Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

The Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act might have failed, but threats to health coverage continue. Despite the Senate’s plans for bipartisan hearings in September on ways to improve the individual insurance market, President Trump has created uncertainty over whether the government will continue providing subsidies that help hard-working American families afford coverage.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The National Institutes of Health has renewed its support for University of Washington (UW) as a leader in developing the next generation of physicians, veterinarians, dentists, and scientists, trained in global health with a $4.5 million grant to extend the Northern Pacific Fogarty Global Health Fellows (NPGH) training program for the next five years (2017–2022).

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed former congressman Mark Green as President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development at a time the administration is proposing cuts in foreign aid and a reorganization of the agency.

The 3rd Coordination Conference for the Zoonotic Diseases Action Package (ZDAP) will be held in Da Nang, Vietnam on August 28-30.

Research

According to a series of new reports while number of deaths due to violence in the middle east grew by 850% between 1990 and 2015, incidence and death rates of chronic diseases also rose sharply.

While the utilization of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria resulted in a decrease in the number of prescriptions for artemisinin-based combination therapies, the number of antibiotics prescriptions increased.

Diseases & Disasters

Fifteen years after the declaration that leprosy has been eliminated, experts are now warning that every year, millions of new leprosy cases are going undiagnosed and untreated.

In response to the ongoing food crisis in East Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced more than $169 million in funding on Thursday for humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya. The majority of the funds — approximately $137 million — will go to Ethiopia.

When cases of Ebola were detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May, local officials moved swiftly and global resources were rushed to help them. By the time the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak over on July 2, only four people died, four more had survived the disease, and the outbreak had been contained in a remote region of the country.

The UK has pledged to donate £100m to a global bid to eradicate polio by 2020.

More than a million children already suffering from acute malnutrition are at risk from a cholera outbreak sweeping war-torn Yemen, charity Save the Children warned Wednesday.

Research suggests that the number of blind people across the world is set to triple within the next four decades.

Only six countries have taken steps to evaluate their abilities to withstand a global pandemic, according to a report sponsored by the World Bank.

Three additional human infections with novel influenza A viruses were detected in Ohio during week 31. Three persons, all attendees at the same agricultural fair, were infected with influenza A (H3N2) variant (H3N2v) viruses.

Technology

An inexpensive mobile device with wearable cuffs has been developed by a team from ETH, Zürich shows promise for monitoring dehydration in kids.

The Pratt Pouch, a small ketchup packet-like pouch of antiretroviral drugs developed in 2008 that has saved thousands of lives in Ecuador, Zambia and Tanzania is now expanding to Uganda.

A new Whatsapp-based instant messaging tool has been developed by the “WHO and its partners to detect, verify and log the devastating consequences of such attacks“.

Environmental Health

There is an effort to eradicate the goat plague virus, a disease that costs “between $1.5 and $2 billion in losses annually to 330 million of the world’s poorest people.

A new large-scale review has mapped the spread and changes in the range of spread of 100 infectious diseases due to climate change.

Monsanto produced and sold toxic chemicals known as Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) years after it learned about the health and environmental hazards of PCBs.

Equity & Disparities

Troubling signs of racism in the healthcare system as new report shows evidence of Aboriginal women being coerced into tubal ligation in and around Saskatoon, Canada.

A new study analyses how distinctive traits of African cities and economies are increasing vulnerability and in many cases perpetuating poverty and marginalization.

Affordable housing versus green space has become a point of contention for London’s oldest allotment.

With already high unemployment rates, informal economy in sub-Saharan African countries will not be enough to handle the projected workforce expansion in Africa.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Gestational diabetes rate in India is at 26.3%, the highest in the world and it poses a significant risk to the health of the mother and the fetus.

Young women in their late teens or early twenties in Kashmir are being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Experts believe that Kashmiri women are genetically predisposed but early detection can help with treatment.

After decades of shortages of trained people to help in deliveries, the role of midwives has been growing in recent years in Bolivia, which joined international efforts to improve the skills of midwives and bring them into closer contact with the medical community.

There is debate whether the focus on skilled birth attendants (a measure of progress in the Sustainable Development Goals) is distracting countries with high maternal mortality rates from fundamental health systems reforms.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Only 2 out of the 28 International Sports Federations identified prevention of chronic diseases on their list of priorities. As gatekeepers of physical activity, federations can and must do more to combat this global epidemic.

There is growing concern that the Trump budget would set back the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

A task force organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies has recommended that it would be better to fix the US foreign aid program rather than cutting back on it.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Five Kenyan girls who invented the I-Cut App to end female genital mutilation are headed to Google headquarters with the hope of winning the $15,000 Technovation competition prize.

Experts from the CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB participated at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science held in Paris.

