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Recent Releases In Global Health

Journal Of Infectious Diseases Explores Why Safe Water Alone Does Not Stop Diarrhea Among Infants Born To HIV-Positive Mothers

A study appearing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases explores how well access to safe drinking water reduces rates of diarrhea experienced by 6-month-old infants born to HIV-infected mothers following weaning. The authors write, though HIV-infected mothers showed high rates of adherence to the recommended intervention, the safe water system did not decrease the risks of diarrhea among infants, suggesting “in these infants, weaning-associated diarrhea might not be caused by waterborne pathogen transmission, and it raises questions about diarrheal etiologies and other transmission routes” (Harris et al., 10/15). An accompanying comment examines what the findings may mean for future public health interventions (Kuhn/Aldrovandi, 10/15).

Lancet Editorial Examines New U.N. Women’s Agency

In light of the recent U.N. decision to create a women’s agency, a Lancet editorial points out many details about the agency have yet to be clearly defined. “The U.N. system already has its share of deadweight agencies. If the new agency for women is to avoid going down this same route, it needs a clear mission like that of WHO or UNICEF, serious investment, and strong leadership,” the editorial states, adding, “If the new U.N. agency takes a form along these lines, it could represent a substantial step towards improving the lives of women worldwide. If not, it will just be paying lip service” (9/26).

MMWR Cites Progress In Improving Measles Control In Africa

The MMWR summarizes the progress in improving measles control in the WHO African Region between 2001 and 2008, including an increase in the number of children receiving their first dose of the measles vaccine and a drop in the number of reported measles cases by 93 percent and global measles deaths (WHO, 9/25).

Lancet Comment Examines Canada’s Opportunity To ‘Make A Decisive Impact On Global Health’

As Canada prepares to take over the G8 presidency, the country “has an opportunity to make a decisive impact on global health,” Lancet editor Richard Horton writes in a Lancet Comment. “The most prominent anomaly Canada has to address is the failure of the international institutional and donor architecture to address in any comprehensive and coherent way the catastrophic failure in progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Horton writes before outlining lessons Canada can take from its “unique experience as a nation” and apply “to make important contributions in five further dimensions of global health” (Horton, 9/24).

Blog: Increased Ownership Can Help U.S. Foreign Aid Make A ‘Lasting’ Difference

“One billion people have been left behind by global development. Sixty years of foreign aid have shown that donors alone cannot fix their problems,” but “[a]id can be delivered in ways that make a lasting difference, through ownership,” according to a One blog post that examines a recent Oxfam report with recommendations for how to improve U.S. foreign aid. “[E]very country is different,” according to Oxfam. “Where governments are corrupt or not responsive, the U.S. can provide full information about our aid, and work mostly with civil society groups. However, where governments have a record of providing for their citizens, the U.S. should let countries control their own development” (McConnell, 9/24).

Blog: Improving Women’s Lives Is ‘Central’ To Big Picture

“Saving and improving the lives of girls and women is central to tackling every issue — whether poverty, nutrition, education, child health, economic prosperity, environment — of, in short, saving the world. And one of the greatest gaps has been in addressing maternal health which has prevented the achievement of any real development progress for decades,” Sarah Brown, the wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, writes in a Huffington Post blog entry. “Girls and women are key to unlocking progress. And now we are at a turning point. Right now I am concerned that we are at the point where we could get it right and we musn’t blow it” (Brown, 9/24).

Lancet Study, Comment Focus On Improving Maternal Health

In a recent Lancet study, researchers describe how their mathematical model helped to elucidate several contributing factors to maternal mortality in Africa, which they say can help guide studies of future interventions (Pagel et al., 9/23). In an accompanying comment, Lancet editor Richard Horton calls for the international community to make maternal health a top global health priority. He writes, “It is time to place maternal health—as part of the continuum of care—at the centre of existing global health initiatives. It is the very least that women deserve” (Horton, 9/23).

Release: Sleeping Sickness Treatment Is First New Drug In 25

“NECT (Nifurtimox-Eflornithine Combination Therapy), the first new treatment in 25 years against Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness – is now available,” according to a Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative press release. NECT – which was announced at the International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasi Research and Control in Kampala, Uganda – “cuts the cost of treatment by half” (9/22).

Interview: Improving Adolescent Girls’ Health Worldwide

Ahead of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting where one of the themes is “to improve the lives of girls and women in poor countries,” the Center for Global Development (CGD) published an interview with CGD Vice President Ruth Levine who is the co-author of an upcoming report that “provides a clear plan for taking action to improve adolescent girls’ health worldwide.” The interview includes questions about health among adolescent girls globally and implementation recommendations (9/21).

Obama Nominates New MCC Head

President Obama recently nominated Daniel Yohannes as chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The U.S. Global Health Policy Tracker includes links to statements from the White House and MCC (9/18). More information on recent U.S. global health policy developments is available on Kaiser’s Policy Tracker tool.

Report Highlights HIV/AIDS Security Threats

A new AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative report highlights the threats that HIV/AIDS pose to international and national security. It describes how security influences “HIV risk” and finds that “HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment are poorly integrated with security sector reforms, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding” (9/09).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.