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Hard Choices in HIV Treatment for Malawi

Malawi is facing an ugly AIDS treatment dilemma. They Ministry of Health has decided to change national treatment standards to meet WHO guidelines for optimal HIV care. That means adding new drugs to the treatment regimen and starting HIV treatment when a patient’s CD4 count, a measure of immune system strength, drops below 350 rather than waiting for it to sink to 200. It will also cost three times as much.

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FAO Frees Data

The open data trend continues to accelerate. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today that it is granting free and open access to its central data repository.  According to FAO, the database, FAOSTAT, is “the world's largest and most comprehensive statistical database on food, agriculture, and hunger.”

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An Argument Against the Obama Global Health Initiative

A new article in the journal AIDS argues against the Obama Global Health Initiative. The authors make the argument that the AIDS epidemic has a substantial impact on health systems, and that PEPFAR and support for HIV/AIDS care supports the health sector in general. They point out that “In Southern Africa, where HIV prevalence is the highest worldwide, HIV-related diseases monopolize more than half of all hospital beds.

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Melinda Gates on Microsavings

It turns out that microcredit is not just for developing small businesses and raising incoe levels. One of the major benefits of microcredit is the way it helps people survive emergencies and unexpected expenses. Far better to take a loan to cover medical bills, for example, than to kill an income-producing animal like a cow or sell necessary assets. However, microcredit isn’t the only solution to that kind of problem. Savings are equally – or more – effective in an emergency.

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Traditional Birth Attendants Persist in Uganda

Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) are one of the trickiest topics in global health. On the one hand, they are a popular, affordable option for women who are unable or unwilling to use conventional medical care. On the other hand, they are often untrained and may do more harm than good to mothers giving birth. Recent developments in Uganda make that dilemma very clear.

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Bangladesh and Our Global Future

Agriculture researchers in Bangladesh have released a new report on climate change. They predict that if nothing is done, rice production will dramatically decline by 2050, just as the nation’s population is peaking. As a hot, low-lying, agricultural nation, Bangladesh is especially vulnerable to climate change.