Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

As the United States offers crucial humanitarian aid to Venezuelan migrants, it is doubling down on its opposition to Venezuela’s president.

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) applauds yesterday’s Senate passage of the Global Health Innovation Act, a bipartisan bill to support efforts by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop affordable, appropriate technologies to advance the health of people in the world’s poorest places.

According to the UN health agency, “countries are spending more on health, but people are still paying too much out of their own pockets.”  The agency’s new report on global health expenditure launched on Wednesday reveals that “spending on health is outpacing the rest of the global economy, accounting for 10 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP).

The 2019 spending bill passed by the House and Senate Thursday that the President has announced he will sign, reflects a meaningful commitment to moving our country forward and to continued U.S. leadership of the fight against the world’s most devastating infectious disease killers.

The United Nations says North Korea’s government has asked for help from international humanitarian groups to combat food shortages.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Speakers at a conference organized by students at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health questioned the ways that global health is taught and practiced from the scholars studied in classes to the agendas set by mega-funders like Bill Gates. They urged the packed audience of students and researchers to consider the ways that unequal power relationships between the global north and south affect the health of formerly colonized people, and to work toward a “decolonized” global health field.

With only 10 years left to reach Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, including universal access to clean cooking, an estimated 2 billion people are in danger of being left behind.

The first International Global Health Security Conference will he held in Sydney, Australia on June 18-20, 2019.

UCSF will host one segment of the first ever “Pan Global” live streamed World TB Day Symposium, with London, San Francisco, and Hanoi participating in a 24-hour baton passing effort to raise awareness about and share research on TB.  The UCSF World TB Day will be held on Friday, March 22 in the Oberndorf Auditorium at Mission Bay.

In Liberia, GHSA supports a multi-sector coordination mechanism for smoking and testing animals; builds capacity of animal health professionals for risk-based epidemiology and response; and implements behavior change communications to influence risky behaviors.

Research

In the 21st century, increases in immunization coverage and decreases in under-5 mortality have substantially reduced the global burden of measles mortality. However, the assessment of measles mortality burden is highly dependent on estimates of case-fatality ratios for measles, which can vary according to geography, health systems infrastructure, prevalence of underlying risk factors, and measles endemicity.

The 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health.  The index grades nations based on variables including life expectancy while imposing penalties on risk such as tobacco use and obesity. It also takes into consideration environmental factors including access to clean water and sanitation.

Diseases & Disasters

In September, public health officials in South Africa finally declared victory over the world’s worst-ever outbreak of listeriosis, a foodborne illness that had sickened more than 1,000 people and killed more than 200 there since January 2017.

Experts have warned of an epidemic of diseases such as malaria and dengue on an unprecedented scale in Latin America following the collapse of the healthcare system in Venezuela.

The World Health Organization says that an epidemic of measles in Madagascar has caused more than 900 deaths.

Technology

The GHIT Fund is pleased to endorse the Khartoum Call for Action, announced in Khartoum at the Sixth International Conference on Mycetoma. The Call for Action urges the global community to work together with multilateral agencies, partners, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to address the devastating consequences of this disease.

Environmental Health

Plastic pollution is a “threat to human life and human rights” and, in order to stem this problem, we have to overhaul how we produce, use and dispose of it, according to an international report released today.

The filling and draining of meltwater lakes has been found to cause a floating Antarctic ice shelf to flex, potentially threatening its stability.

The idyllic Micronesian island of Kiribati, next door to French Polynesia (Tahiti) and boasting one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the world, is a tropical paradise. It’s hard to believe that it’s people are expected to become some of the world’s first climate change refugees.

Equity & Disparities

Between the 24-hour news cycle, the internet, and the smartphone the world has never been so saturated with information. Yet a new report by CARE International finds that humanitarian crises affecting millions of people around the world snagged relatively few headlines last year.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Cohn and colleagues showed recently that pre-puberty exposures to DDT may have increased the breast cancer risk for women through their early postmenopausal years.

Death rates for asthma in 10 to 24-year-olds was highest in the UK among all 14 European nations included in an analysis of 19 high-income countries.  The UK also had the highest obesity rates for 15 to 19-year-olds among the European nations.

An obstetrician experience and knowledge on how women are treated in labor and delivery in the United States and internationally leads to a pursuit of a global health PhD.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Position Available with National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health Equity Group

Position Description:

The Social and Environmental Determinants of Health Equity group, led by Dr. Chandra Jackson, is seeking an experienced and well-qualified post-doctoral fellow. The group is part of the Epidemiology Branch in the Division of Intramural Research at NIEHS, NIH. The group investigates how physical and social environmental determinants of health influence racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in cardiometabolic health. In addition to identifying the biological mechanisms by which factors in the social and physical environments affect health and contribute to health inequities, this group is also interested in the translation of epidemiologic findings into interventions that address structural, macrolevel as well as individual-level barriers to achieving and maintaining optimal health. Ongoing research addresses how physical and social attributes of neighborhood/housing and work environments affect, for example, insufficient sleep duration and inadequate sleep quality as well as subsequent cardiometabolic disease risk.

Post-doctoral fellows in this group will have access to data from the National Health Interview Survey and cohorts such as the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, Jackson Heart Study, Sister Study, Study of Environment, Lifestyle, and Fibroids, and the Agricultural Health Study. Using existing resources, fellows can develop their own research initiatives within the mission of the research group. Postdoctoral fellows within the Epidemiology Branch are encouraged to build on existing resources to develop new projects that become the basis for transition to independent awards. Initial appointments are two years with additional years possible depending on productivity and availability of funds.

Fellows will be encouraged to take advantage of the rich and varied training and career development opportunities offered at NIEHS. The training environment is enhanced by proximity to the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health where many of the Epidemiology Branch investigators have adjunct appointments.

