Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Health care can shift so that organizations across borders collaborate to help solve health care problems. Organizations can better solve problems related to access to care, research, training and development if they work together, not competitively.

It was the ambitious sanitation campaign aimed at giving almost half of India’s 1.3 billion population access to a toilet in just five years.  And last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally declared India free of open defecation.

Bill Gates told an audience at the University of Cambridge that global malnutrition will be solved and malaria will be virtually eliminated by 2040 if world leaders choose to fund scientific innovation.

During a meeting of heads of State, ministers, health leaders, policy-makers, and universal health coverage champions, the UN chief called UHC “the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030”

Programs, Grants & Awards

NEST360° is announcing $68 million in funding commitments from a consortium, including some of the world’s largest private foundations, for the first phase of an eight-year initiative to enable African hospitals to improve newborn survival by 50 percent and to establish a pipeline of local innovators, technicians and medical staff. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded 10 grants this year to UC San Francisco researchers as part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative. The awards to UCSF total more than $40 million and will fund projects ranging from better technologies for MRI imaging of back pain, to the use of deep-brain stimulation for treating chronic pain, to a new interdisciplinary research center for low back pain.

Research

In a new study, UC San Francisco scientists used maps of brain connections to predict how brain atrophy would spread in individual patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), adding to growing evidence that the loss of brain cells associated with dementia spreads via the synaptic connections between established brain networks.

In animals, infections are fought by the immune system. Studies on an unusual virus infecting wild koalas reveal a new form of ‘genome immunity.’

Diseases & Disasters

If you visited the Philadelphia International Airport earlier this month, you may have been exposed to measles. The Pennsylvania Department of Health warned the public on Friday that anyone who visited the airport on October 2 and 3 could have contracted the viral infection.

Ebola in the DRC has been corralled into a much smaller geographical area—27 zones, compared to 207 at the outbreak’s peak, the WHO’s Michael Ryan told reporters.

Kenya is seeing more and more addicts. The number of people injecting drugs jumped by more than 50% in the past eight years and the majority of users inject heroin, the health ministry says.

The World Health Organization is meeting in the Philippines after the country announced an outbreak of polio.  Environmental samples from sewage in Manila have been confirmed as containing the virus.

The United States remains committed to fighting Ebola in Africa, American health officials said, but the scope of the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become somewhat unclear.

Technology 

An ingestible sensor that allows doctors to remotely monitor tuberculosis patients’ intake of medication has the potential to save millions of lives and revolutionise treatment for the world’s most deadly infectious disease, researchers said.

Environmental Health

Climate change poses a huge threat to global health and is likely to trigger mass migration, food and water shortages and the spread of infectious diseases, experts have warned.

Pregnant women’s exposure to extreme heat raises their risk of being hospitalized, according to a new working paper distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research — and black women, as in other pregnancy outcomes, appear to be more severely impacted than white women. What’s more, greater exposure to extreme heat can increase a newborn’s likelihood of a dehydration diagnosis and subsequent chances of returning to the hospital within the first year of life, the study found, for diagnoses including respiratory diseases and prenatal jaundice. 

Equity & Disparities

Narendra Modi is to declare that his flagship sanitation programme has ended open defecation in India, amid accusations that the scheme has sparked violence and abuse.

Six young women went to the U.N. to present a document that has no precedent: a Global Girls’ Bill of Rights.

Hundreds of thousands of healthcare facilities in low- and middle- income countries is deplorable. Take into account that this data includes developed countries. Worldwide, 1/4 lack basic water services and 1/5 lack adequate sanitation services, leaving 2 billion people without access to safe, affordable surgical care.

Foundations and nonprofits committed a new and substantial $120 million for global health at a convening in Washington, D.C., this past summer. The pledges of support focus on an urgent challenge across developing countries that doesn’t get much attention: ensuring safe water and sanitation at hospitals and health clinics around the world. 

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

In 2015, Zika virus swept through Brazil and the Americas. In the three years since it ended, the pandemic has become an object of obsession for scientists, who have published more than 6,000 research papers about it. Researchers have been able to follow long-term health consequences in children infected with the virus before birth. 

Women represent 70% of the global health workforce but hold only 25% of the senior roles, according to World Health Organization. Amika George and Flaviana Matata talk about how their organizations are helping women have control over their bodies and their futures. 

Researchers from Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria, sent trained observers to three urban hospitals in each country to watch pregnant women from the time they were admitted until two hours after delivery. They found that of 2,016 women directly observed, 838 (41.6%) experienced physical or verbal abuse.

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