Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

President Trump and other populist world leaders are dismantling funding that protects the world from future epidemics as they put national interests ahead of global health, a Pulitzer Prize-winning expert said Tuesday at Brigham Young University.

In late July, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Steering Group, chaired by the Republic of Korea, convened in Seoul to discuss ongoing implementation of the GHSA.  A partnership of 61 nations, international organizations, and non-governmental stakeholders, GHSA facilitates collaborative, capacity-building efforts to advance a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

The US opioid epidemic and the “war-on drug” language being used internationally is a cause for concern among palliative care experts, especially given a serious gap in access to painkillers in poor countries.

Programs, Grants & Awards

USAID has announced a new development impact bond called the Utkrisht Impact Bond, aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in India.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has received a grant to study the impact of the expanded global gag rule on women’s health and wellbeing.

Chemonics International is under mounting pressure to show that the largest project ever funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has turned a corner.

One Health lies at the core of the Global Health Ethic, recognizing the highly interdependent nature of the health and well-being of humans, domestic animals, wildlife and the ecosystem we all share.

Crossing Boundaries 3 is a conference to showcase Oxford’s multidisciplinary research informing health systems strengthening in low and middle-income countries.

Research

An increase in dengue cases from zero (pre-2000) to 35,000 in Acre State in Brazil has been attributed to landscape changes coinciding with commercial development in the state.

An economic modeling study showed that a TB-sensitive cash transfer approach to increase all poor households’ income is unlikely to be as effective or affordable to prevent TB’s catastrophic costs as a TB-specific cash transfer approach.

Diseases & Disasters

After unprecedented global success in malaria control, progress has stalled, according to the World malaria report 2017.  With 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 than in 2015, experts worry that the progress toward global malaria control has stalled. Without urgent action, there is a risk of missing the malaria control targets for 2020 and beyond.

The U.N. is voicing alarm over the spread of HIV in Egypt, where the number of new cases is growing by up to 40 percent a year, and where efforts to combat the epidemic are hampered by social stigma and a lack of funding to address the crisis.

Technology

Several security problems have been identified in a software platform used by aid agencies to store data on vulnerable people.

Prognos, a New York City-based artificial intelligence company, has wrapped up a $20.5 million Series C financing round. The seven-year-old company utilizes AI to track and predict disease as early as possible in collaboration with payers, diagnostics and life sciences companies.

Environmental Health

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a leading implementer of climate change projects in developing countries, but the money that is supposed to materialize to support the developing world as climate change impacts intensify is still hard to come by.

Noting the severity of the threats posed by pollution to both people and the planet, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the need for rapid, large-scale and coordinated action by all actors to make the world pollution-free.

Arctic sea ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next few decades could impact California’s rainfall and exacerbate future droughts, according to new research.

Equity & Disparities

About 11 percent of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia every year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development, and for the 2030 Agenda to truly live up to its promise to ‘leave no one behind,’ all physical and cultural barriers must be removed to create societies that provide real opportunities for everyone everywhere, the United Nations has said.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people in poor countries. are detained every year in hospitals over unpaid bills.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The Philippines has achieved maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination status, a status given when there is less than one case per 1000 live births in every region.

Many girls get married before age 18 in the northern, Amhara region of Ethiopia.  The legal age of marriage is 18 — but the law is seldom enforced.

Air pollution significantly increases the risk of low birth weight in babies, leading to lifelong damage to health, according to a large new study.

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Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Nearly 100 years after the 1918 flu pandemic claimed as many as 50 million lives, many of us would like to think such devastating losses will never be seen again. Unfortunately, the experts say otherwise.

Even as parts of north India are caught in the throes of a major public health emergency, and there have been calls to take urgent steps to mitigate the toxic air, the problem lies with the existing framework. It’s time for some hard policy decisions

EU is pledging 8% of its annual humanitarian aid budget to education in emergencies, an increase from 6% in 2017.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Peter Sands, a former British banker has been named as the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

At the end of the first-ever WHO health minister meeting on ending tuberculosis held in Moscow, representatives from 114 countries agreed on a set of actions called Moscow Declaration to End TB.

On Sunday, November 19, the world turned its attention to the lowly—yet incredibly important—toilet bowl. World Toilet Day was created in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.

Research

Amish people in rural Indiana have a rare gene mutation that protects them from Type 2 diabetes and appears to extend their lifespan.

