May 18 was HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- Hundreds of Kenyan AIDS activists held a protest on 18 May in the capital, Nairobi to demand that the government meet its commitment to increase annual health and HIV funding.
- In response to the mutual expulsion of diplomats, the UK’s DFID announced that it has frozen new aid to Malawi.
- DDT has made a controversial re-appearance in Uganda.
- A global health development partnership — Clinton Health Access initiative, UITAID and DFID — has secured price reductions on key AIDS drugs for HIV-positive patients in poorer countries.
- The World Health Organization has just launched a new web-based information resource tool that should be of interest to many in global health and development community, the Global Health Observatory.
- According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2008.
- New research has found that a variant in one gene can lead to a 30 percent lower risk of developing cerebral malaria.
- A new study from Bangladesh concludes that most of the world’s pregnant women don’t need vitamin A supplements.
- American scientists have tested a treatment regimen for tuberculosis which will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the full treatment as compared to current plans.
- A new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds that that 7 in 10 women in Sub Saharan Africa, south central Asia and south east Asia who want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern methods give reasons for non-use which suggest available methods do not fulfill their needs.
- Average life expectancy across much of the world — except Iraq and South Africa — is steadily climbing and infant deaths dropped across the world during the first decade of the 21st century, according to figures released by the World Health Organization.
- The Clinton Health Access Initiative and Gates Foundation have teamed up to support research into developing a cheaper version of the drug Tenofovir.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- China has reduced its AIDS mortality by two-thirds since it began distributing free antiretroviral drugs in 2002; however, the improvements were seen largely in patients who acquired HIV through blood transfusion, rather than through sex or drug use. On a darker note, Chinese authorities ordered an AIDS activists’ web site shut down after it had published an open letter from a retired senior official concerning news restrictions placed on a 20th-century public health scandal.
- Dr. Orin Levine looks at a disturbing global trend: Infectious killers that had been beaten back by aggressive immunization efforts are making a comeback in places long thought to be safe havens.
WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
- The assembly voted to postpone the decision to destroy official stockpiles of the the smallpox virus for another three years.
- The WHO announced extensive reforms to “reinvent itself” as a health knowledge hub. Also, it apparently angered Taiwan by referring to it as a province of China.
- Sixteen countries announced new commitments to dramatically reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, as part of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.
- OneWorldUK’s Chelsea Ricker asks, Where are the women in women’s and children’s health?
- A number of civil society and non-profit organizations voiced their opinions during the Assembly, claiming that the World Health Organization is overly influenced by commercial and corporate interests.
- WaterAid urged leaders at the Assembly to support the countries affected by dracunculiasis, caused by guinea worm, to improve access to safe drinking water and reach their most vulnerable populations to ensure the disease is eradicated.
- Bill Gates addressed World Health Assembly where he called for global leaders to increase support for vaccinations.
- The world is not ready to deal with a lengthy public health emergency, according to a panel of international experts, which based its conclusions on the 2009 H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak.