The Week of Health in Africa
(Photo Credit: see above)
Is 39% reduction enough? The dust has barely settled after the announcement of the first positive results from a microbicide trial, but scientists and policy makers are already asking themselves, ‘What’s next?’ “It’s very early, we still need to analyze all the data – and the study collected a lot of very good data – and understand it better before we get to the point of developing a product,” Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), said at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna. More:
UNAIDS has launched a “simpler, more cost-effective approach to HIV treatment” The approach, dubbed “Treatment 2.0″, aims to drastically scale up testing and treatment using current best practices and future innovations in antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and diagnostics. UNAIDS estimates that successful implementation of Treatment 2.0 could avert 10 million deaths by 2025, and reduce new infections by one-third.
At the 15th African Union (AU) Summit in Uganda leaders and health experts will meet to reassess key health goals. In 2000, African governments agreed to reduce by two-thirds the number of mothers and children who die annually from pregnancy-related complications and preventable childhood illnesses. Ten years later, little has been achieved on that noble commitment, as statistics show an African woman’s risk of dying in child birth is still one in 11 compared to a 1 in 7,300 risk among women in developed countries.
In South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo told the heads of the seven major hospitals that they will be held accountable for failing systems at their institutions. “If we want to turn around the tide of health outcomes that are terrible in this country, then you have to look at KwaZulu-Natal,” said Dhlomo. “We have the highest rates of TB, HIV and infant mortality and a large population.”
WHO estimates that 1.2 million more people received HIV treatment in 2009 than in 2008. In addition HIV-related mortality can be reduced by 20% in the next five years if guidelines for early treatment are put into action.
A malaria-proof mosquito has finally been developed and Kenya is expected to use it to eradicate the disease in seven years. Researchers at the University of Arizona, US, say they have made the perfect insect. The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, which starts a national data collection exercise on malaria indicators Saturday morning, says it will use a combination of tools, including bed nets, education, new innovations and medicines to meet the 2017 targets.
Victims of the 1996 Pfizer meningitis trovan vaccine test which caused over 200 deaths and several others permanent disability have again sued the drugs manufacturing giant for a whopping sum of $384 billion.
In poverty-stricken Niger, it comes as no surprise that drought is pushing the most vulnerable people to the brink of hunger. Right? But then you hear a statistic like this one, with the power to shock even the most cynical: right now, fully half of the country’s 13.4 million inhabitants are facing famine.
More: Aid Caravan to the East
Withdrawn aid due to Al-Shabab’s bombings in Kampala have left the Somali people with even less international assistance. It is vital to ensure adequate funding to assist the 3.2 million people – or more than 40 per cent of the population – who rely on international aid, a senior United Nations aid official stressed this week.
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