In South Africa, a country with the largest number of women of childbearing age living with HIV, authors of a new study identify perceived facilitators and potential barriers to implementing the Women’s Health CoOp in clinics and substance abuse rehabilitation centers.

Analysis of Swedish national records with over 3.4 million people and spanning 12 years showed that registered dog owners had lower rate of cardiovascular disease and lower risk of death.

Diseases & Disasters

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis and the international community must step in before it worsens, humanitarian agencies warn.

The world is in the midst of a global sanitation crisis – about 2.3 billion people lack access to even basic sanitation services.  Ensuring people around the world have access to basic sanitation services is vital to preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting our health.

The large plague outbreak that began in Madagascar in August appears to be waning, according to government case counts and local news reports.  The outbreak has infected about 1,800 people so far, killing 127 of them.

U.S. and Congolese scientists are tracking a virus. At a time when a deadly disease can cross the globe, they need to understand mysterious monkeypox.

The debate over taxing sugary drinks has turned into a ferocious global policy brawl.  In Columbia, proponents faced intimidation and censorship.

Technology

Around the globe, a staggering $455 billion intended for healthcare is lost every year to fraud or misuse.  Much of this abuse occurs in developing countries, where the loss of funds can have devastating consequences for health and development.

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering faculty and graduate students, global health experts, and technology specialists will receive $100,000 to further develop a phone-based system enabling mothers in remote villages to spot serious health problems during newborn babies’ critical first week.

Environmental Health

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked way to help the planet.

A handful of researchers in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere are methodically accumulating evidence suggesting that higher temperatures could be linked to a higher risk of premature births, stillbirths, or other negative pregnancy outcomes.

Equity & Disparities

Some nomadic communities in Africa are among the most challenging populations to reach with consistent health care. The World Health Organization estimates that there are at least 400 million people who lack access to at least one or more essential health services, leading to scores of preventable deaths worldwide.

Jeffrey Sachs, economics professor in Columbia University has said that the world’s richest are waging a war on the poor and has urged senators to not support the tax cuts or proposed changes to health care.

According to a new study, temperatures in slums in Nairobi were 5 -10℉ higher than the temperature reported by the city’s official weather station less than half a mile away.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Adverse childhood experiences are linked to health problems in teens, a new study shows.

While prevalence of stunting decreased in African nations between 2000 and 2016, the absolute numbers rose from 50.4 million in 2000 to 58.5 million in 2016.

In a new report released to coincide with World Children’s Day, UNICEF revealed that in 37 countries, some 180 million youth are more likely to exist in extreme poverty, be out of school or be killed by violence, than children in those same countries 20 years ago.

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Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

At a meeting with African leaders during the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald J. Trump underscored his commitment to promote the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) by noting, “We cannot have prosperity if we’re not healthy.”

In a keynote speech in Washington, D.C., yesterday at the Grand Challenges network annual meeting, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson voiced support for US collaboration on global infectious disease issues, including ongoing efforts to battle threats such as HIV and malaria.

Programs, Grants & Awards

In recent years, Southeast Asia has surfaced as a “hotspot” for novel respiratory virus emergency due to dense populations of humans and domestic animals living in close proximity. The state of Sarawak in eastern Malaysia, where locals market and eat jungle products such as wild mammal meat, is one of these areas. This summer, six global health students traveled there to study viral pathogens and investigate their impact on humans.

Rosa Chemwey Ndiema, MBChB, MMEd, has years of bedside experience as a gynecologist in her native Kenya, and aspires to have an even greater impact on the health of her community through leadership and research.  Like many countries in eastern and southern Africa, Kenya has a high rate of pediatric HIV, with nearly 100,000 children living with the virus. Ndeima hopes to put Kenya on the path to virtual elimination of the virus through research on how to better involve community leaders to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Research

A new study predicts that the worldwide pattern of religious affiliation at the time of death will change over the next 50 years.

The malaria breath test prototype that detects six different volatile organic compounds to detect malaria cases seems to be promising.

Diseases & Disasters

As part of global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat, UNAIDS, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners have launched a new roadmap to reduce new HIV infections. The HIV prevention 2020 roadmap was launched at the first meeting of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition.

A recent Lancet article calls for a clear strategy and partnerships for reduction in NCDs.

Mongolia has the highest rate of liver cancers and highest mortality rate from this disease in the world.In response to this crisis, the government is subsidizing hepatitis medication,and infusing money in prevention and screening efforts.

Technology

Solar suitcase provides light, heat, battery charging and a baby monitor in a health center in a remote  Nepalese village. Since its installation in 2014, there have been no maternal or neonatal deaths.

