Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Taiwan is pushing for a last-minute invitation to an annual World Health Organization summit amid rising pressure from Beijing to isolate the island by blocking its participation in international events.

As the burden of such diseases shifts, and the threat of pandemics begins to hit home even in the world’s wealthiest countries, advocates are pushing for the health ministers of the G20 – gathering in Berlin later this month for the first meeting of its kind – to do their bit in supporting global health R&D in tackling neglected diseases, antimicrobial resistance and pandemic preparedness.

A federal court on Friday granted the Trump administration’s request to suspend lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan rule, signaling the likely end of President Barack Obama’s signature climate policy.

Mexico’s Lower House of Congress passed a bill on Friday to legalize the use of marijuana and cannabis for medical and scientific needs.

Liberia’s vice-president has backed US President Donald Trump’s plans to slash foreign aid, saying that the West African country “cannot continue living on handouts.”

On Tuesday night, the United States House of Representatives passed a near-unanimous resolution calling for continued US engagement on the famine in South Sudan.

While the president pooh-poohs foreign aid, health programs supported by organizations in Seattle are saving millions of lives in places like sub-Saharan Africa.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The third annual Seeds & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit started off with a panel titled “How Millennials Are Changing the Food System.”

The international conference on healthcare in a globalizing world ‘SymHealth 2017’, was held on May 4 to 6, 2017 at the Symbiosis International University (SIU), Pune.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is celebrating a milestone with one of its new programs.  This is the end of the first year of UniverCity Year. The program paired UW students studying city planning with the city of Monona to work on projects within the community.  Next Fall, the program is partnering with Dane County to address issues like affordable housing and pollution in the Yahara waterways.

Research

In this study the prevalence of SP resistance mutations was determined among P. falciparum found in pregnant women and the general population (GP) from Nanoro, Burkina Faso and the association of IPTp-SP dosing and other variables with mutations was studied.

In lung cancer patients who were taking immunotherapy drugs targeting the PD-1 pathway, testing for CD8 T- cell activation in their blood partially predicted whether their tumors would shrink.  The results were published online by PNAS April 26.

Scientists have developed a highly sensitive, inexpensive diagnostic tool based on the CRISPR protein that targets RNA instead of DNA.

Diseases & Disasters

The largest Somali-American community in Minnesota is currently experiencing the state’s worst measles outbreak in nearly three decades.

Somalia is suffering from the largest outbreak in the past five years and the number of people killed is expected to double by the end of June, the United Nations health agency.

Liberia is sending blood samples from people suffering from an undiagnosed disease abroad. The disease had already claimed 11 lives in Sinoe County. Tests for Ebola were negative.

Owing to armed conflicts, natural disasters and increased food prices, international food insecurity rose in 2016.

Exercise addiction is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the authoritative guide to defining, classifying and diagnosing mental health disorders. The only behavior-associated addiction in the DSM is gambling. However, a paper that published last month in the British Medical Journal encourages health-care professionals to recognize and understand the risks of exercise addiction.

Technology

Sisu Global Health, a medical device company developing a low-cost auto-transfusion device called Hemafuse, has won the First Mile Innovation Challenge, a global call for innovative solutions that directly address clinical or community hardships in primary healthcare, conducted by The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Global Health and GE Healthcare.

The fusion of biology and technology was used to control blood sugar levels in mice with diabetes. The idea, described in Science Translational Medicine, could be applied to a wide range of diseases and drug treatments.  The research team said the findings “could pave the way for a new era of personalised, digitalised and globalised precision medicine”.

WHO announced on Monday that the world’s first malaria vaccine will be field-tested in pilot programs in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in 2018.

Environmental Health

According to the survey conducted by World Water Council, drinking water standards have improved considerably in India but much more needs to be done to achieve SDG WASH goals.

A new study conducted in Hyderabad, major production hub for the global drug market shows that improper waste water management has led to contamination of water resources with antimicrobial pharmaceuticals.

Equity & Disparities

A new study looks at the distribution of bed nets before and after the launch of an initiative in 2008 called Cover The Bed Net Gap to address the inequities in ITN ownership. They show that this initiative did reduce inequities but also note that some countries did better than others.

A new study reveals that 90% of development assistance goes to people below 60 years of age and that assistance to meet health targets largely ignores the older population.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), medications widely used against malaria, are safe to administer to women in their first trimester of pregnancy, according to research published today. ACTs had previously been recommended at that stage of pregnancy only in life-saving circumstances.

In a six year trial involving over 20,000 women in 21 countries, researchers have shown that a blood clotting drug tranexamic acid invented in the 1950s reduced maternal bleeding deaths by about a third if given within 3 hours.

A new national survey reveals that American toddlers are more likely to eat french fries than vegetables on any given day. According to the study, one in four 6-11 month old and one in five 1 year olds had no reported vegetable consumption on the days they were surveyed.

Human Rights

According to anti-trafficking NGO and Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission, human trafficking is still on the rise, a trend that seems to continue two years after the devastating earthquakes.  

According to a new report called “Impunity Must End”, nearly 106 Syrian hospitals were hit in 2016 and that aggression against health care facilities and workers continues even after the passing of UN resolution 2286.

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