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Also In Global Health News: WFP In Somalia; South Africa’s HIV/AIDS Plan; Zimbabwe’s Food Needs; Medical Personnel, Vaccines In Bangladesh; ARV Manufacturing In Uganda

WFP Agrees To Cooperate With Probe Of Its Operations In Somalia

The World Food Program (WFP) “said Thursday it will cooperate with any independent probe into its food operations in Somalia, after a report found that up to half the food aid intended for the nation’s hungry people does not reach its destination,” the Associated Press reports. The agency has also agreed “not to engage with transport contractors that the report alleges were involved in arms trading,” according to the news service. The report is scheduled to be presented to the U.N. Security Council next week, according to the WFP (3/11).

Cabinet Approves Health Minister’s HIV/AIDS Plan In South Africa

South Africa’s Cabinet has approved a plan presented by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to scale up HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, SAPA/Mail & Guardian reports. “The new plan aims to reduce the rate of infection by 50 percent by 2011 and to provide antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to 80 percent of those who need the treatment, government spokesman Themba Maseko told a media briefing on Thursday … Highlights of the new plan included voluntary and public HIV/AIDS testing led by Cabinet members and other leaders from broader society, a move from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to HIV counselling and testing (HCT), and a service delivery model that offered testing to all patients at the entry points in all health institutions,” according to the news service (3/11).

More Than Two Million Zimbabweans Need Of Food, Red Cross Says

“An estimated 2.17 million Zimbabweans … are in need of food aid, the Red Cross said Thursday,” during an appeal for food aid funding, the Associated Press reports. “In December 2009, the Red Cross extended emergency food operation in Zimbabwe until October 2010, calling on donors for $33.2 million in extra funding. The agency faces a shortfall in funding of about $23.9 million, Thursday’s statement said.” U.N. agencies have also appealed for additional aid for the region, according to the AP (Shaw, 3/11).

WHO To Support Training Of Medical Personnel, Vaccine Development In Bangladesh

During a meeting Tuesday with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni requested the agency’s support for the training of additional doctors, nurses and paramedics in the country to help staff the “18,000 community clinics the government is building,” according to a ministry statement, AHN reports. According to the statement, Chan agreed to scale-up programs to train health workers in the clinic, the news service writes (Islam, 3/9). The WHO also vowed Tuesday “to provide technical support for developing vaccines locally and strengthen comprehensive service through one-stop community clinics,” the Daily News reports (3/11).

Ugandan Pharmaceutical Plant Wins WHO Approval For ARV Manufacturing

The WHO recently approved the manufacturing of antiretrovirals (ARVs) in Kampala, Uganda, by the pharmaceutical company Quality Chemicals Industries, New Vision/ reports. The plant is the first to win WHO approval outside of South Africa and is expected to “reduce the monthly cost of ARVs from sh30,000 to sh16,000 (29 to 14 USD),” according to the news service. The company “intends to export to neighbouring Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan,” New Vision/ writes (Nabusoba, 3/10).

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