Protecting Our Future: Save the Children
The dedicated workers of Save the Children have been affecting positive, lasting change in children’s lives for the past 81 years with no signs of slowing down. They partner with local governments and organizations in vulnerable communities to offer children support and protection from neglect, exploitation, violence, poverty, malnutrition, inferior medical care and education, and much more.

With offices spread across 120 countries, Save the Children has helped millions of children in Africa, Asia, America, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2012 alone, they helped more than 125 million children overcome obstacles including poverty, illiteracy, obesity, and abuse.

Save the Children focuses on the following key areas:

  • Child protection – Save the Children fosters child protection programs such as child trafficking awareness campaigns, and advocates for policy and services improvement to protect children affected by disasters, conflict, or development setting.
  • Newborn and child survival – Each year, close to 7 million children die before their 5th birthday. Save the Children works to prevent senseless deaths by training health workers to deliver inexpensive medical interventions.
  • Education – Save the Children coaches educators in effective teaching techniques, offer opportunities to continue education beyond the classroom, and ensures learning continues in times of crisis.
  • Emergency response – In times of natural disaster or civil conflict, Save the Children provides food, medical care, education, and support throughout the recovery process.
  • Health and nutrition – Save the Children works to make quality maternal and reproductive healthcare, newborn and child healthcare, nutrition education, adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare, and emergency healthcare available to impoverished communities.
  • HIV/AIDS – Save the Children offers prevention education programs to stop the spread of AIDS beyond the 3.4 million children currently living with the disease. They also offer protection programs to children orphaned by the disease.
  • Hunger and livelihoods – Save the Children’s hunger and livelihood programs focus on increasing food supply, educating farmers to produce higher yields, teaching parents the benefits of a varied diet, and teaching children how to manage money and find work.

Save the Children is recognized by regulatory services as a leader among nonprofit organizations; The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) awarded Save the Children an A+ rating. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has determined that Save the Children meets all of the standards for charity accountability. Charity Navigator awarded Save the Children their 11th consecutive overall 4 out of 4 stars rating in 2012. The Forbes 200 Largest U.S. Charities List rated Save the Children’s fundraising efficiency at 92%, and their charitable commitment at 91%. Great Nonprofits named them the recipient of a 2012 Top-Rated Award. And America’s Greatest Brands featured Save the Children as one of the strongest and most trusted humanitarian relief and development philanthropies.

The amazing work being done by Save the Children can be multiplied even further by charitable contributions to their Global Action Fund. To make a donation, please visit the Global Action Fund webpage.

– Dana Johnson

Source: Save the Children, Global Action Fund

Rano Isaeva, a healthcare worker in Uzbekistan, took time off of work to attend a training session that teaches her how to provide palliative, or relief focused care, to those living with HIV.

“Patronage nurses bring relief to patients and educate relatives to provide care and support. Often they turn into family members and counselors, trusted and relied upon.” she says.

The main goal of UNDP’s HIV project in Uzbekistan is to provide relief and comfort to families as well as patients. UNDP has trained over 2,000 nurses in several different regions of Uzbekistan. To reach as many nurses as possible the training sessions are offered in Uzbek as well as Russian. During the training, the nurses improve their knowledge about HIV infection, the effects on the body, stages of the disease, signs, symptomatic treatment and pain relief therapy. So far over 35,000 people in all regions of Uzbekistan have been reached by HIV-prevention services.

By the end of 2013 over 5,100 nurses should be trained and able to spread their knowledge in their respective communities.

“Many people in the community ask questions on HIV. Now I am able to answer any questions on prevention measures, how the virus is transmitted and not transmitted, what the consequences may be, and whether it can be treated.,” says Zarifa Jonova, a local community nurse. “Thus, I will make my input in wellbeing of my community,” she says.

The program will also begin to focus on spreading awareness to at-risk populations in the area, including young women, drug users, commercial sex workers, and homosexual men. The program has already offered 10,000 information sessions on treatment as well as prevention.

– Catherine Ulrich

Source: UNDP
Photo: Facebook

Hans Rosling, a professor of global health at Karolinska Institut, focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world and its relationship with HIV/AIDS.

