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AfricaFocus Bulletins with Material on Health - 2007-2008

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Jan 25, 2007  Africa: Health Promises, Time to Deliver
    In his State of the Union message this week, U.S. President George Bush declared "To whom much is given, much is required." He went on to pledge to "continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa." But while activists acknowledge the additional attention given to health in recent years, they say both African and international leaders are still falling far short of fulfilling their promises.

Mar 4, 2007  Africa: Global Fund Advances
    The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has a new executive director. And the Global Fund Observer reports that the Fund is in better financial shape to cover the anticipated cost of Round 7 grants than it was at this stage with any of the three previous rounds. But the fund still needs to triple its funding levels to meet the estimated needs for the period 2008-2010.

Apr 12, 2007  Africa: "We will hold you to your promises"
    As African Union ministers of health gathered in South Africa this week to discuss strategies, civil society health activists demanded that African governments live up to previous commitments to expand health access. "We will not go back," the activist coalition statement concluded, "We will be watching you."

May 23, 2007  Africa: Medicines without Doctors
    "The World Health Organization estimates that to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), health systems need at least 2.5 health workers per 1,000 people. In Mozambique, ... per 1,000 people there are 0.36 full-time equivalents of health workers (2004 figures).Mozambique's health workforce would have to be multiplied by seven to achieve the MDGs."

May 23, 2007  Africa: Eyes on the G8
    The G8 (Group of 8) summit of the world's richest nations is scheduled to meet June 6-8 on the Baltic coast of Germany, and activists are demanding action not rhetoric on commitments to Africa. ActionAid, for example, is calling for at least 8,000 people, the number dying of AIDS every day, to upload images of their eyes to signal the leaders that the world is watching. Visit to add your eyes and your message.

Jun 18, 2007  Africa: Two Cheers for G8?
    "In 2005, at its meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, the [G-8] pledged to provide 'as close as possible to universal access to treatment' for all people suffering from AIDS by 2010. That should mean at least 10 million people in treatment by then ... Yet at the recent meeting, the G-8 said it was aiming to treat only some five million patients in Africa by an unspecified date. That sounds like consigning millions of untreated people to death and disability." - New York Times

Aug 14, 2007  Nigeria: AIDS Advice Available
    "We are indeed succeeding in our sensitization and public enlightenment efforts. ... While we chose to whine and lampoon acts such as the incident at Covenant University [which decided in June not to allow HIV-positive students to graduate], the insurance executive who was fired for testing positive to HIV and many more, we cannot ignore ... condemnation such acts have attracted especially through newspaper editorials, columnists, opinion polls and wait for this - even discussions at amala joints, fast foods outlets, drinking bars, pepper soup joints, discussions at taxi parks." - Journalists against AIDS Nigeria

Aug 14, 2007  South Africa: AIDS Action Relapse
    "Unlike other African countries, South Africa has the financial resources and the medical talent to successfully take on its H.I.V./AIDS epidemic. What it lacks is a president who cares enough about his people's suffering to provide serious leadership. .. Unless he finally starts listening to sensible advice on AIDS, he will leave a tragic legacy of junk science and unnecessary death." - New York Times, August 14, 2007

Oct 15, 2007  Africa: Health Updates
    "Donors are expected to give the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria] at least $9.7 billion over the next three years, 57% more than they gave over the past three years. The pledges made at last week's Global Fund Replenishment Meeting in Berlin, chaired by Kofi Annan, constituted the largest single financing exercise for health that has ever taken place." - Global Fund Observer, September 30, 2007

Feb 5, 2008  USA/Africa: Health Budget Falls Short
    United States President George W. Bush has asked Congress to vote an U.S. $30 billion for the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) over the next five years. .. But critics say this is only maintaining the current funding levels when large increases are still needed. Physicians for Human Rights, for example, has called for U.S. $59 billion to fund the fight against Aids, tuberculosis, malaria and other global health programs. And Aids-Free World co-director Stephen Lewis has pointed out that the war in Iraq is taking far more: up to $108 billion a year.

Feb 5, 2008  Africa: Dramatic Anti-Malaria Results
    New anti-malaria interventions, when applied together, can have dramatic results, according to a new World Health Organization study. The study reported declines in cases in children under five of 60% in Ethiopia, 64% in Rwanda, 29% in Zambia, and 13% in Ghana, between the period 2000-2005 and the year 2007. The greater impact in Ethiopia and Rwanda was clearly associated with massive campaigns of free distribution of long-lasting insecticidal-treated bednets.

Feb 21, 2008  USA/Africa: Images and Issues
    As President Bush winds up his 5-day trip to Africa, the initial focus on his legacy in the fight against AIDS and malaria has been enlivened with debate on the new and highly controversial AFRICOM military command (See, for example,, Commentators have also highlighted the contrast between Bush's itinerary (Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia) and unresolved crises in Kenya and Sudan. But from AIDS to AFRICOM, coverage of the trip was also revealing for points hardly mentioned by either Bush boosters or critics.

