|Happy New Year! Welcome to the fourth edition of the Irish Forum for Global Health newsletter- your one stop shop for all things global health related including information on news, events, research, programmes, education, policy and publication.
It is over thirty years since AIDS was first described, and the impact of the pandemic has been devastating. Over 25 million people have died from the disease. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 14 million children have been orphaned as a result of AIDS. In the countries most affected, the epidemic has reduced life expectancy by more than 20 years and has slowed, and even reversed, economic growth.
Although we have made substantive inroads in many respects over the last 10 years, most notably by putting over 8 million people in low and middle income countries on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment, there are now more people living with HIV than ever before. 34 million in 2011, 3.3 million of whom were children. There were 2.5 million new infections and 1.7 million deaths in 2011 alone, of which 1.2 million in sub-Saharan Africa. Women account for almost 60% in Sub Saharan Africa. As IFGH wrote on 13 December, AIDS remains the leading cause of death among young women globally, and the second-leading cause of mortality for young men.
I was at the Programme Coordinating Board of UNAIDS in the middle of December. It is an extraordinary forum. Rich countries sit with poor countries from all over the world, corduroyed specialists with pin-striped diplomats, and most crucially representatives of vulnerable populations such as sex workers, men-who-have-sex-with-men and injecting drug users. Many are extremely passionate; there are often very opposing views and frequently tensions boil over. But we all work towards the same vision, the three zeros: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. For the first time there are now many people who think that this vision may actually become reality.
It is twenty-four years since we, as a global community, started to mark World AIDS Day on the 1st of December, to commemorate the people and the effort. Preventing and responding to HIV and AIDS continues to be a major global health priority. There is a continued need for international solidarity and for Ireland’s support to tackle the causes and consequences of the epidemic. As Joe Costello, TD, Minister of State for Trade and Development, said during the World AIDS Day event in the University of Limerick: “We must do all in our power to support people affected by HIV and work hard to prevent it. This is why Ireland will continue to advocate for a global response on HIV and we will continue to prioritise HIV in our development programmes.”
Douglas Hamilton, Irish Aid/IFGH Member
Employment Opportunity with the IFGH: Communications Coordinator
Do you have strong knowledge of global health issues? Are you proactive and self-motivating? Are you an expert in Web 2.0 and and internet communications? If so, the IGFH is looking for qualified and motivated candidates for the position of Communications Coordinator.
This role is a paid, part-time position that will allow the applicant to contribute to the Irish Forum for Global Health as well as the European ESTHER Alliance. For more information about the opportunity and details about how to apply please visit the job listing on our website.
Irish Aid Father Michael Kelly World AIDS Day
To commemorate World AIDS Day 2012, Irish Aid in collaboration with the IFGH and University of Limerick, hosted the Irish Aid Father Michael Kelly World AIDS Day Event on November 28. The event, entitled 'Education, sports and music - social vaccines against AIDS' included insightful and heartfelt talks about HIV in Limerick and Zambia. These were given by a diverse array of people Father Michael Kelly, Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello, TD, Professor Sarah Moore, Red Ribbon Project's Ann Mason, Dr Busi Mooka and Rugby Player Marcus Horan. Attendees also experienced the joy of music through the entertainment provided by Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
Presentations from each speaker can be found here
Pictures are on our Flickr page
Videos can be found on our Youtube page
KC Brynne Gilmore's article can be found here
Scaling Up Nutrition in Fragile Health and Community Systems
The Scaling Up Nutrition in Fragile Health and Community Systems learning seminar was presented by Concern Worldwide in collaboration with the Irish Forum for Global Health and the Development Studies Association of Ireland on December 10, 2012. The seminar focused on approaches to strengthening health systems in ‘fragile’ contexts where the burden of child and maternal mortality, morbidity and undernutrition are generally highest. Speakers included Dr. David Weakliam, Dr. Elaine Byrne, Connell Foley, Kate Golden, Regine Kopplow, Megan Christensen, Michelle Seibou, Mairead Petersen and Sinead O'Mahony.
Presentations are available on our website
KC Rinette Reimer's article can be found here.
Speak Your World
Key Correspondents (KC) aim to give a voice to the voiceless and to advocate for change, as the students attending the Key Correspondent Workshop on December 6th found out. KCs Brynne Gilmore and Nadine Ferris France taught on advocating, writing articles and interviewing people. Special guest, Ruairi Brugha, joined to group for a bit to share about his experience as a KC. Students left excited about the opportunities as a KC, as one student said, when asked what they liked most, "the opportunities available and how to use them".
GLOBAL HEALTH NEWS
Childhood HIV is in Danger of Becoming a Neglected Disease
Some experts warn that the success of reducing the number of children born with HIV is a danger of leaving children who already have the disease with poor access to treatment. The market for paediatric formulations of HIV drugs is small and unprofitable. Emma Seery, from Oxfam, said that it "was 'outrageous' that children's access to HIV drugs depended on there being a viable market." The full article can be found on the European AIDS Treatment Group website.