News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Today, the field of “global health” strives to create equitable and just relationships between wealthy and impoverished regions, places and peoples. But it is still a field with markedly unequal power dynamics: racism, classism and many of the residual exploitations of a terrible colonial past.

In June, a public health professional serving as an International Health Specialist deployed to Iraq as part of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

Global health, a field dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the poor and most vulnerable, has quietly developed a penchant for highly-paid management consultants and their business world tools.

One of the greatest threats to public health today, in the United States and around the world, isn’t a new exotic hazard. It’s antibiotic resistance: the potential failure of one of our most important and well-known disease-fighting tools.

The world is not on track to reach the 2020 targets of the End TB Strategy, according to the World Health Organization’s latest Global Tuberculosis Report, published on Thursday.

The nation’s hospital groups sued the Trump administration over a new federal rule that would require them to disclose the discounted prices they give insurers for all sorts of procedures.

Programs, Grants & Awards

More people around the world than ever before led healthy, productive lives in 2018.  It was the year that transmission of wild poliovirus was cornered to the smallest area in history, the first new treatment for relapsing malaria in 60 years was approved, and the number of women in developing countries using modern contraceptives reached record levels. Innovations in sanitation, financial services and healthcare were brought to refugees, a billion people were treated for neglected tropical diseases, and 100 million mobile money accounts across Africa were made interoperable—allowing people to send and receive payments more quickly, safely and affordably.

Inaugural Nipah virus conference convenes leading experts to strengthen global collaboration, improve efforts to combat deadly virus.

Research

Many people under 60 who develop stomach cancer have a “genetically and clinically distinct” disease, new Mayo Clinic research has discovered. Compared to stomach cancer in older adults, this new, early onset form often grows and spreads more quickly, has a worse prognosis, and is more resistant to traditional chemotherapy treatments, the study finds.

Diseases & Disasters

The Samoas, an island nation of 200,000 was unprepared for the 300% increase in measles worldwide. While it had 90% measles vaccine coverage in 2013, that percent had fallen to 30% by 2018.

In 2019, the World Health Organization and partners have responded to 51 emergencies in more than 40 countries and territories and have investigated 440 potential health threats in 138 countries and territories. 

The future of global HIV response must be very different from today’s efforts. It must be youth focused and youth led. Otherwise, many of our successes against HIV may be endangered by the rapid growth of vulnerable youth populations in the highest burden countries.

More than two years after doctors in Jerusalem removed thousands of barklike lesions that had prevented Mahmoud Taluli from using his hands for more than a decade, he continues his battle with a rare, incurable skin condition.

New Zealand has ordered 1,292 square feet of skin to treat patients injured in Monday’s volcanic eruption on White Island, authorities said Wednesday.

Rising temperatures across Asia and the Americas have contributed to multiple severe outbreaks of dengue fever globally over the past six months, making 2019 the worst year on record for the disease.

The Pacific island nation of Samoa will shut down government services for two days so that civil servants can focus on a nationwide immunization drive as the country struggles to end a measles outbreak that has claimed more than 50 lives, most of them children.

Technology 

After more than two decades of research, the world finally has an approved Ebola vaccine.

Researchers have developed a new tool to predict the global spread of human infectious diseases, like dengue, and track them to their source.

Environmental Health

At Boulder High, students are prohibited from smoking cigarettes or vaping electronic cigarettes anywhere on school grounds. But Lewis and other school employees still regularly pluck e-cigarettes from students’ hands or find the used pods scattered all around.

Equity & Disparities

The United Nations said on Tuesday it was procuring food assistance for 4.1 million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the population in a country where shortages are being exacerbated by runaway inflation and climate-induced drought.

Yemen’s civil war has exacted an enormous toll on people with disabilities, who find themselves on the margins of society and excluded from badly needed humanitarian assistance, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Children continue to pay a deadly price as they succumb to a nearly three-fold rise in attacks over the last 10 years in conflict-ridden areas, the United Nations has said.

What does it mean that more seasoned pediatricians are also wanting to become more engaged in global health work?  We asked Dr. Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, a pediatric leader in global health efforts, to weigh in with an accompanying commentary.

As technology advances in the things we use every day, it’s generally accepted they also become safer. But according to one UBC engineer, that may not be true for a large portion of the population.

Eastern Ukraine has become one of the most mine-contaminated places on earth, despite recent developments aimed to protect the rights of girls and boys affected by more than five-year-long conflict.

