Equity in Health

Procedural hearings in asbestos case begin in UK

A PROCEDURAL hearing to limit the issues and determine the trial date and length of the asbestos case against Cape plc began in the London High Court yesterday. The court will determine the timetable of the trial. The high court in London was told at yesterday's hearing that more than 6500 South Africans had registered for claims in the multimillion-dollar compensation battle against Cape plc. However, more than 150 of the claimants have died since the case started.

Sexual Mores Fuel AIDS Spread: African Official

Attitudes toward sex and sexuality are at the core of the African AIDS pandemic, according to a leading South African health official. He argues that researchers and politicians must involve the African public in an open discussion of human behavior if they hope to combat the disease successfully.``Sex is regarded as a taboo in Africa--you don't speak openly about it,'' said Dr. Malegapuru William Makgoba, president of the Medical Research Council of South Africa. ``We all know that this is a sexually transmitted disease and that's the bottom line, and we're doing everything except focusing on the real major factor that determines whether or not you get the disease.''

SOUTH AFRICA: Rural communities fight back against HIV/AIDS

EASTERN CAPE, 21 May (IRIN) - The Daliwonga clinic in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province has become the area's best-known
landmark. The pristine brick-built structure stands in stark contrast to the dusty thatched huts that surround it. The clinic, funded by big business, was opened a year ago by former President Nelson Mandela, in his drive to
bring development to communities like Daliwonga, 50 km from the nearest tarred road.

Further details: /newsletter/id/28553
Talks on global AIDS plan near completion in advance of UN special session

With talks on a draft global plan of action to fight AIDS set to conclude on Friday, two of the chief negotiators said the text was near completion and should be ready for adoption by a General Assembly session next month. Ambassador Penny Wensley of Australia and Ambassador Ibra Deguène Ka of Senegal said agreement remained elusive on certain key issues, including financing the plan of action, but both expressed hope that progress would be achieved before the expected conclusion of the talks on Saturday.

The DA presents its own HIV/AIDS policy

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has set out steps it intends to take around HIV/AIDS that may have far-reaching implications for people living with HIV/AIDS, in its policy document released on Wednesday. Government’s approach has been simplistic and heavy-handed, the DA says. Although the DA accepts the health department's stance that it cannot supply antiretrovirals to all infected citizens, it says that there must be no compromise on providing antiretroviral drugs to pregnant mothers and rape survivors.


Violence - whether self-inflicted, interpersonal or collective - constitutes a global health problem of enormous dimensions, but much of it is preventable, an audience was told at a technical briefing followed by a discussion during the Fifty-fourth World Health Assembly.


In a joint effort to provide essential medicines at affordable prices, the World Health Organization and Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis have agreed to provide developing countries with a new treatment for drug resistant malaria. The drug, co-developed by Novartis, will serve as a powerful tool against an illness that afflicts over 300 million people and kills more than one million each year.

WHO urges countries to prevent a tobacco epidemic among women and girls

If countries don't implement serious measures soon, tobacco-related deaths among women are going to increase substantially. Exposure to second-hand smoke and aggressive tobacco marketing and promotion are among the factors leading to a potential epidemic of tobacco-related diseases among women, said the World Health Organisation ahead of World No Tobacco Day (31 May).


After eight days of intense deliberations the 54th World Health Assembly closed its business in Geneva today. The biggest event in the annual calendar for the World Health Organization (WHO), the Assembly charts the global course for the Organization and its 191 Member States in dealing with major public health threats. For the first time in the history of the Organization, the United Nations Secretary-General addressed the Assembly. In his AIDS-focused speech, Mr Kofi Annan outlined the structure of a multi-billion dollar Global AIDS and Health Fund to fight HIV/AIDS and "other infectious diseases that blight the prospects for many developing countries – starting with TB and malaria".