Looking ahead to World TB Day, how Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law threatens everyone, and more in What We’re Reading

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NewWWRAccelerating the response to TB: Where we are and where we’re going – In this article published ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, Stacie Stender, an infectious disease expert with Jhpiego, calls for an accelerated global response to TB, which continues to kill over a million people each year, despite being “a disease easily prevented at a low cost.” She also emphasizes the need to address other development issues hand in hand with TB: “TB often goes hand in hand with poverty. Common issues in low-resource communities—malnutrition, poor living conditions, lack of access to health services—greatly increase the risk of acquiring TB. It is impossible to adequately address tuberculosis in a community without also addressing poverty and equitable access to health care services.”

Uganda’s anti-gay law and media outings threaten everyone – Harvard global health professor Vanessa Kerry says “threats to health and/or healthcare workers in any country is a threat to health and human rights for all of us” in this article, in reference to Uganda’s passage of the anti-homosexuality law. Kerry explains that the new law, which promises imprisonment for anyone who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality,” may compel healthcare workers to practice elsewhere rather than face imprisonment for doing their jobs, and in a country with already very limited health capacity, with only 12 physicians per every 100,000 people, “removing health professionals from the workforce has systematic, detrimental effects.”

More work on HIV in Laos needed – Health advocates in Laos call for their government to step up their HIV/AIDS control efforts in that country, fearing that external funding from the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB, and Malaria won’t always be there to address their needs. “The Global Fund is not fully predictable and its five-year $32 million grant for HIV/AIDS services in Laos will expire at the end of 2015,” the article says. With new infections steadily climbing to 1,000 new cases per year compared to just 162 new cases in 2000, experts fear “if unabated, the number of people with HIV will continue to increase.”

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