Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Two Ebola survivors are suing the Sierra Leone government to shed light over the disappearance of millions of dollars that the country received following the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

As 2017 ended, some key global health events, milestones and highlights from the past 12 months of efforts at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent child and maternal deaths, control the HIV/AIDS epidemic and combat infectious diseases were shared.

India’s Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court’s order that quashed federal rules mandating larger health warnings on tobacco packages , in a setback for the country’s $11 billion tobacco industry.

The United Nations is predicting 135.7 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance in 2018, an increase over this year. More than 76 million people are projected to need emergency food assistance in 2018 as well.

Vaccines are one of the most important scientific inventions of all time, preventing millions of cases of disease every year and helping to consign once-deadly outbreaks to history. Yet these vital public-health tools are under threat from growing public mistrust in immunization and the rise of so-called “fake news” drowning out expert voices.

Tereza Kasaeva is to be the new Director or WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Program.  She joins WHO from Russia’s Ministry of Health. But instead of a warm welcome, she will arrive in Geneva amid potentially disabling controversy.

The Director-General of WHO has outlined his vision for a Madagascar free of plague epidemics during a three-day visit to the island nation that started on 7 January 2018.

2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity.
A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before.  The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell.

Parliament has called on government to consider increasing the budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Child Care saying it should have the highest allocation, or at least the 15 percent benchmark set out in the Abuja Declaration of 2001.

Programs, Grants & Awards

With a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Sesame Street and International Rescue Committee will begin to work on bringing regional version of Sesame Street and related activities aimed at providing education to nearly 9.4 million Syrian refugees.

Henrietta Holsman Fore is the next executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced Friday.

Research

Using the genetic information obtained from Wyeomyia smithii (pitcher plant mosquitoes), scientists are hoping to stop different mosquito species from feeding on blood.

Madagascar can build stronger health systems to fight plague and prevent the next epidemic.

With transmissions between family members accounting for most infections during the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the virus spread to other members in one out of three households that was home to an infected person, a study in one Sierra Leone community found.

Diseases & Disasters

The WHO has approved a new highly effective typhoid vaccine, Typbar TCV. The vaccine is made by Bharat Biotech based in Hyderabad, India and can be purchased by donors for use in low-income countries.

Three people in South Sudan have died of a suspected viral harmorrhagic fever and 60 of their contacts are being monitored for any infection, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

One million children aged six months to 10 years in Puntland and 4.2 million across Somalia were reached during a five-day measles campaign that wrapped up on Sunday, the United Nations has reported.

Technology

Yesterday’s announcement that WHO has prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid offers a major boost to prevention efforts against a disease that causes 11-20 million cases annually and up to 161,000 deaths.

Environmental Health

Plastic microbeads can no longer be used to manufacture personal care and cosmetic products in the UK. The ban on sales of such products is expected to go into effect in July.

Eucador’s state oil company has begun drilling in Yasuní National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.

Equity & Disparities

In Malawi, where menstrual hygiene is a major concern among young women, menstrual cups may be an inexpensive alternative.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Huge burden of unintended pregnancies and drug-induced abortions that occur outside of health facilities confirm the need for rethinking medical abortions and improving contraceptive access, a new study shows.

A new study shows that group singing sessions can help mothers recover from postpartum depression more quickly.

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