In Hans Rosling’s TED Talk, he used very interesting and vivid graphs to explain how HIV spread throughout the past twenty-five years. The rate of those effected by HIV is not about poverty and undeveloped, although there are many reasons why one’s living conditions makes one more susceptible to the virus. An often understated fact, Rosling notes that even countries with a good economy and peaceful environment may be hard to drop the population of HIV-infected persons, because with good healthcare, HIV carriers can live ten to twenty years longer than those living in places with less access to effective healthcare.

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)


The small nation of Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world, at 24%, and the fourth highest estimated TB incidence. The TB-HIV co-infection rates are the fifth highest in the world and multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a growing challenge.

The Ministry of Finance of Lesotho recently signed two grant agreements with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria totaling $17 million. These grants will allow Lesotho to expand prevention and treatment of HIV and multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The Global Fund has also invited Lesotho as an interim applicant with US$25 million for HIV and AIDS.

The Minister of Finance, Leketekete, said that the grant agreements “will allow for greater predictability of funding and more strategic investment.”

The Tuberculosis grant will seek to address MDR/XDR-TB, TB/HIV co-infection, expand high quality TB treatment (DOTs), and engage communities in TB control.

Populations that are most at-risk will be reached through prevention interventions that include prevention messages, condom distribution, management of sexually-transmitted infections, and referrals to health facilities.

Lesotho has made great strides towards the reduction of the HIV epidemic. Incidence of new HIV infections declined by 16% between 2008 and 2011.

– Essee Oruma

Sources: allAfrica
Photo: Ezakwantu

Elizabeth Pisani is an assumption-busting independent researcher and analyst, who has worked in the field of HIV for 15 years in four countries. She believes that the world is failing to understand and manage the realities of HIV. She also shows how politics and “morality” have hogtied funding, and advocates for putting dollars where they can actually make a difference.

In Pisani’s TED Talk, she firstly points out an idea that people get HIV not just because they do stupid things. For most of them, when they are doing stupid things, they have perfectly rational reasons. We both know there are two major ways to spread HIV; sex and drugs. Pisani leads us to see problems behind the sex and drugs. Most of the people in Africa know sex and blood can transfer HIV. They also knowwhere to buy clean needles, but because of gender inequality and poverty, sometimes people choose to “rationalize” things even though they know there is a great chance that they may get HIV. At the end of her speech, she tells us a story about a transgender hooker on the street of Jakarta named lnes. She quotes Ines saying “why is prevalence still rising? It’s all politics. When you get to politics, nothing makes sense”. She believes that everyone has a duty to demand our politicians to make policy based on scientific evidence and on common sense.

-Caiqing Jin(Kelly)
Source: TED Talk

Global Partnership Develops New Vaccine for TB, Malaria, HIV

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a $2.9 million grant for the development of vaccines against tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria. The grant was issued to Aeras, a nonprofit biotech advancing TB vaccines for the world, the University of Oxford, and Okairos, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in T-cell vaccines. The three groups will work together to develop scalable methods to enable large-scale production of multiple novel chimpanzee adenovirus vector constructs.

The Interim CEO of Aeras, Tom Evans, said the “effort to improve optimization and scale-up under current good manufacturing practices could also potentially benefit our peers in HIV and malaria vaccine development.”

The University of Oxford is currently developing multiple vaccines, including vaccines against HIV, malaria, and TB in clinical trials in the UK and Africa. Aeras has focused primarily on tuberculosis vaccine research and development.

This construct will be Okairos’ proprietary technology platform that uses potent chimpanzee adenovirus vectors to stimulate robust T-cell and antibody responses against selected antigens.

Chimpanzee adenovirus-based vaccines have been shown to safely induce exceptionally potent cellular immunity in adults, children and infants, and are in clinical trials involving over 1,000 vaccinees in seven countries.

– Essee Oruma

Source: allAfrica
Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

hiv children treatment where you live botswana study efavirenz nevirapine medicine
There are over 3 million children that are HIV-positive, with more than 90% of them living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends both efavirenz and nevirapine for first-line pediatric use in resource-limited settings such as sub-Saharan Africa. A recent study compared the first-line treatments for HIV-positive children and was conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, along with colleagues at the Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence. The study found that initial treatment with efavirenz was more effective than nevirapine in suppressing the virus in children ages 3 to 16, and that nevirapine is less effective than efavirenz. Nevirapine, the less effective drug, is used much more often in countries with a high prevalence of HIV.

