UNICEF Executive Director Visits Cholera-impacted Residents At Haiti Treatment Centre

During a visit to the Haitian capital yesterday, Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, spoke with cholera patients and heard firsthand their concerns.

The visit took place at the GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) in an impoverished area of the city. Lake also met with His Eminence Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas, Coordinator of ‘Religion for Peace’ an organization that is mobilizing Catholics, Protestant, and Voodoo religious communities throughout Haiti to support cholera prevention and healthcare practices.

Lake’s visit to Port-au-Prince was made in support of the UN community’s response to cholera, and Haitians themselves in their actions against the disease. The cholera epidemic, which emerged just two months ago, continues to spread throughout Haiti. It is now claiming lives in all 10 administrative departments.

The centre, led by Dr. William Pape, is part of a network of 72 cholera treatment centres and units established across Haiti by UNICEF and partners. UNICEF is also carrying out cholera prevention activities such as supporting 5,000 schools, 300 child-friendly nutrition centres, and more than 700 residential care centres by distributing soap, water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts, and training teachers and children on safe hygiene practices.

Lake emphasized several points during his visit:

1. Pledging the support of the United Nations, NGOs, and UNICEF in Haiti’s fight against cholera;

2. The key to combating cholera is mobilizing influential communities such as religious groups and leaders;

3. The most important partners in defeating cholera are Haitians themselves, and helping them understand that cholera is preventable and treatable;

4. Cholera can affect anyone, and those who are sick should not be afraid to receive help at CTCs;

5. Current political tensions should not interfere with efforts to control cholera, a view no doubt supported by all parties;

6. All humanitarian organizations should be allowed to work and have unfettered access to medical supplies and their distribution.

The suffering now being experienced by children and their families in Haiti, suffering brought about by the January earthquake, floods, and the current cholera epidemic, demand continued local and international commitment as well as political will.

“As always, and without exception, children are the most adversely impacted by crises such as this cholera epidemic and the January earthquake,” said Lake. “The responsibility we all share is to ensure that children and families are protected from these emergencies as well as from the recent political tensions.”

He stressed that the current environment of uncertainty and insecurity in Haiti places children and families at even greater physical risk and also inhibits the efforts of humanitarian agencies such as UNICEF.

Source:

UNICEF

Bush During Meeting With British Prime Minister Brown Calls On G8 To Fulfill Aid Commitments To Africa

President Bush on Monday during a press conference in London with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations should match aid commitments to Africa made by the U.S., the Kyodo/AOL News reports. Bush said that G8 leaders met last year and “discussed HIV and malaria in Africa, and they all came forth and said they would match the United States — except most nations haven’t matched the United States except for Great Britain.” He added that his “message to the G8″ during its summit in Japan next month is, “Looking forward to working with you, thanks for coming to the meeting, just remember that there are people needlessly dying on the continent of Africa today, and we expect you to be more than pledgemakers; we expect you to be check writers for humanitarian reasons.”

Brown at the press conference said that during the Japan summit, he will propose a plan, with the support of Bush, to recruit and train health workers for impoverished nations to prevent maternal deaths. Bush and Brown also said that they plan to call on G8 leaders to increase school enrollment in Africa (Kyodo/AOL News, 6/16).

Reprinted with kind permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

© 2008 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

New Surgical Technique Repairs Arthritic Ankle Damage

News from the 2005 Annual Scientific Conference of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons –

There’s good news for anyone with
painful arthritic ankles — a new surgical procedure imported from Europe is
showing encouraging results for relieving chronic arthritis pain without
taking away the overall movement and function of the joint.

The new ankle procedure was first reported in France and involves an
external-fixation procedure that applies tension to expand the joint and leave
room for new cartilage to form, thereby eliminating painful bone-on-bone
pressure, according to ACFAS President-elect James L. Thomas, DPM, FACFAS, a
foot and ankle surgeon practicing at the University of Alabama Birmingham.
“This is an exciting new approach for treating chronic ankle arthritis,” said
Thomas.

