India To Review Antibiotic Use; Japan Detects Resistant Gene Originally Found In South Asia
"The health ministry has formed a committee to frame a policy for antibiotic use, following an uproar over a Lancet study that traced a drug-resistant bacterial superbug's origins to India," LiveMint.com reports. The panel will also look into the "excessive use of antibiotics among Indians," partly fueled by self-medication, that has increased resistance to the drugs. The article notes that the Indian government "rejected the findings of the report" but has "taken note of a lack of policy on antibiotics" (Pandeya, 9/3).
Meanwhile, Japan said it has "detected its first case of an antibiotic-resistant 'superbug' that surfaced in South Asia" in a patient who was hospitalized last year, Agence France-Presse reports. Doctors detected bacterium that contained the New Delhi metallo-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) gene after the patient returned from India. The article notes that the Lancet study reported that bacteria containing NDM-1 had previously been "found in 37 Britons who had received medical treatment in South Asia" (9/6).
Chinese Officials Back Abstinence Curriculum Teacher Training By U.S. Evangelical Christian Group
The Washington Post reports on how the U.S.-based Evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family is training sex education teachers in China's Yunnan province to help encourage abstinence among students. "In the past decade, Focus on the Family has found relative success with its abstinence program in other countries … China, however, has proved a tough market to crack," as rates of premarital sex climb in both urban and rural areas. Though once resistant the group's message, Chinese "authorities, despite the country's official atheism, want help with controlling population growth and managing the society's rapidly shifting values," the newspaper writes. "The curriculum warns of consequences including STDs, teenage pregnancy and abortion," and "offers women myriad ways to turn boys down," the article notes. The story examines the history between Focus on the Family and the government in China, including some backlash that resulted because of "teaching abstinence rather than safe sex with condoms" (Wan, 9/3).
UNICEF Survey Shows Maternal, Child Health Improvements In India
A recently released UNICEF survey showed signs that maternal and child health in India are improving, Sify News reports (9/2). The Coverage Evaluation Survey 2009, conducted between November 2009 and January 2010, "showed that important parameters of maternal health, such as institutional delivery, safe delivery by skilled birth attendants and mothers undergoing three or more ante-natal check-ups, have increased" significantly compared with the findings of the National Family Health Survey, which was conducted between 2005 and 2006, Daily News & Analysis writes (Pandey, 9/3). "According to the survey, 'Janani Suraksha Yojana' - the central government's scheme for expecting mothers - has changed the scenario of institutional delivery in the country with 72.9 percent women giving birth in hospitals compared to 40.7 percent reported in National Family Health Survey," Sify News notes (9/2).
New York Times Magazine Reports On Plumpy'nut's Role In Combatting Childhood Malnutrition
The New York Times Magazine examines Plumpy'nut, "an edible paste made of peanuts, packed with calories and vitamins, that is specially formulated to renourish starving children. ... In the world of humanitarian aid, where progress is usually measured in subtle increments of misery, [Plumpy'nut] offers a rare satisfaction: swift, visible, fantastic efficacy." The article reports on its development, related products, questions surrounding patent issues and other related areas (Rice, 9/2).
PEPFAR To Fund Additional 72,000 Ugandans For ARV Treatment Over Two Years
"An additional 72,000 Ugandans living with HIV/AIDS will be enrolled for free antiretroviral (ARV) treatment over the next two years, following increased American funding," New Vision reports. U.S. Ambassador Jerry Lanier said that the new funding "means that means that by 2012, the American people plan to directly support more than 250,000 Ugandans on ARVs." Though "PEPFAR is currently funding more than 70% of the entire response to HIV and AIDS in Uganda," Lanier "noted that … the demand for HIV and AIDS services, especially ARVs, is rapidly outpacing the ability to deliver them to those who are in need" (Bainemigisha, 9/3). In a Daily Monitor commentary that discusses the new funds, Lanier writes, "The U.S. government is not - and cannot - be the only source of funding for Uganda's HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment efforts." He notes that U.S. aid programs will work with host countries to identify opportunities for support (9/7).