The study notes that nevirapine costs less than efavirenz and is more widely available in pediatric formulations, which may explain this disturbing fact. Studies that focused on adult treatment also found efavirenz to be more effective than nevirapine. Conclusively, the study states, “Given this evidence, it is very reasonable to adjust pediatric HIV treatment guidelines…more work should be done to make efavirenz a more financially viable option for children on anti-retroviral therapy in these resource-limited settings.”

– Essee Oruma

Source: allAfrica
Photo: Science Daily

The use of mobile telephone in Africa has spread so rapidly that in 2001 mobile phones first outnumbered fixed lines, and by the end of 2012, 70% of Africa’s population was expected to have a cell phone. Communication has never been so easy and it has opened up new opportunities across the globe.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in collaboration with technical partners, developed a low cost, user-friendly survey methodology that allows data to be collected using inexpensive and widely available cell phones.

The new system is called Rapid Mobile Phone-based survey (RAMP), which is sufficiently flexible to be used for a range of tasks in many fields. “We are now producing preliminary results within 24 hours and a full draft report of a survey within three days,” says Mac Otten, RAMP developer for IFRC. “This allows us to analyze the data quicker with the end result being that we can adapt interventions quicker to the needs of the most vulnerable.”

Recent results from a RAMP survey in the Kenya project are impressive: 90% of households own at least one net and net use is at 80%  for the total population. Net distribution, combined with a community approach to malaria treatment called the Home Management of Malaria project, demonstrates that empowering communities to respond comprehensively to malaria is part of the winning formula to beat the disease.

But malaria is not the only problem.

In Kenya, where 35% of children under five are stunted, 16% are underweight and, one Kenyan woman in 35 faces risk of maternal death, having the right information at the right time is vital to save the lives of both mothers and their children.

“There hasn’t been a nutrition survey in our project area for a long time,” says Mwanaisha Marusa Hamisi, Assistant Secretary General for Coast Province, Kenya Red Cross Society. “Although we knew nutrition was an issue, the information collected through RAMP will allow us to better target volunteer actions. We need to tackle specific attitudes and behaviours to achieve results.”

The project in Kenya is now moving towards comprehensive maternal and child health actions at the community level to provide broader health services closer to the people who need them most.

– Essee Oruma

Source: allAfrica

Mitchell Besser’s TED Talk on Mothers Helping Mothers Fight HIVIn South Africa, Mitchell Besser tapped a new resource for healthcare: mothers themselves. The program he started, mothers2mothers, train new mothers to educate and support other moms. Mothers2mothers employs HIV-positive moms themselves to complement the work of doctors and nurses. After a two-month training, mentor mothers work with other moms with HIV to help them understand how to keep from transmitting HIV to their babies. In his TED talk, he suggests that doctors, nurses and mothers should work together, and mothers should help each other, building up the communities to fight HIV together and after all, mothers care about mothers.“There is hope, hope that one day we shall win this fight against HIV and AIDS.”

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

Source: TED Talk

Gerson Speaks Against Cutting Foreign Aid
The ONE organization, a group that fights global poverty, arranged for former Bush administration speechwriter and current Washington Post columnist, Michael Gerson, to speak in the Old Capital Museum. Gerson’s speech advocated for foreign aid programs and emphasized the dangers of decreased aid funding.

The world has come a long way in terms of reducing global poverty and diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria, however, we may see these positive trends start to reverse if funding is lost. Gerson is concerned that all of the progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2030 could be compromised with cut funding. With the upcoming budget cuts, Gerson reminds us that not all cuts have the same impact. He explained, “Cuts that are evenly applied aren’t evenly felt. There’s a difference between cutting a highway program and cutting a malaria program.” The former Bush administration staffer has been acclaimed for forming the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that worked to provide HIV/AIDS treatment to impoverished people.

Given that foreign aid programs account for such a small percentage of the federal budget, Gerson reminds congress that foreign aid is not to blame for the current deficit. He specifically criticized Rand Paul for his outspokenness against aid. The ONE organization praises Gerson for his foreign aid and HIV/AIDS prevention advocacy and hopes that, with his leadership, Washington will continue to support USAID and other foreign assistance programs.

– Mary Penn

Photo: ONE