In an oral presentation at the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Annual Scientific Conference, Brad Lamm, DPM, AACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon
affiliated with Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, reported that ankle-joint
distraction with external fixation for treatment of ankle arthritis is
starting to gain acceptance among foot and ankle surgeons in the US, although
its use has been limited.

“Most patients with ankle arthritis want to preserve a functioning joint
and are looking for alternatives to ankle-fusion procedures and joint
replacements to relieve their pain,” said Lamm. “While fusion surgery has
been a mainstay for many years and works very well for pain relief, fusing the
ankle joint makes it immobile and permanently stiff. Ankle joint distraction
with external fixation preserves the joint, eliminates pain and increases
function,” he explained.

Though new for treating ankle arthritis, minimally invasive, external-
fixation techniques are widely used by foot and ankle surgeons to repair
fractures. Bones are immobilized with pins, screws or wires, which are
secured outside the skin with clamps and rods that form an external frame.

For treating ankle arthritis, wires inserted through the skin are attached
to the frame, and the resulting tension pulls apart the ankle joint, creating
space for new cartilage to replace what was destroyed by arthritis. Prior to
applying the fixators, the foot and ankle surgeon may perform ankle
arthroscopy to clean out arthritic tissue and bone spurs.

Most external-fixation surgeries are performed in less than three hours
and the risk of infection is minimal. The patient can walk with the frame in
place the day after surgery and the fixators remain in place for about four
months until new cartilage is in place.

Thomas noted that even though the initial experiences with external
fixation for chronic ankle arthritis have been encouraging, more long-term
studies are needed before the procedure becomes a mainstream treatment for
these patients.

For further information about foot and ankle conditions and treatments and
to locate a foot and ankle surgeon in your area, contact ACFAS at
FootPhysicians.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is the professional
organization for foot and ankle surgeons, doctors of podiatric medicine (DPM)
who are graduates of four-year podiatric medical colleges and have completed
surgical residencies. The organization is dedicated to developing surgical
standards for the care of the foot and ankle, sponsoring research, and
providing continuing education for its members.

American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
FootPhysicians

Discovery Of Small RNAs That Regulate Gene Expression And Protect The Genome

The list of short RNAs grows longer

RNA is best known as a working copy of the DNA sequence of genes. In this role, it’s a carrier of the genes’ instructions to the cell, which manufactures proteins according to information in the RNA molecule.

But molecular biologists have increasingly realized that many RNA snippets — so-called small RNAs — also directly influence which genes make proteins, and in some cases, how much protein. They’ve also found that some small RNAs play a unique role in protecting the integrity of genetic material.

Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have played a central role in these discoveries since the beginning of the decade. In recent weeks they have published additional findings adding to our knowledge of small RNAs, identifying a brand new class and clarifying how a known class acts to regulate gene activity.

“It turns out that there are more types of small RNA molecules than anyone initially suspected,” said Gregory J. Hannon, Ph.D., CSHL professor and pioneer in small RNA research. “And we are finding that each type that we discover acts in more ways than had previously been appreciated.”

Advanced Sequencing

RNA molecules consist of sequences of chemical units, or “bases,” that are copies of the DNA sequence. Each specific sequence can “recognize” related sequences in other RNA or DNA molecules. To regulate cellular activities, small RNA snippets, each containing 20 to 30 bases, join with special protein helpers to eliminate or modify target molecules. But of the billions of bases in a cell’s DNA, what determines which RNA snippets are chosen for this role”

Dr. Hannon and his collaborators are harnessing highly efficient new machines that determine the sequence of bases in millions of small RNA molecules simultaneously. They then scan the known genome to find matching sequences, as well as the sequences nearby. This original context is crucial to understanding why some snippets are chosen as regulators.

A New Class of RNA

Previously, researchers had recognized two classes of regulatory small RNA molecules in fruit flies, each with different protein partners. One class, called microRNAs, appears throughout the organism and acts to regulate the activity of many genes by joining with a special protein called Argonaute 1. A second class of RNA molecules, called piRNAs, occurs only in cells of the sex organs, and joins with different proteins, called Piwi proteins. Together, they act as a kind of immune system to suppress genetic interlopers called transposable elements, which were discovered at CSHL by Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock more than a half century ago, and which in certain cases can cause genomic havoc that underlies disease.

Dr. Hannon and his colleagues looked for RNA molecules that partner with a different protein, Argonaute 2, that belongs to the same family as Argonaute 1 and the Piwi proteins. Using advanced sequencing technology, they found that these small-RNA partners were distinct from either of the previously known classes of small RNAs. The new small-RNA class both modifies gene activity and suppresses transposable elements, thus serving as a defense mechanism.

These findings, the scientists write in a newly published paper in Nature, “expands the known repertoire” of small RNAs in fruit flies, and further blurs distinctions between the previously identified classes of small RNAs.

Pseudogenes: Not Just Junk

In related research, Hannon and his colleagues have published a paper announcing their discovery of a new source of regulatory RNA in mice. Many RNA sequences, such as microRNAs, are flagged as regulatory molecules because they physically fold on themselves. Special proteins recognize the resulting double-stranded RNA, and chemically slice it to release regulatory RNA snippets.

The CSHL team found that double-stranded structures also form from “pseudogenes.” Pseudogenes, in the past assumed to be useless “junk DNA,” are damaged copies of normal genes left over from previous genetic events. The researchers found that RNA copies of normal genes sometimes pair up with copies from the related pseudogenes, resulting in double-stranded RNAs that — far from being junk — are able to activate the cell’s regulatory apparatus.

The new findings add another layer of complexity to our understanding of the byzantine processes by which small RNA molecules influence genetic activity. “Viewed in combination,” Dr. Hannon and colleagues write, “our studies suggest an evolutionarily widespread adoption of double-stranded RNAs as regulatory molecules.”

“An endogenous small interfering RNA pathway in Drosophila” appeared in the advance online edition of Nature on May 7. The complete citation is: Benjamin Czech, Colin D. Malone1, Rui Zhou, Alexander Stark, Catherine Schlingeheyde, Monica Dus, Norbert Perrimon, Manolis Kellis, James A. Wohlschlegel, Ravi Sachidanandam, Gregory J. Hannon, and Julius Brennecke. The paper is available online at dx.doi/10.1038/nature07007.

“Pseudogene-derived small interfering RNAs regulate gene expression in mouse oocytes” appeared in the April 10, 2008 online edition of Nature. The complete citation is: Oliver H. Tam, Alexei A. Aravin, Paula Stein, Angelique Girard, Elizabeth P. Murchison, Sihem Cheloufi, Emily Hodges, Martin Anger, Ravi Sachidanandam, Richard M. Schultz, and Gregory J. Hannon. The paper is available online at dx.doi/10.1038/nature06904.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, nonprofit research and education institution dedicated to exploring molecular biology and genetics in order to advance the understanding and ability to diagnose and treat cancers, neurological diseases, and other causes of human suffering.

For more information, visit cshl/.

Source: Jim Bono

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Walgreens Offers Medication Preparedness Advice As Hurricane Earl Approaches The East Coast

As East Coast residents and vacationers prepare to evacuate areas in the path of Hurricane Earl, Walgreens would like to provide the following tips for assuring prescription needs are met during the storm.

1. If you evacuate, get to a safe location first and refill your medication at a pharmacy there. This allows you to avoid potentially long lines at your local pharmacy, and you won’t needlessly delay your evacuation. Walgreens has more than 7,500 locations nationwide, and all locations can access your patient record, making any Walgreens your neighborhood Walgreens. Patients can find the nearest store by calling 1-800-WALGREENS or going to Walgreens.

2. Take a waterproof bag with your current medication – even if the bottle is empty. The information on the bottle label will help the pharmacist refill your medicine once you arrive at your destination. Heat, humidity and sunlight can degrade the effectiveness of medicine, so try to protect it from extreme weather conditions.

3. Keep a written record of your current prescriptions in your valuable papers file. If you’re taking several prescription drugs, it’s an especially good idea to keep a record of your current dosage and doctor’s contact information. Walgreens patients can register online at Walgreens and print out this information directly from their patient profile.

Users of web-enabled cell phones can also register for Walgreens mobile applications to conveniently order prescription refills while on the go and easily locate the nearest Walgreens pharmacy. For registration or more information on Walgreens mobile applications, go here.

