WORLD POPULATION: 8,015,936,000*
YEAR 2050 PROJECTION: 9,800,000,000**
YEAR 2100 PROJECTION: 11,200,000,000**
U.S. POPULATION: 333,287,557***
POLITICS & POLICIES
February 2, 2023: Russia’s war in Ukraine has sparked a global health crisis – from the death, suffering and displacement of people in the country to the global food and fuel insecurity, and diminished donor funds to support other health issues.
February 22, 2023: A large and compelling body of evidence suggests that social circumstances—including income, education, food, housing, neighborhood conditions, and social connections—strongly influence health. Coupled with a public- and private-sector shift toward rewarding health outcomes over services delivered, this evidence based on the social determinants of health has led to discussion across the health care sector on the roles and responsibilities of health care delivery organizations, managed care organizations, and other health care stakeholders to identify and address adverse social conditions that directly influence patients’ health care access and health behaviors. In the 2019 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and other recent publications, activities to identify and act on patient-level social circumstances collectively are described as “social needs care” or “social care.”
PROGRAMS, PROJECTS, CONFERENCES, GRANTS, AWARDS & EVENTS
February 3, 2023: CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff is hosting a press conference on COVID-19. Tanya R. Gure, an associate professor in the college of medicine at The Ohio State University, will be speaking during the conference as well.
The 41st Annual Healthcare Conference will take place on January 9-12, 2023 in San Francisco, CA. This premier conference is the largest and most informative healthcare investment symposium in the industry which connects global industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators and members of the investment community.
HISTORICAL, REPORTS, DOCUMENTS, DATA & INDEXES
January 11, 2023: Women’s health is in crisis. In many places, gynaecology waiting lists are rising or are even at record lengths. Even when a woman sees a specialist, there are terrifying accounts of what human rights body the Council of Europe defines as “gynaecological violence”. That includes not just performing diagnostic procedures without adequate pain control, but also a lack of compassion for the patient. Such reports are shocking, but perhaps not surprising when you consider how little some aspects of women’s medicine have changed in hundreds of years – and the unpleasant history they carry. Once a woman gets to her appointment with the specialist, a speculum is the usual way of seeing what’s happening inside the body. These devices go back to ancient Rome. They comprise two or three “bills” which need to be opened up inside the body to give the best view.
February 9,2023: A single oral dose of the antibiotic azithromycin can reduce the risk of postpartum sepsis and death among women who deliver vaginally by one-third, according to a large multi-country clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. Only 1.6% of women in the study who received azithromycin during labor developed sepsis or died within six weeks after delivery, compared to 2.4% of those who received placebo. Azithromycin did not reduce the risk of stillbirth, newborn sepsis or newborn death. Results from the study, which enrolled more than 29,000 women in seven low- and middle-income countries, were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s 43rd Annual Pregnancy Meeting, San Francisco.
February 3, 2023: A National Institutes of Health research group with extensive experience studying ebolavirus countermeasures has successfully developed a vaccine against Sudan virus (SUDV) based on the licensed Ebola virus (EBOV) vaccine. SUDV, identified in 1976, is one of the four viruses known to cause human Ebolavirus disease. The new vaccine, VSV-SUDV, completely protected cynomolgus macaques against a lethal SUDV challenge. The findings were published in the journal The Lancet Microbe.
DISEASES & DISASTERS
February 11, 2023: More than 23,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, officials said. https://www.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/turkey-syria-earthquake-updates-2-10-23-intl/index.html
February 3, 2023: The World Health Organization (WHO) says that COVID-19 continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern, its highest form of alert.
February 15, 2023: Authorities lifted evacuation orders about a week after a train derailment that resulted in a toxic chemical spill, giving residents of East Palestine, Ohio, the green light to return to their homes and telling them that the air was safe to breathe and the water supply untainted. But for the nearly 5,000 inhabitants of this small village on the border with Pennsylvania, those assurances have done little to allay their fears of a long-term environmental and health disaster after 38 cars of a Norfolk Southern Railroad train, some carrying hazardous chemicals, derailed Feb. 3 near their city, sending flames high into the night sky.