The possibility of Amazon entering the prescription drug market might already be disrupting healthcare.

Doctors and engineers at Duke and Stanford Universities have developed a $10 microchip that turns a 2D ultrasound machine to a 3D imaging device.

Environmental Health

Last year more than 50,000 people in 90 First Nations communities across Canada were affected by contaminated drinking water and 133 boil water notices were  issued. Now researchers are partnering with 2 communities to find out what is contaminating drinking water.

The Lancet’s annual Countdown is calling on governments to fight factors that are exacerbating climate change. According to the study, climate change could displace a billion people by 2050.

Equity & Disparities

David Williams, a professor at Harvard University, has found that discrimination, which is a stressful experience, has negative impact on health.

In 2015, lives of 920,000 young children was claimed by pneumonia, a disease of poverty. Only 4 out 30 high burden countries are on track to meet the SDG target by 2030.

In the past 5 years nearly 40,000 students committed suicides in India and about 70% of suicide victims had an yearly income of less than Rs 100,000.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Children in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps are taking on breadwinner roles exposing them to high risk of exploitation and abuse.

According to the new Global Report on Nutrition, nearly 155 million children under 5 years of age are stunted and about 41 million children under 5 are overweight. The report finds a significant burden of malnutrition in the 140 countries that were included.

About one in five pregnant women carry Group B Streptococcus bacteria, a major but preventable cause of poor health among mothers and babies worldwide.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Health groups joined forces on Sunday with the Conservative opposition to accuse the Liberal government of trying to raise tax revenue on the backs of vulnerable diabetics.

The new head of WHO, Dr. Tedros, has rescinded an invitation to the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the agency.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The U.S. Senate has proposed $74.38 million to fund Fogarty in Fiscal Year 2018, about $2 million more than its current allocation.

The World Bank Group and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are establishing a joint data center on forced displacement to improve statistics on refugees, other displaced people and host communities.

WHO has for the first time published guidelines to help frontline clinicians provide high-quality, compassionate, and respectful care to children and adolescents who have or may have been victims of sexual abuse.

Research

A large outbreak of typhoid fever caused most likely by drinking contaminated water and street-vended beverages killed one person and sickened many in Uganda between January and June 2015.

A global study involving researchers from nearly 300 institutions has identified 72 new gene mutations that lead to the development of breast cancer.

New study using multiple mouse models of diet-induced and genetic obesity, shows that introduction of the GDF-15 gene reduced body weight, food intake and serum insulin levels in the animals. These results could pave a way of potential alternatives to bariatric surgery.

Diseases & Disasters

Doctors who have spent years fighting polio in the world’s most remote regions sit down over coffee with a World Health Organization representative to tell war stories.

By August 2016, just over a year after the Zika virus epidemic began in Brazil, the number of live births in Pernambuco declined by nearly 10%, according to a study released in June 2017

A team of scientists at Washington University School of Medicine, digging down to the molecular roots of the Alzheimer’s have come across a good and a bad news.  A gene named as TREM2, is found out to be one of the key player, whose mutations can substantially increase the risk of this disease in that person.

Taking the right antibiotics for just nine months may be as effective against drug-resistant tuberculosis as taking  them for two years, as is currently recommended, according to preliminary findings from an international study.

Technology

Researchers have developed a smartphone based detection instrument with a credit card sized test kit to identify infectious disease-causing agents at the point-of-care.

Majority of new e-health startups in the African subcontinent do not use mobile phones to reach customers, according to a new report.

Medical equipment worth billions of naira has been found to be abandoned at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and 13 other federal health institutions in Nigeria.

Environmental Health

According to an in-depth study published in The Lancet, pollution contributes to 9 million deaths each year globally.

China is shutting down entire industrial regions in an effort to inspect the facilities and enforce environmental regulations.

Equity & Disparities

Sao Paulo (Brazil) and New Delhi (India) came out at the bottom as worst megacities for sexual violence against women.

Hate and discrimination is probably associated with the rise of HIV in Russia.

In response to rampant alcoholism among men living in a village in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India, their young teenage daughters have made remarkable strides by taking over the running of the place.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

While the under-5 mortality among children has dropped by more than half between 2009 and 2016, nearly 5.6 million children under 5 years of age still die each year.

With an 84% reduction in maternal mortality ratio between 1990 and 2015, Cambodia is one of 9 Southeast Asian countries to have met the UN millennium development goals.

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.