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Immunizations for all: Q&A with GAVI Alliance's Dagfinn Høybråten

Dagfinn Høybråten is the Board chair of GAVI alliance, an organization that aims to save lives by increasing immunization in developing countries. While at the Child Survival Call to Action Conference in Washington, DC this month, he spoke with GlobalPost about why he believes vaccines are essential to Secretary Clinton’s goal of ending preventable child deaths.
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A girl receives polio vaccination drops from a medical volunteer during an immunisation drive in Amritsar, India. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)
Dagfinn Høybråten is the Board chair of GAVI alliance, an organization that aims to save lives by increasing immunization in developing countries. He also serves as a vice president of Norwegian Parliament and is Norway’s former health minister. While at the Child Survival Call to Action Conference in Washington, DC earlier this month, he spoke with GlobalPost about why he believes vaccines are essential to Secretary Clinton’s goal of ending preventable child deaths.
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A Daughter's Journey, Part III: Mother-to-child transmission in Johannesburg

Tracy Jarrett takes an extraordinary journey — from Chicago to Cape Town, South Africa — to learn about the disease that took her mother's life and forever changed her own. This is what she is finding in Johannesburg, her first stop in South Africa.
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(Emily Judem/GlobalPost)
JOHANNESBURG—From the outside, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, on the outskirts of Soweto township, looks like a prison. A metal fence with security checkpoints surrounds the hospital’s large yellow brick buildings. Despite appearances, though, this research hospital has served more than three million people. It is the largest research hospital in southern Africa and among the largest in the world. When I arrived in Johannesburg, USAID representatives Shelagh O’Rourke and Themba Mathebula met me at the airport. They had arranged for me to visit Baragwanath Hospital, which is home to a USAID-funded HIV clinic that focuses on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
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Thanking Goodness: Community care workers and HIV/AIDS patients help each other in South Africa

PEPFAR is moving to support local leadership and implementation capacity for AIDS care and treatment. And given the South African health system’s weaknesses in the face of the magnitude of AIDS and TB, that means an investment in people like Goodness Henama –– lay listeners with just a few weeks of training.
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In Wallacedene township near Cape Town, Margaret Hans, here with her son Carlos, receives a weekly visit from community care worker Goodness Henama. (Alex Duval Smith/GlobalPost)
CAPE TOWN –– Margaret Hans, 25, shuffles to the door of her simple but immaculate two-room township home. Thin and with drawn facial features, she is still weak from tuberculosis - the all-too-familiar opportunistic scourge that piggy-backs on the South African HIV epidemic. It’s Tuesday, which means that community care worker Goodness Henama, 26, is making her weekly visit. Today, Hans has someone to talk to. In any country, quality of life is all in the detail. But in South Africa, the bigger picture is dominant: as of 2009, 5.6 million people were living with HIV, and the country has been rushing to catch up on the roll out of anti-retroviral drugs and coping with the sheer social impact of 1.9 million orphans due to AIDS. How, then, is there time to listen to Margaret?
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A Daughter's Journey, Part II: Notes from New York

Tracy Jarrett takes an extraordinary journey — from Chicago to Cape Town, South Africa — to learn about the disease that took her mother's life and forever changed her own. New York City is her second stop along the way.
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(Emily Judem/GlobalPost)

NEW YORK — Cape Town is worlds away from Chicago, and before I head to South Africa I want to speak with the movers and shakers of HIV prevention and treatment in American cities — where HIV infection rates rival those in southern Africa — about what they think are the “needs improvement” areas for treating the virus in the US.

Dr. Victoria Sharp, who works in HIV clinical care and management at St. Luke’s hospital in Manhattan and who currently serves as president of the board of HealthRight International, told me that despite our success in treating and preventing HIV in the US, there is still much to learn.

“We have multiple tools in our toolkit,” she said, but she does not believe that we are using them to the best of our ability.

“We don’t always do a good job of linking people to treatment,” she explained. She gave an example of a woman who tested HIV positive and then was asked to wait five weeks for the next open appointment before beginning treatment.

“That is called a non-appointment,” she said. “It is so far in the future that people move on and forget to take action."

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The case for condoms: Washington, DC's public distribution campaign

Washington, DC is one of only a handful of US cities with public sector condom distribution campaigns. Why are there so few, while in other parts of the world, they are so common?
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The homepage of Washington, DC's Rubber Revolution Campaign website (Screengrab)
This website catches your eye. It boasts fluorescent links that direct you to “condom quizzes” and “condom university.” Its homepage says you can win a free ipad if you star in your own condom video. And its explanatory text reads, “We want to get those rubbers out of your wallet, remove them from your purses and pull them out from under the beds of every ward in the city.” It’s called the Rubber Revolution Campaign. And it’s run by the Department of Health in Washington, DC.
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A Daughter's Journey, Part I: Seeking answers on HIV/AIDS

Tracy Jarrett takes an extraordinary journey — from Chicago to Cape Town, South Africa — to learn about the disease that took her mother's life and forever changed her own.
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(Emily Judem/GlobalPost)
We are sitting in the hotel restaurant celebrating my fourth birthday with chef Mickey Mouse. My wavy brown hair is pulled back in a bow that my mom tied perfectly just hours before. Her thinning brown hair hangs delicately above her shoulders. We have the same lean, ear-to-ear smile. That trip to Disney World was the last time we ever traveled together. A few months later she became too sick to leave home. Despite her hair loss and frequent trips to the hospital, she never looked sick to me — perhaps because of my childhood naiveté.
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Child survival conference sets zero-death goal

It is a season of sky-high goals in global health. A conference called Child Survival Call to Action held at Georgetown University on Thursday added the new aspiration of reducing all child deaths in a generation that can be treated with existing medicines and therapies.
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Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, spoke at the Child Survival Call to Action conference. (John Donnelly/GlobalPost)

An AIDS-free generation. Eliminating malaria. And now ending all preventable child deaths.

It is a season of sky-high goals in global health, and a conference called Child Survival Call to Action held at Georgetown University on Thursday added the new aspiration of reducing all child deaths in a generation that can be treated with existing medicines and therapies.
But is it possible? And do those in the global health field need to set such high goals in order to get progress?

Most here – although not all – said yes to both questions.

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Examining the Global Fund: Successes, failures and challenges ahead

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation held a live webcast discussing the recent changes to the Global Fund, an international financing institution that supports international prevention, treatment and care programs for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
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The Kaiser Family Foundation held a live webcast yesterday discussing the recent changes to the Global Fund, an international financing institution that supports international prevention, treatment, and care programs for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Panelists discussed the fund's new strategy and what this strategy means for the global fight against these three diseases.
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USAID's Rajiv Shah: ‘End preventable child deaths in a generation’

On the eve of the Child Survival Call to Action, Rajiv Shah speaks about the need to focus efforts on five countries that have 50 percent of all preventable child deaths.
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Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)
Rajiv Shah, administrator for the US Agency for International Development, spoke with GlobalPost’s John Donnelly on the eve of the Child Survival Call to Action, held in Washington on Thursday and Friday. Shah talked about the need to focus efforts on five countries that have 50 percent of all preventable child deaths. But he said this new effort will not mimic the US global AIDS initiative, which focused efforts on 15 countries, and instead will rely on many governments’ commitments to saving the lives of children. Currently, experts estimate that 7.6 million children die needlessly each year from preventable causes.
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Cuba injects doctor diplomacy into Africa

HAVANA — Africa is a growth market for the world’s best-known Cuban brand after Havana Club rum and Cohiba cigars. That would be Cuba Rx, also known as Havana’s doctor diplomacy.
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