Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Our mission to end extreme poverty by 2030 will only be realized if the international community comes together to strengthen health systems and provide lifesaving vaccinations. Both the public and private sectors play undeniably critical roles to invest in the research, development and distribution of vaccinations.

In 2015, 773 organizations received $6.65 billion to implement global health programs in 90 countries.

Joe Biden has called on the Congress to allow an up-or-down vote on funding to combat the Zika virus. Congress failed to approve the President’s asking of $1.9 billion before it went on recess.

Last week in a Washington Post op-ed, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci shed light on the ramifications of federal Zika funding shortfalls, including more than $670 million that have been directed away from other pressing public health priorities. Those dollars will run out by September 30 and Zika response will grind to a halt without additional funding.

There is growing concerns regarding the potential consequences of Bill Clinton’s departure (if Hillary Clinton gets elected) on global health programs such as the Clinton Health Access Initiative run by the Clinton Foundation.

Next week, the Dutch parliament will discuss its policy contributions in the strengthening of health systems  via development cooperation programmes. Specific attention will be paid to the containment of transnational epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak, ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemics in several parts of the world and the Zika viral disease that has spread to large parts of the Americas and some countries in Southeast Asia.

A symposium was held to honor the contributions of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Songkla to public health and medicine in Thailand and the progress the country has made over the past century.

Programs

The 2016 Triangle Global Health Conference will be held on September 30 in Chapel Hill, NC. You will get to “explore health solutions that not only transcend borders but cross traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries.”

Planetary health — the Earth’s ability to regenerate and sustain life — is under increasing pressure. Human population growth and activity increases as the climate changes and the environment bears the impact, resulting in reduced species diversity, emerging disease and diminishing supplies of available food and potable water.

Research

We describe a role for Hsp70 in circarial invasion behavior. To date, only generic stimulation with skin lipid, linoleic acid or L-arginine are known to induce cercarial invasion behavior; thus, we can begin an initial investigation of molecular requirements for host invasion and environment transition for schistosomes and possibly other parasitic organisms.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are the leading cause of premature death and disability in the Pacific. The purpose of this paper is to describe a regional, collaborative framework for coordination, innovation and application of NCD monitoring activities at scale, and to show how they can strengthen accountability for action on NCDs in the Pacific.

We report three autochthonous cases of scrub typhus caused by O. tsutsugamushi acquired on Chiloé Island in southern Chile, which suggests the existence of an endemic focus in South America.

A drug that treats malaria could help ease the burden on overwhelmed health-care facilities during Ebola outbreaks, according to a study published last week in the journal PLOS ONE.

Dengue is a major mosquito-borne viral disease and an important public health problem. Identifying which factors are important determinants in the risk of dengue infection is critical in supporting and guiding preventive measures.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens for HIV could improve clinical outcomes for patients. To inform global guidelines, we aimed to assess the comparative effectiveness of recommended ART regimens for HIV in ART-naive patients.

Toxoplasma gondii oocysts are an important form of contamination with a high dispersion in the environment, but their detection is still a challenge. This study evaluated the recovery of oocysts from strawberries and crisphead lettuce.

Doctors around the world are over diagnosing the most common thyroid cancer, creating an artificial epidemic that costs billions of dollars each year in unnecessary medical costs, suggests new research.

Diseases & Disasters

A huge fire has ripped through a favela in Brazil’s most populous city, Sao Paulo, destroying hundreds of homes.

Dr. Attaran dire pre-Olympic predictions about worldwide Zika virus transmission was completely wrong, but the alarm likely aided global health.

Every year more than 800,000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.

Loneliness, which Emily Dickinson described as “the Horror not to be surveyed,” is a quiet devastation. But in Britain, it is increasingly being viewed as something more: a serious public health issue deserving of public funds and national attention.

Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have been found in the Miami area, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, marking the first time that the virus has been found in mosquitoes in the continental United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared Sri Lanka a malaria-free country, in what they’ve called a “remarkable public health achievement.”

Uganda is edging closer to eliminating river blindness from the country.  The government announced this week that it eliminated the disease in four areas of focus in the country, leaving only two more areas with active transmission of the parasite.

Researchers have found that the Zika virus can live in eyes, and research in mice may help explain why some Zika patients develop eye disease, including a condition that can lead to permanent vision loss.

Dr. Louise Ivers, with the nonprofit Partners in Health, which runs the largest teaching hospital in Haiti, is concerned that Zika is spreading as a silent epidemic.
As Zika infects large numbers of immunologically naïve populations in the Americas, significant concern has been raised about the possibility that Culex mosquitoes could be responsible for transmitting the virus.

Health authorities in Madrid are taking steps to contain an outbreak of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) that has killed one man and infected a nurse who treated him.

Technology

Attitudes about vaccines are primarily positive around the world, according to a new survey, but confidence in vaccines varies widely across different countries —with a surprising show of skepticism in Europe, for example.

In the ongoing fight against three of the world’s deadliest diseases — AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates says instability in Africa’s war-torn regions has made it difficult to deliver “the basics of health.”

Scientists say they have found a new compound that stops malaria in animal studies with a single, low dose.

Sisu Global Health, the company that makes a low-cost blood transfusion device, received the first investment from a new fund focused on Maryland startups and is closing in on $1M seed round.

Environmental Health

An increase in water temperatures is having a profound effect that, with hidden stores of frozen methane thawing out, will soon start to feed on itself.

Analyses of data from the KORA study that included 3000 participants who live in the city of Augsburg and two adjacent rural counties in Germany revealed that the risk of developing insulin resistance as a pre-diabetic state increased with exposure to air pollution. The authors found that the association between elevated blood marker (in pre-diabetic individuals) and air pollutant levels was significant.

With its large shale gas and shale oil reserves, Argentina has been attracting several oil companies. The indigenous communities in Argentina say that fracking has polluted their land and water and have now united to stop fracking.

Daldykan River near the Russian city of Norilsk mysteriously turned blood red in color. The city is among the worst polluted cities in the world and the residents feels that the color might be due to mixing of waste water and mineral oil leak from Hope Metals Plant.

Water lilies thrive not just in stagnant waters, but in warming ones. And this summer, the hottest on record, they bloomed with abandon.

Equity & Disparities

His experiences as a young immigrant proved pivotal for Pérez-Stable, who grew up to become a physician and scientist, whose research has documented the impact of language barriers and other issues on the health of Latinos. At 64, he leads the National Institutes of Health’s division for funding and guiding minority health research.

With nearly 80% of medical equipment in LMICs donated, the problem of non-functional equipment is huge. A study that looked at inventory of medical equipment from 16 countries showed that about about 40% of donated equipment are nonfunctional, compared to the 1% of equipment that are out of service in high-income countries.

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

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