Research

Early results from a Thai campaign (based on the liver fluke control model by Banchob Sripa and others) rolled out in 2016 to control liver fluke infestation are promising. The human infection rates in the worst-hit areas of the Lawa lake region are down to below 10%.

A new report finds that only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates greater than 60% and that less than half of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. The scorecard is available here.

Despite the decrease in the number of people with visual impairments globally, a new study predicts that number of blind people will triple in the next four decades.

Diseases & Disasters

Pakistan and Egypt bear 80% of hepatitis C disease burden within the Eastern Mediterranean region which has been the most affected region in the world.

An UNICEF supported mobile health clinics fill the gap in Aleppo where years of violence have destroyed the public health centers and where families have little cash to seek private health care.

Technology

According to the authors of a review paper, recent technological advances in measuring adherence to ART and PrEP will help us gain insights into adherence behavior.

A mobile health intervention that included frequent emails or texts improved adherence to infant safe sleep practices.

Environmental Health

A new study of chickens from 18 poultry farms in Northern India reveal alarmingly high rates of antibiotic usage.  

A new study has found that only 6 countries have completed the two evaluations of readiness to face pandemics; one for human diseases and the other for animal outbreaks.

By analyzing India’s reported suicides in 32 states between 1967 and 2013, along with statistics on India’s crop yields, and high-resolution climate data, researcher in UC Berkeley has shown that climate change is linked to more than 59,000 suicides in India.

Equity & Disparities

People are still reeling from the repercussions of the Greek debt crisis and subsequent budget cuts and tax increases.

Ghana, country that has long relied on community health workers (CHW) to deliver health care services, has now begun to pay the CHWs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

According to a new report, 64 of 195 countries haven’t been able to meet the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccination goals.  

In northern regions of Cameroon, babies born with HIV often die before their blood results come back. Now the government is planning to launch a program that will allow expectant mothers can get tested in an effort to reduce/prevent deaths among babies.

The foreign assistance bill proposed by the House Appropriations Committee will most likely undermine global health priorities and put women’s lives at risk.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Descendants of hundreds of black men who were left untreated for syphilis during an infamous government study want a judge to award them any money remaining from a $9 million legal settlement over the program.

The tobacco industry is fighting to block regulations that limit the harm caused due to tobacco usage in African countries.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) professor David Boyd has been selected as the first Hymowitz Professor of the Practice of Global Health at Duke University.

The Faith and Global Health Caucus will be meeting on July 17, 2017 at 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Stanford Medicine researcher Mike Baiocchi’s innovative approaches in using math to real-world problems with messy data have earned him this year’s Rosenkranz Prize for Health Care Research in Developing Countries.

Research

Researchers at Queen Mary University (London) have been awarded a total of £8.6 million for medical research that will benefit people in low- and middle-income countries.

A striking result from the International Congestive Heart Failure study cohort is the young age of the patient population, especially in Africa and India. The proportion of women is also higher than previously reported in North American and European studies.

According to data from 77 countries, antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea hard or sometimes impossible to treat.

Diseases & Disasters

A global group of experts on sexually transmitted diseases published an article in the scientific journal, PLOS Medicine, outlining the challenges of drug-resistant gonorrhea.

A new Human Rights Watch report released yesterday found that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil disproportionately impacted the human rights of women and girls in the country’s  northeast region, the epicenter of the outbreak where the virus was first detected in 2015.

A cholera epidemic in Yemen, which has infected more than 332,000 people, could spread during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in September, although Saudi authorities are well prepared, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

A student’s capstone project provided the evidence the Centers of Disease Control used to revise its guidelines regarding semen washing.

How did Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever come to strike in Spain? And how worried should we be?  That’s the question a team of epidemiologists and microbiologists has been trying to answer for the past year.

WHO has raised concerns about the measles outbreaks in Europe that led to 35 deaths this past year.

Technology

Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS)— a USAID-funded program implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) built a web-based digital health technology called e-TB Manager that allows a country’s health system to manage all the information needed for tuberculosis control.

Due to increasing access to mobile technologies, the global mHealth market is also rising at a steady pace. The global mHealth market was evaluated at USD 19.19 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 58.8 billion by 2020.

NIH funded study uses anonymous smartphone data to track physical activity in more than 100 countries. The study highlights the need to address inequality as a key target for obesity prevention programs.

A cell phone app created by Elina Berglund who was a part of the  team that won a Nobel for Physics in 2013 has been approved as a method of birth control in the EU.

Environmental Health

The use of untreated wastewater from cities to irrigate crops downstream is 50 percent more widespread than previously thought, according to a new study.

Phthalates are a family of chemicals that are widely used in soaps, plastics, adhesives, rubbers, inks and fragrances. While these chemicals aren’t intentionally added into foods, they make their way in through the manufacturing process.

On July 12, Professor Jonathan Patz, Director of the Global Health Institute at UW-Madison and a pioneer in researching global climate change and its consequences described the health consequences of global climate change and his proposals for addressing these issues.

A new study reveals that the Earth’s 6th mass extinction might be more severe than previously thought, not just in terms of species at risk for extinction but also in terms of population sizes and territories.

According to a study by engineers at Horae Lee in the UK, poor disconnected designs and inadequate building regulations are taking a toll on the health and well-being of London residents.

Equity & Disparities

Increasing evidence from scientists the world over indicates that many health outcomes — everything from life expectancy to infant mortality and obesity — can be linked to the level of economic inequality within a given population.

The undeniable relationship between health, welfare and peace demands a revolution in multilateral cooperation, researchers from the Harvard Medical School Program in Global Surgery and Social Change argue in an opinion piece published June 4 in the Journal of International Affairs.  

Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation, according to a new report by WHO and UNICEF.

South Sudanese mothers are taking on the job of demining, clearing up bombs and unexploded ordnances in an effort to provide safety for their families.

A new report reveals a troubling trend with the rise in the use of tobacco imagery among top-grossing R-rated blockbuster movies.

Honduras legislators have unanimously voted to ban child marriage. Under the ban it would be illegal for children under 18 years of age to be married under any circumstance.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Performance incentives to wide-ranging health system actors in Malawi had an overall positive impact, especially equipment maintenance and drug stocks.

A massive UN-backed public-private effort, “Every Woman, Every Child” is transforming the health and well-being of children, adolescents and women globally.

A study conducted in 300 classrooms in Spain reveals that levels of harmful pollutants in classrooms varied greatly depending on the proximity to roads and this ultimately led to slower brain growth in children.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

The World Bank is creating the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to help developing countries finance the costs of responding and containing future disease outbreaks.

David Beasley, who heads the United Nations World Food Programme, hopes a meeting with Ivanka Trump will help stop the President’s plan to withdraw US funds from diplomatic and  humanitarian efforts in the world.

A new metric of global mortality published in the Lancet has ranked the US 35th among other nations in preventing the deaths of its citizens that can be avoided by applying known medical interventions.  

In Haiti, where pharmacists are hard to come by, street vendors sell a range of drugs including generic medicines to expired pills.

Nine of India’s poorest states failed to spend the money allocated in the budget for healthcare.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The Annual Meeting of New Champions will take place in Dalian, People’s Republic of China on June 27-29.

Michael Merson will be stepping down as director of the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) effective June 30, but will remain as Wolfgang Joklik Professor of Global Health and vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs.

Research

Results from one of the largest stroke rehabilitation trials published in The Lancet has revealed that family-led rehabilitation is ineffective and highlights the need for professional rehabilitation centers in low- and middle-income countries.

Scientists are exploring the possibility of utilizing bacteriophages to treat antibiotic-resistant infections.

Cotrimoxazole (CTX) should be given to all HIV-infected adults with mild or severe HIV disease or those with CD4 counts below 350/mm3 according to 2006 WHO guidelines. They assessed the impact of CTX prophylaxis on the risk of malaria episodes in HIV-1 infected adults from 4 West African countries with different patterns of malaria transmission.

HIV reduces fertility through biological and social pathways, and antiretroviral treatment (ART) can ameliorate these effects. In northern Malawi, ART has been available since 2007 and lifelong ART is offered to all pregnant or breastfeeding HIV-positive women.

This article presents the finding of the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) 2014 survey on syphilis testing policies and practices in the Americas.

Scientists have linked triclosan, a common household disinfectant found in products such as toothpaste and make up, to antibiotic resistance.

Diseases & Disasters

More than two years of civil war in Yemen has created the worst cholera outbreak in the world according to the UN.

Technology

The global wireless health market share was the largest in North America in 2016 and is projected to experience robust growth in the Asia-Pacific region with a total market size of around $309 billion by 2025.

Amidst a technology revolution, China’s private sector is stepping up to help in one of the biggest challenges we face in global health to improve the delivery of healthcare interventions, such as vaccines, by connecting high impact innovations with the countries that need them the most.

Researchers have developed a baker’s yeast-based biosensor that can detect a fungal pathogen for less than one cent per test.

Studies and others suggest that incorporating game-like elements (gamification) into health programs is both feasible and beneficial.

Environmental Health

Rising water shortages in low- and middle-income countries pose serious challenges within healthcare facilities, especially in surgery and maternity units.

Nearly a million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world and this number is expected to rise another 20% by 2021.

Equity & Disparities

A new report by UNICEF entitled “Narrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Poorest Children,” found that increasing access to healthcare among poor communities saved more lives and was more cost-effective than in non-poor communities.

A new study finds major gaps in policy and practice in Global Fund’s efforts to address gender inequalities.

