Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Two Ebola survivors are suing the Sierra Leone government to shed light over the disappearance of millions of dollars that the country received following the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

As 2017 ended, some key global health events, milestones and highlights from the past 12 months of efforts at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent child and maternal deaths, control the HIV/AIDS epidemic and combat infectious diseases were shared.

India’s Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court’s order that quashed federal rules mandating larger health warnings on tobacco packages , in a setback for the country’s $11 billion tobacco industry.

The United Nations is predicting 135.7 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance in 2018, an increase over this year. More than 76 million people are projected to need emergency food assistance in 2018 as well.

Vaccines are one of the most important scientific inventions of all time, preventing millions of cases of disease every year and helping to consign once-deadly outbreaks to history. Yet these vital public-health tools are under threat from growing public mistrust in immunization and the rise of so-called “fake news” drowning out expert voices.

Tereza Kasaeva is to be the new Director or WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Program.  She joins WHO from Russia’s Ministry of Health. But instead of a warm welcome, she will arrive in Geneva amid potentially disabling controversy.

The Director-General of WHO has outlined his vision for a Madagascar free of plague epidemics during a three-day visit to the island nation that started on 7 January 2018.

2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity.
A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before.  The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell.

Parliament has called on government to consider increasing the budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Child Care saying it should have the highest allocation, or at least the 15 percent benchmark set out in the Abuja Declaration of 2001.

Programs, Grants & Awards

With a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Sesame Street and International Rescue Committee will begin to work on bringing regional version of Sesame Street and related activities aimed at providing education to nearly 9.4 million Syrian refugees.

Henrietta Holsman Fore is the next executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced Friday.


Using the genetic information obtained from Wyeomyia smithii (pitcher plant mosquitoes), scientists are hoping to stop different mosquito species from feeding on blood.

Madagascar can build stronger health systems to fight plague and prevent the next epidemic.

With transmissions between family members accounting for most infections during the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the virus spread to other members in one out of three households that was home to an infected person, a study in one Sierra Leone community found.

Diseases & Disasters

The WHO has approved a new highly effective typhoid vaccine, Typbar TCV. The vaccine is made by Bharat Biotech based in Hyderabad, India and can be purchased by donors for use in low-income countries.

Three people in South Sudan have died of a suspected viral harmorrhagic fever and 60 of their contacts are being monitored for any infection, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

One million children aged six months to 10 years in Puntland and 4.2 million across Somalia were reached during a five-day measles campaign that wrapped up on Sunday, the United Nations has reported.


Yesterday’s announcement that WHO has prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid offers a major boost to prevention efforts against a disease that causes 11-20 million cases annually and up to 161,000 deaths.

Environmental Health

Plastic microbeads can no longer be used to manufacture personal care and cosmetic products in the UK. The ban on sales of such products is expected to go into effect in July.

Eucador’s state oil company has begun drilling in Yasuní National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.

Equity & Disparities

In Malawi, where menstrual hygiene is a major concern among young women, menstrual cups may be an inexpensive alternative.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Huge burden of unintended pregnancies and drug-induced abortions that occur outside of health facilities confirm the need for rethinking medical abortions and improving contraceptive access, a new study shows.

A new study shows that group singing sessions can help mothers recover from postpartum depression more quickly.


Australia, you’ve done us proud…

Between September 12th and November 7th this year, Australia distributed the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, a national survey that gauged support for legalizing same-sex marriage. Unlike electoral voting, which is compulsory in Australia, responding to the survey was voluntary. The survey was returned with 61.6% “Yes” responses and 38.4% “No” responses. Even though the measure was expected to be approved, the size of the win and the unusually large participation of 12.7 million Australians out of the 16 million eligible voters added political legitimacy to it. It’s funny to think three letter strung together in the right order can mean so much to millions of proud Aussies. Several hours after the results of the survey were released, theMarriage Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced into the Australian Senate. The amendment  is a Bill for an Act to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, by amending the definition to allow marriage between two people. This is not only a time to celebrate a historic moment for the country, but to understand the vast positive impact for the LGBT community especially when it comes to health. Continue reading “Australia, you’ve done us proud…”

Latest Issue of Section Connection Now Available

Happy new year, IH Section members!

The latest issue of Section Connection, the IH Section quarterly e-newsletter, is now available! In this issue you’ll find information on the work the IH section has been doing to advance global health and profiles on a few of our leadership and section members.

