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Over the next three years, the Global Fund is on track to save eight million lives because thirty-five some odd countries came together to do the right thing. It is a truly remarkable achievement. The countries that contributed should be commended.
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Older women/grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa are rarely recognized or included in programs and policies addressing HIV/AIDS, health-care strengthening and development assistance. Yet they are at the centre of the pandemic.
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By the time Loyce was 10, both her mother and her younger brother had died of AIDS and tuberculosis. She didn't know she was suffering from the same diseases until she was diagnosed two years later, and her young and difficult life was once again turned upside down.
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Global leaders pledged over US$12.9 billion dollars which will help save 8 million lives and stop an additional 300 million new infections worldwide by 2019, as well as contribute to ending these deadly diseases as epidemics by 2030. This is truly a promising horizon.
As Montreal gears up to host the biggest leaders in global health, it is our hope that Canada will go well beyond provision of international aid, and find a way to harness the abundant scientific talent in Canada. Doing so will not only amplify the financial contributions by Canadians, but also show our global solidarity.
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More than half of the world's child deaths occur in fragile places like South Sudan and Afghanistan. Yet Canada only commits 25 per cent of its official development budget to these areas. To go the distance to reach the world's most vulnerable people, the figure needs to change.
This time of year, parents are acutely aware of the complexities of raising a child. But imagine if another variable -- a potentially deadly disease -- could affect your child at any moment. For millions of people around the world, uncertainty is a daily reality.
Dollars are desperately needed to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, but they will not stretch very far if the international trade barriers that currently restrict access to essential medicines continue to prevent low-income people and countries from getting the treatments they need.
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According to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, AIDS-related deaths have dropped by 45 per cent, malaria death rates are down by 60 per cent and tuberculosis mortality has diminished by 47 per cent. These are exciting achievements, but not nearly as exciting as the possibility of ending those diseases for good.
In many parts of Africa, there are women who have no way of negotiating the choice, or use, of contraceptives with a partner. There are women in relationships who have no option of refusing sex, nor the power to require use of a condom. While HIV infections among the general population of eastern and southern Africa have been plummeting, it has resurfaced and started to grow among adolescent girls and young women.
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It's in everyone's interest to take a global and strongly humanitarian approach to eliminating HIV, TB and malaria; we need to think beyond the confines of nation-states in relation to diseases that have no respect for borders. The human costs of these three devastating illnesses are too high.
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The most vivid memory I have of my mum is her groaning during the last few minutes of her life, as she battled AIDS. This is my story. And I'm not alone.
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When it comes to ensuring health and well-being around the globe, no one can be left behind. This ambitious goal is at stake as global leaders come together in Montreal this month to pledge commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) for the organization's 2017-2019 funding cycle.
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In the most affected countries, girls account for more than 80 per cent of all new HIV infection cases among adolescents. This is an alarming statistic. Entire generations of young women are seeing their lives shattered before they even begin because, through lack of education and, primarily, the violence they suffer, their rights are not respected.
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A recent study undertaken by scientists in Ethiopia came to a startling conclusion: Chickens seemed to be immune to mosquitoes, showing fewer bites than any other animal. So the question is, of course: Why? And can that be replicated in humans? The answer isn't quite so straightforward.
Some of the pledges mirror old commitments.
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Children under five are more at risk -- they account for 70 per cent of all malaria deaths. More than 300,000 children died last year from an illness that's preventable with things as simple as clean water sources. Let's make sure that kids don't have to fight off a disease that racks their bodies with fever, pain and nausea. Let's stop malaria before it bites.
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This year, the World Health Organization is calling on the global community to "end malaria for good" by lowering the global malaria burden over the next 15 years, and reducing malaria death rates by at least 90%. We still have a long way to go, but the end of the malaria epidemic may finally be in sight, and could even be achieved within our lifetime.
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Mosquitoes are re-emerging as a serious North American health threat as carriers of the West Nile Virus. In the developing world, mosquitoes pose an even more menacing danger. There, they transmit malaria, the deadliest disease borne by any insect or animal anywhere. This year, malaria deaths are expected to spike upwards, after more than a decade of steady decline. The reason: Ebola. The fragile health systems in West Africa have been stretched to the limit in the Ebola fight, and routine measures to combat malaria have gone by the wayside.
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Canada made a concerted effort to end malaria deaths in this country a century ago and is now supporting efforts to do the same around the world as part of leadership on MNCH. I'm optimistic that the discussion around 'no missed opportunities' will help move us much more quickly towards a world free of preventable deaths among women and children and one free of diseases like malaria.
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In the coming month, close to a half million Canadian snowbirds, will seek out new homes in the southern United States. While the promise of a gentler environment is obvious, there are risks with the semi-annual migration. The lack of a freezing season means a number of pests thrive throughout the year including the ever annoying mosquito.
Mosquito-borne diseases kill 725,000 people a year -- including one child in Africa every minute from malaria alone -- making the seemingly innocuous bugs responsible for more human deaths than every other creature combined.
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Mosquito bites mean something different in many parts of the world. Working for an international aid and development agency, I've learned about the dangers of malaria, an infectious disease transmitted by the bite of an infected female mosquito. On World Malaria Day, I think about the millions of children who have no bug spray -- not ever.
For first-year University of Toronto student Jessie MacAlpine, finding a potential treatment for malaria was almost too easy. First, she stumbled upon an herbicide compound through research in high school, then she read an article about how herbicides could be used to treat malaria, and then the "Eureka!" moment came.
Two third of malaria cases in South-East Asia occur in India. According to the World Health Organization, in 2011, 2.15-million parasitologically confirmed malaria cases were reported, with three countries accounting for 95 per cent of confirmed cases: India, Myanmar and Indonesia.
With more funding for research and development of new insecticide and for distribution of preventative tools, the world has the capacity to eradicate this horrific disease, malaria, from our psyche. The question is, do we have the will to do so?
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On World Malaria Day, it's important to remember that half a million children die each year from malaria -- through no fault of their own. Those under age five are especially vulnerable, as their bodies haven't yet developed immunity to deadly infection.
According to an article in the New York Times, "emerging diseases have quadrupled in the last half-century." The increase is mainly due to human encroachment into and destruction of wildlife habitat. For example, one study concluded that a four per cent increase in Amazon deforestation led to a 50 per cent increase in malaria because mosquitoes, which transmit the disease, thrive in the cleared areas.