Walgreens also is a member of ICERx (In Case of Emergency Prescriptions), a secure prescription information network available to pharmacists and doctors during a national emergency. As a member, Walgreens pharmacists can fill prescriptions and access information for hurricane-affected patients even if the patient normally uses another pharmacy.

Source:

Walgreens

New research targets treatment for dementia and brain injuries, Australia

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) researchers have identified a process that could lead to development of repair mechanisms for people suffering from dementia and acquired brain injury.

The research reveals discoveries in the hippocampus – a part of the brain commonly associated with memory function – where the brain’s ability to regenerate nerve cells or neurons is known to degenerate with age.

The study by Dr Natalie Bull and Professor Perry Bartlett, from The University of Queensland-based institute, features on the front cover of the prestigious Washington-based Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr Bull’s and Professor Bartlett’s research demonstrated adult mice produce multi-purpose, or progenitor, cells in the hippocampus.

“The research suggests while progenitor cells in mice do not behave like stem cells, which have the ability to self-renew, the progenitor cells are nevertheless capable of generating nerve cells in the hippocampus,” Professor Bartlett said.

Professor Bartlett, who is also QBI director, said the latest discovery in the hippocampus was further evidence the human nervous system had the potential capacity to respond to its outside environment by generating new nerve cells.

Established in 2003, UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute is one of the world’s leading research institute’s studying the fundamental mechanisms that regulate brain function.

In 1999, a team led by Professor Bartlett was the first to identify stem cells in the brain and then the first to isolate those cells in 2001.

In September 2004, QBI discovered a molecule that blocks regrowth of damaged nerve cell processes – research considered important in developing potential therapies for people with head and spinal injuries.

Researchers at the QBI are also working on treatments for Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s and depression.

Professor Bartlett is an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, UQ’s Foundation Chair in Molecular Neuroscience and was recently elected a Fellow of The Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Perry Bartlett
Research Australia
researchaustralia.au

Statement On The Fukushima Incident, UK

The Agency’s radiation protection experts are keeping the situation in Japan under close review and are advising UK government accordingly.

On the basis of current information, the public health protection measures taken by the authorities in Japan are appropriate and in accord with international protocols and procedures. People following advice from the Japanese authorities and UK citizens who have not been inside Fukushima exclusion zone should not have been exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation.

HPA response to explosions at the Japanese nuclear power plant

Source:

Health Protection Agency

Myriad Genetics Completes Enrollment In U.S. Phase 3 Clinical Trial Of Flurizan For Alzheimer’s Disease

Myriad Genetics, Inc.
(Nasdaq: MYGN) announced today that it has completed enrollment in its U.S.
Phase 3 clinical trial of Flurizan(TM) for patients with Alzheimer’s
disease.

The U.S. Phase 3 trial is the largest placebo-controlled study ever
undertaken of an investigational medicine in patients with Alzheimer’s
disease, with a total of approximately 1,600 patients enrolled. Patients
enrolled in the study take 800 mg twice daily of either Flurizan or placebo
and attend periodic physician visits for analysis of their performance on
memory, cognition and behavioral tests. The three clinical endpoints of the
study are identical to those of the completed Phase 2 trial, in which
patients experienced cognitive and behavioral benefit ranging from 34% to
48%. Two of the three endpoints were statistically significant in the Phase
2 study. The U.S. Phase 3 trial is designed with an 18-month study period,
however, an interim review of the data after 12 months has the potential to
halt the trial early if exceptional results are achieved. As was the case
with the Phase 2 study, all patients in the U.S. Phase 3 study are
permitted to take current standard of care medicines in addition to
Flurizan or placebo. Therefore, benefits seen in the trials are over and
above any benefit provided by the current standard of care drugs.