You can find the latest issue of the newsletter here: 

If you can’t access the newsletter for any reason please email Theresa Majeski, Global Health Connections Chair, at

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Effective partnerships between governments, universities, and businesses may solve problems such as neglected tropical diseases, antimicrobial resistance, non-communicable diseases and other challenges to Global Health.

Pakistan has ordered over 20 foreign aid groups to cease operations by February. This has caused panic and confusion among the non-profit community.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Yale University has approved the creation of the Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH) led by the health sciences schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health.


Estimates of influenza-associated mortality are important for national and international decision-making on public health priorities. Previous estimates of 250 000–500 000 annual influenza deaths are outdated. We updated the estimated number of global annual influenza-associated deaths using country-specific influenza-associated excess respiratory mortality estimates from 1999–2015.

Effects of Ebola virus has been studied four decades after infection using blood samples and health history reports from 14 survivors of the 1976 Ebola outbreak. The findings show that the survivors may be able to stave off future infection.

A new experimental vaccine has been shown to induce antibodies against heroin and prevent the drug from crossing the blood brain barrier in mice and rats.

Diseases & Disasters

Drug resistance is still the main concern for health authorities in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Yesterday, representatives from these countries called for accelerated action to eliminate malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) by the year 2030.

Firefighters in Southern California were under pressure on Saturday to contain six raging wildfires, which have destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced tens of thousands of people to flee, before fierce winds are expected to strengthen again.

If a new flu pandemic emerges, it may be easy to spot. The epidemic is most likely to appear in spring or summer, researcher have found — not in the midwinter depths of the flu season.

With the introduction of a highly effective vaccine in the 1920s and early ‘30s, diphtheria faded away in much of the world.  Today it’s largely considered a disease of the past. But now it’s back in the headlines, spreading quickly in places like Bangladesh and Yemen.

The World Health Organization says Uganda has successfully controlled a deadly outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, an infectious disease related to Ebola.

Year after year cervical cancer continues to kill more women in Tanzania than any other type of cancer.  For more than six years, IMA World Health—with funding from the IZUMI Foundation, American Baptist Churches (USA), Week of Compassion, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private donors—has supported Shirati and other health facilities to ease the burden of cervical cancer by training health workers, providing testing and treatment supplies and equipment and creating referral linkages to larger hospitals for those who require additional treatment.

Respiratory diseases from seasonal influenza takes up to 650,000 lives annually, according to new estimates released Thursday by the United Nations health agency and global partners.


A new portable low-cost diagnostic test allows people to check for iron and vitamin A deficiencies within minutes. The system includes blood sample test strip that includes three types of antibodies.

Carbon, a 3D printing technology company, is developing an inexpensive, easy-to-use, in vitro diagnostic device for TB testing.

Environmental Health

A new UN report warns that the growing electronic waste poses a major threat to the environment and human health. The report also highlights unsafe and improper treatment and disposal of e-waste.

According to a new study the exposure to air pollution can cancel out the benefits of exercise among adults over 60 years of age.

New studies suggest a link between warming of the Arctic waters and drier conditions in California.

Equity & Disparities

Publication of a new World Bank – World Health Organization report reveals that half of the world do not have access to essential quality healthcare, and 800 million people face severe financial difficulties because of healthcare costs.

Rickets and stunted growth are making an appearance among children who are malnourished and food insecure in Britain.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Assessment of BetterBirth India, the largest implementation of WHO’s Safe Childbirth Checklist, shows that even though many health centers adopted the checklist, there has not been any improvement in maternal or infant mortality rates. This could very likely be due to poor infrastructure and access to care.

Hong kong recalls imported baby milk products after reports of salmonella infections in France.

In addition to deterioration of sleep quality and quantity among children and teenagers who have smartphones and tablets in their bedrooms (even when not in use), a new study also reports that young people who spend time in front of a screen at bedtime are more likely to be overweight or obese.

This is the last round up for 2017!

Please share your thoughts on what you liked about the round up, how we could improve this section and what we could be doing differently in 2018.



New paper released on the global burden of severe neonatal jaundice

While severe neonatal jaundice (SNJ) that is not successfully treated is rare in the U.S. and Western Europe, and thus often ignored as a global health problem, there is  evidence that SNJ is still a problem globally. In a paper co-authored by IH Section Councilor Dr. Mark Strand on the global burden of severe neonatal jaundice in newborns, the incidence of SNJ was found to be at 667.8 per 10 000 live births in the African region, where it is the highest, followed by Southeast Asia (251.3), Eastern Mediterranean (165.7), and the Western Pacific (9.4). This condition is easily diagnosed and inexpensive to treat and can save lives of children.

Read the rest of the research article here: