Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

More than 60% of the newly appointed senior leadership team at the World Health Organization are women.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is demonstrating its commitment to dramatically change the trajectory of cardiovascular disease globally by becoming a member of the World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a hub for global multi-stakeholder collaboration.

A new report from Health Canada found more than 2,000 Canadians made the decision to end their lives with the help of a doctor since medically assisted death became legal in the country.

UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé can happily list the recent successes that the global community has scored against HIV/AIDS. And he can update you on progress of the 90-90-90 targets (by 2020, ensuring 90% of people with HIV will know their status; 90% of people diagnosed will have antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of people being treated will achieve viral suppression).

Preparedness in the face of major disease outbreaks can save thousands of lives: Rapid deployment of effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines may even stop the disease from potentially exploding into a pandemic.

The Chatham House Public Health Africa Policy Forum aims to facilitate the development of evidence-based options that are relevant and appropriate to sustainable health developments in Africa – for consideration by governments, health partners and wider public health stakeholders.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Christopher Plowe, the founding director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and a leading expert on malaria elimination, has been named director of the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).

Three American scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young, who discovered the circadian rhythm or the “biological clock” have won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.

Research

In a study led by the Oxford Vaccine Group, a typhoid vaccine has been proven to be most effective yet.  More than 100 healthy adults participated in the study.

New research published in The Lancet shows that the number of children and adolescents worldwide has risen tenfold in the last 4 decades.

Diseases & Disasters

The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022.

At least 15 wildfires raged across Northern California in Tuesday, burning at least 73,000 acres and destroying at least 1,500 buildings in the region’s famed Wine Country.

Twenty people are dead following a deadly plague outbreak in Madagascar. The government has banned public gatherings in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.

Health officials from around the world are meeting in France to commit to preventing 90% of cholera deaths by 2030.

Technology

Recent advances in predictive analytics  – the process by which scientists can use data to map the possibility of future outbreaks – could help break the stranglehold malaria has on Africa.

Typhoid fever, caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and spread in food and water, kills almost 200,000 victims a year — many of them young children — in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  But, a new experimental vaccine was a big success.  The trial’s results were published in The Lancet on Thursday: the vaccine turned out to be 87 percent effective.

Marc Deshusses, professor of civil and environmental engineering and global health, is helping to bring sanitary bathroom facilities to people at high risk of diarrheal disease because they lack this basic amenity. He and his team have developed the Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine (ADPL) with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They’re now piloting this low-cost technology at five sites in Kenya, the Philippines and India.

Environmental Health

A 26-year study reveals natural biological factors kick in once warming reaches certain point, leading to potentially unstoppable increase in temperatures.

A new study of 300,000 children across 35 countries has shown that children whose watershed areas have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrhea.

Equity & Disparities

East Asia and the Pacific have the most number of slum dwellers surpassing both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, according to the World Bank report on urban poverty.

Through its International Global Active City initiative, the International Olympic Committee is promoting health and physical activity in 10 pilot cities.

Researchers in the UK are looking at blood biomarkers to measure the impact of social and economic status.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A new study shows that less than half of displaced pregnant mothers arriving in Greece have access to care.

The deepening nutrition crisis in Mali has left tens of thousands of children vulnerable to life-threatening malnutrition. The number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition is expected to increase from 142,000 to 165,000 next year.

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Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Former CDC director, Tom Frieden, launches a new global health initiative to tackle epidemics and cardiovascular diseases.

Global health is set to be center stage at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly being held in New York.

Bill and Melinda Gates are spending a lot of time in Washington speaking with members of Congress about the importance of foreign aid.

Bill and Melinda Gates released a report called Goalkeepers, a large-scale statistical effort that assessed progress on 18 global health indicators.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Seven new grants have been awarded to fund research on tobacco control and prevention in low- and middle-income countries.

A new online course  called “(PH425x) MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe,” provides a basic toolbox of knowledge and skills to help advance malaria eradication efforts both locally and nationally.

Four finalists have been announced for the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million award. The four teams will present their final proposals on Dec. 11.

Research

A new report launched by WHO shows a serious a lack of new antibiotic development to address the growing issue of antibiotic resistance.

There are nearly 200,000 new cases of leprosy each year, including 25,000 in children and about half of all new cases are in India.

Mycobacterium avoids getting degraded by hiding in a separate compartment inside the macrophages, the very cell that is meant to destroy it, a new study shows.

Diseases & Disasters

Hearing loss has been on the rise over the last 25 years and a team of experts are now calling for a worldwide initiative to address this issue.

Researchers in the UK report a successful production of polio vaccine using a tobacco-related plant.

Data from the Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIAs) show that five African countries are nearing control of HIV epidemic.

Distribution of nearly half a million doses of cholera vaccine has begun in Sierra Leone to prevent a cholera outbreak following the flooding and massive mudslides that killed hundreds.

Technology

According to results from a new study,  basic facial-recognition software can detect sexual orientation.There is a considerable amount of controversy about the purpose, methodology and ethics of this study.

Scientists have developed a smartphone-based HIV test that is capable of producing a positive test within 10 seconds using just a single drop of blood.

A new paper-based test that can diagnose Zika infection in about 20 minutes has been developed by researchers at MIT.

Environmental Health

A new study shows that 5000 premature deaths occur in Europe annually due to excess emissions from diesel cars.

A new study by IPEN reveals alarmingly high levels of mercury in women of child-bearing age. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cause serious damage to unborn children.

According to a new study, atmospheric changes are potentially resulting in a drop in the amount of different nutrients produced/stored in food crops.

Equity & Disparities

Global Adolescent Study identifies themes in global adolescent development that span across many countries and income levels. According to the study, “the onset of adolescence triggers a common set of rigidly enforced gender expectations associated with increased lifelong risks of mental and physical health problems.”

According to a new report, nearly 3.9 billion people still don’t have access to the internet and the digital divide is growing between the developed and developing nations.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

According to the 2012-2016 global estimates, there are nearly 152 million children still engaged in child labor. While the number has decreased, the rate of decline has slowed significantly in the past 4 years.

Using a  mapping system created for the Local Burden of Disease project at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) researchers were able to examine communities in a 5- by 5 km block. This methodology has revealed significant differences in child death rates in African nations.

With a large burden of TB cases among children, India is set to roll out the Universal Drug Sensitivity Test, a molecular diagnostic test that takes about 100 minutes to complete.

Of the 25 million unsafe abortions that occurred between 2010 and 2014, 97% of these occurred in African, Asian and Latin American countries.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

In identical language, the House and Senate bills explicitly prohibit the Trump administration from changing the formula used for decades to calculate and pay indirect costs of research financed by health institutes.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in her remarks at the conference’s opening plenary on Thursday noted President Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year would cut … [funding for] the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and … the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…”

Programs, Grants & Awards

Duke receives $12.5 million to study children with Autism and ADHD.  NIH funds will be used to improve early screening, develop biomarkers and test therapies.

The University is considering founding a new Global Health Institute, pending the approval of Yale Corporation, as part of a joint effort of the deans of the schools of Public Health, Nursing and Medicine.

The Medical University of South Carolina Center for Global Health has received a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study an integrated approach to screening and treatment for HIV, diabetes and hypertension in Tanzania.

Research

Tungiasis or jigger infestation is a parasitic disease caused by the female sand flea Tunga penetrans. Secondary infection of the lesions caused by this flea is common in endemic communities. This study sought to shed light on the bacterial pathogens causing secondary infections and their susceptibility profiles to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Diseases & Disasters

The Conch Republic is still here, if dark, dirty, trashed, and weeks away from being what it was before Hurricane Irma blew in. It wasn’t devastated because, for some reason, this massive storm punched below its weight.

Hurricane Irma pounded the Bahamas before making landfall Friday night in the northern part of Cuba as it cycled toward Florida.

