Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Within the space of a few short weeks, the reputation of Peter Sands, incoming Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has gone from respected to reckless according to some critics.

A report from the WHO’s Independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) has called for urgent action, high-level political commitment and immediate scaling of actions to address NCDs.

“Winning the fight against tuberculosis (TB)  requires that ‘social drivers’ of the disease – especially poverty and inequality – are tackled head on, the United Nations Secretary General said [Monday], urging greater efforts to provide universal health coverage and combat the growing threat of anti-microbial resistance…”

Being active is critical for health. But in our modern world, this is becoming more and more of a challenge, largely because our cities and communities aren’t designed in the right ways,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General on Monday, launching the WHO Global action plan on physical activity and health 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world, alongside Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The World Health Organization has certified Paraguay a malaria-free country. An independent panel concluded earlier this year that Paraguay interrupted indigenous malaria transmission for the requisite 3-year period and that it can prevent re-establishment of transmission.

Research

In a new study, scientists suggest that your beloved furry companion could trigger a flu pandemic among people in the future. Why? Researchers found that flu strains can jump from pigs to dogs, and that flu is becoming increasingly diverse in dogs.

In a day long mock pandemic exercise organized by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, an unreal mystery virus, Clade X, brought the world to its knees before eventually burning out.

A large-scale clinical trial, called HOPE (HIV Organ Policy Equity Act) in Action, a multicenter kidney study, assessing the risks of transplanting kidneys from HIV- positive donors into patients living with the virus, is set to begin soon.

Travellers carrying standby antibiotics take them more often than those traveling without such drugs.  Having antibiotics packed in the bags allows their use – against recommendations – also for mild and moderate diarrhoea, i.e. cases not requiring medication.

Diseases, Disasters & Wars

Haider Hammoud often goes tent-to-tent at the refugee camps near the Syrian border asking families whether they’ve enjoyed their iftar meal.  It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Syrian 32-year-old wants to ensure that when the sun goes down, displaced families break their fasts with a taste of home-cooked food.

First case of Polio (since 1989) has been reported in Venezuela as it falls deeper into crisis that has crippled its healthcare system.

In 2015, a dermatologist in Russia’s fourth largest city, Yekaterinburg, diagnosed Katia with herpes. “I had no idea what it was,” says Katia, who asked that her last name not be used. But because she had suffered repeated illnesses over the preceding 2 years and had an alcoholic ex-boyfriend who simultaneously had other girlfriends, she suspected that something more serious might be wrong.

Technology

Bausch + Lomb, a leading global eye health company and wholly owned subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE/TSX: VRX), today announced the introduction of Ocuvite® Blue Light eye vitamins, a nutritional supplement formulated with lutein and zeaxanthin, the two carotenoid pigments naturally found in the eye. This formulation of eye nutrients includes high levels of lutein and helps protect eyes from the blue light that reaches the macula, which is responsible for our central vision.

Mobile health technology has the potential to transform the way we prevent and manage heart disease, but there are unanswered questions about how to optimize this technology and maintain engagement with patients, according to a recent review.

A new study by Waldemar Gorski, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Chemistry, and Stanton McHardy, associate professor of research in chemistry and director of the UTSA Center for Innovative Drug Discovery, describes a method that could show quickly and accurately whether a person has been infected with harmful bacteria or other pathogens.

Environmental Health

Plastic and chemical pollution has been detected in most samples of snow and seawater taken by researchers in Antarctica, said the non-governmental environmental group Greenpeace.

Equity & Disparities

An estimated 239,000 excess deaths occur among girls under 5 years of age each year in India. The study highlights the significant effects of gender bias on mortality.

For urban planners, data and technology are valuable tools in the drive to improve administration and services. But while these innovations are making urban environments more livable, they come with a hidden cost: the potential to deepen inequality among digitally marginalized groups.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Childhood deaths from pneumonia and meningitis decreased significantly between 2000 and 2015. This sharp decline could be attributed to the introduction of vaccines against these bacteria in high-burden countries.

The unique composition of a mother’s breast milk may reduce food sensitization in her infant, report researchers at the University Of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues in Canada.  The findings, publishing in the June 15 issue of Allergy, further highlight the health role of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which are not found in infant formula, and underscore their potential for therapeutic interventions.

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