Also In Global Health News: Food Security In Africa’s Sahel Region; Jailed TB Patients In Kenya; Pneumococcal Vaccination Efforts; HIV/AIDS In China
Rain In Chad Could Ease Food Shortages, Famine Threat To Sahel Region Subsiding
"Abundant rains in Chad have raised hopes for an end to severe food shortages but the effects will linger and lead to new difficulties across Africa's Sahel region in 2011, aid workers predict," Reuters reports. "With signs that neighbouring Niger has also got over the worst of a food crisis triggered by last year's drought, the threat of all-out famine in the semi-arid Sahel zone just south of the Sahara appears to be subsiding" (Fominyen, 9/14). Reuters AlertNet examines how the drought affected people in Chad and looks at expectations for the future. "The worst has been averted and, with the prospect of a good harvest (this year), we think we should be out of an emergency situation soon," said Jean-Luc Siblot, head of the World Food Program in Chad (Fominyen, 9/14).
Kenyan Advocates File Appeal To Release Men Held For Neglecting TB Treatment
Human rights advocates in Kenya have filed an appeal in a provincial court to release two men arrested in August for neglecting their tuberculosis treatment, IRIN/PlusNews reports. The men are being held for "posing a risk to the health of the wider community," under the Public Health Act, which allows them "to be held until the district medical officer who ordered their arrest decides they are no longer a public health threat." Nelson Otwoma, of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya, "warned that the arrests could act as a deterrent to patients needing treatment," while Joseph Sitienei, head of the National Leprosy and TB Control Programme, defended the arrests, saying the public had the "right to be protected from an infectious disease" (9/15). According to Inter Press Service, Otwoma "said the two men are being held in prison in deplorable conditions and do not have access to the proper nutrition that is required for TB treatment" (Anyangu-Amu, 9/13).
Rwanda's Pneumococcal Vaccine Effort Examined
PBS NewsHour's "Rundown" blog reports on Rwanda's effort to prevent pneumococcal disease, "the biggest killer nobody ever talks about," according to Orin Levine, executive director of the PneumoACTION project at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In just over a year pneumococcal vaccine coverage for children in the country "has now reached 90 percent." The vaccine initiative is a collaboration between the Rwandan government and international health organizations including the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). "Through the agreement, pneumococcal vaccines that currently cost about $70 per dose in developed countries will be available for $ 3.50 to developing countries," the blog writes. Alex Palacios, GAVI's special representative to the U.S. and U.N. told the NewsHour that Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce child mortality, "is not going to be met unless we focus on two particular diseases, pneumococcal disease and diarrheal disease" (Miller, 9/14).
China's Health Minister Comments On HIV/AIDS In Migrant Population, Expanding Health Services
China's health minister said his "major concern" about the country's HIV/AIDS situation "is the migrant population because the health service towards the migrant population has yet to be improved," Agence France-Presse reports. Chen Zhu said "We are promoting institutional reform of medical health to establish a system that delivers basic healthcare to all Chinese people," including the country's migrant population, which reached 211 million in 2009. Chen "added that sexual intercourse was the main means of transmission" of HIV in China, "particularly among homosexuals" (9/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.