Analysis of hand-washing behaviors using data from 51 nationally representative surveys reveals that many families in low- and middle-income countries lack soap at home.

Women’s groups in Tanzania are urging the government to lift the ban that prevents pregnant girls from attending school.

Multinational corporations are lobbying the UN behind closed doors to keep tax avoidance off the list of targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, say advocates of global tax reform.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Apart from the impact on the lives of young girls below the age of 18 who get married each year, child marriage has a huge impact on the economy costing nearly $4 tn.

WHO, along with multiple countries, is now embracing the commitment to reduce the mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of HIV and/or syphilis to elimination levels, such that these cease to be public health problems. This will require political advocacy and commitment from experts in HIV, syphilis, maternal child health, health policy, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

With a budget on the table that leaves science and lives around the world vulnerable, we’re reading about impacts and a better way.

Cutting the NIH budget is bad for health and business, says Kenneth C. Anderson, president of the American Society of Hematology and a hematologic oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and 2U announced a partnership today to offer a suite of online graduate degrees for public health professionals across the country.

June 14th is World Blood Donor Day. This year’s theme stresses the importance of donating now before a disaster strikes.  This requires good storage facilities (and strong systems) in countries where disasters may occur, which may not always be the case.

The Duke Medical Alumni Association announced recently that it will honor Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) director Michael Merson with the Distinguished Faculty Award during Medical Alumni Weekend in November.

To those of us who knew Babatunde Osotimehin, MD, he was simply “Prof.”
Yes, he had many distinguished titles in his career.  At the time of his death, Babatunde was the 4th executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the under-secretary-general of the UN. He also co-chaired the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Reference Group, alongside Christopher Elias of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Research

Following the launch of the The Lancet’s Health in Southeast Asia series in Bangkok on 25 January 2011, the series has now been launched in Malaysia.  This Lancet series is the first to address the current and pressing health issues confronting the Southeast Asian region and the launch highlights the key health issues and findings for Malaysian stakeholders.

In a decision public health activists are calling both landmark and long overdue, the World Health Organization has placed snakebite envenoming on its list of top 20 priority neglected tropical diseases — giving it the highest possible ranking for diseases of its kind.

People with low levels of vitamin A who live with individuals who were sick with tuberculosis (TB) were 10 times more likely to develop the disease than people with high levels of the nutrient, according to research led by investigators at Harvard Medical School.

According to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine, obesity rates have doubled in more than 70 countries and nearly 2 billion people are overweight or obese.

Diseases & Disasters

More than one in eight couples of childbearing age have difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Delegates at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting voted in support of WHO’s designation of infertility as a disease.

Gun-related violence killed three people in the US every two hours in 2015, according to data collected by the Global Health Data Exchange. Despite a rather steady decline in gun deaths in the past decade, firearms remain a significant issue for the country.

Nearly a third of the world’s population is obese or overweight and an increasing number of people are dying of related health problems in a “disturbing global public health crisis,” a study said on Monday.

At least two people have died and nearly 750 people fell ill after a meal to break the Ramadan fast in a camp for Iraqis fleeing the Mosul conflict.

Technology

Researchers at Penn State have received a grant through the Grand Challenges Exploration for their project using high-throughput microfluidics screening to identify novel contraceptive agents.

For the past 14 years, Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) has leveraged its innovative technology-enabled model for healthcare education to address global disparities in healthcare access for complex chronic conditions such as hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and opioid use disorder.

Environmental Health

The rise in multidrug-resistant bacteria is usually attributed to the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and farming. A new study, published in the journal Infection, suggests that there is a third source: globalized drug manufacturing.

The first national assessment of Canada’s freshwater ecosystem shows that the country’s major watershed face multiple environmental threats. This is a cause for concern since Canada has jurisdiction over 20% of global water supply.

Examination of 740 production systems for more than 90 different types of food has revealed that global diets and farming practices must change in order to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment.

Equity & Disparities

Earlier this month the WHO published its 20th Model List of Essential Medicines (IPW, WHO, 6 June 2017). This essential list of medicines “have been successful in facilitating access to treatment and promoting affordable prices, particularly in low-resources countries,” the release says, adding that same results would be expected for diagnostic tests.

Researchers have developed a new reliable, validated and brief survey tool to measure resilience among adolescents displaced by the Syrian conflict.

Fifteen years after legalizing abortions in Nepal, researchers find that gaps in equity, quality and access still exist. Some of the gaps identified include small number of private pharmacies that distribute medical abortion medications, costs associated with the procedure, perceived stigma and diverse terrain.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The UK and the US are at the bottom third of the rankings for five of the six dimensions of child well being analyzed in a new UNICEF report. According to the report, 1 in 5 children live in poverty in rich countries.

Religious groups must get more involved in the campaign against HIV/AIDS and educate their followers on the need to have their children screened for the disease.