India’s patent laws, public health response without public healthcare and bridging the Global Fund gap . . .

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India’s patent laws: This Lancet special report on legal challenges by Bayer and Novartis to applications of India’s Patents Act provides a link to the 2010 United Nations Development Program’s report on the nation’s efforts to supply affordable HIV treatment in the context of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It provides historical perspective, analysis, and examines the challenges’ interpretations of TRIPS in the light of the cases’ potential to weaken public health responses.

Uganda’s health system: Last week brought the confusing combination of news about Uganda’s faltering efforts to respond to rising prevalence of HIV, followed by news of the Ugandan government’s decision to go with the ambitious “Option B+” HIV prevention approach of providing antiretroviral medicine for life to all expectant HIV-positive women. News of the “Option B+” announcement by First Lady Janet Museveni was particularly interesting in light of comments in the story of failures in Uganda’s AIDS response in which local civil society leaders complained of lack of government investment. Now, this story, also from IRIN, explores the discrepancy between the availability of free healthcare to all Ugandans — “in theory” — and in practice, in a country where private health care facilities comprise 46 percent of healthcare facilities, where 430 women die in childbirth for every 100,000 live births, and where healthcare is said to account for only about 8 percent government spending.

Bridging the Gap: With new eligibility guidelines restricting Eastern European and Central Asian countries’ access to transitional grants — and possibly future support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, this report from ACTION, TB Europe Coalition, Global Health Advocates and RESULTS UK examines the impact of failing to adequately fund TB and HIV responses in that region, and options. It recommends: honoring and building Global Fund and other support, addressing societal challenges, scaling up harm reduction strategies, reaching out to populations hit hardest, and working to clarify to those deciding Global Fund grant allotment criteria the conditions confronting the majority of the world’s poorest people living in middle income countries.

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