Mar 3, 2008  USA/Africa: Health Policy Updates
    The House Foreign Affairs Committee last week approved a commitment of $50 billion over 5 years for spending on global AIDS and related diseases, $20 billion more than the President's original proposal. The bill, which also includes other provisions such as funds for training of health care workers, and is expected to pass the full Congress. But health activists note that additional pressure on U.S. presidential candidates is needed to ensure other measures, such as ensuring access to essential medicines.

Mar 27, 2008  Africa: "Diagonal" Health Financing
    The dichotomy between "vertical" financing (aiming for disease-specific results) and "horizontal" financing (aiming for improved health systems) of health services in developing countries is both destructive and unnecessary, argue a team of health activists and researchers in a new peer-reviewed policy paper published in the journal Globalization and Health. They propose expanding a "diagonal" approach that recognizes the necessary complementarity between disease-specific programs and improvement in health systems, with costs shared by both international and domestic funding sources.

Apr 28, 2008  South Africa: Women, AIDS, and Violence, 1
    "Despite gradual improvements in the government's response to the HIV epidemic and the adoption of a widely-welcomed five-year plan, five and a half million South Africans are HIV-infected - one of the highest numbers in any country in the world. Fifty-five percent of them are women. South African women under 25 are three to four times more likely to be HIV-infected than men in the same age group. ... the level of new HIV infections amongst women in South Africa continues to increase, while overall incidence of the disease has levelled off." - Amnesty International

Apr 28, 2008  South Africa: Women, AIDS, and Violence, 2
    "In the Southern African region the results of a large scale household survey conducted in eight countries showed that nearly a fifth of the women interviewed reported being a victim of partner physical violence in the preceding year. ... South African based-studies have found that women who experience intimate partner violence are at long-term increased risk of HIV infection, particularly where their partners were involved in multiple concurrent, unprotected sexual relationships." - Amnesty International

Jun 9, 2008  Japan/Africa: More but Not Enough
    In recent years, Japan's role in Africa has attracted little attention from international media, in comparison to the high profile of China and, sometimes, India. Nevertheless, with the world's 2nd largest national economy, behind the United States, Japan's relations with the continent are significant - and growing. As host of the G-8 Summit in July, Japan will be in the spotlight and its record on global and African issues under scrutiny.

Jul 7, 2008  Africa: G8 Issues Roundup
    "A staggering 9.7 million children die each year before the age of five. Most would survive if they had the basic healthcare taken for granted in rich nations. ...We're campaigning for a world where all children have an equal chance of reaching their fifth birthday." - World Vision, campaign for G8 Action on Child Healthcare

Jul 16, 2008  Nigeria: Curse of the Black Gold
    "This book lays out the dynamics of oil and development in Nigeria and Africa. It reveals the complicity in this perfect storm of international oil companies, foreign governments, corrupt oil-producing states and U.S. consumers. ... the future of oil in Nigeria is now in question in an unprecedented way. As we speak, something like 25 percent of Nigerian oil is locked in or deferred because of the attacks by militants." - Michael Watts

Aug 2, 2008  USA: AIDS & Black America
    "U.S. policy treats AIDS as a foreign policy priority, but virtually ignores the epidemic among Black citizens here at home, U.S. policy makers seem to be much more interested in the epidemic in Botswana than the epidemic in Louisiana. This is an unnecessary and deadly choice. Both need urgent attention." - Rev. Al Sharpton

Aug 2, 2008  Africa: AIDS Updates & Analysis
    "The scale up of antiretroviral therapy in the developing world is the most ambitious public health undertaking of our lifetimes, ...We were told it couldn't be done, and shouldn't be done, but we persevered, set ambitious goals and targets, and now 3 million people are on antiretroviral treatment." - Gregg Gonsalves, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC)

Sep 19, 2008  Africa: Malaria Control Up, Majority Not Covered
    "Despite big increases in the supply of mosquito nets ...the number available in 2006 was still far below need in almost all countries. The procurement of antimalarial medicines through public health services also increased sharply, but access to treatment, especially of artemisin-based combination therapy (ACT), was inadequate in all countries surveyed in 2006. ... Supplies of insecticide-treated nets (ITN) ... were sufficient to protect an estimated 26% of people in 37 African countries. Surveys in 18 African countries found that 34% of households owned an ITN; ... 38% of children with fever were treated with antimalarial drugs, but only 3% with ACT." - World Malaria Report, 2008

Dec 1, 2008  Africa: Ending AIDS?
    "The [WHO] findings suggest that HIV transmission could be virtually eliminated by 2020 in countries with high levels of HIV prevalence, such as South Africa, if it were possible to persuade everyone in the community to test for HIV infection once a year and then provide antiretroviral therapy to all who test HIV-positive. ... [But there are many questions that require answers before such a strategy could be implemented.]" - HIV & AIDS Treatment in Practice

Dec 18, 2008  USA/Africa: Global Health Commitment
    "The U.S. government [should] demonstrate, through policies and actions, that this nation fundamentally believes in the value of better health for all. The committee is calling on the next President to highlight health as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy. .. The U.S. government should act in the global interest, recognizing that long-term diplomatic, economic, and security benefits for the United States will follow." - The U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the New Administration from the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences