Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

The FDA released a new tobacco rule mandating that cigar packages include prominent new warning labels intended to remind smokers of health risks.

Global fund has suspended funds to the Nigeria AIDS agency after a report by the fund’s general inspector revealed that the workers and consultants who worked for the agency stole nearly $3.8 million.

A new report by WHO, UNICEF, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) that included analysis of national laws in 194 countries reveals the status of laws to protect and promote breastfeeding. The report shows that only 39 countries have laws to enact all provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes.

Programs

The new Center for Global Health at the University of Oregon Global Studies Institute will support a wide range of scientific, educational, and service-oriented initiatives designed to understand and ameliorate the world’s most challenging health and social problems.

Research

Researchers at the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) created models to test Zika virus transmission in the placenta of female mice.  These models may be useful in assessing drug efficacy and other interventions on the road to finding an effective treatment.

New research suggests herbal remedies are a “global health hazard” and could be putting millions at risk of cancer and other diseases.

An assessment of the annual mass drug administration that has been conducted for a decade for lymphatic filariasis among children under 5-years of age in Burkina Faso reveals that this large scale preventive treatment has been effective in controlling soil-transmitted helminth infections.

Adolescents aged 10-24 years represent over a quarter of the world population (1.8 billion), 89% of whom live in developing countries. Their number is set to rise to about 2 billion by 2032.  Although adolescence is generally thought to be the healthiest time of life, young people have attracted little interest and too few resources in global health research. And, adolescents aged 10-24 years old have the worst health-care coverage of any age group.  According to a Lancet Commission, two-thirds of young people are growing up in countries where preventable and treatable health problems like HIV/AIDS, early pregnancy, unsafe sex, depression, injury, and violence remain a daily threat to their health, wellbeing, and life chances.

 

Diseases & Disasters

May 3 is World Asthma Day.  About 300 million people worldwide are affected with asthma, including 24 million in the US.  Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways, leading to recurrent attacks of wheezing, difficulty with breathing, tightness of the chest, and coughing.  Also, asthma seems to be hereditary, which means if someone in your family has asthma, you may develop the disease.  Although asthma may develop at any age, half of the patients develop symptoms before the age of 10 and many children with asthma had their first asthma attack by the age of 6.  The cause of asthma is still being researched.

Mass immunization is the only way to stop yellow fever, but producing more of the vaccine is not easy. Four laboratories in the world produce the vaccine:  The Institut Pasteur de Dakar (Guinea), Russia, France, and Brazil.  Around 80 million doses are produced globally each year.

To date, 35 countries and territories have confirmed local, vector-borne transmission of Zika virus in the Region of the Americas since 2015.  Since the last Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Zika Epidemiological Update of April 14, 2016, no new countries or territories have confirmed vector-borne transmission of Zika virus in their region.

Technology

The only cancer treatment machine in Uganda has broken down jeopardizing patients’ lives.  This machine was donated by China in 1995 and in 2013 Uganda did purchase a second radiotherapy machine, but it has not been operational due to delay in allocation of funds by the Ugandan government.  According to WPR, this represents a lack of funding for strengthening healthcare systems and creating systems that are resilient and sustainable.

Immunization averts 2 to 3 million deaths annually. However, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves.  1 in 5 children (20%) worldwide still do not receive routine vaccinations for preventable diseases.  During World Immunization Week, we can continue to write the history of vaccination as we celebrate the triumphs in vaccine research and development.

Recent technical and scientific innovations have accelerated the ability to fight emerging infectious diseases as they develop.  Examples include five Zika virus vaccines about to be tested, Sanofi’s dengue vaccine, and products being developed to fight Marburg, West Nile, and the Ebola virus.

The UPS Foundation is partnering with Zipline, a California­-based robotics company, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to explore using drones to transform the way life-saving medicines like blood and vaccines are delivered across the world.  The $800,000 grant will help initiate the project in Rwanda, where drones will be used to deliver life-saving blood.  According to WHO, Africa has the highest rate in the world of maternal death due to postpartum hemorrhaging, which makes access to lifesaving blood transfusions critically important for women across the continent.

Environmental Health

According to the World Bank, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and South Asia will suffer the biggest economic hit from water scarcity as climate change takes hold by 2050.

A leading environmental health expert warns people may be breathing in microplastics or microparticles of plastic.

Equity & Disparities

A new toolkit called the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT) has been developed by WHO. The software that uses data from the WHO Health Equity Monitor allows health professionals and researchers to examine health inequalities in their countries and compare inequalities in their country with other countries.

Eight million people are killed or injured every year because they cannot access safe surgery and 5 billion people around the world cannot access safe, affordable, and timely surgery.  The global burden of surgical diseases outstrips that of HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis and has been called the “neglected stepchild of global health.”

                                                                                                                 Prepared by the Communications Team

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