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Global Health Briefs December 2008

November - December, 2008  |  Volume 7, Issue 6

Bed net use up, but many still at risk

A study on insecticide-treated net use in 40 African countries from 2000-2007 has found that protection for children increased from 1.8 percent to 18.5 percent, leaving 89.6 million children at risk for malaria. Usage was higher in countries where distribution was free, according to the article in the Nov. 18 issue of The Lancet. See related story on page 10 in the November / December 2008 issue of Global Health Matters [PDF].

Measles mortality drops worldwide

A worldwide effort to combat measles resulted in a 74 percent reduction in fatalities between 2000 and 2007. The report comes from the Measles Initiative, composed of the American Red Cross, the CDC, the UN Foundation, UNICEF and WHO. In the region including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan, measles mortality fell 90 percent.

Nearly half of XDR-TB cases are fatal

A recent article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine has found that 49 percent of those infected with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis will die from it. By contrast, multi-drug resistant TB has a fatality rate of 19 percent. XDR-TB is particularly prevalent in Eastern Europe, China and India and, according to WHO, drug-resistant TB of any variety now accounts for about 5 percent of all new TB cases reported each year.

Global Fund adopts new drug financing

The board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has adopted a new financing method to get anti-malarial drugs into poor countries--by relying on the market system instead of grants to governments. Under the plan, as reported by Science magazine, drug companies would sell to regional wholesalers at a fraction of the cost--the difference being made up by the Fund. Wholesalers would then pass the lower-cost drugs down the supply chain to retailers in remote villages. Read the article, Malaria Drugs, the Coca-Cola Way, from the November 21, 2008 issue of Science.

Can you hear me now?

A public health campaign featuring a cellular ringtone that chirps "condom, condom" may be responsible for an 85 million increase in condom sales in India, according to the country's National AIDS Control Organization. The campaign also includes mass media advertisements that have reached 150 million men, including migrant workers who engage the services of commercial sex workers. Sujatha Rao, head of NACO, said the prostitutes report men "would rather pay more than use a condom." Read the related November 14, 2008 article, Condom ringtone, ads push sales in India, from the Agence France-Presse, courtesy of inquirer.net.

Revised human protection guidelines issued

The 2009 edition of the International Compilation of Human Subject Protections [PDF] has been released and is available on-line.

The new version lists about 1,100 laws, regulations, and guidelines on human subject protections from 92 countries, including for the first time, Burma, Egypt, the Gambia, San Marino, South Korea, the Sudan and Vietnam.

Many of the listings include the Web address, allowing the reader to link directly to the law, regulation or guideline of interest.

Adobe forms required for grant applications

Grantees and others who use electronic submissions to Fogarty and other institutes and centers will be required to use Adobe software as of Jan. 1, 2009.

To use the new forms on grants.gov, you must install Adobe Reader version 8.1.3 or later and download the new application form from the Funding Opportunity Announcement in December 2008. For more information:

Family planning, AIDS pioneer Rosenfield dies

Dr. Allan Rosenfield in front of a bookcase
Courtesy, Columbia
University

Dr. Allan Rosenfield, a leader in raising global health concerns about women, children and families, died in October at 75 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

An obstetrician and gynecologist, Rosenfield retired as dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University earlier this year after spending most of his career advocating for women's reproductive health, family planning and human rights in developing countries. But he also paid attention to needs of the Columbia community by setting up health programs for adolescents. He was also noted for creating a program credited with saving half a million lives by preventing the AIDS transmission from mother to child.

"His commitment to improving the lives of people all across the world, from our own neighborhoods of upper Manhattan to the rural villages of sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, was the personification of everything we strive to achieve as a University community," said Columbia President Dr. Lee Bollinger.

Rosenfield participated in a global health leadership conference at Fogarty earlier in the year, and Center Director Dr. Roger I. glass, said, "He will be remembered as a man who has made an incredible impact on global health. From his first excursion to Nigeria and Thailand right out of training to his 25 shepherding the Mailman School to global leadership, he kept his focus on improving the lives of mothers and children while helping to educate a generation of young people in global health. His impact in the field will be long felt."

Deadline for Mann Award is January 15

The nomination deadline for the annual Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights is Jan. 15, 2009.

The award will be given at the May 26-30 Global Health Council meeting in Washington.

Criteria include: practical work in the field, linkage of health with human rights, activities in developing countries, evidence of long-term commitment, potential for award strengthening nominee's work and potential for attracting additional funds.

As the first director of the World Health Organization's Special Program on AIDS from 1986-1990, Mann pioneered the approach to AIDS that continues to shape public health policy today.

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