Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Leading up to the Inauguration of President-elect Trump, experts have made the case for why global health should be a top priority for the new administration. Global health has a long history of bipartisan support and is, frankly, good business.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump aims to replace Obamacare with a plan that would envisage “insurance for everybody,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday night.

Tuberculosis’ recent surpassing of HIV/AIDS as the leading infectious killer globally has not been met with anything close to equal funding for relief.

George W. Bush’s signature PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program, which helped 11.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa get access to antiretroviral drugs, could be in jeopardy under Trump’s administration.

The BRICS bloc of nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — is a leading intergovernmental forum for cooperation of five large, fast-growing economies with significant influence on international issues, including global health.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), funded with an initial investment of $460 million from Germany, Japan, Norway, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates foundation, aims to develop vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed to contain outbreaks before they become global health emergencies.

January is cervical health awareness month.  For most people, HPV clears on its own. But for others who don’t clear the virus, HPV can lead to certain diseases, like cervical cancer, as well as vaginal, vulvar and anal cancer and genital warts.

Health experts from across the world will meet again in Cumbria to work on new ways to improve health and social care for communities everywhere.


Airborne transmission of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is likely behind the majority of new cases in South Africa, according to an article just published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Severe obesity among American Indian tribal youth in the Southwest.

Forecasting Zika incidence in the 2016 Latin America outbreak combining traditional disease surveillance with search, social media, and news report data.

Up to 70 percent of hysterectomies in the United States, a quarter of knee replacements in Spain and more than half the antibiotics prescribed in China are inappropriate, overused healthcare, researchers said on Monday.

Metabolic syndrome and depressive  symptoms among rural Northeast general population in China.

Prevalence of Chagas disease in a US population of Latin American immigrants with conduction abnormalities on electrocardiogram.

Funding and publication of gun violence research are disproportionately low compared to other leading causes of death in the United States, according to new research.

Diseases & Disasters

A group of 22 pharmaceutical companies have announced a new initiative aimed at tackling noncommunicable diseases and better assessing their individual, and collective, work to enable better access to care in developing countries.

Looking back on 2016, there may not seem to be much to celebrate. In terms of global health alone, the year appeared to be one of unrelenting tragedy.  But, as we begin 2017, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

Following the recent Zika outbreak in Miami-Dade County, a multidisciplinary team of physicians has published a case study describing in detail the nation’s first locally-transmitted case of Zika.

A mouse study, published in Nature, showed altering the immune system slowed the spread of skin cancers to the lungs.

The Philippines has long remained shielded from the global HIV epidemic, but things have changed in the last decade: the country has one of the fastest-growing HIV transmission rates in the world.


At the first Digital Life Summit, iCarbonX founder Jun Wang announced that seven companies have joined iCarbonX’s Digital Life Alliance and will collaborate to give people a deeper understanding of the medical, behavioral and environmental factors that can accelerate disease or optimize health.

Environmental Health

Chile, Latin America’s leader in solar energy, is starting the new year with an innovative step: the development of the country’s first citizens solar power plant.

Our ability to solve the challenge of climate change, which is also a challenge of energy, food security, immigration, health and fair economic growth, especially for the world’s most vulnerable people, is very strong.

Equity & Disparities

According to David Nabarro, one of the nominees for director-general of the World Health Organization, the issue that most concerns him is how to ensure that there is equity in health throughout the world.  He also believes the disparities in health in our world today are big and to quite a significant extent increasing.

Bolsa Família reaches 11 million families, more than 46 million people, a major portion of the country’s low-income population. The model emerged in Brazil more than a decade ago and has been refined since then.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The U.S. government is leading a wide-ranging and groundbreaking effort to support girls with a comprehensive approach, focusing diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance programs on improving the systems that can make or break outcomes for adolescent girls: education, health, safety, and economic security.

If Nikki Haley is confirmed as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, the strong opponent of abortion rights could be caught up in controversy over whether to define contraception and safe abortions as a human right for women, especially in developing countries.

A year after abandoning the “one-child” policy, the Chinese government is hoping to make it up to millions of women by removing their IUDs, free of charge.  But the offer, made without even a hint of an apology, has provoked incredulous outrage.