Encouraging data from the Phase 2 study, and a total of over 600
patient-years of data with Flurizan, led Myriad to continue accelerated
development of Flurizan and to recently initiate a European Phase 3 trial
that will study approximately 800 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease.
The Flurizan Phase 2 study is the only controlled, blinded study of a drug
added to current treatments, either on the market or in clinical
development, to show continued statistically significant benefit in
Alzheimer’s disease patients over a period of more than 12 months. The
Company believes that this is due to the mechanism of action of Flurizan in
addressing the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Flurizan is the
first in a new class of investigative drugs known as Selective Amyloid
Lowering Agents (SALAs). This mechanism is different from the currently
marketed drugs for Alzheimer’s disease that provide only a limited,
temporary cognitive boost without affecting the course of the disease
itself. Flurizan is not an NSAID and does not inhibit COX1 or COX2 enzymes.
With a safety database consisting of over 600 patient-years of exposure
data, Myriad has not seen gastrointestinal toxicity attributable to
Flurizan.

“We believe that this trial is very well powered to demonstrate the
efficacy of Flurizan in treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said Adrian Hobden,
Ph.D., President of Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “We look forward to
confirming our belief that Flurizan can help patients with Alzheimer’s
disease retain memory and cognition longer and experience fewer psychiatric
events, through this large, well-controlled Phase 3 study.”

The Phase 2 study of Flurizan showed that patients taking 800 mg twice
daily continued to benefit over 24 months in tests of memory loss,
cognition and behavior. In addition, those on Flurizan had a fewer
psychiatric events such as aggression, depression, confusion and agitation.
Not only were there fewer psychiatric events among patients on Flurizan,
but also the average time before a patient experienced such an event was
significantly longer. This is an important finding for both patients and
caregivers because these types of events are often difficult for caregivers
and a frequent reason for transitioning the patient to a nursing care
facility. By delaying the time at which a patient must enter a care
facility, we believe there is potential for significant savings in the
overall cost of the disease.

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the
development of novel healthcare products. The Company develops and markets
molecular diagnostic products, and is developing and intends to market
therapeutic products. Myriad’s news and other information are available on
the Company’s Web site at myriad/.

Flurizan is a trademark of Myriad Genetics, Inc. in the United States
and other countries.

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the
meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including
statements relating to the efficacy and safety of Flurizan; our ability to
demonstrate the efficacy of Flurizan in the U.S. Phase 3 trial; our belief
that the Phase 3 trial is powered to demonstrate the efficacy of Flurizan
and that the trial will confirm our belief that Flurizan can help
Alzheimer’s patients retain memory and cognition longer and experience
fewer psychiatric events; and the potential for Flurizan to help reduce the
overall cost of Alzheimer’s disease. These forward looking statements are
based on management’s current expectation and are subject to certain risks
and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from
those set forth or implied by forward-looking statements. These include,
but are not limited to, uncertainties as to the extent of future government
regulation of Myriad Genetics’ business; uncertainties as to whether Myriad
Genetics and its collaborators will be successful in developing, and
obtaining regulatory approval for, and commercial acceptance of,
therapeutic compounds; the risk that markets will not exist for therapeutic
compounds that Myriad Genetics develops or if such markets exist, that
Myriad Genetics will not be able to sell compounds, which it develops, at
acceptable prices; and the risk that the Company will not able to sustain
revenue growth for its predictive medicine business and products. These and
other risks are identified in the Company’s filings with the Securities and
Exchange Commission, including the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K, as
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 28, 2005. All
information in this press release is as of August 22, 2006, and Myriad
undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

Myriad Genetics, Inc.
myriad/

Fatigue Reduced In Auto-Immune Conditions By Low Impact Aerobic Exercise Says Multi-study Review

Low impact aerobic exercise, such as walking and cycling, can effectively reduce fatigue in adults with chronic auto-immune conditions, according to a research review in the latest issue of the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing.

A team led by nurse researcher Dr Jane Neill from Flinders University in Adelaide, examined 162 research studies published between 1987 and 2006, analysing 36 in detail.

They discovered that there was evidence that people with conditions like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus could benefit from exercise that gradually increased in intensity, duration and frequency.

“Fatigue is a major symptom in all three conditions and can cause a range of physical, psychological and social problems” says Dr Neill.

“Our review showed that aerobic exercise can significantly reduce fatigue and that some behavioural, nutritional and physiological interventions are also very effective.”

