#World AIDS Day
#this is important
If ministries of health do not receive stable and predictable funding, there is no way that organizations like MSF will be able to fill the gaps.
In some countries where we work, the authorities were already struggling against the odds to provide HIV treatment even before the cuts were announced. In Zimbabwe, for instance, the country is already relying on buffer stocks to cover drug shortages.
It will be possible to continue expanding treatment on a very small scale, through efficiency measures and innovative ways of delivering care. But no ambitious expansion of treatment for the three diseases, of the sort needed right now, will be achieved without new substantial funding
"According to American Foundation for AIDS Research (AMFAR), for every 5 percent reduction in U.S. funding of global health programs, 182,000 people with HIV/AIDS and 2.1 million malaria patients will be left untreated; and millions of children will go without immunization against resurgent diseases like measles that can leave children with pneumonia, blindness, or death. Put another way: A 5 percent cut in US funding for global health is akin to shutting the doors of every MSF hospital and clinic in over 70 countries for an entire year."
The results of the malaria vaccine trial show potential, but we should not drop the investment in insecticide-treated bed nets and effective treatment, for a vaccine that has proven to work only half the time.
There was very low malaria-specific mortality in the trial, which is explained by the high quality of care provided during the study. This underscores the importance of prioritizing the best possible treatment for children with severe malaria in order to reduce deaths. Unfortunately we are far from that reality, with the latest WHO recommendations for improving severe malaria treatment still not implemented in the majority of African countries.
On the basis of current results, this vaccine may add to, but cannot distract from, existing efforts to control malaria, including the urgent imperative for donors to fund, and affected countries to implement, a switch to better treatment for severe malaria.”
#doctors without borders
Nathan Ford, medical director for the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign, regarding the first results of the phase 3 trial of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine in African children, published in the New England Journal of Medicine today. (via doctorswithoutborders)
Agreed. If continued trials hold true, a reduction in malaria cases is fantastic. However, we still have to greatly improve our treatment of those who do get malaria.
A NEW WEAPON ON OUR SIDE
“Sadly, many people have resigned themselves to malaria being a fact of life in Africa,” […] “This need not be the case.”
A MAJOR breakthrough in the fight against MALARIA is at hand! A vaccine that has been in development for quite some time is showing promising results in one of the biggest and most important medical showdowns the world has come to know.
This is HUGE!
We’re still on the ‘cautious optimism’ side, but the optimism is sweet indeed. (Note: while the potential benefits of this vaccine could be ASTRONOMICAL, it has not been proven to prevent or cure malaria. Based on trials, it can cut the risk of malaria in half. That’s no small peanuts, but there are still plenty of questions to answer and things to explore.)
Read the whole article - we always respect Geoffrey’s writing, and I’m glad he’s bringing this story to us. Waiting on tenterhooks!
WHO says tuberculosis cases decline for the first time
The World Health Organization says the number of people worldwide getting tuberculosis declined last year for the first time.
WHO statistics published Tuesday show the number of people who became sick with the disease dropped to 8.8 million in 2010. The number of people who died last year from TB fell to 1.4 million.
The U.N. agency says that overall, the death rate from TB has dropped 40 percent since 1990.
WHO’s Director-General Margaret Chan says strong leadership in many countries, coupled with domestic financing and foreign donor support, has begun to make a difference in the fight against tuberculosis.
The WHO report says some of the biggest gains came in Kenya, Tanzania and Brazil. China also made major gains, lowering its death toll more than 70 percent, to 55,000.
However, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns that the progress in battling the disease is no reason for complacency.
He says too many people still develop TB each year and die from it. He says sustained support for TB prevention and care is still badly needed in the world’s poorest countries.
The TB bacteria destroys lung tissue and the bacteria can spread through the air when people cough.
WHO says about a third of the world’s population is infected with TB bacteria but only a relatively small percentage develop the disease.
Excellent news, but far too many people still suffer from TB.