Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Humanitarians across the world risk their lives in the line of duty every day. They negotiate access with militias to deliver food into besieged cities, they vaccinate children in war zones, and they perform surgeries in bombed out hospitals. With over 65 million people displaced across the world, never more have we needed committed humanitarians to respond to so many complex crises. Yet, however skilled or brave humanitarians may be, their efforts are wasted without the real political leadership to resolve conflicts and share the global responsibility for hosting people fleeing conflict.

A non-profit organization is proving that new drugs don’t have to cost a fortune. Can its model work more broadly?

Mike Bloomberg appointed by WHO as a global health ambassador to help countries tackle NCDs. The former NYC mayor has a strong proven track record in using data to drive policies.

Programs

The University of California Global Health Institute announce funding for two multicampus Centers of Expertise.  The system wide institute will create a new Center of Expertise on Planetary Health and has renewed funding for the Center of Expertise on Women’s Health, Gender & Empowerment.

Kenya has pledged approximately Sh500 million ($5 million) donation to the Global Fund to fight HIV, TB, and Malaria.  President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed the contribution at a side event at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi. He said it was time for all global health partners to work together to fight diseases and to accelerate the attainment of universal health coverage in Africa.

Donald Ainslie Henderson, the charismatic public health official who led the World Health Organization’s successful effort to eradicate smallpox and later turned his attention to bioterrorism, died Friday at Gilchrist Hospice in Towson of complications after a hip fracture. He was 87.

Cultural barriers gave way to goals and slide-tackles in Uganda this summer as part of a public health immersion camp led by USC students and alumni.

Every day, humanitarian aid workers stand on the front lines of war and disaster, braving tremendous dangers and difficulties to deliver assistance to those who need it most. World Humanitarian Day (WHD), which takes place every year on August 19, recognizes the aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilizes people to advocate for humanitarian action.

Research

Fluoridation with sodium fluoride could be a contributing factor to diabetes rates in the US, as the chemical is a known preservative of blood glucose.

The US  Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has found a mosquito virus that’s broken up into pieces. And the mosquito needs to catch several of the pieces to get an infection.

In recent years, researchers in China pay more attention to the negative impacts of smoking on working memory.  A longitudinal study for eight long-term smokers found the decline of their memory, cognitive function, and attention ability was closely related to smoking.

Variation in crytococcal antigenemia prevalence found in Nigeria should be taken into consideration as plans are made to integrate routine screening into clinical care for HIV-infected patients.

Diseases & Disasters

Italy on Tuesday held a poignantly symbolic funeral for victims of last week’s earthquake amid the ruins of Amatrice, the small town that bore the brunt of the disaster.

A devastating 6.2 earthquake in central Italy on August 24 that killed more than 290 people was the country’s largest since a magnitude-6.3 earthquake in 2009 that hit the town of L’Aquila, about 40 kilometres away. That event killed 308 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and a university. Controversially, it also caused six scientists to be put on trial for manslaughter.  Of the 292 people known to have died in last Wednesday’s earthquake, 242 were from Amatrice or nearby Accumoli.

So far, it’s looking like predictions from computer models were pretty much spot on: Zika wasn’t a big threat in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games.

The ongoing violence in Syria has taken a physical and mental toll on many, including one 9-year-old boy, who began to look up “ways to commit suicide” online, according to Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul, who assisted with his care.

India may have  a million more tuberculosis (TB) patients than previously estimated.  A million more tuberculosis patients than previously estimated.  A new study indicated that there are 2.2 million tuberculosis patients being treated in the private sector alone.

Wars and uprisings in the Middle East have wiped five years off local life expectancy due to high casualties and drops in healthcare standards, a study warns.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is ramping up its response in north-eastern Nigeria, where initial assessments have revealed urgent health problems among populations in areas formerly held by Boko Haram insurgents. “Protracted conflict situations, such as seen in northern Nigeria – and the surrounding Lake Chad basin countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger – are among the greatest threats to health, globally,” Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme said in a news release today.

A shortage of HIV testing could undermine global efforts to diagnose and treat people with the infection,  warn experts from the World Health Organization.

The Zika virus can be transmitted by a female mosquito to her eggs, eventually infecting her adult daughters, researchers reported on Monday.

Mosquitoes have begun spreading the Zika virus in a second part of Miami — the popular tourist destination of Miami Beach — Florida officials announced Friday.

A shocked Syrian boy pictured Ssitting in an ambulance covered in blood and dust after an airstrike has become a symbol of civilian suffering in Aleppo, drawing worldwide attention.

Although diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease, CVD) kill more people worldwide than anything else, with 17.3 million deaths globally, cancer has now overtaken CVD as the main cause of death in 12 European countries.

Health is an integral part of India’s growth and it is hence, imperative for the central and state governments to to prioritise non communicable diseases (NCDs) and work in a more coordinated manner,” said V Selvaraju, secretary, Indian Health Economics and Policy Association (IHEPA) on Wednesday.

The world has watched the dramatic economic growth and industrialization of China unfold in awe. But, according to a new Harvard study, these changes are also fueling the rise of China’s deadliest killer:  cardiovascular disease.  

For years following the events of September 11, 2001 in lower Manhattan, the disaster and its aftermath may have affected women and their babies who were not even conceived yet, according to a new study.

Technology

It’s been just over a year since 9-year-old Zion Harvey received a double-hand transplant, and he said Tuesday what he really wants to do is play football.

Penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic, works by targeting certain proteins—appropriately named penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs)—that play a critical role in building and maintaining the bacterial cell wall. Now, scientists at Harvard Medical School have identified another class of proteins which play a similar role and could be a target for the next generation of antibiotics.

Environmental Health

The Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) holds the dubious distinction of being the third most air-polluted city in the world. Seven years after the government had stopped monitoring the air quality in the capital city, a measuring station is now monitoring air quality.

South Jakarta District Court found National Sago Prima guilty of burning the forests in Riau in 2014. This subsidiary group of Sampoerna Agro has been fined Rp2 billion.

Cheap paper surgical masks do well in blocking dust particles, almost as well as the N95 masks that the researchers used for comparison in this study.

Native American Tribes are taking on Washington State’s controversial plan that includes new water quality standards. This new plan threatens the traditional fishing practices that have helped reestablish the tribe.

Equity & Disparities

USC scientists have been tracking 73 low income teens in a five year study to understand how culture, family, exposure to violence and other factors shape the human mind. Their preliminary results based on MRI scans show that children who grow up with higher levels of  violence have weaker real time neural connections in areas of the brain involved in awareness, ethical and emotional processing.

A recent study in JAMA shows that US spending on prescription drugs far exceeds that in other countries. In 2013, US spent $858 per capita on prescription medication while the average per capita spending in 19 countries was $400. Interestingly, the authors suggest that there is no evidence of association between research, drug development and high prices. But instead it seems to be based on what the market will bear.

Consumption of fruits and vegetables is low worldwide. Low affordability of fruits and vegetables, particularly in low income countries, is associated with poor consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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

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