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.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Member governments of the World Health Organization are increasingly talking about how to bring about “fair” pricing of medicines.  And what’s clear is that it should not be based on how much you would pay to save your life, a senior WHO official said this week.

“More than 11 million people are alive today thanks to this man’s creation of PEPFAR, the US AIDS program that has been saving lives and preventing new HIV infections for over 10 years, with strong support from political leaders right, left, and center,” the musician captioned a photo of the activists on Instagram. “That progress is all at risk now with President Trump’s budget cuts, which will mean needless infections and lives lost.”

Tom Frieden, head of the CDC from 2009 to 2017, told graduating medical students that we face challenges from pathogens, and from politicians.  “Einstein wrote, ‘Striving for social justice is the most valuable thing to do in life.’”

The Trump administration’s budget recommendation may take a “wrecking ball” to foreign aid but the development community needs to seize this opportunity to build a broader constituency, according to the chief executive officer of CARE USA.
Trump would cut the annual global health budget by about 26 percent, or around 2.2 billion in the 2018 fiscal year that begins October 1, decreasing it from about $8.7 billion in the current fiscal year budget to less than $6.5 billion.  The program that would be hit hardest would be family planning.

Canada has scored well in a global study to assess how effectively countries use their healthcare systems to avoid preventable deaths, but the country still has plenty of room for improvement.

Applause, cheers, Ethiopian flags, mobile phones held high and a crush of well-wishers greeted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tuesday evening after his election as WHO’s next Director-General.

Programs, Grants & Awards

UGA’s Global Health Institute begins search for Holbrook Endowed Professor in Global Health.

“When it comes to the issues of health, there are no walls dividing impoverished and the wealthy.  Illness and disability know no borders.  In today’s global environment, disease is no longer confined to one population, but has the potential to impact millions in disparate regions of the world in a very short period of time. That’s why the work of the Old Dominion University Center for Global Health is so vital.”

Research

Inhibition of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) with atezolizumab can induce durable clinical benefit (DCB) in patients with metastatic urothelial cancers, including complete remissions in patients with chemotherapy refractory disease.

In high-income settings, the prevalence of tobacco use has been shown to be significantly higher in people living with HIV than among HIV-negative individuals of the same age and sex distribution. This at-risk pattern is one of the biggest threats to the number of years of life saved with antiretroviral therapy (ART).

A new study reports the identification and early validation of a drug for treating cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease which is a major cause of childhood mortality in low and middle income countries.

Diseases & Disasters

The Indian health ministry has confirmed its first cases of the Zika virus, the World Health Organization has said, the latest nation to be affected by the mosquito-borne virus that sparked global concern.

A new study led by Colorado State University researchers found that Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito that carries Zika virus, might also transmit chikungunya and dengue viruses with one bite.

Indian officials who were aware of the country’s first Zika case months ago, failed to alert the public.

With rising number of measles cases, Germany plans to fine parents who do not seek medical advice on vaccinating their children.

A new Ebola vaccine is on its way to the DRC to help fight a recent small outbreak.

Unrefrigerated vaccine and syringe reuse has led to the death of 15 children in South Sudan.

Technology

Alma Sana, an immunization advocacy group has won a share of the $1 million Global Healthcare innovation award for a baby’s bracelet that would be punched every time the child gets vaccinated.

LimbForge, a non-profit organization is training local doctors and humanitarian NGOs in Haiti to create low cost, culturally appropriate prosthetic limbs for using 3D printing technology.

Environmental Health

Kabwe is the world’s most toxic town, according to pollution experts, where mass lead poisoning has almost certainly damaged the brains and other organs of generations of children – and where children continue to be poisoned every day.

Paraguay has made the most progress in providing access to safe water to about 94% of its rural population (up from 51% in 2000).

According to a new WHO report, resource intensive tobacco farming is environmentally costly and its impact include soil degradation and non-biodegradable litter in the form of cigarette butts.

Equity & Disparities

According to a survey conducted by the Human Rights Watch group, people with disabilities and older people are more likely to be caught in the fighting in South Sudan.

The first class of 24 students from 12 countries graduated from the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Kigali (Rwanda) this year.

A new study of the mortality data between 2000 and 2013 after the roll out of universal health coverage in Brazil, reveals greater decreases in mortality rates among blacks and mixed race Brazilians.

An Indian TV soap that tackles domestic violence, acid attacks and abortion of female fetuses has become the most watched TV show with nearly 400 million viewers.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The murder of a 3 year old girl in South Africa has put the spotlight back on the high child and adolescent homicide rates in the country.

UNICEF warns that the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen might reach up to 130,000 in the next two weeks.

