Lining up to eliminate a major threat to humankind – Part 2

A PSI medical detailer assessing a private provider for Pf malaria diagnosing and treatment capacity. (Credit: Chris James White)

PSI Senior Vice President for Malaria Control and Child Survival Dr. Desmond Chavasse blogs about his recent trip to Cambodia and PSI’s work to eliminate drug-resistant malaria in Southeast Asia. Part two of three.

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The Daily Impact: Refugee Camp Truce Reached in Syria

June 23, 2014 A truce between the Syrian government and the rebels has been upon in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. From the BBC: A copy of the ceasefire deal, seen by the BBC, says the main entrances to the Syrian camp will be opened and basic services will be restored. About 18,000 people have […]

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Lining up to eliminate a major threat to humankind – Part 1

Chris James White_Myanmar_Seattle Times_01

I first met Bill Gates for dinner in Nairobi in 2008. His foundation was providing funding to the PSI-led ACTwatch project, which monitors antimalarial drugs on the markets of up to 13 countries across Africa and Southeast Asia. During my dinner with Bill, I could not resist the temptation to play the “If I were you, I would spend my money on…” game.

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The Daily Impact: Sudan bombs Doctors Without Borders-run Hospitals

June 18, 2014

Doctors Without Borders says an aerial bombing run over a Sudanese village hit one of its medical facilities, partially destroying a hospital. From MSF:

During an aerial attack on a Sudanese village yesterday, Sudan’s air force bombed and partially destroyed a hospital run by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the war-torn South Kordofan region, depriving civilians of critical medical care, the organization said today.

As bombs struck the village of Farandalla, two hit the MSF hospital there. Five people were wounded in the village and one MSF staff member was injured at the hospital. MSF medical teams treated the wounded and organized the transfer of three severely injured patients to another hospital.

“We are shocked that a medical facility can be bombed, especially since it was clearly identified with a flag and a medical red cross on the roof,” said MSF Head of Mission Brian Moller. “We also had previously communicated the hospital’s position to the authorities in Khartoum.”

The bombs destroyed the emergency room, a dressing room, the pharmacy, and the hospital kitchen. “Damage to the Farandalla hospital is significant, but MSF will continue to work there,” Moller said.

MSF is one of the few health care providers in South Kordofan.  In addition to running the Farandalla facility, MSFsupports five health centers in the area.

Hospital staff evacuated the patients to the surrounding area at the time of the attack.  Medical workers returned to treat the people wounded in the attack on the village.

The MSF facility, with both outpatient and inpatient wards, began operating in 2012.  Nearly 65,000 consultations have been carried out since then, along with close to 2,300 admissions.

MSF calls for the respect of patients, staff, and medical facilities in South Kordofan. Several other medical facilities in South Kordofan have been bombed in recent weeks.

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The Daily Impact: TB test breakthrough means more accurate diagnoses

June 17, 2014 A new genetic test for tuberculosis could dramatically improve the accuracy of diagnoses of infected children in developing countries, although a simple diagnostic kit could be some way off. From SciDevNet: The research, published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined the DNA of more than 2,800 children admitted to hospitals in Kenya, Malawi […]

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The Daily Impact: Aid groups warn thousands could starve in South Sudan

June 16, 2014

Aid agencies warned Sunday that starvation and diseases like malaria and cholera were set to intensify the crisis in South Sudan, which has been devastated by six months of conflict. From the AFP:

War in the young nation has already killed thousands and forced more than 1.5 million people from their homes, and aid agencies warn of the risk of famine should fighting continue.

“The conflict has taken thousands of lives and destroyed the livelihoods of millions,” Oxfam’s South Sudan chief Emma Jane Drew said Sunday.

“The people of South Sudan have been exposed to a triple crisis — conflict, hunger and disease — and with the rains now in full swing, the situation only stands to deteriorate.”

On Saturday, the United Nations launched an appeal for funds, begging for over a billion dollars to support almost four million people hit by the fighting.

“Now that the rains have set in, conditions in South Sudan are deteriorating by the day: people are literally living in mud,” UN aid chief for South Sudan Toby Lanzer said Saturday.

“Cholera has broken out, malaria is rampant and many children are malnourished. Millions of people need emergency healthcare, food, clean water, proper sanitation and shelter to make it through the year.”

President Salva Kiir and his arch-rival Riek Machar committed themselves again this week to a ceasefire, although many analysts are sceptical they really want a negotiated end to the conflict, and instead believe a military victory is still possible.

Two earlier ceasefire deals were broken within hours.

“If we are to avoid a famine in South Sudan, the time to act is now,” Oxfam added.

Months of dragging peace talks in Ethiopia have made little progress, so far costing over 17 million dollars (12 million euros).

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