Hurricane Irma lashed the Caribbean today, causing at least 10 deaths, while in the U.S., Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are facing states of emergency as residents brace for the monster storm.

Hurricane Irma has landed in the Caribbean and left a path of destruction in its wake.  Images have emerged from Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda that show the powerful Category 5 storm bringing heavy winds, high water and devastation.

More than one million people have been displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, according to estimates reported by Reuters. The storm is shaping up to be one of the costliest disasters in US history.

September has already been a rough month.  Over the past week, catastrophic flooding hit Texas, an unprecedented tide of refugees entered Bangladesh, a nuclear test sent tremors across Asia and a monster hurricane ravaged the Caribbean.

Women going through midlife aren’t getting enough sleep, according to a new government report.

Brazil, which has recently suffered serious outbreaks of Zika virus and yellow fever, now faces a new threat, according to reports from local scientists: Oropouche fever.

Chagas is a deeply misunderstood disease that affects about 8 million people around the world, primarily in Latin America, and is responsible for for 10,000 deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. It is estimated that 300,000 people in the United States have it, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This past year China had the largest outbreak of a deadly bird flu since the virus was first detected in March 2013.

Technology

Tuberculosis kills almost two million people a year. A perfect vaccine could save many of them, but the one now in use — invented in the 1920s and known as BCG, for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin — has so many flaws that some countries, including the United States, have never adopted it.

Environmental Health

A new report reveals the widespread microplastic contamination in tap water in countries around the world.

Equity & Disparities

The psychological problems and related influential factors of left-behind adolescents (LBA) in Hunan, China: a cross-sectional study.

When it comes to living a long life, Italy is the place to be.  The high-heeled boot surrounded by five seas is ranked the healthiest country on Earth in the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries. A baby born in Italy can expect to live to be an octogenarian. But 2,800 miles south in Sierra Leone, the average newborn will die by 52.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Having been awarded a $120 million grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH has launched a new maternal immunization initiative aimed to provide pregnant mothers vaccines to protect their newborns from infectious diseases.

Researchers have identified six gene regions linked to preterm births, including a new gene area that suggests a role for selenium.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

A study shows a significant reduction in the India-Nepal drug trade due to the 2015-2016 Indian blockade and thus, potentially leading to shortage of medicines.

Since FY 2010, U.S. funding for global health has remained relatively flat. The FY 2018 President’s budget request proposes to reduce global health funding to $7.9 B, its lowest level since FY 2008.

Guided by the country’s oldest community-based health promotion project Nizwa Healthy Lifestyle Project (NHLP), businesses and communities in the Sultanate of Oman have joined forces to lead the charge against non-communicable diseases.

Yesterday, Global Health Council (GHC) applauded U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) who led a bipartisan group of 10 Senators to reintroduce the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S.1730).  This bipartisan legislation aims to accelerate the reduction of preventable child, newborn, and maternal deaths, putting us within reach of the global commitment to end these deaths within a generation

Programs, Grants & Awards

The WHO has launched the consultation of the draft global action plan to promote physical activity. The overarching goal is to get 100 million people more active by 2030.

Ethiopia will host an International Conference on Maternal and Child health on August 24th and 25th, the theme of which will be “Overcoming critical obstacles to maternal and child survival”.

Distance education graduate courses led by USC faculty are attracting students from around the world to virtual classrooms where they learn about global health leadership and ethics.

Hear from experts in the field, participate in collaborative exercises and network with colleagues at the 2018 UC Global Health Institute’s Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise annual retreat.

This year, five new trainees will join the Global Health Pathway for Residents and Fellows, administered by the Duke Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health, a part of the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).

Research

In this study in French Guiana involving 12 men with ZIKV (Zika Virus) infection for whom semen samples were available, we determined the prevalence of ZIKV RNA, the duration of ZIKV persistence and potential intermittent ZIKV excretion.