According to a new study that analysed the death rates among twins in sub-Saharan Africa, nearly one in five children born as a twin die before they turn five years old.

 

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been elected as the new WHO director general.

The State Department on Monday officially announced a broad expansion of the Mexico City Policy, a regulation put in place by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan that prevents foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving American dollars.

If a serious infectious disease blossomed across the globe today, the US death toll could be double that of all the casualties suffered in wars since the American Revolution.

A report from an expert committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and  Medicine outlines global health priorities and strategies to maintain US leadership.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Each year, the Duke Global Health Institute honors outstanding students and faculty members with several awards.  This year, as is commonly the case, the award conferring committees were hard-pressed to select winners, given the abundance of nominations for highly deserving candidates.

The Global Health Corporate Champions is an activity of USAID’s Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP) II, which is implemented by the Public Health Institute and supported by PYXERA Global. GHFP-II supports the Agency’s thought leadership in building a diverse, technically excellent, culturally competent group of American global health leaders.

Research

The US is on track to end the HIV epidemic within the next decade.

A new report from the WHO and its partners estimates that nearly 1.2 million adolescents die from largely preventable causes every year, that would be 3000 deaths each day.

Researchers have identified the molecular mechanism by which the deadly superbug “Golden Staph” evades antibiotic treatment. These results may provide clues to counter antibiotic resistance.

WHO data shows that nearly half of all deaths are now recorded, a trend that implies improvement in collection of vital health statistics and progress towards attaining sustainable development goals.

Diseases & Disasters

USAID is exploring the merger of its disaster and food assistance offices to create an entity that would manage a $4 billion humanitarian operations.

According to the WHO, there are now 29 suspected Ebola cases in Congo.

According to a new study, risk of dementia is significantly decreased among retirees who volunteer.

A state of emergency has been declared in Yemen after Cholera killed 157 people between April 27 and May 13.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative has joined the global health council to broaden its biosecurity mission.

Technology

The Indian government’s decision to include pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in its Universal Immunization Program is a big public health win.

A severe shortage of the injectable polio vaccine is threatening to hinder polio eradication.

Environmental Health

Stanford University has produced a new report that outlines recommendations to mitigate health impacts of climate change.

There is concern that continued destruction of forests in Asia-Pacific region will hamper the advancement towards meeting the sustainable development goals.

Equity & Disparities

According to a recent UNICEF analysis of 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, at least 29 million children live in poverty in the region.

A new Lancet Global Health article discusses lack of gender parity in leadership positions in the field of global health.  Women make up for about 84% of the student body but this number declines sharply to only about 24% in leadership positions.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The underground sex industry notoriously eludes any efforts to officially measure its size, but those of us who study it can say one thing for sure: It’s a booming industry in the US and it’s bigger than you think.

According to a new WHO report, pregnancy related complications are the leading cause of death globally among adolescent girls between 15 and 19 years of age.

Human Rights

About 2 migrant domestic workers die each week in Lebanon; there is growing and urgent need for better policies, laws and enforcement.

UNHCR has opened a 12th camp for residents fleeing the Mosul conflict.

 

 

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Taiwan is pushing for a last-minute invitation to an annual World Health Organization summit amid rising pressure from Beijing to isolate the island by blocking its participation in international events.

As the burden of such diseases shifts, and the threat of pandemics begins to hit home even in the world’s wealthiest countries, advocates are pushing for the health ministers of the G20 – gathering in Berlin later this month for the first meeting of its kind – to do their bit in supporting global health R&D in tackling neglected diseases, antimicrobial resistance and pandemic preparedness.

A federal court on Friday granted the Trump administration’s request to suspend lawsuits against the Clean Power Plan rule, signaling the likely end of President Barack Obama’s signature climate policy.

Mexico’s Lower House of Congress passed a bill on Friday to legalize the use of marijuana and cannabis for medical and scientific needs.

Liberia’s vice-president has backed US President Donald Trump’s plans to slash foreign aid, saying that the West African country “cannot continue living on handouts.”

On Tuesday night, the United States House of Representatives passed a near-unanimous resolution calling for continued US engagement on the famine in South Sudan.

While the president pooh-poohs foreign aid, health programs supported by organizations in Seattle are saving millions of lives in places like sub-Saharan Africa.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The third annual Seeds & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit started off with a panel titled “How Millennials Are Changing the Food System.”

The international conference on healthcare in a globalizing world ‘SymHealth 2017’, was held on May 4 to 6, 2017 at the Symbiosis International University (SIU), Pune.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is celebrating a milestone with one of its new programs.  This is the end of the first year of UniverCity Year. The program paired UW students studying city planning with the city of Monona to work on projects within the community.  Next Fall, the program is partnering with Dane County to address issues like affordable housing and pollution in the Yahara waterways.