Growing up in poverty exposes children to greater levels of stress, which can lead to psychological problems later in life, a new study suggests.

The United Nations today announced that it plans to strengthen its approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse by creating a high-level task force that will develop a “clear, game-changing strategy” to achieve “visible and measurable further improvement.”

Babies should be given peanut early – some at four months old – in order to reduce the risk of allergy, according to new US guidance.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Congress was back in session on Tuesday, and leaders of both houses said their first order of business will be to repeal Obamacare.

On Dec. 18, The New York Times reported the passing of Halfdan Mahler, who led the World Health Organization from 1973 to 1988. He and other colleagues from around the world provided leadership at an International Conference on Primary Health Care in 1978 in Alma-Ata, U.S.S.R. (now Almaty, Kazakhstan) that codified the declaration that “health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right.”

Programs, Grants & Awards

Four graduate-level students enrolled in Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy are embarking on a groundbreaking internship this spring that not only will expose them to global health issues.  The four students headed to either the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic or the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, marks the first study abroad program in the college to include public health graduate students.

On 24th November we had the pleasure to meet the winning team of the “Global Health Case Challenge 2016 on Antibiotic Resistance.” This initiative results from the collaboration between the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, the EIT Health Campus programme, and the University of Copenhagen.

The Task Force for Global Health has announced gifts from the Robert W. Woodruff and Conrad N. Hilton foundations in support of a capital campaign for a new headquarters building in Decatur, Georgia.

For the fourth year running, Bill Gates has taken part in Reddit’s Secret Santa gift exchange — a small but public addition to the tens of billions already given away by the world’s biggest philanthropist.  The billionaires have given away over $29 billion — more money than anyone in the history of humanity — more than $8  billion of which was dedicated to improving global health.


Creating hospital teams devoted to treating pregnant women who have sickle cell disease reduced death rates for those women by almost 90 percent, a study at a major hospital in Ghana showed.

Researchers have found a strong association between El Niño-Southern Oscillation conditions in the Pacific to observed weather and dengue epidemics in Sri Lanka.

Effect of a multicomponent behavioral intervention in adults impaired by psychological distress in a conflict affected area of Pakistan.

The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of published data and available information on the malaria situation in the Republic of Congo and to identify gaps in knowledge in order to contribute in research-based solutions adapted for the country.

Apple cider vinegar seems to help regulate blood sugar. A study published in Diabetes Care looked at men and women with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that when the participants downed two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed with a snack (one ounce of cheese), they had lower blood sugar levels the next morning.

Over the last few decades, an age-old infectious disease has been re-emerging globally: syphilis. Using techniques to analyze low levels of DNA, an international research team has now shown that all syphilis strains from modern patient samples share a common ancestor from the 1700s.

Diseases & Disasters

Nationwide, more than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2015 in the US. Of those deaths, 33,000 involved opioids such as prescription pain relievers or heroin, according to data released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eating large amounts of cured meats was linked to worse symptoms among asthma sufferers, a French study found.

Mosquitoes kill an estimated 700,000 people a year. If infected with viruses that cause diseases like chikungunya, dengue and Zika, mosquitos can transmit them to humans in one bite. Researchers have discovered that mosquitoes artificially infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia do not transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika as easily.

Shanghai’s health authority has confirmed a new human case of infection by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, the state-owned news agency Xinhua said on Friday.

The eastern Chinese city of Wuxi will suspend poultry trade from Thursday amid fears about bird flu, becoming the second city in Jiangsu province to halt live poultry markets, it said.

In a study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, a centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, has been found to potentially aid in the treatment of tuberculosis and may slow the evolution of drug resistance.


Drugs recently approved around the world to fight cancer increased patient’s overall survival, but benefits vary depending on the drug, a new study shows.

Testing in humans has begun for the Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) vaccine, 1 of 3 candidate vaccine platforms that protected monkeys against the virus in studies conducted earlier this year.

Founded in 2011, Health eVillages focuses on enabling safe and efficient medical care in the most challenging clinical environments through mobile healthcare technology.

VIA Global Health connects healthcare equipment suppliers with distributors around the world to make it easier for underserved regions to access the quality products.  

