Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

This year ends in uncertain times, for the world’s political order, the fate of a damaged planet, the seemingly boundless human suffering experienced by civilians and health care staff in war zones, and the continuing failure of antibiotics that once gave medicine its “miracle” cures.

Adopting a draft resolution on global health and foreign policy that focused on the role of health employment in driving economic growth and helping Member States move toward sustainable development, the General Assembly also held a debate on the culture of peace and elected members to the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Now that President-elect Donald Trump has selected ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, the lifelong oil man will need to field questions raised by the international development community before he can take up his job.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged US President-elect Donald Trump to expand Obamacare and ensure all Americans have access to healthcare.

In a “value for money” assessment released this month, Britain’s foreign aid agency gave top ratings to three organizations to which it donates: the World Bank; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Ban Ki Moon, in his Agenda for Humanity has requested that the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund expand its annual funding target to $1 billion by 2018.

Research

Chronic HIV-1 infection impairs superantigen-induced activation of peripheral CD4+CXCR5+PD-1+ cells, with relative preservation of recall antigen specific responses.

Viruses can evolve to become more aggressive in men than in women – at least in theory, a study suggests.

Though Zika has been known for 70 years, in many ways the virus is still poorly understood. A new phylogenetic and geographic analysis of Zika’s collected genetic sequences provides the most complete study of the virus’s history to date.

A new systematic review and meta analysis of mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis shows that deworming has little to no effect on nutrition, haemoglobin, school attendance, and school performance, though the quality of evidence was mainly low or very low.

Diseases & Disasters

Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe is set to worsen as the war has ruined the economy and is stopping food supplies getting through, driving the country to the brink of famine.

Thanks to unprecedented international cooperation, the world is making impressive progress in the fight against malaria.  According to the World Health Organization’s just-released 2016 World Malaria Report, malaria mortality rates among children under age five have fallen by 69% since 2000.

New data from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, suggest that nearly half of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy experience a serious complication, whether a miscarriage or significant birth defect, in their baby.

Global progress on controlling malaria risks stalling due to an “urgent need” for more funding, the World Health Organization warned in its annual report on Tuesday.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its involvement in humanitarian relief to refugees in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

Rabies is classified as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD), although many folks in the global north probably don’t think of rabies as a common disease, nor a tropical one for that matter.

An Egyptian woman, believed to be the world’s heaviest woman at 500 kg (1,102 lbs), will soon be flown to India for weight reduction surgery.

Technology

Malawi on Thursday launched Africa’s first drone-testing corridor as developing countries explore how drones could be used during humanitarian crisis such as floods, or to deliver blood for HIV tests.

Tanzania’s new digital health road map offers a pioneering example of “putting national government in the driver’s seat” and of systems based approaches to e-health, experts say.

A 24-year-old woman in London is thought to be the first in the world to have a baby after having an ovary frozen before the onset of puberty.

The United Nations announced today at a meeting of the world’s top agricultural scientists, that in order to achieve the world’s Sustainable Development Goals of defeating hunger and poverty by 2030, governments and the private sector must increase commitment to agricultural science and technology research.

This year’s Tech Awards, hosted by The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, shines a spotlight on startups that use technology to make lives better in poor countries.

Environmental Health

Two new studies report that methane levels in the atmosphere are increasing at the fastest pace in two decades. Methane is a greenhouse gas and has a much more potent warming effect when compared to carbon dioxide.

Clearing tonnes of plastic debris off beaches is only the first step—then comes the conundrum of what to do with it all.

Asia, the world’s largest and fastest-developing continent, has less fresh water per capita  than any other continent. This has helped foster growing interstate and intrastate disputes over shared water resources.

Climate science in the US is in an existential crisis. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cut funding for Earth science and the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives will probably make good on those promises.

Equity & Disparities

Among the estimated 1 million migrants living in Thailand along the remote Thai-Burmese border, threats to health abound.  Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diarrheal conditions and dengue fever run rampant.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Nearly a half million children will face starvation in northeastern Nigeria next year and 80,000 will die if they don’t get treatment in the humanitarian crisis created by Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising, the UN Children’s Agency warned Tuesday.

Although child survival has improved substantially in the past 15 years, the decline in neonatal mortality (particularly deaths related to neonatal sepsis) has been more modest, which has contributed to the overall non-attainment of Millennium Development Goal 4 (to reduce child mortality).

Babies made from two women and one man have been approved by the UK’s fertility regulator.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, authors have found that in contrast to premature babies who received conventional incubator care, premature babies who were exclusively breastfed and received kangaroo-mother-care have become adults with larger brains, higher salaries and less stressful lives.

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

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