Poor Quality Malaria Medicines Continue to Persist in Sub-Saharan Africa

For nine years, PSI’s multi-country research project, ACTwatch, worked to fill evidence gaps in quality of malaria testing and treatment throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Greater Mekong Sub-region.  Recently, ACTwatch released a new publication series in the Malaria Journal, through which they provide a comprehensive view into the levels of access to quality, first-line malaria

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World Mosquito Day

Celebrating Malaria Prevention on World Mosquito Day

By Alena Sims, Communications Associate, PSI “The outline was much too sharp, the cell too small to be an ordinary stomach- cell of a mosquito. I looked a little further. Here was another, and another exactly similar cell.”-Sir Ronald Ross on his discover of malaria transmission via female Anopheles mosquitos. Today, on World Mosquito Day,

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The Burden of Cervical Cancer on women in Sub-Saharan Africa

A new video from Jhpiego shows how its single visit screen-and-treat approach can help to eliminate the rise for women in sub-Saharan Africa contracting cervical cancer.

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A Winning Approach: Combining Interventions for Greater Impact

From 2001 to 2009, HIV incidence decreased by more than 25 percent in 33 countries around the world, including 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 6.6 million HIV-infected people in low- and middle-income countries now access antiretroviral treatment (ART)—while this reflects a 16-fold increase in access to ART between 2003 and 2010, another 9

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Is 80% Coverage within Reach?

In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) be used as an HIV prevention intervention in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa with generalized HIV epidemics and low male circumcision prevalence. An ambitious goal was set to perform 20 million circumcisions in

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Interview: HIV Prevention Trial for Microbicide Ring Begins

Earlier this month, the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) announced the beginning of a clinical trial to determine whether a monthly vaginal ring containing the ARV dapivirine can help prevent HIV infection in women and is safe for long-term use. The trial is being conducted in four sites across South Africa with 1,650 women enrolled. IPM hopes to commence trials in Rwanda and Malawi in the next few months pending the clearance off a few regulatory hurdles.

Recent studies have indicated that ARVs can help prevent the spread of HIV between partners. “Sustained delivery of antiretrovirals in a vaginal ring could be a game-changer for prevention of HIV in women,” said Dr. Sharon Hillier, principal investigator of MTN. “The Microbicide Trials Network’s partnership with IPM on effectiveness studies of this new technology will provide the most rapid and efficient pathway to licensure of this HIV prevention product.”

A vaginal ring is a promising advance since it requires only monthly replacement. Furthermore, the burden of HIV in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) is squarely upon women. Women account for 60% of HIV cases in SSA and young women, ages 18 to 24, are twice as likely to be infected with HIV than young men.

The timing is important because the WHO is currently working on a new set of consolidated guidelines on antiretroviral treatment that is planned for release in July 2013. ” It is planned to release recommendations on the use of ART in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in serodiscordant couples and men who have sex with men, and guidance on the use of ART for prevention in sex workers, in July 2012,” says the WHO. Next month’s International AIDS Conference in Washington DC will be an important event in the lead up to the development of the guidelines.

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UNFPA: Global Maternal Mortality Cut in Half, Sub-Saharan Africa Lags Behind MDGs

Global maternal mortality has been halved over the past two decades says a new UNFPA report, “Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010.” That is the good news. The bad news is that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa will miss the target of reducing maternal mortality by 75% from 1990 to 2015.

“We know exactly what to do to prevent maternal deaths: improve access to voluntary family planning, invest in health workers with midwifery skills, and ensure access to emergency obstetric care when complications arise. These interventions have proven to save lives and accelerate progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal 5,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.

To further add to the challenge, collected data is still farm from perfect. Some countries cannot account for all maternal deaths and hospitals may mis-categorize a mother’s deaths. “These new estimates demonstrate how maternal health is progressing globally and how the quality of data is improving. This also shows how the UN works together to improve the situation for women and girls around the world,” said Dr. Osotimehin.

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