The world now has a potent weapon against Ebola: a vaccine that brings outbreaks to a screeching halt, scientists report Thursday in The Lancet.  A vaccine with 100% efficacy?

Environmental Health

Fossil fuels represent a two-pronged attack on the health of children, a leading health scientist has warned. To foster health and well-being in future generations, society needs to dramatically decrease dependence on dirty energy.

In September, China — the world’s largest producer of carbon emissions — ratified the Paris Agreement, committing itself to reducing emissions by over 60 percent per unit of gross domestic product by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

To limit warming, nations will also likely need to physically remove carbon from the atmosphere.  And to do that, they will have to deploy “negative emissions technology”— techniques that scrub CO2 out of the air.

Equity & Disparities

The theme for National Minority Health Month 2017 is Bridging Health Equity Across Communities. Throughout April, OMH will join with our partners in raising awareness about efforts across health, education, justice, housing, transportation, and employment sectors to address the factors known as the social determinants of health.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Children in England consume half their recommended maximum daily intake of sugar at breakfast, and by the end of the day have had more than three times the healthy limit, according to research from Public Health England (PHE).

Applying inexpensive petroleum jelly to a new baby daily for the first six months of life may reduce the risk that infant will develop eczema, which can be a lifelong torment, according to a new analysis.

A Dutch medical institution has launched an investigation after discovering that up to 26 women’s eggs may have been fertilized by the wrong sperm at its IVF laboratory.

Diet composition around the time of pregnancy may influence whether her offspring become obese, according to a new study using animal models.

Talking publicly about women’s menstruation has long been a taboo. But in 2016 the world made big strides over the squeamishness.

Women who took fish oil during the last three months of pregnancy significantly lowered the risk that their children would develop asthma, a study in Denmark has found.

The family of an infant boy who was critically ill is celebrating after he received a vital liver transplant in under an hour, instead of waiting weeks, months or years.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

This year ends in uncertain times, for the world’s political order, the fate of a damaged planet, the seemingly boundless human suffering experienced by civilians and health care staff in war zones, and the continuing failure of antibiotics that once gave medicine its “miracle” cures.

Adopting a draft resolution on global health and foreign policy that focused on the role of health employment in driving economic growth and helping Member States move toward sustainable development, the General Assembly also held a debate on the culture of peace and elected members to the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Now that President-elect Donald Trump has selected ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, the lifelong oil man will need to field questions raised by the international development community before he can take up his job.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged US President-elect Donald Trump to expand Obamacare and ensure all Americans have access to healthcare.

In a “value for money” assessment released this month, Britain’s foreign aid agency gave top ratings to three organizations to which it donates: the World Bank; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Ban Ki Moon, in his Agenda for Humanity has requested that the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund expand its annual funding target to $1 billion by 2018.


Chronic HIV-1 infection impairs superantigen-induced activation of peripheral CD4+CXCR5+PD-1+ cells, with relative preservation of recall antigen specific responses.

Viruses can evolve to become more aggressive in men than in women – at least in theory, a study suggests.

Though Zika has been known for 70 years, in many ways the virus is still poorly understood. A new phylogenetic and geographic analysis of Zika’s collected genetic sequences provides the most complete study of the virus’s history to date.

A new systematic review and meta analysis of mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis shows that deworming has little to no effect on nutrition, haemoglobin, school attendance, and school performance, though the quality of evidence was mainly low or very low.

Diseases & Disasters

Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe is set to worsen as the war has ruined the economy and is stopping food supplies getting through, driving the country to the brink of famine.

Thanks to unprecedented international cooperation, the world is making impressive progress in the fight against malaria.  According to the World Health Organization’s just-released 2016 World Malaria Report, malaria mortality rates among children under age five have fallen by 69% since 2000.

New data from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, suggest that nearly half of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy experience a serious complication, whether a miscarriage or significant birth defect, in their baby.

Global progress on controlling malaria risks stalling due to an “urgent need” for more funding, the World Health Organization warned in its annual report on Tuesday.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its involvement in humanitarian relief to refugees in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

Rabies is classified as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD), although many folks in the global north probably don’t think of rabies as a common disease, nor a tropical one for that matter.

An Egyptian woman, believed to be the world’s heaviest woman at 500 kg (1,102 lbs), will soon be flown to India for weight reduction surgery.