Results from a new study shows that people who do not eat a Western diet (such as the Hadza people in Tanzania) have greater diversity of microbes in their guts. Additionally, Western diet seems to lead to a loss of certain bacterial species.

Diseases & Disasters

A woman’s body was discovered as Harvey’s floodwaters started dropping, while Texas says more than 48,700 homes have been affected.

Crews in Texas have found the bodies of 21 victims of Harvey’s wrath, and warned on Wednesday that the number of dead would almost certainly rise as water levels across much of the Houston area start to recede.

City officials in Houston imposed an overnight curfew to guard against opportunistic crimes as Tropical Storm Harvey continued to deluge southeast Texas on Tuesday, breaking the record for the most extreme rainfall on the U.S. mainland.

Emergency workers rescued many more soaked and frightened people in southeast Texas on Tuesday as floodwaters continued to rise and officials counseled patience, warning that conditions would not improve soon.

Tropical Storm Harvey is causing catastrophic flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast as the storm lingers and continues to drop record-breaking rainfall.  Houston is experiencing unprecedented flooding, with shoulder-high water in some areas after a 20-plus-inch rainfall, and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo calling it “a 500-year event.”

The cholera outbreak in Yemen is overwhelmingly affecting rebel-controlled areas due to Saudi-led air strikes and blockades, according to a letter by researchers from Queen Mary University of London, published in The Lancet Global Health.

Sierra Leone, a country that has been battered by Ebola, civil war and massive floods, suffered yet another tragedy this week,  Government and international aid workers are racing the clock to find survivors after a mudslide struck capital city Freetown early Monday morning.

Of the many steps governments can take to prevent people from getting sick, none can save more lives than reducing tobacco use.  Around the world, 1 in every 10 deaths is caused by tobacco.  In the 20th century, tobacco use killed 100 million people, far more than World War I and II—and most of the other major wars of the past century—combined. In the 21st century, unless we act, tobacco could kill a billion people.

The Cholera epidemic in Yemen is on track to claim more than 2500 lives in the coming months. At the current rate, this easily treatable disease could kill more people than the 2013-2015 Ebola epidemic in Guinea.

Technology

Using a walkie-talkie app called Zello, volunteers in Houston and beyond (including a woman in New Jersey) have established a parallel emergency response network to supplement overwhelmed government agencies, according to The New Yorker. Volunteer dispatchers field desperate calls for help and coordinate volunteer boaters trying to reach the stranded.

Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, today announced an agreement with Lakeland Health to integrate the Philips IntelliVue Guardian Solution with automated Early Warning Scoring (FWS) at all three of the Lakeland Health’s hospitals. The IntelliVue Guardian Solution contains software and intelligent clinical decision algorithms allowing caregivers to accurately obtain vital signs and seamlessly integrate validated patient data directly to the EHR – reducing human errors and saving time.

Environmental Health

Bad news for humans about the spread of mosquito-borne disease as climate change continues to worsen. New research from the University of Notre Dame, recently published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, proposes a new way that climate change could contribute to mosquitos’ capacity to drive disease epidemics. As climate change continues to rise, so could the speed of epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika.

Equity & Disparities

Adolescent girls living in neighborhoods with wide salary gaps and low-income households showed increased thinning in the brain’s cortical thickness, which could indicate higher levels of stress.

Violence, preventable diseases and traffic accidents are to blame for a widening of the youth mortality gap between the developed and developing world, according to a new Guardian analysis of the most recent World Health Organisation (WHO) data.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Globally, nearly eight out of every 1,000 children in the general population Iis estimated to have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and and Mental Health (CAMH).

Results from a large clinical trial of a specific combination of oral preparation of probiotics  in newborns in India showed a 40% reduction in sepsis and deaths in the first 2 months of infancy. The trial ended early because it proved to be so effective.

Results from the secondary data analysis from the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) shows that one in five infants are born small for gestational age and one in four neonatal deaths occur among such infants.

A global study reveals that nearly 8 in every 1000 babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

 

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.