Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

The American Public Health Association (APHA) supports the President’s request for funding to combat the spread of the Zika virus, both domestically and abroad.  The request to Congress includes more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds.

Programs

Malaria results in more than 400,000 deaths each year.  The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is working hard to eliminate the devastating effects of the disease.  The program’s expansion means more people in endemic areas will benefit from the program.

Research

A paper presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists has shown promising results in the global response to AIDS.  Malawi, for example, through its 2011 policy and Option B+ implementation, is showing success on the path towards the UNAIDS goal of less than 5% mother-to-child transmission rate.

A recent review published in Epidemiology Reviews by Santaella-Tenorio et al examines evidence on gun laws and gun violence from 130 studies that had been conducted in 10 countries. The authors found that new restrictions on gun purchasing and ownership was associated with reduction in gun-related deaths. But, they did point out that their study does not conclusively prove that gun restrictions reduce gun-related deaths.

In a new study published in The Lancet Global Health, Tarsicio Uribe-Leitz and colleagues report great discrepancies in surgical outcomes across different regions in the world. They examined the three surgical procedures, for which reporting should be uniform, since the procedures have been standardized (caesarean delivery, appendectomy, and groin hernia repair). Their systematic review shows that quality of surgical outcome data from LMICs is poor, and in most cases, LMICs are not even reporting the surgical data.

Diseases & Disasters

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have published a paper in Nature describing how rock formations under the sea may have played a role in the 2011 Tohoku-oki magnitude 9 mega earthquake in Japan, which resulted in almost 16,000 deaths.

Technology

An effective experimental vaginal ring that can help prevent HIV transmission has been tested by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), according to USAID.  The ring slowly releases an antiretroviral drug reducing the chances of infection by some women, who are at an increased risk of getting infected.

The Paul G. Allen Foundation, the largest private donor in the response of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the US Department of State have teamed up to create a better and cost-effective airborne medical evacuation system to deal with a future outbreak.  The solution is the Containerized Bio-Containment System (CBCS).

Environmental Health

Many regions in northeast Mongolia have been severely affected by a phenomenon called dzud, whereby large numbers of livestock die due to extremely harsh winter conditions. This phenomenon that used to occur about once every 10 years, has now been occurring more frequently. This devastating trend seems to be the result of overgrazing in combination with climate change.

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