign to reduce deaths from malaria, Reuters reports. The campaign participants, who “collectively … have 50 million followers” on Twitter “will send out ‘tweets’ encouraging the public to donate to buy bed nets which guard against the mosquitoes that spread malaria in Africa,” the news service writes. “The U.N. aims to reduce the deaths from malaria to near zero in Africa by 2015,” according to Reuters. “Others taking part in the Twitter campaign include basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, talk show host Larry King, singer Jordin Sparks and Sarah Brown, the wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, organizers said,” the news service reports (Dobuzinskis, 4/21).

Researchers Publish New Book Questioning The Harmful Effects Of DDT

After the insecticide “DDT was globally outlawed on grounds of environmental damage, two researchers say there are new reasons for doubting the chemical is harmful and are urging its use against malaria,” Reuters reports. In a book released Wednesday, titled “The Excellent Powder,” Donald Roberts, professor of tropical medicine at the U.S. military’s Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, and Richard Tren of Africa Fighting Malaria, “argue that DDT is the only effective weapon against the deadly mosquito-borne parasite,” the news service writes. The article details the history behind a move away from DDT and other subjects included in the new book (Cocks, 4/21).

U.S. To Invest Over $300M To Improve Roads, Water, Sanitation In Mozambique

“A U.S. aid programme will launch late this year for tenders worth over 300 million dollars to rebuild roads and improve water and sanitation in Mozambique, local media reported on Tuesday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The tenders are part of a five-year, 507-million-dollar (377-million-euro) project of the Millennium Challenge [Corporation], a U.S. foreign aid scheme that finances anti-poverty projects,” the news service writes (4/20).

Ugandan President Unveils National Development Plan

Ugandan President Museveni on Monday “unveiled a Shs54 trillion [U.S. $27 million] National Development Plan,” aimed at reducing poverty and building the country’s infrastructure, the Daily Monitor reports. “Through the plan, the government will focus on investing in infrastructure development mainly -energy, railway, waterway and air transport; human resource development in areas of education skills, health, water and sanitation,” the newspaper writes. “During the period, the proportion of people living below the poverty line is expected to decline from 31 percent in 2005/6 to about 25 per cent by 2015, slightly below the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 28 percent” (Lirri/Wafula, 4/20).

AOL News Examines Maternal Mortality In Southern Mexico

AOL News examines the maternal mortality rates in southern Mexico, “where women … many of them indigenous – are dying in childbirth at nearly twice the rate of the national average.”  Though a recent Lancet study found Mexico’s “maternal death rates dropped from 152 per 100,000 births in 1980 to 52 in 2008 … the differential within the country is stark, and the problem is particularly acute in the poorest southern states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero,” the news service writes. The article examines the challenges indigenous women in these regions face accessing care and other contributing factors to high rates of maternal mortality (Loewenberg, 4/20).

Former Nigeria Institute Of Medical Research Director-General Advises Country To Take Ownership Of HIV/AIDS Programs

“With over 80 percent of the country’s national response to HIV and AIDS donor-driven, health experts have expressed fear that the global economic recession may affect the efforts to combat the epidemic in Nigeria,” Vanguard/allAfrica.com reports. Oni Idigbe, former director-general of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, addressed his concerns during remarks made to journalists ahead of the 5th National Conference on HIV/AIDS in Lagos, Nigeria, May 2-5, the news service reports. Speaking with journalists, Idigbe, who is also chairman of the organizing committee for the conference, emphasized the need for Nigeria to increase its ownership of the country’s response to HIV/AIDS (Obinna, 4/19).

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