Also In Global Health News: U.S. $12.6M Commitment To Cote d’Ivoire; Business Leaders Help Boost Women’s Equity; Ghana To Improve Rural Health; Rwandan Malaria Fight; HIV Clinic In Uganda Offers HPV Vaccine

U.S. Commits $12.6M In Emergency Aid To Cote d’Ivoire

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced the U.S. will “provide $12.6 million in emergency funds to help people displaced as a result of … political unrest and violence” in Cote d’Ivoire, reports (3/10). According to RTTNews, “[m]ore than 75,000 refugees [have] fled the country, mainly to Liberia. Hundreds of thousands more are internally displaced” (3/10). The U.S. commitment will go to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees “to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to Ivoirian refugees and internally-displaced persons (IDPs),” the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) “to enhance logistical capacity for humanitarian operations in Liberia,” and the International Organization for Migration to assist those fleeing the region, according to a State Department release. “Funds will also be provided to select NGOs in Liberia to provide relief and assistance to Ivoirian refugees,” the release states (3/9).

U.N. Secretary-General Calls On Business Leaders To Bolster Efforts To Promote Women’s Empowerment

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called on business leaders to work with the U.N. to bolster efforts to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality throughout the world, Xinhua/People’s Daily reports (3/10). “Businesses have a tremendous reach. You have ideas. You have capital. You are innovators. By working together based on shared values, we can advance the common good,” Ban said in an address to representatives from businesses, governments and civil society, U.N. News Centre writes. The group gathered in New York to mark the one-year anniversary since the U.N.’s launch of the “Women’s Empowerment Principles – a set of seven steps companies can take to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community – as part of its broader campaign for empowerment and equality,” according to the news service (3/9). In related news, Devex reports on a U.N. event to mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday that highlighted the importance of investments in women and girls in the workplace and schools (Lieberman, 3/9).

Ghana To Focus On Improving Access To Health Services In Rural Areas

In the coming year, Ghana’s Ministry of Health plans to “give more attention to providing quality health care services to people in the rural communities” and expand “[c]ommunity-based Health Planning and Services,” Ghana News Agency reports. During a meeting held Wednesday between Ghana’s Health Minister Joseph Yieleh Chireh and U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Donald Jene Teitelbaum, Chireh described how the country was “collaborating with the [U.S. CDC] to equip and improve Ghana’s laboratories for early detection and treatment of diseases,” the newspaper writes (3/9).

Local Officials Highlight Rwanda’s Progress In Malaria Fight

Rwanda has made significant progress with its malaria reduction strategy, Corine Karema, director of the malaria unit in TRAC Plus, said at a recent meeting of experts who came together to review malaria control progress, the New Times reports. “We have a strategic plan to enter a pre-elimination phase in 2012, and according to the internal review we did with the country team, we realized that we have achieved more than 80 percent of our targets,” Karema said. “The next step will be discussing with all neighbouring countries to have harmonized malaria control strategies,” she said. “Malaria control in the country is performing well; we have better results than other countries. Programmes are not fragmented; they are all integrated in the basic health care,” Agnes Binagwaho, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said (Musoni, 3/9).

Ugandan HIV Treatment Facility Country’s First To Offer HPV Vaccine

An HIV treatment facility in Uganda recently became the nation’s first center dedicated to HIV to also offer young HIV-positive girls, ages 9 to 13, a vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV), a leading cause of cervical cancer, Nature Medicine News reports. The publication notes, “Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the developing world. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that more than 274,000 women die of cervical cancer each year and that 80% of these deaths occur in developing countries.” The article describes how distribution of the vaccines through the HIV treatment clinics could help to alleviate the pressure on schools and health centers that are currently “overstretched” and how such efforts represent a move toward a “larger plan whereby governments will integrate HIV services in normal delivery of health care” (Nakkazi, 3/7).

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