Global News Round-Up

Politics & Policies

After less than a week of formal, bipartisan negotiations on Zika funding, congressional lawmakers have reached a deal.

In the nearly four months since the Obama administration issued its 1.9 billion Zika funding request, congressional lawmakers have publicly bickered over each chamber’s response to the virus.

In light of the Orlando mass shooting, the American Medical Association has declared gun violence a “Public Health Crisis” and said that it will lobby Congress to overturn a 20-year old legislation that put an end to research on gun violence.

In a rare reversal, the WHO has removed coffee from the list of possible carcinogens after an expert panel of 23 scientists reviewed hundreds of studies and found insufficient evidence for a link between coffee and cancer.

Global health action has been remarkably successful at saving lives and preventing illness in many of the world’s poorest countries. This is a key reason that funding for global health initiatives has increased in the last twenty years. Nevertheless, financial support is periodically jeopardized when scandals erupt over allegations of corruption, sometimes halting health programs altogether.


The Society for Disaster Medicine in Public Health (SDMPH) will have the 2nd Annual Meeting from July 27-29 at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, MD.

Royal Philips and The Texas A&M University System Chancellor announced a collaboration aimed at developing population health solutions as part of the Healthy South Texas pilot project, creating integrated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) technologies for more efficient and effective coordination of response efforts, and developing point-of-care diagnostics and biosurveillance to help avoid epidemics and pandemics.

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host the Summer Institute on Health Disparities Science from August 15, 2016 to August 19, 2016.  The program will support the development of individual research projects by promising scientists early in their careers and will stimulate research in the disciplines supported by science on minority health and health disparities.


A preliminary surveillance report of pregnant Colombian mothers suggests that Zika virus infection during the third trimester of pregnancy is not linked to structural abnormalities in the fetus.

Diseases & Disasters

Two years after India was declared free of polio, a strain of polio virus has been identified in a sewer during routine checks in the Indian state of Telangana. In response to this, the Indian government will launch an emergency vaccination drive.

According to the CDC, Zika is spreading rapidly in Puerto Rico.   Blood donations suggest “the Zika virus has gained a startling foothold in Puerto Rico based on the number of blood donations that have tested positive for the disease.”

The U.N.’s refugee agency reports that the number of displaced people is at its highest ever,  surpassing even post-World War II numbers, when the world was struggling to come to terms with the most devastating event in history.  According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 65.3 million were displaced at the end of 2015.


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be creating the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network, or CHAMPS in Asia and Africa.  CHAMPS will be a network of disease surveillance centers in developing nations that will “gather better data, faster, about how, where and why children are getting sick and dying.”

The WHO has approved two innovative new technologies to detect HIV among infants who pre-qualify. The products (both of which use disposable cartridges preloaded with chemicals needed for HIV detection), Alere™ q HIV-1/2 Detect (made by Alere Technologies GmbH) and Xpert® HIV-1 Qual Assay (made by Cepheid AB), will be able to diagnose HIV in infants in a matter of hours (as little as an hour), as opposed to sending the sample to a laboratory where it could take weeks or months.

Environmental Health

The Middle East has been the worst hit by significant rise in sand and dust storms, with major impacts on human health, United Nations scientists say.  Iran and Kuwait are the most affected countries, largely because of sand and dust blowing in from Syria and Iraq.

Equity & Disparities

A study conducted among Ethiopian women revealed that “majority of slum residents did not have adequate antenatal care services with only 50.3, 20.2 and 11.0% of the slum resident women initiated antenatal care early, received adequate antenatal care service contents and had overall adequate antenatal care services respectively“. They also report that educational status and place of ANC visits were important determinant factors.

The global news round-up was prepared by the communications team

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