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Also In Global Health News: Vietnamese Condom Campaign Fails; MIT Global Health Class; U.N. CERF’s Annual Report; Pakistan AIDS Program Signs MoU With U.N. Women; China’s Foreign Aid Goals

Vietnam HIV/STD Prevention Campaign Fails To Increase Condom Use Among Sex Workers

A five-year nationwide HIV and STD prevention campaign aimed at sex workers in Vietnam has not been successful in increasing condom use, health officials attending a two-day conference in Hanoi said on Wednesday, Viet Nam News reports. Nguyen Trong Dam, deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said “the situation has become more and more serious,” according to the news agency. HIV prevalence is as high as 30 percent among sex workers in some areas, officials said. Duong Van Dat, a representative with UNFPA, said lack of access to HIV prevention services including condoms and STD treatment was a problem. “This situation had to change drastically,” he added, the news service reports. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said it plans to expand and renew the program for the next five years (4/28).

Goal Of China’s Foreign Aid Program Is Not To Gain Access To Raw Materials, Chinese Official Says

The focus of China’s foreign aid program is on helping countries that have been abandoned by Western colonizers, Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying, who oversees the government’s aid program, said on Tuesday, “dismissing suggestions Beijing’s primary aim was accessing raw materials,” Reuters reports. “All the colonialists left behind were governors’ houses,” Fu said at a news conference. “Many developing countries lack hospitals, schools, cultural centres, bridges, roads. Our aid is concentrated on sectors where they need it most,” he added (Blanchard, 4/26). “Take iron ore resources in Guinea for example. I just visited there. Who are largest iron ore owners? Not Chinese, but western countries who colonized the place,” Fu said, according to Xinhua (4/26). “His comments followed the publication last week of what is understood to be China’s first report – referred to as a white paper – on foreign aid,” the Guardian notes (Provost, 4/28).

Associated Press Highlights MIT Global Health Class

The Associated Press highlights the work of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Global Health Delivery Project class, a competitive course that sends graduate students to Africa and India to evaluate projects run by partner organizations. For example, four MIT students traveled to the Kibera section of Nairobi, Kenya, to study why residents of one of the world’s poorest slums were not using a health clinic established by the U.S.-based non-profit group Carolina for Kibera. MIT professor Anjali Sastry, who runs the class, said, “My fondest hope is that we deliver an improvement to that organization that is sustained. Whether it’s to increase scale and efficiency or improve quality” (4/27). 

U.N. Emergency Response Fund Helped Millions Affected By Conflict, Natural Disaster In 2010

The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) disbursed $415 million in 2010 to assist at least 22 million people in 45 countries who were affected by conflict and natural disasters, according to the fund’s 2010 annual report, the U.N. News Centre reports. Almost $52 million was sent to help victims of severe flooding in Pakistan, “making it the top recipient of CERF funding for 2010, followed by Haiti, Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan,” the news service writes. The funds helped pay for food assistance, childhood immunizations, emergency shelter and non-food aid. According to the U.N. News Centre, “Some $2.3 billion has been raised for the fund since it was set up, with the top donors being the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Denmark and Australia” (4/27).

Pakistan AIDS Program Signs Agreement With U.N. Women

Pakistan’s National AIDS Control Program (NACP) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with U.N. Women aimed at strengthening coordination on gender and HIV/AIDS, the News International reports. Amir Maqbool, acting program manager of NACP, and Alice Shackelford, U.N. Women’s director in Pakistan, signed the MoU. “The MoU aims to formalise the ongoing cooperative relationship between NACP and U.N. Women in order to expedite the HIV response from a gender perspective, and to facilitate technical assistance, cooperation, consultation, and effective communication between NACP and U.N. Women” (4/27). 

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