More than 12 African heads of state and other global leaders met today and reviewed progress toward implementing transformative reforms in the AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria responses and pledged to accelerate the pace of change (increase annual domestic funding for health care, particularly AIDS, TB and malaria services). AIDS Watch Africa (AWA), an advocacy platform for African Heads of State on AIDS, TB and Malaria convened the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the side-lines of the African Union summit celebrating 50 years of African Unity.
After thwarting several attempts by the Apartheid government to shut down the facility for its defiance of the Group Areas Act, the McCord Hospital in Durban has finally been defeated by money troubles and will be closing its doors in March. By KHADIJA PATEL.
The McCord Hospital in Durban is a 103-year-old institution; home to the country’s biggest HIV care and treatment programme. It is also one of KwaZulu-Natal’s largest hospitals, with 140 beds and 400 staff. Yet it is set to close its doors in March.
Last year, a cutback in international funding forced the hospital to close its HIV/Aids clinic and now, the government is also withholding funds to the semi-private hospital.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is a global nonprofit health organisation that strengthens integrated health systems in the developing world and expands access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
Each year, some 15 million babies in the world, more than one in 10 births, are born too early, according to the just released report Born too soon: the global action report on preterm birth.
More than one million of those babies die shortly after birth; countless others suffer some type of lifelong physical, neurological, or educational disability, often at great cost to families and society.
IN 2000, the leaders of 189 nations signed the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations (UN), pledging to free their people from poverty, illiteracy and ill health. This commitment gave rise to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the target date for the achievement of which is 2015.
The eight goals are to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
Newer and more effective drugs to be used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. This came out of a gathering in Cape Town where delegates discussed how best to improve health care in Africa.
Efforts to reduce the burden of disease in Africa over the last 10 years have improved. But malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS are still critical issues facing African countries. At a meeting held in Cape Town to discuss health care in Africa, it was heard that new drugs are in the pipeline for the better treatment and management of HIV/AIDS.
The head of the Global Fund, the largest backer of the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, will step down in March after a misuse of funds led it to cut back on new grants to battle the diseases.
Michel Kazatchkine has been the Global Fund's executive director for five years, half its life, but was sidelined in November after the organisation said it would be forced to cut grants and was bringing in a new manager.
The Fund said it had appointed Gabriel Jaramillo, a Brazilian former banker, as general manager.
The public-private Global Fund, based in Geneva, accounts for around a quarter of international financing to fight HIV and AIDS, as well as the majority of funds to fight TB and malaria.
The world is talking about stopping the Aids virus within decades – and it is not simply a pipe dream but a very real possibility. After years of toying with the alphabet – A for abstain, B for be faithful and C for condoms – we finally have some grown-up options.
While modest, this array of new weapons against HIV gives us a fighting chance to stop the virus. The weapons in the arsenal are:
* Successful antiretroviral (ARV) treatment makes HIV-positive people with undetectable viral loads virtually non-infectious. This means that if we get as many HIV-positive people as possible on ARVs, it will have a massive impact on lowering HIV transmission.
Ten years ago, the Doha Declaration allowed countries to circumvent patent rights to access life-saving medicines, particularly those used to treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. However, the South African government has failed to take advantage of these provisions, and increasingly important TB medication and second- and third-line antiretrovirals (ARVs) remain out of reach, activists warn.
"Pre-Doha, treating [HIV] without generics... meant HIV was a death sentence," said Gilles van Cutsem, medical coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
South Africa may be on track to achieve five of its eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, but serious problems in health and education, if not attended to soon, may hold the country back from becoming a more prosperous society. Stephen Timm reports.
The goals that South Africa looks likely to meet are eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal access to primary education, empowering women, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
South Africa is falling behind emerging countries such as Malaysia and Brazil, which have already achieved six and four of their MDGs respectively.