Also In Global Health News: Venezuela Voids Pharma Patents; Namibia Sanitation; Mapping Disease With Satellites; Zimbabwe Health Funding

Venezuela To Void Some Pharmaceutical Patents

Commerce Minister Eduardo Saman on Saturday said Venezuela plans to void some pharmaceutical patents and allow domestic manufacturers to produce licensed medicines, the AP/Buffalo News reports. “Saman said the measure is aimed at making the interests of powerful drug companies secondary to the needs of Venezuelans suffering from diseases such as cancer or AIDS,” according to the AP/Buffalo News (AP/Buffalo News, 6/21).

Namibian Leaders Discuss Ways To Meet Water, Sanitation MDGs By 2015

In order to meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goal “of halving the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation” by 2015, “Namibia will have to provide 25,000 sanitation facilities every year,” New Era reports. The article details a meeting held Thursday with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and other representatives from the water and sanitation sector to draft a five year national sanitation strategy. “According to the draft strategy, Namibia will require an estimated N$1.64 billion [$206,440,438] over the five-year term,” the newspaper writes (New Era, 6/19).

NPR, SciDev.Net Explore How Scientists Use Data To Predict, Prevent Disease Transmission

NPR’s All Things Considered examines how scientists can use weather satellites to track conditions known to make populations vulnerable to the spread of disease. The segment explores how scientists at NASA and the Department of Agriculture combined their understanding of what increases the spread of Rift Valley Fever with satellite data that predict heavy rainfall over east Africa in the fall of 2006 to intervene and prevent a Rift Valley Fever epidemic (NPR, 6/20). Using data from Costa Rica, SciDev.Net reports researchers from University of Miami and the University of Costa Rica have “developed a climate-based model to predict outbreaks of dengue fever with 60 percent accuracy up to 40 weeks in advance.” The model “could be used to predict outbreaks in any dengue-prone area in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the researchers say,” SciDev.Net writes (Leighton, SciDev.Net, 6/18).

: Private Sector Involvement In Hospitals; Global Fund To Send Money Through U.N. Programs

Arthur Mutambara, Zimbabwe’s acting prime minister, at a recent tour of hospitals in the capital of Harare, said that the country’s major hospitals should work with the private sector to improve health delivery, Herald/ reports (Herald/, 6/19). In related news, Tapiwa Magure, the chief executive of Zimbabwe’s National AIDS Council (NAC), said the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said it will not fund HIV/AIDS programs through the government-controlled NAC but will send funds through U.N. agencies (Nzou, ZimOnline, 6/19).

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