News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Norway has launched a milestone “Better Health, Better Life” strategy to combat deadly non-communicable (NCDs) diseases as part of its international development assistance. This makes Norway the first to develop a strategy for combating this large and growing global health threat, which currently receives only about 1% of international health assistance.

The new head of scandal-hit UNAIDS has vowed to transform the agency’s culture to safeguard staff not only from sexual harassment – which she called “the tip of the iceberg” – but any abuse of power by those at the top.

The Trump Administration will continue strengthening the global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, as demonstrated by the May 2019 release of the first U.S. Global Health Security Strategy.

Analysis from leading researchers shows there could be significant benefits from a presidentially-led initiative focused on combating pandemics. With the 2020 Presidential race under way, the researchers provide new evidence on the potential for a pro-active U.S. foreign policy effort to halt current pandemics, prevent new outbreaks from becoming pandemics, and address disease threats linked to climate change.  

For six years, Representative Ami Bera has been one of many leaders addressing global poverty issues in Congress. His position in the House Foreign Affairs Committee gives him the unique opportunity to give issues such as global health and women’s rights a voice in congressional hearings and on the House floor.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The 25th UN Climate Change Conference will be taking place in Madrid, Spain, and will convene from 2-13 December 2019. It will feature the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 51st meetings of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies – the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 51) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 51).

Three students in the Long School of Medicine won top awards at the 8th Annual UTMB Global Health Education Symposium Oct. 12 in Galveston.

Rare disease was considered an unattractive market segment as well but with the help of regulatory incentives and premium pricing it has been transformed; 31 out of the 59 new drugs approved by the US FDA in 2018 were for rare diseases. Venture capital has played an instrumental role in that transformation by funding unproven, high-risk technologies and demonstrating their clinical benefits in patients.

Research

The International Committee of the Red Cross reported a new outbreak of dengue fever in war-torn Yemen, with thousands of cases reported and several dozen deaths.

Neurological impairments might significantly contribute to reduced life expectancy in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). There are no empirical studies of premature mortality in children with neurological impairments in Africa. This study estimated the risk of premature mortality in children with neurological impairments and identified risk factors and causes of death.

A new Global Health Security Index released today, the first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries, suggests that not a single country in the world is fully prepared to handle an epidemic or pandemic.

In an analysis of research studies conducted in Africa on HIV, malaria, TB, salmonellosis, Ebola and Buruli ulcer, Mbaye and colleagues found that African authors are highly under-represented as first and last authors (authorship positions that often get the most visibility and credit).

Diseases & Disasters

Dementia poses a threat to global health on the same scale as HIV/AIDS, the Dutch government has said, warning that the number of people with the condition will not be far off the population of Germany by 2030.

A deadly virus called Nipah carried by bats has already caused human outbreaks across South and South East Asia and has “serious epidemic potential”, global health and infectious disease specialists said.

Technology 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has demonstrated great progress in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. Deep learning, a subset of machine learning based on artificial neural networks, has enabled applications with performance levels approaching those of trained professionals in tasks including the interpretation of medical images and discovery of drug compounds

Lack of data, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, combined with the absence of international standards for data management, is hindering efforts in measuring progress toward meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) according to a viewpoint published in the international medical journal The Lancet.

Environmental Health

Climate change has a negative impact on women’s ability to make meaningful decisions in their lives, according to new research looking at climate change hotspots in Africa and Asia.

Equity & Disparities

On Navajo Nation, grocery stores are few and far between. Most people shop at gas stations and trading posts, where healthy foods are scarce. To widen access to fruits and vegetables—and improve overall health—Partners In Health (PIH) and its sister organization on Navajo Nation, Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment, launched an initiative to encourage shops to stock and sell produce and traditional Diné foods.

The patient, a four-year-old girl, came to the Cambodian clinic with a painful mass in her abdomen. Kristin Schroeder, MD, MPH, then a resident at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was part of the medical team that diagnosed her: Wilm’s tumor, a type of kidney tumor that is curable in more than 90 percent of the cases in the United States.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program to review antiretroviral drugs for use in low-resource settings via the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) now supports treatment of more than 14 million patients with HIV. However, an in-depth evaluation of the program has not been undertaken.

Doctors Without Borders is calling on Johnson & Johnson to halve the price of a lifesaving tuberculosis drug, called bedaquline, to make it more accessible to patients around the world. Currently, a six-month supply of the drug for a single person costs $400 in countries around the world that participate in the Global Drug Facility, a United Nations-linked organization that is the world’s largest provider of tuberculosis medication.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Child health is improving dramatically around the world. Cases of measles and tetanus have reduced by 80 percent. The Center for Disease Control has aided more than 80 countries in eliminating rubella by increasing access to vaccines. The death rate of children under five has plummeted. India is one of the countries making great strides in the health of their children.

