Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Technological innovation, expansion of the use of frontline personnel such as community health workers, and rapid increases in health care financing are likely to be instrumental to achieving universal health care (UHC) in countries around the world, according to a new analysis led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

UW Provost Mark Richards joined Sen. Patty Murray and seven global health security experts in Kane Hall on Monday morning to discuss the future of global health in a violent world.  The event was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security.

On August 3, Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), with Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Karen Bass (D-CA) as additional cosponsors, introduced the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 (H.R. 6651). The bill reauthorizes the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through 2023 and upholds the United States’ commitment to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Perhaps no other prominent African personality of international clout, apart from late Nelson Mandela, has attracted so much accolade, sympathy, empathy and condolence like the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Atta Annan, who died in Bern, Switzerland, on August 18, 2018.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) has selected three new Doris Duke International Research Fellows for the 2018-19 academic year.  The fellows—one medical student from Indiana University and two from Duke University—will conduct clinical global health research throughout the upcoming academic year.

Research

Researchers explored the link between cardiovascular health level (defined using the 7-item tool from the American Heart Association [AHA]) and risk of dementia and cognitive decline in older persons. They observed that increased numbers of optimal cardiovascular health metrics and a higher cardiovascular health score were related to a lower risk of dementia and lower rates of cognitive decline.

The financial fallout from breast cancer can last years after diagnosis, particularly for those with lymphedema, a common side effect from treatment, causing cumulative and cascading economic consequences for survivors, their families, and society, a study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers suggests.

Despite increased attention to opioid abuse, prescriptions have remained relatively unchanged for many US patients, new research finds.

Diseases & Disasters

It’s been years since the tobacco industry promised to stop luring young people to smoke cigarettes.  Phillip Morris International says it is “designing a smoke-free future.” British American Tobacco, likewise, claims to be “transforming tobacco” into a safer product.

In a shocking revelation, a recent study has found that alcohol is associated with nearly one in 10 deaths in people aged 15-49 years old.  Overall, according to the research that estimates levels of alcohol use and health effects in 195 countries between 1990 to 2016, 2.8 million deaths occur each year worldwide.

Listeria monocytogenes as the main causative agent of human listeriosis is an intracellular bacterium that has the capability to infect a wide range of cell types. Human listeriosis is a sporatic foodborne disease, which is epidemiologically linked with consumption of contaminated food products.  Listeriosis may range from mild and self-limiting diseases in healthy people to severe systemic infections in susceptible populations.

Approximately one-third of the earth’s population – that’s 2.4 billion people – drinks alcohol, and 2.8 million deaths a year are caused by alcohol-related problems, according to a massive study estimating alcohol use and health effects in 195 countries.

Salt may not be as damaging to health as is usually claimed, according to a controversial new study which suggests campaigns to persuade people to cut down may only be worthwhile in countries with very high sodium consumption, such as China.  The World Health Organization recommends cutting sodium intake to no more than 2g a day – the equivalent of 5g of salt – because of the link to increased blood pressure, which is in turn implicated in stroke.

Those who fail to vaccinate are bound to suffer the diseases of the past.  Measles, which once killed an estimated 2.6 million people a year, is still killing almost 90,000 people a year according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and may be endemic again in the Americas, according to the latest data from the Pan American Health Organization.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo started using an experimental vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus yesterday after identifying it as the virulent Zaire strain. The latest outbreak has spread to a conflict region and is suspected of killing at least 36 people during its first week.

Aardman Animations, creator of the popular “Wallace and Gromit” claymation films, and actor Hugh Laurie teamed up for a 2-minute video on the history of his disease, which claims 450,000 lives a year.  It’s called “Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live.” And it stars “Mozzie the Mosquito.”

Technology

A new report from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) details the investigational use of a drug to treat Chagas disease now available commercially in the United States.

A rotavirus vaccine introduced in rural Malawi has reduced deaths from infant diarrhea morale by more than a third, proving for the first time that a major intervention in a low-income country can be highly effective.

Environmental Health

Exposure to a prevalent type of air pollution—particulate matter called PM2.5—takes one year off the average global lifespan, according to research published Wednesday (Aug. 22) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. But that air pollution is never evenly distributed; for people living in the most-polluted areas of Asia and Africa, the situation is worse—life expectancy for them drops between one year and two months to one year and 11 months.

Equity & Disparities

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the resilient women who work to promote the American value of equality.  Today, Peace Corps recognizes the contributions that volunteers have made to help advance equality across the globe and back home in the United States. Currently, women make up 63 percent of all Peace Corps volunteers.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

An estimated 6.5 million abortions take place across Latin America each year.  Three-quarters of these procedures are unlawful, often performed in unsafe illegal clinics or at home.

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