Malawi on Thursday launched Africa’s first drone-testing corridor as developing countries explore how drones could be used during humanitarian crisis such as floods, or to deliver blood for HIV tests.

Tanzania’s new digital health road map offers a pioneering example of “putting national government in the driver’s seat” and of systems based approaches to e-health, experts say.

A 24-year-old woman in London is thought to be the first in the world to have a baby after having an ovary frozen before the onset of puberty.

The United Nations announced today at a meeting of the world’s top agricultural scientists, that in order to achieve the world’s Sustainable Development Goals of defeating hunger and poverty by 2030, governments and the private sector must increase commitment to agricultural science and technology research.

This year’s Tech Awards, hosted by The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, shines a spotlight on startups that use technology to make lives better in poor countries.

Environmental Health

Two new studies report that methane levels in the atmosphere are increasing at the fastest pace in two decades. Methane is a greenhouse gas and has a much more potent warming effect when compared to carbon dioxide.

Clearing tonnes of plastic debris off beaches is only the first step—then comes the conundrum of what to do with it all.

Asia, the world’s largest and fastest-developing continent, has less fresh water per capita  than any other continent. This has helped foster growing interstate and intrastate disputes over shared water resources.

Climate science in the US is in an existential crisis. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cut funding for Earth science and the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives will probably make good on those promises.

Equity & Disparities

Among the estimated 1 million migrants living in Thailand along the remote Thai-Burmese border, threats to health abound.  Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diarrheal conditions and dengue fever run rampant.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Nearly a half million children will face starvation in northeastern Nigeria next year and 80,000 will die if they don’t get treatment in the humanitarian crisis created by Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising, the UN Children’s Agency warned Tuesday.

Although child survival has improved substantially in the past 15 years, the decline in neonatal mortality (particularly deaths related to neonatal sepsis) has been more modest, which has contributed to the overall non-attainment of Millennium Development Goal 4 (to reduce child mortality).

Babies made from two women and one man have been approved by the UK’s fertility regulator.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, authors have found that in contrast to premature babies who received conventional incubator care, premature babies who were exclusively breastfed and received kangaroo-mother-care have become adults with larger brains, higher salaries and less stressful lives.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Donald Trump isn’t really known as a fitness fanatic.  The president-elect has referred to the speeches he gave on the campaign trail as a way in which he has stayed active.

We are in uncharted territory. No one can know what the attitude of the new U.S. administration will be to funding foreign assistance of any kind or to global cooperation in the health area.

HIV/AIDS advocates are warning against any cuts to US spending on the fight against the disease as the new administration of President-elect Donald Trump determines how it will approach global assistance.

Each year, the United States gives $5 billion to $6 billion to fight HIV/AIDS around the world, with particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for two-thirds of the nearly 2 million new infections each year.

A new policy lab opening today at the Duke Global Health Institute will address financing solutions aimed at improving the health of the world’s poor.

Some development experts hope a Trump administration will continue the Republican tradition of promoting foreign assistance as a means to promote global health, democracy and economic growth around the world.

India is set to roll out injectable contraceptives for women free-of-cost under its long running family planning program.

UN apologizes for the 2010 Cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Programs, Grants & Awards

A global health program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine aims to get medical students training in topics such as ethical issues, cultural humility and how to behave when working in another culture.

The Schlesinger Fund for Global Health Entrepreneurship at Babson College is partnering with the National Association for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals, USAID, and other partner organizations to host Haiti, Entrepreneurship, and Global Health: An Evening to Act, supporting the Diaspora Challenge Initiative.

Speaking at a special event commemorating World AIDS Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underscored the need to stop stigma and abuse against those living with the disease and to ensure that they receive the care, treatment and protection they are entitled to.

The Monell Center announced today that it has received a $345,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant Ssupports an innovative global health research project titled, “Developing Novel Pediatric Formulation Technologies for Global Health: Human Taste Assays.”

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Raj Panjabi, founder of Last Mile Health has won the $1 million dollar 2017 TED Prize. Last Mile Health is an organization that trains people to become community health workers to provide for their communities.


Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and around the world have found that men and women respond differently to pathogens and therapies, once again proving the need for designing studies to compare sexes.

