Bitter Pill: Obstacles to Affordable Medicine

AIDS Spreading Fast Across East Europe

Despite pledges from governments across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to fight HIV/AIDS – one of the eight Millennium Development Goals – the region has the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic.

Pakistan’s Measles Deaths Hinder Global Goals

Measles outbreaks, which have killed at least 100 children in Pakistan’s militancy-hit border areas since May, have prompted calls by experts for better cooperation in territories adjacent to Afghanistan with international immunisation campaigns.

Malnutrition Implicated in Child Killer Epidemic

Health experts are blaming high malnutrition levels for an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) that has killed more than 54 children in impoverished Cambodia since April.

Family Planning Essential for Development

Improving family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies in developing countries, as well as assuring girls’ access to education, and women’s participation in the economy, are essential components of a sound development policy, according to Western experts and African activists.

Death Stalks Pregnant Women in East Myanmar

From a wooden, weather-beaten building on the edge of this border town, Mahn Mahn charts dangerous missions deep Myanmar (also Burma) for the 2,000-odd health workers under his wing.

Newborn Deaths Expose India’s Low Health Budget

A year after the Indian government began paying pregnant women to deliver their babies in state-run facilities, the pressure is showing on the country’s understaffed and poorly equipped  hospitals.

Pakistanis Blame CIA for Fresh Polio Cases

Pakistan’s efforts to contain polio in areas bordering Afghanistan may have received a setback following the conviction of a doctor who allegedly ran a fake vaccine programme to locate Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

PAKISTAN: Political Scandals Rock the Polio Eradication Boat

A knock on her front door throws Beenish, a 28-year-old housewife from Lahore, into a fix: should she allow the female volunteer vaccinators to administer the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to her two-year-old son, or not?

EUROPE-INDIA: Trade Deal Threatens ‘Pharmacy of the Developing World’

Behind closed doors, a trade deal affecting a fifth of the world’s population has been quietly in the works for years.

GHANA: Tropical Ulcer Persists Despite Affordable Solutions

For the past 10 years, Buruli ulcer has been eating Benjamin Essel’s leg. The skin above his ankle is totally gone, and a swollen, pulpy and reddish wound rises almost up to his knee and wraps around his calf. Even still, this is an improvement over recent years.

Patented drugs limit patients access to public health care.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

SOUTH AFRICA: No Political Will to Support Generic Medication

South African health experts are calling on governments to use legally available mechanisms to promote the production or import of generic drugs in their countries.

A four-year-old girl with meningitis sleeps in a makeshift tent in Sigale camp. Her parents left her to go beg for aid.  Credit: Shafi

SOMALIA: Aid Dwindles, Disease Spreads

Doctors in Mogadishu are warning that famine victims in internally displaced camps have become vulnerable to contagious diseases like cholera and measles, as conditions here are ripe for an outbreak. This comes as internally displaced persons complain that relief aid to some camps has dwindled or stopped.

Malawi is experiencing a drug shortage. Credit: Claire Ngozo/IPS

MALAWI: Painkillers Prescribed for Malaria Amid Drug Shortage

Malawi is experiencing a drug shortage as the country's international donors remain reluctant to release aid meant for the health sector.

High costs push fake medicines in Zambia

A lack of access to medicines due to prohibitive costs is driving some Zambians to use the cheapest remedies they can find and, as Brian Moonga reports, this has some serious health implications:

Africa needs more information on Lupus

A lack of knowledge about the auto-immune disease Lupus, even amongst health professionals, is putting people in Africa at risk. Victims are not being diagnosed and the lucky few cannot access or afford treatment.

SA poor needs information on heart disease

South Africa faces an increasing burden of cardiovascular disease among the poor. Experts say awareness needs to be raised among the poor, to ensure they benefit from better tests for heart disease, dietary information and health care.

GHANA: Struggle to Prevent Import of Counterfeit Drugs

Counterfeit medicines have flooded the market in Ghana and have even made their way into government hospitals as the country’s drug regulator struggles to control the importation of drugs.

Ester Abeja, who was abducted by Lord

UGANDA: Post War Reconstruction Ignores Victims of Sexual Violence

Ester Abeja has experienced both physical and emotional atrocities. She was captured by Uganda's feared rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and was forced to join them. But not before the soldiers made her kill her one-year- old baby girl, by smashing her skull in, and then gang raped her.

The Mawingu camp for internally displaced persons is a desolate place.  Credit: Peter Kahare/IPS

KENYA: Post Election Violence Victims Still Suffer

The Mawingu camp for internally displaced persons affected by Kenya’s 2007- 2008 post-election violence is a desolate place. Located in the Rift Valley, the camp is a collection of tattered, sagging and forlorn tents.

SOUTH AFRICA: Failing Women as Maternal Mortality Quadruples

Only six sub-Saharan African countries have failed to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth over the last two decades. High-spending South Africa is among them, with maternal mortality rates more than quadrupling since 1990. Human Rights Watch researcher Agnes Odhiambo says this is largely due to a lack of accountability.

A mother and daughter who survived the dangerous journey from south Somalia to an aid camp in Mogadishu.  Credit: Abdurrahman Warsameh/IPS

SOMALIA: “I Carried Him a Whole Day While He Was Dead, Thinking He Was Alive”

As the first of food aid from the United Nations World Food Programme was airlifted into Mogadishu on Wednesday, it came too late for Qadija Ali's two- year-old son Farah.

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