It seems as if all good news about global health comes with a caveat: Fewer children are dying, but too many still die. This is absolutely true, and we’re dedicated to pursuing groundbreaking solutions to improve health for children and their elders. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take joy in some good news this week: Bangladesh’s progress in reducing child mortality and reports of dramatically lower rates of HIV infection in children in seven African countries.
Now, if the Gates Foundation can only find a condom men enjoy using, we’ll really have something to smile about. Read on for that story.
Defying the odds: Bangladesh makes strides in child health
GlobalPost, June 25, 2013
Counter to the common perception of Bangladesh as hopelessly impoverished, the country has made dramatic strides in reducing overall child mortality in recent decades. Bangladesh is on track to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which aim to reduce under-5 child and maternal mortality, respectively. In fact, Bangladesh is one of only eight countries to have reduced its under-5 mortality rate by at least two-thirds since 1990.
Seven African countries cut child HIV infections by half
Reuters, June 25, 2013
Seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s worst-hit region in the global AIDS epidemic, have cut the number of new HIV infections in children by 50 percent since 2009, the United Nations AIDS program said on Tuesday. The dramatic reductions—in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia—mean tens of thousands more babies are now being born free of HIV, UNAIDS said in a report on its global plan to tackle the disease in around 20 of the worst affected countries.
Getting men to want to use condoms
The New York Times, June 24, 2013
An influential player in global health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation … has just finished collecting applications for what it calls a Grand Challenge: to develop “a next-generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure.” The goal is to address two significant problems: unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. Condoms cheaply and effectively prevent both, but around the world only 5 percent of men wear them and there are 2.5 million new HIV infections a year. To stem that tide, health experts say, the number of men regularly using condoms needs to double.
Obama’s Africa trip: expectations and the unexpected
Center for Global Development Blog, June 24, 2013
President Obama is wheels up for Africa Wednesday. The White House and US development agencies have been unusually quiet prior to departure, but some things are sure to be on the agenda: economic growth, trade, investment, democracy, youth, food security, and health. Obama is widely expected to announce a new power initiative. But Nelson Mandela’s failing health could dramatically shift the trip’s tone and focus.
WHO finds violence against women is “shockingly” common
NPR, June 20, 2013
Thirty-five percent of women around the world have been raped or physically abused, according to statistics the World Health Organization released Thursday. About 80 percent of the time this violence occurs in the home, at the hands of a partner or spouse.