Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
European Commission To Deliver Humanitarian Aid, Including HIV/AIDS Funding, to Myanmar
ECHO, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department, last month pledged about $18 million in funding aimed at vulnerable populations in Myanmar -- also known as Burma -- and refugees living along the country's border with Thailand, Southeast Asia's The Irrawaddy reports (Paung, The Irrawaddy, 12/23/05). The rate of premature death from diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, respiratory infection and diarrhea is "high" in Myanmar compared with neighboring countries, according to an EC release. Therefore, the aid will address health, food and nutrition needs and will target 770,000 vulnerable people within Myanmar and 130,000 Burmese refugees (EC release, 12/22/05). Myanmar is one of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS in Asia and is the site of 60% of the region's malaria deaths, according to U.N. officials. However, Myanmar receives little international aid because the country's military-controlled government has "drawn international condemnation," the Los Angeles Times reports (Paddock, Los Angeles Times, 12/27/05). The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in August 2005 announced a suspension of its grants to Myanmar, citing travel and other restrictions implemented by the country's government that impede the delivery of medical supplies and services. The fund in 2004 pledged to spend $98 million over five years to fight the three diseases in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/22/05). Brian Williams, UNAIDS' Burmese coordinator, said without the Global Fund money, international health care programs in Myanmar could deplete funds by June 2006 (Sipress/Nakashima, Washington Post, 12/30/05). U.N. officials said that unless major donors provide funding aimed at improving health care in the country, thousands of people might die, including 5,000 HIV-positive people who were scheduled to receive antiretroviral drugs paid for with Global Fund grant money (Los Angeles Times, 12/27/05). Currently, about 2,000 of the estimated 50,000 HIV-positive people in the country who need antiretroviral drugs have access to them, the Washington Post reports (Washington Post, 12/30/05).
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