Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Bipartisan Senate negotiators are trying to come to an agreement about boosting funding to combat Zika.

Programs

African Leaders for Nutrition is being spearheaded by the African Development Bank President to end malnutrition in Africa, where malnutrition contributes to 45 percent of all deaths in children under 5.

Research

A group of researchers mapped the global environmental suitability for Zika virus and have found that about 2.17 billion people inhabit these regions.  The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.  It was first discovered in Uganda in 1947, with an outbreak in 2007 in the Federated States of Micronesia, and in 2013, it spread across other parts of Oceania, and finally, a large outbreak occurred in Brazil in 2015.

According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, higher levels of neighborhood greenness, such as trees, grass, park space, and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in the older American population, especially in low-to-middle income neighborhoods.  The level of greenness was measured by vegetative presence via NASA satellite imagery.

Diseases & Disasters

April 25 is World Malaria Day.  For half the world, every day is malaria day – a day to keep up the fight against this killer disease.  Last year, malaria claimed 438,000 lives, with 214 million cases in 97 countries.

The failure of antibiotic drugs due to resistance is a very real and growing threat that, if left unchecked, could kill as many as 10 million people by 2050.

Three years after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 factory workers, the rights and safety of workers are in greater focus, but progress in fixing problems in the supply chain is slow, according to experts and activists.

Sanofi and its vaccines global business unit Sanofi Pasteur, announced recently that the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has issued its recommendations to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the use of its dengue vaccine.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador,  killing at least 238 people and wounding 1,550 people.  The earthquake is similar in magnitude to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that killed over 3,000 people and destroyed over three quarters of the city.  It is the biggest earthquake to hit the country in decades.  A one point increase in magnitude is equal to ten times the size of the earthquake because the Richter scale is logarithmic.

A second earthquake hit Ecuador just days after the initial 7.8 earthquake.  This time a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the country and damages are estimated at $2 to $3 billion, according to the President of Ecuador.

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Japan close to the city of Kumamoto, which was hit earlier by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.  At least 42 people have died and more than 1,000 people have been injured.  These are the biggest earthquakes to hit Japan since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in 2011.

In an effort to end polio worldwide, more than 155 countries and territories will be switching to a different polio vaccine, as the largest and fastest globally synchronized switching of a vaccine moves forward.

Technology

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative will be testing an affordable hepatitis C regimen in Malaysia and Thailand.

Sisu Global Health, a Baltimore medical device maker for the developing world, received a $200,000 investment from the Abell Foundation.

Environmental Health

More than 170 countries signed the Paris Agreement climate change  accord on Friday, April 22 in New York.  It was the largest gathering of governments for a signing ceremony and it marks a strong international commitment to deliver on the promises made in Paris last December to avoid a climate disaster.  The agreement will come into force once 55 countries representing 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions approve the agreement in their countries.

April 22 is Earth Day.  The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 in the US and it is organized by the Earth Day Network.  This year it coincides with the signing of the Paris agreement and because it is observed in many countries, the United Nations General Assembly designed April 22 as International Mother Earth Day in 2009.

The British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, which was the largest oil spill in US history, affected more shoreline than originally thought.  Scientists from the federal government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and several private research companies found oil along 1,313 miles out of 5,930 miles of surveyed shoreline after the spill, an increase of 19 percent from previously published estimates.  BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including the biggest pollution penalty in US history.

Equity & Disparities

The National Institute on Minority and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will be researching disparities in surgical outcomes for disadvantaged populations.  As much as 11-30 percent of the global burden of disease requires surgical care or anesthesia management or both.  The research program builds on the concerted efforts of the American College of Surgeons and its affiliates to improve access, quality and safe surgical care for all population groups.

A medical student describes a recent trip to North Korea to provide medical care as part of the biannual medical service trips to Pyongyang, which is led by a Korean-American neurosurgeon. The trips include surgeries, public health interventions, technical support, and local capacity building.  Ultimately, the trips are about fostering peaceful, academic, and service-driven engagement with North Korea.

Only one in four adults and one in 10 children living with HIV in West and Central Africa have access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, compared to almost half of HIV sufferers in Eastern and Southern Africa.  Unless ARV drugs are more readily available to those in the West and Central African regions, the UNAIDS program to help curb the HIV epidemic by 2020 will fail.

Global News Round Up is produced by the communications team

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