By: Kaitlyn Morabito
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
Typhoon creates health crisis in the Phillipines -With current death tolls in the hundreds and projected deaths in the thousands, relief agencies around the world, including Doctors without Borders, the Red Cross, the WHO, and USAID, are quickly responding to the devastating disaster. These groups are trying to prevent secondary deaths caused by untreated wounds, infectious disease and lack of food, water and medical supplies. In addition to physical health, Doctors without Borders is providing psychological aid to mitigate post-traumatic stress disorder. Even with the swift and extensive relief effort, it is still a challenge to get medical personnel and supplies to the many remote regions of the Philippines. (Jan Christensen)
Aids Prevention: Africa’s Circumcision Challenge – Circumcision campaigns aimed at reducing new HIV infections are attracting attention in 12 African nations. The goal of these programs is to circumcise 80% of males of reproductive age by 2015. The program, supported by the WHO, UNAIDS, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and PEPFAR among others, estimates that reaching this goal may decrease the rate of new infections by 30-50%. This policy is based on observations of doctors and researchers since 1986 and supported with evidence from clinical trials which show ~50% lower risk of HIV infection in circumcised men. Opponents argue that circumcision without adequate education may lead to risk compensation and eventually lead to an increase in new infections. Critics also point out that circumcision does not directly protect women from infection and that the resources could be used elsewhere to more efficiently prevent HIV infections. (Catherine De Lange)
House Hearing Skates Over Big Disagreements on NSF Reauthorizations – On Wednesday, the public heard for first time the contents of the FIRST (Federal Investments in Research, Science, and Technology) bill. This bill would make changes to the NSF grant reviews process, including requiring the NSF director to ensure that each grant is aimed to one of 6 national goals and post a description of each grant before it is awarded. While the subcommittee chair Larry Buchshon suggested that the provisions in this bill are in line with changes the NSF and NSB have already approved, NSB chair Dan Arvizu counters that the NSB has yet to review the bill. In fact, NSB and NSF leaders have expressed concerns over some of the key provisions in the bill. (Jeffrey Mervis)
Have an interesting science policy link? Share it in the comments!