Research

In this study the prevalence of SP resistance mutations was determined among P. falciparum found in pregnant women and the general population (GP) from Nanoro, Burkina Faso and the association of IPTp-SP dosing and other variables with mutations was studied.

In lung cancer patients who were taking immunotherapy drugs targeting the PD-1 pathway, testing for CD8 T- cell activation in their blood partially predicted whether their tumors would shrink.  The results were published online by PNAS April 26.

Scientists have developed a highly sensitive, inexpensive diagnostic tool based on the CRISPR protein that targets RNA instead of DNA.

Diseases & Disasters

The largest Somali-American community in Minnesota is currently experiencing the state’s worst measles outbreak in nearly three decades.

Somalia is suffering from the largest outbreak in the past five years and the number of people killed is expected to double by the end of June, the United Nations health agency.

Liberia is sending blood samples from people suffering from an undiagnosed disease abroad. The disease had already claimed 11 lives in Sinoe County. Tests for Ebola were negative.

Owing to armed conflicts, natural disasters and increased food prices, international food insecurity rose in 2016.

Exercise addiction is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the authoritative guide to defining, classifying and diagnosing mental health disorders. The only behavior-associated addiction in the DSM is gambling. However, a paper that published last month in the British Medical Journal encourages health-care professionals to recognize and understand the risks of exercise addiction.

Technology

Sisu Global Health, a medical device company developing a low-cost auto-transfusion device called Hemafuse, has won the First Mile Innovation Challenge, a global call for innovative solutions that directly address clinical or community hardships in primary healthcare, conducted by The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Global Health and GE Healthcare.

The fusion of biology and technology was used to control blood sugar levels in mice with diabetes. The idea, described in Science Translational Medicine, could be applied to a wide range of diseases and drug treatments.  The research team said the findings “could pave the way for a new era of personalised, digitalised and globalised precision medicine”.

WHO announced on Monday that the world’s first malaria vaccine will be field-tested in pilot programs in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi in 2018.

Environmental Health

According to the survey conducted by World Water Council, drinking water standards have improved considerably in India but much more needs to be done to achieve SDG WASH goals.

A new study conducted in Hyderabad, major production hub for the global drug market shows that improper waste water management has led to contamination of water resources with antimicrobial pharmaceuticals.

Equity & Disparities

A new study looks at the distribution of bed nets before and after the launch of an initiative in 2008 called Cover The Bed Net Gap to address the inequities in ITN ownership. They show that this initiative did reduce inequities but also note that some countries did better than others.

A new study reveals that 90% of development assistance goes to people below 60 years of age and that assistance to meet health targets largely ignores the older population.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), medications widely used against malaria, are safe to administer to women in their first trimester of pregnancy, according to research published today. ACTs had previously been recommended at that stage of pregnancy only in life-saving circumstances.

In a six year trial involving over 20,000 women in 21 countries, researchers have shown that a blood clotting drug tranexamic acid invented in the 1950s reduced maternal bleeding deaths by about a third if given within 3 hours.

A new national survey reveals that American toddlers are more likely to eat french fries than vegetables on any given day. According to the study, one in four 6-11 month old and one in five 1 year olds had no reported vegetable consumption on the days they were surveyed.

Human Rights

According to anti-trafficking NGO and Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission, human trafficking is still on the rise, a trend that seems to continue two years after the devastating earthquakes.  

According to a new report called “Impunity Must End”, nearly 106 Syrian hospitals were hit in 2016 and that aggression against health care facilities and workers continues even after the passing of UN resolution 2286.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

China is on the course to unseat the US as the next leader in global health.  While the US has historically had a strong role in providing vaccinations, reducing global deaths from measles, polio, and malaria, China is evolving from a receiver of aid and vaccinations to a provider.

President Donald Trump, striving to make good on a top campaign promise, is pushing his fellow Republicans who control Congress to pass revamped healthcare legislation but the same intraparty squabbling that torpedoed it last month could do it again.

President Trump’s budget has proposed drastic cuts to foreign affairs funding – by almost 30%. This reduction in aid would hit U.S. and United Nations agencies that lead the global fight against many infectious diseases, polio among them.

On the global health front, the new administration is on the steep part of the learning curve.  And people worried about its understanding of and appreciation for the benefits of US global health spending — worries exacerbated by proposed to-the-bone cuts in the president’s budget blueprint — are hoping to fast-track that education process.

