Health: News Briefs

Article excerpt

Womens' Health Care

The Tibet Autonomous Region of China has established a health care network covering all urban and rural areas, with health care centers and stations for women and children available in 48 prefectures and countries.

More than 100 hospitals at or above the county level have established gynecology and obstetrics departments, and 110 townships, or more than 60 percent of the total, have opened health care centers for women and children.

Constantly improving health care for women and children over the past four decades has reduced the region's infant mortality rate from 430 per thousand to 37 per thousand. In addition, the mortality rate for pregnant women has dropped from 50 per thousand to 3 per thousand. The average life expectancy of local women has grown from 36 to 65 years.

Healthcare Safety Net

The European Commission has cleared humanitarian aid worth 7 million ECU (U.S. $7.7 million) to help provide a healthcare safety net in Cuba. The aid, managed by the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable non-governmental organizations over the next year to carry out programs targeted at those most vulnerable to the shortcomings of the system.

This program, ECHO's fifth Global Plan for the country, targets very specific groups who have been made particularly vulnerable as a result: the chronically ill, children, pregnant women, and senior citizens.

HIV Infection Discoveries

Soon after the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enters a person's body, the virus sets up shop in resting (nondividing) CD4+ T cells, according to researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Within the safe havens of resting CD4+ T cells, the virus may persist for years, despite highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which is generally a combination of three drugs, including a protease inhibitor.

According to LIR Chief and NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., "Latently infected CD4+ T cells are potential sources of new viral replication if a patient stops therapy or is unable to adhere to the proper treatment regimen. We now know that these reservoirs are established very early in the course of infection."

Molecular Target Identified

In a study with major implications for improving tuberculosis (TB) treatment, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) researchers have identified the exact part of the disease-causing microbe that is targeted by isoniazid, the most widely used TB medication. …