Falling short of the halfway mark, a cough not heard around the world, Uganda’s moral grounds, sex trafficking war casualties . . . We’re reading about global health winners, sinners, gains and losses

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NewWWRThe Race to Improve Global Health: Great strides toward the halfway mark aren’t winning the race to a fair, healthy and sustainable world, says this New York Times editorial, a timely piece when  budget-weary policy makers might be tempted to rest on their achievements so far. United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals — including reductions in mother and child deaths and getting HIV treatment to everyone with the virus that leads to AIDS —  set for the end of 2015 remain a mirage, and are but the halfway mark in a longer run toward the finish line of a more livable planet the editorial notes. Efforts to reach the goals yielded progress; “intense efforts and money,” it asserts, are needed for success.

CDC Director on the State of Health Security: Imagine if, after a quick and accessible diagnostic tool identified the disease that took the lives of three people in three days, 130 people received preventive treatment in the 12 hours that followed, and community wide prevention measures were delivered before the next day was over. That is what happened near the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo last year after a baby, the child’s mother, and a companion at the child’s funeral all fell ill from pneumonic plague, and that quick action is why their illness “was a cough that was not heard around the world,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told an audience at the National Press Club on Tuesday. He went on to talk about some of the coughs that have been heard around the world, including drug resistant tuberculosis. And, he said, “what if we had found HIV 50 years ago and stopped it from spreading widely? What a different world we would have today.” He answers people who wonder at efforts in global health at a time when problems at home loom large: global health problems are our problems and tending to them is the right thing to do.

Uganda rejects HIV prevention tool on moral grounds: Responding to 2012 World Health Organization guidelines calling for careful efforts to make antiretroviral medicine available to people uninfected but in a position to be exposed to HIV, Uganda’s AIDS Control program manager is just saying no, according to this IRIN article. Why? “People will engage in reckless sex behaviour . . .” he is quoted as saying, before going on to share that the nation, which continues to confront a rising incidence of HIV, will continue to emphasize ABC — Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom use — as its epidemic fighting strategy.

Sex workers bear brunt of war on trafficking: Anti-trafficking efforts that don’t get input from sex workers, brothel raids in which sex workers are harmed, laws that institutionalize violence and discrimination   — all of these examples of zealous human trafficking interventions worsen the marginalization of sex workers according to this analysis from IRIN. Sex worker advocacy groups have long pointed to these arguments and events illustrating them, as part of the problem with efforts that confuses sex work and trafficking.

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