Qualifications: Candidates with an earned doctoral degree in epidemiology or a closely related field or those with a medical degree and advanced graduate training in epidemiology, population health, or biostatistics within the past five years are invited to apply. Applicants must have extensive experience with epidemiologic or statistical data analysis. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated research interests in areas currently under investigation (e.g. health disparities; social determinants of health; sleep) in the research group and branch as well as to candidates with superior analytic and communication skills.

To Apply: Applicants should submit the following materials to epifellowships@niehs.nih.gov:
• Letter describing areas of research interest
• Curriculum vitae with bibliography
• Copies of 1-2 recent publications
• Contact information for 3 individuals serving as references
Application Deadline Date: Until filled. Position available immediately.

Learn more about the Social and Environmental Determinants of Health Equity group here:
https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/epi/pi/sedhe/index.cfm

Webinar and Discussion Series: Malaria Social and Behavior Change Evidence Discussion – Mobilization and Supportive Supervision

How can research findings inform and improve social and behavior change (SBC) programs? What questions can SBC practitioners keep in mind to help sift through research, interpret publications, and apply lessons learned? Join Breakthrough ACTION for the second in a series of online guided discussions following a “journal club” format about malaria SBC evidence on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. (EST). More information about the article and how you can prepare for and participate in the online discussion is found below.

Featured presenter

  • Dr. Ashis Das, Public Health Specialist, World Bank

About the article

In the article Strengthening malaria service delivery through supportive supervision and community mobilization in an endemic Indian setting: an evaluation of nested delivery models, the impact of community mobilization and community mobilization combined with supportive supervision were compared with routine government malaria prevention and control activities. This randomized control study found that bothcommunity mobilization and community mobilization combined with supportive supervision improved a number of community preventive and care-seeking behaviors for malaria.

Preparing for the discussion

Download the article and the Discussion Guide, which has questions to guide your reading and to help you follow along during the online discussion.

Click here to register to attend.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Every year, the World Health Organization puts out a list of the most pressing issues that face global health.  They change a bit each time as the WHO tries to emphasize where we need the most progress to be made, and the lists are always enlightening.

Funding to tackle 33 significant diseases has reached its highest level since figures were taken, says a survey which has tracked this for 11 years.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The health of the U.S. population can be affected by public health threats or events across the globe. Recent examples of this include the Ebola Virus outbreak that began in 2014, the 2003 SARS epidemic, and the 2009 SARS epidemic, and the 2009 spread of novel H1N1 influenza. Improving global health can improve health in the United States and support national and global security interests by fostering political stability, diplomacy, and economic growth worldwide.

Research

Results from trials of tafenoquine, a novel anti-relapse medicine for patients infected with Plasmodium vivax malaria, have shown the drug to be effective and safe, according to a pair of studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Diseases & Disasters

There were just 28 reported human cases of Guinea worm disease (GWD) last year, the U.S.-based Carter Center said Thursday.  The nongovernmental organization (NGO) founded by former President Jimmy Carter said the disease is gradually moving toward eradication.

A Pakistani health official says the country has kicked off its first nationwide polio vaccination campaign for the year in efforts to eradicate the crippling disease by the end of 2019.

According to the World Health Organization, the first HIV case appeared in Yemen in 1987, and the number of people living with it was estimated to be around 9,900.  While the prevalence was only 0.2 percent of the population, most Yemenis living with either of the viruses faced stigma and discrimination, even from their families.

At least 11 people have died in Argentina after becoming infected with hantavirus, a disease carried by rats and other rodents, according to a news alert from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The number of Ebola cases recorded each day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is expected to more than double, with concern mounting that uncertainty over how the virus is being transmitted could result in it spreading to neighbouring countries.

An estimated 1 in 10,000 people are born with hemophilia, a blood disorder caused by lack of proteins needed to stop bleeding. While those in developed countries have access to treatment that allows them to lead normal lives, that is not the case for the more than half a million people in low- and middle-income countries. For them, hemophilia can be a “curse,” a cause for stigma and financial disaster—and, sometimes, a death sentence.

Technology

Solar power is helping make universal healthcare a reality in places where unreliable power supplies regularly affect access to vital services, and can out people’s lives at risk, thanks to support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Environmental Health

Leading climate scientists and meteorologists are banking on a new strategy for talking about climate change: Take the politics out of it.  That means avoiding the phrase “climate change,” so loaded with partisan connotations as it is.

Dried fish producers in Cox’s Bazar’s Nazirar Tek village, the largest dried fish producing village in the country, are still using toxins even though an NGO has been putting in efforts to make them switch to organic fish-processing methods.

This weekend, a crucial but barely heralded scientific mission will come to an end in a remote part of Antarctica.  A team of seven Australian and American researchers will conduct the last extraction of ancient air from ice cores drilled as deep as 240 metres.

Equity & Disparities

For her next act, Leland started a venture — called Co-Impact — designed for just such funders. It pools donors’ money and brings them into the decision-making to support proven solutions in Africa, South Asia and South America.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

For Indian airline executive ElsaMarie D’Silva, the gang rape that killed a Delhi college student in 2012 was a turning point.  Although the attack stood out for its savagery, D’Silva knew that the rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey was not an isolated event: it fit a pattern of everyday harassment and violence that Indian women endure in public places.

The mosquito-borne virus that causes Rift Valley fever may severely injure human fetuses if contracted by mothers during pregnancy, according to new research.

Read the latest issue of the IH newsletter, Section Connection!

The latest issue of Section Connection, the IH Section quarterly e-newsletter, is now available! You can find the latest issue of the newsletter here: http://bit.ly/SectionConnection10

If you cannot access the newsletter for any reason please email Theresa Majeski, Global Health Connections Chair, at theresa.majeski@gmail.com