A five-year, five-country study of effectiveness of insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria shows that the effectiveness of the ITNs ranged wildly for example 1% to 100% in Kenya but 86 to 100% in India. But ITNs seem to offer a level of protection similar to the chemicals even in areas where they barely worked.

Data from Population HIV Impact Assessment Project show significant progress against HIV in Zimbabbe, Malawi and Zambia. These data show that the 90-90-90 targets are within reach for many countries.

In a new study of over 50,000 participants in 21 countries shows that only 1 in 5 people in high income and 1 in 27 people in low and middle-income countries with major depressive disorder received minimally adequate treatment.

Diseases & Disasters

Malnutrition – which includes hunger and obesity – is on the rise and may affect half the world’s population by 2036 unless governments take urgent action to reverse its spread, U.N. agencies and experts said on Thursday.

The number of new HIV infections among adolescents around the world is set to rise sharply unless more is done to fight the epidemic, according to a new report from Unicef.

Some researchers predict that several African countries will soon achieve “epidemic control”, meaning that fewer people are newly infected each year than die of the disease.

Russia is the new front line in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Critics say the government’s inaction has caused an explosion in new infections. But some experts say there is cause for hope.

While the HIV/AIDS epidemic no longer looks as menacing as it did in the 1980s and ‘90s, efforts to stop the spread of the disease have hit a brick wall.

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Tuesday, finds that the use of syringe or needle exchanges has contributed to significant drops in the rates of HIV among African-American and Latino drug users.

The World Health Organization has noted another record year for new HIV cases in Europe.  An EU agency also reports that one in seven sufferers do not know they are infected, raising chances of spreading the virus.

The first likely case of Sexual transmission of the Zika virus in the UK has been reported by the authorities.

Puerto Rico’s health secretary says nearly 500 new cases of Zika have been reported in the US territory in the past week.

The International Phenome Centre Network (IPCN), which has been initiated by the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre (NPC) at Imperial, will seek to tackle such health conditions as autism, cancer, diabetes and dementia.


Students from Stanford University’s Bio-X Institute have designed a “Shazam for mosquitoes” using cellphones to distinguish different types of mosquitoes based on mosquito wing beats.

Scientists advising Britain’s fertility regulator have said that it is time for three-person IVF.

Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center have developed a cheap and easy method using dried blood spots instead of whole blood to diagnose chronic myeloid leukemia, a rare but treatable form of cancer.

Environmental Health

Princess Cruise Lines will pay a fine of $40 million for illegally dumping oil at sea. The ship used a “magic pipe” to dump oily waste into the waters.

With hundreds of thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages due to drought, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia has made appealed for scaling up of humanitarian assistance.

According to data released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), there has been an increase of about 29% in the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, highest since 2008.

Equity & Disparities

According to the new UNAIDS report, about 18 million are receiving HIV treatment. This would put us on track to reaching the goal of 30 million HIV-positive people by 2020.

Nearly 18 million people with HIV are unable to access treatment and a major barrier to seeking treatment is the lack of diagnosis. Coverage rates for testing, prevention and treatment are low among various population groups, including men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who use drugs and people in prisons.  WHO has released new guidelines on HIV self-testing to improve HIV diagnosis.

Analysis of national efforts since the adoption of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the World Policy Analysis Center at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has found while progress has been, countries still have a long way to go to protect rights of people with disabilities.

Access to Medicine Index has released its new ranking of pharmaceutical/drug companies who get their drugs and expertise to world’s poorest countries.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Owing to the accessibility to subsidized anti-retroviral therapy, Jamaica must start preparing the HIV-positive youth, originally headed toward hospice care, for transitioning into independent life.

Women’s rights activists in India are opposing the government’s initiative to roll out injectables citing a report by the country’s Drugs Technical Advisory Board that Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DPMA) causes bone loss.

Britain has announced a £6m package to support innovative grassroot level programs in 17 countries to address female genital mutilation, child marriage and domestic violence.

Fitness & Health

According to a new study, while exercise slashed the risk of dying by 28%, three sports (swimming, aerobics and racquet sports) in particular were linked to even stronger decreases in risk of dying from heart disease and other causes.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.