SNAP is one of the largest safety net programs in the United States, and the largest nutrition program. It currently helps 45 million low-income Americans – nearly half of them children –  pay for food each month. But while the program’s current benefits reduce hunger, they don’t go far enough to help most families to purchase healthy food.

On March 30, the Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) at the Brookings Institution hosted three expert panelists at our forum on health governance capacity to discuss the findings of the recently released Health Governance Capacity report. This was the first of six reports to be released as a part of the Brookings Private Sector Global Health R&D Project.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Polly J. Price, professor of law and professor of global health at Emory University, has been named one of 35 recipients of the 2017 Andrew Carnegie fellowship.

The Global Health Leadership Institute, founded by Elizabeth Bradley in 2009, will lose its funding from the Provost’s Office and integrate into the School of Public Health after the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30.

The 14th Annual World Health Care Congress convenes decision makers from all sectors of healthcare to catalyze meaningful partnerships and change. In 2017, faculty focus on policy and market forces impacting the healthcare business environment including consolidation, consumer empowerment, digital health, and the ongoing shift to value-based payment.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO and will be meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on May 22-31.  It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

The diplomats who met to form the United Nations in 1945 also discussed the need for a global health group; that led to the creation of the World Health Organization. Its constitution went into effect on April 7, 1948, and World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7.

Research

The impact of environmental change can be passed on in the genes of tiny nematode worms for at least 14 generations – the most that has ever been seen in animals – scientists have discovered.

In the first study to link depression with underweight body types, the research found that both both men and women can be impacted by negative thoughts about being too skinny.

Despite the well recognized health benefits of fresh fruit consumption, substantial uncertainties remain about its potential effects on incident diabetes and among those with diabetes, on risks of death and major vascular complications.

The model of infectious disease prevention and control changed significantly in China after the outbreak in 2003 of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), but trends and epidemiological features of infectious diseases are rarely studied. In this study, we aimed to assess specific incidence and mortality trends of 45 notifiable infectious diseases from 2004 to 2013 in China and to investigate the overall effectiveness of current prevention and control strategies.

Diseases & Disasters

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Friday said vaccinations, including against Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, are provided free of charge by the Nigerian government.

The incidence of angiostrongyliasis, nicknamed “rat lungworm” illness because of its origins (it comes from a parasite in the lungs of rats via rat feces to snails and slugs and then through contaminated food or drink to humans) is on the rise in Hawaii.

About 1.24% of the 5000 Latin-American born LA residents were tested positive for Chagas disease.

While the number of deaths due to malaria has dropped by nearly two-thirds over the last 15 years, there is growing concern about the signs of resistance to existing anti-malarial drugs.

To mark the World Malaria Day on April 25th, WHO announced that the world’s first malaria vaccine is moving to the next phase and is going to be introduced in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi next year.

A new water supply system was inaugurated by the UN in Lascahobas, Haiti to combat the cholera epidemic.

More than two thirds of people living in Chile, Ecuador and Mexico are overweight or obese, costing their economies tens of billions of dollars every year, driving rates of disease and straining health services, a UN report said on Tuesday.

Technology

MIT research scientist Richard Fletcher directs the Mobile Technology Group at MIT D-Lab, which develops a variety of mobile sensors, analytic tools, and diagnostic algorithms to study problems in global health and behavior medicine

Researchers have isolated a substance in the blood of Komodo dragon that appears to have potent germ killing properties.

Researchers have built a device that could harvest water from dry air and is powered by the sun.

Environmental Health

Diesel car owners might be paid to trade in their cars under UK’s new air quality plans.

While fossil fuel like oil and coal get most of the blame for climate change and pollution, agriculture also contributes to the problem. American farmers – the world’s biggest grain producers – are responsible for 9 percent of all US greenhouse-gas emissions, and rice has three times as much per acre as corn and five times that of wheat, according to a University of California-Davis study in 2012.

Environmental groups have urged the UK Prime Minister not to water down climate change and illegal wildlife trade regulations to secure post-Brexit deals.

Equity & Disparities

The Summit on Neglected tropical Diseases held in Geneva is an opportunity to identify solutions to address gaps that prevent millions of people from seeking care and  treatment.

Gender mainstreaming is a stated policy in Papua New Guinea but a new study shows that the application of this policy has often been technocratic. The study found that gender is rarely mentioned except in the context of maternal and child care programs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A new analysis shows that children and adolescent mortality burden is larger in countries with low socioeconomic status.

According to the Kenyan Demographic Health Survey, infant mortality rate has decreased from 59 per 1000 live births in 2009 to 39 per 1000 live births in 2014 and there also has been an impressive increase in the number of mothers seeking antenatal care (88% in 2003 to 96 % in 2014).