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AfricaFocus Bulletins with Material on Health - 2011-2012

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Feb 7, 2011  Africa: Penalizing Transparency
    "When any entity gives multi-million dollar grants, there will always be corruption. The key issue is what is being done to unearth the corruption and minimise losses. The Global Fund is far better at investigating allegations of corruption and at recovering stolen monies than most or all other major aid donors. ... Another thing that distinguishes the Global Fund from other donors is its willingness to publish the details of the corruption that it has unearthed." - Global Fund Observer, January 27, 2011

Apr 27, 2011  Senegal: Music to Fight Malaria
    Music may seem an unlikely way to fight malaria. But Senegal's highly successful program has relied not only on medical expertise but also on the star power of Youssou N'Dour and a national song competition called "Xeex Sibbiru" (Let's Beat Malaria). Support from prominent figures in the society, including religious leaders as well as music stars, has helped to dramatically increase prevention and treatment coverage.

May 16, 2011  Africa: AIDS Research "Game Changer"
    A new randomized study of AIDS treatment as prevention, beginning early treatment of infected heterosexual people who are living in partnership with an uninfected person, has shown a 96% reduction in risk of infection. ... Instead of taking this as the game changer it is, notes AIDS activist Brook Baker, U.S. officials are still taking a "We're too broke to think" response. And the United States and other donor countries are opposing firm AIDS treatment targets at the UN meeting on the issue next month.

Jun 14, 2011  Guinea-Bissau: Drug Trade in Broader Context
    "In Guinea-Bissau, drug trafficking ... is a consequence of the pre-existing lack of stability that allows smugglers to establish their networks in the region and operate to and from there. Ignoring the structural causes of the problem (endemic poverty, corruption, impunity) will have an even deeper impact on the local population than the illegal drug trade, and will leave unaddressed the very conditions that continue to foster trafficking opportunities in the future." - February 2011 report from Norwegian Peacebuilding Center

Jun 14, 2011  Africa: "War on Drugs" Blowback Effects
    "Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption. [at the same time] the implementation of the war on drugs has generated widespread negative consequences for societies in producer, transit and consumer countries, [including] the growth of a 'huge criminal black market', financed by the risk-escalated profits of supplying international demand for illicit drugs." - Global Commission on Drug Policy

Jul 5, 2011  South Africa: Taking Leadership in AIDS Fight
    South Africa's 5th AIDS conference, held from June 7-10 this year, marked a remarkable turnaround in the country's efforts against the AIDS pandemic. Achievements noted included bringing 400,000 additional AIDS patients into antiretroviral treatment within the last year, raising the total to 1.4 million; cutting the cost of antiretroviral therapy in half over six months; and extending treatment using trained nurses to more than 1,600 health facilities. Most important of all has been a strong spirit of collaboration among the government, medical specialists, and activists.

Oct 20, 2011  Africa: Eliminating Malaria
    "Over the past decade, scaling up the delivery of existing interventions [against malaria] is estimated to have saved more than one million lives in Africa alone, with the majority of these deaths averted since 2007. That was the year when the big push to improve coverage really hit the ground." - Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

Feb 3, 2012  Africa: Paying for Health
    "Simply put, if we allow the fund to fail, many people will die, and we will forfeit the chance at the "AIDS-free generation" that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for in November. This is no time to step back." - Paul Farmer

Feb 10, 2012  Africa: Counting the Costs of Brain Drain
    According to a study published in the British Medical Journal in November 2011, nine sub-Saharan countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) invested some $2 billion in costs of educating doctors who subsequently emigrated to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, or Canada. The receiving countries gained an estimated $4.55 billion from these investments, in savings from medical education that they did not have to finance. The familiar phenomenon of "brain drain," it is clear, should also be seen as a subsidy from developing to developed countries.

Mar 1, 2012  Africa: Funding Slowdowns Hit AIDS Programs
    In the last 15 years, AIDS activists and medical professionals, in Africa and around the world, have won the recognition that the fight against AIDS, which disproportionately affects the African continent, is a shared global responsibility.

Apr 4, 2012  Africa: BRICS Stepping Up on Global Health
    When the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries met for their fourth summit in New Delhi last month, the event attracted little attention from the Western press. The New York Times headlined its report "BRICS Leaders Fail to Create Rival to World Bank," noting that the summit only created a working group to consider such a new development bank next year. But the common tendency to dismiss the group because of its internal diversity risks ignoring the steady emergence of greater influence for its members beyond their obvious growing economic weight.

Apr 11, 2012  Africa: Issues for the World Bank
    Despite the tilted voting structure and the likely victory of the candidate nominated by U.S. President Obama, the contest for the new World Bank president, who will be chosen next week by the World Bank board, has been the subject of unprecedented open debate. Any of the three candidates would, in different ways, break the mold of selection of a white male American economist or foreign policy veteran. But, of equal importance, and much less discussed, any of the candidates would also head up an institution with a contradictory mix of old practices and new ideas, despite the demise of the market-fundamentalist "Washington consensus."

Apr 11, 2012  Africa: "New Structural Economics"
    "I believe that every developing country, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa, can grow at 8 percent or more continuously for several decades, significantly reducing poverty and becoming middle- or even high-income countries in the span of one or two generations, if its government has the right policy framework to facilitate the private sector's development along the line of its comparative advantages and tap into the late-comer advantages" - Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist, World Bank, in introducing his just published book New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy

May 9, 2012  Africa: Decisive Year for Global Fund
    "We write as global health groups, communities affected by HIV, TB, and Malaria, and researchers from around the world to urge you not to undermine the founding principle of a demand-driven Global Fund. We are united against proposals to set 'envelopes' or 'allocations' for each country, which would result in limited ambition, scaled back or skewed plans, and ultimately a failure to get ahead of death and new infections. Limiting ambition now will only cost more in the future - in lives and money." - civil society letter to Global Fund Board

May 24, 2012  Africa: Food Security and Human Development
    "This [Africa Human Development] Report argues that subSaharan Africa can extricate itself from pervasive food insecurity by acting on four critical drivers of change: greater agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers; more effective nutrition policies, especially for children; greater community and household resilience to cope with shocks; and wider popular participation and empowerment, especially of women and the rural poor."

Jul 27, 2012  Africa: End of AIDS in Sight, 1
    "Even without a vaccine or a cure, it became clear this week that science has given us the tools we need to dramatically change the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and ultimately end AIDS. Any argument that this cannot be achieved because we do not have evidence-based tools is no longer valid. Science has given us the tools. Now they must be applied." - Anthony Fauci, at the opening of this week's International AIDS Conference

Jul 27, 2012  Africa: End of AIDS in Sight, 2
    "As leaders and scientists prepare to discuss the latest initiatives needed to scale up treatment to such a high level it could potentially end the epidemic, seven million people still require urgent access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. While the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS) estimates that 1.4 million more people were put on antiretroviral therapy in 2011, this pace will have to double to reach the global goal of 15 million people receiving treatment by 2015." - Doctors without Borders

Dec 5 2012  Africa: Towards the End of AIDS
    "[Despite significant advances} the epidemic of HIV/AIDS is far from over. According to the most recent statistics from UNAIDS, there are still 2.5 million new HIV infections worldwide and 1.7 million deaths annually from this disease. Globally, there are 34 million people living with HIV and half do not know their HIV status. Nearly half of the people in need of antiretroviral treatment (6.8 million) do not have access to these lifesaving medications ... Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionate burden of disease, representing 69 percent of all people infected with the virus worldwide." - Susan Blumenthal, M.D. and Melissa Shive