Studies reviewed by the team tested 38 interventions on more than 1,700 patients. 24 resulted in statistically reduced fatigue or increased vitality levels.

The effective aerobic exercise programmes lasted an average of 12 weeks, with participants exercising for 30 to 60 minutes, three times a week.

Group interventions involved supervised exercise classes, including warm up, low impact aerobic activity and strengthening or stretching exercises before cool down.

Home-based programmes made use of exercise bicycles, walking, cycling, jogging or swimming.

“There is good evidence that people experiencing fatigue from chronic auto-immune conditions can benefit from a range of non-medicinal interventions” concludes Dr Neill.

“Other effective strategies, apart from aerobic exercise, include health education and cognitive behavioural therapy.”

“Cooling techniques and nutritional supplements such as acetyl-L-carnitine and fish oil showed a number of benefits, but need to be looked at in more detail.”

The authors suggest electro-magnetic field devices also warrant further investigation, due to promising results.

But they add that low-cost, low technology interventions that promote self-management of fatigue are probably more appropriate and feasible than those requiring specialised equipment or professional expertise.

They stress that any exercise programmes must be suitable for each individual and take account of issues that affect how people manage their conditions, like reduced mobility, pain, nausea and stress.

“Healthcare professionals should ask people about their fatigue and assess each person’s symptoms” adds Dr Neill. “People with fatigue should be encouraged to design their own exercise routines based on awareness of their individual fatigue patterns and daily priorities, while group activities must take account of the changing nature of fatigue over time.”

Previous research suggests that 70 per cent of people with multiple sclerosis suffer daily fatigue, 57 per cent of people with rheumatoid arthritis experience fatigue and 81 per cent of those with system lupus erythematosus find fatigue moderately to severely disabling.

“Any measures that can reduce people’s fatigue and improve their quality of life are to be welcomed. Our review shows that some interventions have great potential, particularly in the short term, but that more research is needed to measure their long-term effectiveness” says Dr Neill.

* Effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions for fatigue in adults with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus: a systematic review. Neill J, Belan I and Ried K. Journal of Advanced Nursing. Volume 56.6, pages 617-635.

* Journal of Advanced Nursing, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2006, is read by experienced nurses, midwives, health visitors and advanced nursing students in over 80 countries. It informs, educates, explores, debates and challenges the foundations of nursing health care knowledge and practice worldwide. Edited by Professor Alison Tierney, it is published 24 times a year by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, part of the international Blackwell Publishing group. journalofadvancednursing/

Contact: Annette Whibley

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

UN Has Over $40 Billion To Save The Lives Of Over 16 Million Women And Children

Over $40 billion have been committed so far to improve health services globally, as a huge drive to save the lives of more than 16 million women and children starts today, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health was launched today at United Nation’s headquarters during the summit on the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr Ban said:

The 21st century must be and will be different for every woman and every child.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a series of economic and social objectives for 2015, which also include some health aims:

Goal 4 aims to bring down the mortality rate for children up to the age of 5 by two-thirds.
Goal 5 aims to reduce maternal mortality rates by 75% compared to 1990.

In a press release the UN announced that the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health’s launch, which included foundations, international organizations, civil society groups, research groups and the private sector is a huge step towards filling the gap between what is needed and currently provided to protect women’s and children’s health worldwide. Over $40 billion has been committed over the next five years.

The Secretary-General noted:

We know what works to save women’s and children’s lives, and we know that women and children are critical to all of the MDGs. Today we are witnessing the kind of leadership we have long needed.

The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health is expected to prevent the deaths of over 15 million children up to the age of five, as well as 33 million unwanted pregnancies, and the deaths of 740,000 women from pregnancy and childbirth complications between 2011 and 2015.

A team of organizations, including UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and the World Bank have got together to try to make sure the project is successful. They will identify and connect resources to the most needy people, based on the priorities set by countries and their national health plans.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, said:

“The Global Strategy asks us to be smart, strategic and resourceful as never before. By integrating their actions, the eight international health-related agencies will strengthen capacities across the board, in ways that meet the comprehensive needs of women and children.

Source: United Nations