February 7, 2023: As the world discusses how language model chatbot ChatGPT is changing the way information is created, the new episode of the “Global Health Matters” podcast addresses the question of how artificial intelligence and other technological tools can improve healthcare.
February 21, 2023: Spinal cord stimulation could enable stroke patients to move their limbs and hands, according to a small clinical trial. Writing in Nature Medicine, researchers describe the experience of the first two people treated in the clinical trial. The spinal implant improved strength, grip force and movement, and thereby enabled the participants to perform actions that were previously impossible. While Abbott, Boston Scientific, Medtronic and Nevro all already provide SCS devices for use in other indications, the researchers have founded a startup to advance the technology.
February 17, 2023: The European Parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to delay implementation of the new Medical Device Regulation, or MDR. The 537-3 vote gives final approval to a plan, adopted by the European Commission in January, to extend deadlines for compliance with new rules for certifying medical devices. The new timeline depends on a device’s risk class and is being implemented to ensure patients have continued access to medical technologies, according to the Commission. Devices placed on the market under the current legal framework can remain on the market, it added.
CLIMATE CHANGE & ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
February 22, 2023: Ahead of talks on a new plastics treaty, nations are split over whether to target reductions in the amount of plastic that is produced or just to try and stop it from polluting land and sea. In their submissions to talks taking place in Paris in May, the majority of European and African countries push for cuts to the supply of plastic while the US and Saudi Arabia focus instead on tackling plastic pollution. The European Union’s submission says: “While measures on the demand side are expected to indirectly impact the reduction of production levels, efforts and measures addressing supply are equally needed, to cope with increasing plastic waste generation.”
February 17, 2023: David Malpass is famously “not a scientist” and this week he announced he won’t be the president of the World Bank for much longer either. So the World Bank’s attempt to evolve into an organisation that can tackle the climate crisis will soon be led by someone who doesn’t struggle to accept that the climate crisis is happening. He’s promised to leave by June which means he may oversee the bank’s spring meeting in April. This week, he revealed the bank will propose then to change the equity-to-loan ratio of one of its arms from 20% to 19%. That will free up $4bn a year, much of which will be spent on climate programmes. But it’s a tweak, not a transformation.
EQUITY & DISPARITIES
February, 2023: Patients in the US belonging to racial or ethnic minority groups often receive medical care in different hospitals than White patients, which contributes to health care disparities. We explored whether ambulance transport destinations contribute to this phenomenon. Using a national emergency medical services research data set for calendar year 2020, we made within–ZIP code comparisons of the transport destinations for White patients and non-White patients transported by ambulance from emergency scenes. We used the dissimilarity index to measure transport destination discordances and decided a priori that a more than 5 percent difference in transport destinations (that is, dissimilarity index >0.05) would be practically meaningful. We found meaningful differences in the destination hospitals for White and non-White patients transported by ambulance from locations in the same ZIP code. The median ZIP code dissimilarity index was 0.08, 64 percent of ZIP codes had a dissimilarity index above 0.05, and 61 percent of patients were transported from ZIP codes with a dissimilarity index above 0.05. Forty-one percent of ZIP codes had a dissimilarity index above 0.10, and one-third of the patients were transported from those ZIP codes. These data indicate that ambulance transport destinations contribute to discordances in where White and non-White patients receive medical care.
February 22, 2023 – The medical industry is far from achieving racial health equity, according to a new report from Accenture. But it could be. The report, which outlines some of the stark racial health disparities still plaguing the US, also looks at the barriers keeping the nation from confronting its problems and a roadmap for mitigating these issues. Looking at race, specifically, because it is the most prominent predictor of health inequity, the researchers noted that outcomes still aren’t equitable for all. There are 3,400 more infant mortalities among Black babies than White, the report authors said, and an additional 9,200 Black cancer deaths each year, too.
WOMEN, MATERNAL, NEONATAL & CHILDREN’S HEALTH
January 27, 2023: States, territories, health facilities and tribal organizations can apply through March 27 for up to $525,000 million each for residential treatment programs to provide comprehensive services for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced this week. States and territories also can apply for up to $900,000 each to support family-based services for pregnant and postpartum women with opioid or other substance use disorders. The agency expects to award 22 grants for residential programs and six grants for family-based services. As reported last week, nonprofit hospitals and emergency departments, including free standing EDs and Rural Emergency Hospitals, also can apply through March 6 for up to $500,000 per year for up to three years to develop and implement alternatives to opioids for pain management in hospitals and ED settings.