Cervical cancer and breast cancer are the biggest causes of cancer deaths among women in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet it is only in recent years that prevention and control of these diseases have become a matter of public health. In 2011, the WHO said that non-communicable diseases were “an impending disaster” for some countries, pushing millions of people into poverty.

Once-a-month contraceptive pill could have ‘tremendous impact on global health’. Trialled in pigs, the pill sits in the stomach and dissolves slowly, releasing the hormones required to prevent pregnancy.

More pregnant women and children protected from malaria, but accelerated efforts and funding needed to reinvigorate global response, WHO report show.

Now accepting applications for the IH Section’s Global Health Mentoring Program!

The Global Health Mentoring Program is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the 2020 cohort, which runs January 2020 – September 2020.

Please visit the link below to learn more about the Mentoring Program and how to apply.

https://aphaih.org/global-health-mentoring-program/

For any questions please email ih.gh.mentoring@gmail.com 

Brianne Riggin-Pathak and Theresa Majeski
IH Section Mentoring Committee Co-Chairs

Congratulations to the 2019 APHA International Health Section Award Winners!

This year, we had a good pool of candidates for the various awards offered by our Section. Congratulations to our colleagues whose outstanding accomplishments in international health are being recognized by our Section this year.

1. Carl Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award in International Health — Dr. Russell Morgan

2. Mid-Career Achievement Award in International Health — Dr. Jirair Ratevosian

3. Gordon-Wyon Award for Community-Oriented Public Health, Epidemiology and Practice – Dr.  MaryAnne Mercer

4. Distinguished Section Service Award – Ms. Jean Armas

The Awards Committee encourages all to nominate a colleague and/or be willing to be nominated next year. To find out more information about nominating a colleague or to view a list of past award winners, please visit the IH Section’s Awards webpage.

We would also like to congratulate this year’s top-scoring Early Career Professional abstract, Dr Bilikisu Reni Elewonibi. Dr Elewonibi presented her abstract, entitled “Pregnancy loss in Urban Tanzania: Patterns and Predictors,” at this year’s conference. Every year the IH section awards two $500 scholarships to top scoring abstracts submitted by IH Early Career Professionals. Don’t forget to submit your abstract to next year’s meeting in San Francisco!

Welcome to Philadelphia! #APHA2019 #globalhealth #internationalhealth

We hope to see you at any of our events here in Philadelphia. Below are a few ways you can meet us:

IH Section Main Events:

Sunday November 3, 2019, 2:00 to 2:50 PM
Business Meeting, Room 115C PCC

Sunday November 3, 2019, 3:00 to 4:30 PM
Open House followed by Membership Meeting

Tuesday November 5, 2019, 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Networking and Awards Reception

Wednesday November 6, 2019, 12:30 to 2:00 PM
International Health Luncheon (advance ticket purchase required: https://show.jspargo.com/apha19/Registration/login.aspx)

——

Working Group Events:

Sunday, November 3, 2019 9 to 10:15 AM
Global Maternal and Child Health Network Business Meeting

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 9 to 10:30 AM
International Health Advocacy and Policy Committee Business Meeting

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 12 to 1:30 PM
International Abortion Working Group Business Meeting, Room 108A PCC

Monday, November 4, 2019, 6 to 7:00 PM
Health Systems Strengthening Working Group Meeting

Monday, November 4, 2019, 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Climate Change and Health Working Group, Open House

Monday, November 4, 2019, 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Palestine Health Justice Working Group Meeting

Location information for the above events as well as a list of our our entire program can be found here: https://apha.confex.com/apha/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Program/1863

All members are welcome to attend the IH Section Business and Membership meetings. At the Business meeting, we do use a soft version of Robert’s Rules of order to guide meetings. We use this to help visitors feel comfortable knowing how to participate and how to bring up items or questions.

Please visit the International Welcome Desk next to the APHA Meeting Registration Area to let us know you arrived and ask any questions. Also, visit us at the International Health Section booth located in the Public Health Expo. We would enjoy telling you about our Section benefits and learning from you what would be meaningful to you as an IH Section member in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at ihsection.communications@gmail.com   if you have any questions or comments. See you soon!


American Public Health Association
International Health Section
ihsection.communications@gmail.com
www.aphaih.org

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