January 19, 2023: Only 16% of pregnant people who reported drinking alcohol in 2017 or 2019 were advised by a health care provider to stop or reduce their alcohol use, although 80% were asked about alcohol use during their most recent health care visit, suggesting missed opportunities to reduce alcohol use during pregnancy, according to a survey released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey examined prevalence of alcohol screening and brief intervention, an evidence-based primary care tool shown to prevent or reduce alcohol consumption during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount, type or timing of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to become pregnant, the report notes.
POVERTY ALLEVIATION & ERADICATION
January 14, 2023: Poverty is a global scourge especially in developing countries like Nigeria. The country has spent billions in poverty alleviation schemes over different administrations, all of which did not stop Nigeria from becoming the poverty capital of the world in 2018. With this undesirable status, this study set out to understand how poverty has been reported in three Nigerian newspapers: Leadership, the Punch, and Nigerian Tribune using content analysis, over 2 years from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020. The research was grounded on the Framing Theory. Findings revealed that poverty was underreported, stories included solutions to poverty in 92% of the reports, and most of the poverty stories and initiatives were referenced in the future (58%) compared to past (3%) or ongoing (39%) activities. The tone of the stories was mainly positive (64%). The frame analysis produced 22 frames, 14 were prevalent while seven were not. The dominant frame pattern from the analysis was the ‘empowerment’ frame, highlighting the various empowerment programs across federal and state agencies In Nigeria. Recommendations include more coverage of poverty stories by Nigerian newspapers and the need for government to be transparent with its poverty alleviation initiatives.
January 11, 2023: Poverty is one of Africa’s most intractable problems. Decades of deliberate and strategic socioeconomic policies have not yielded considerable concrete results to eradicate it. Upon succeeding the brutal colonial administration, the burgeoning African governments promised their citizens material well-being through socioeconomic development. A half century later the continent is perpetually witnessing a blatant betrayal of dreams. Just like the African governments that succeeded colonial governments, religious organizations continue to promise poverty eradication by divine means to their adherents, whose numbers keep exploding across the continent. The Pentecostal variant of African Christianity is particularly renowned for its promises of wealth, health, and prosperity through supernatural divine power: in the Bible, God has promised to deliver immense material goods to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The expediency of these promises to alleviate poverty and bring about social transformation is debatable. Some scholars argue that African Pentecostalism is an elaborately complex increase in religious activities devoid of social structural transformation, while others opine that it contributes positively to development. In asking whether African Pentecostal Christianity is a move toward or a distraction from development, this article broadly explores discourses on Pentecostalism and development in Africa. Arguably, in the endeavor to preach and live out the experiential power of the Holy Spirit, Pentecostal Christianity in Africa inadvertently plays a role in the broader ongoing development discourse. Although they do not view themselves as ‘religious’ or ‘religion’, Pentecostal churches’ attempts to make the teachings of Jesus Christ relevant to the mundane help individual believers cope with life’s stresses and vulnerabilities. However, it does not transform the social conditions that create problems for individuals. The liberating hope of African Pentecostal Christianity lies in theologically nuancing its discourses to meaningfully engage in global development discourses.
HUMANITARIAN, NONPROFITS, FOUNDATIONS & NGOS
January 25, 2023: Nonprofit hospitals — which make up around half of hospitals in the United States — were founded to help the poor. But a Times investigation has revealed that many have deviated from those charitable roots, behaving like for-profit companies, sometimes to the detriment of the health of patients. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/25/podcasts/the-daily/nonprofit-hospitals-investigation.html
February 22, 2023: The pledge from Swiss biotech executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Ernesto Bertarelli will support plans to transform the outdoor courtyard of Building C into an expansive, skylighted atrium. The building is also the hub for the HMS Therapeutics Initiative, which aims to advance therapeutics research, accelerate translation of discoveries into medicines, and educate and train the inventors of future medicines.