Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

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

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

Programs, Grants & Awards

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

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


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

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

Diseases & Disasters

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

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

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


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

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

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

Environmental Health

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

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

Equity & Disparities

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

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

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

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

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

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

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


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Former CDC director, Tom Frieden, launches a new global health initiative to tackle epidemics and cardiovascular diseases.

Global health is set to be center stage at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly being held in New York.

Bill and Melinda Gates are spending a lot of time in Washington speaking with members of Congress about the importance of foreign aid.

Bill and Melinda Gates released a report called Goalkeepers, a large-scale statistical effort that assessed progress on 18 global health indicators.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Seven new grants have been awarded to fund research on tobacco control and prevention in low- and middle-income countries.

A new online course  called “(PH425x) MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe,” provides a basic toolbox of knowledge and skills to help advance malaria eradication efforts both locally and nationally.

Four finalists have been announced for the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million award. The four teams will present their final proposals on Dec. 11.


A new report launched by WHO shows a serious a lack of new antibiotic development to address the growing issue of antibiotic resistance.

There are nearly 200,000 new cases of leprosy each year, including 25,000 in children and about half of all new cases are in India.

Mycobacterium avoids getting degraded by hiding in a separate compartment inside the macrophages, the very cell that is meant to destroy it, a new study shows.

Diseases & Disasters

Hearing loss has been on the rise over the last 25 years and a team of experts are now calling for a worldwide initiative to address this issue.

Researchers in the UK report a successful production of polio vaccine using a tobacco-related plant.

Data from the Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIAs) show that five African countries are nearing control of HIV epidemic.

Distribution of nearly half a million doses of cholera vaccine has begun in Sierra Leone to prevent a cholera outbreak following the flooding and massive mudslides that killed hundreds.


According to results from a new study,  basic facial-recognition software can detect sexual orientation.There is a considerable amount of controversy about the purpose, methodology and ethics of this study.

Scientists have developed a smartphone-based HIV test that is capable of producing a positive test within 10 seconds using just a single drop of blood.

A new paper-based test that can diagnose Zika infection in about 20 minutes has been developed by researchers at MIT.

Environmental Health

A new study shows that 5000 premature deaths occur in Europe annually due to excess emissions from diesel cars.

A new study by IPEN reveals alarmingly high levels of mercury in women of child-bearing age. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cause serious damage to unborn children.

According to a new study, atmospheric changes are potentially resulting in a drop in the amount of different nutrients produced/stored in food crops.

Equity & Disparities

Global Adolescent Study identifies themes in global adolescent development that span across many countries and income levels. According to the study, “the onset of adolescence triggers a common set of rigidly enforced gender expectations associated with increased lifelong risks of mental and physical health problems.”

According to a new report, nearly 3.9 billion people still don’t have access to the internet and the digital divide is growing between the developed and developing nations.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

According to the 2012-2016 global estimates, there are nearly 152 million children still engaged in child labor. While the number has decreased, the rate of decline has slowed significantly in the past 4 years.

Using a  mapping system created for the Local Burden of Disease project at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) researchers were able to examine communities in a 5- by 5 km block. This methodology has revealed significant differences in child death rates in African nations.

With a large burden of TB cases among children, India is set to roll out the Universal Drug Sensitivity Test, a molecular diagnostic test that takes about 100 minutes to complete.

Of the 25 million unsafe abortions that occurred between 2010 and 2014, 97% of these occurred in African, Asian and Latin American countries.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

In identical language, the House and Senate bills explicitly prohibit the Trump administration from changing the formula used for decades to calculate and pay indirect costs of research financed by health institutes.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in her remarks at the conference’s opening plenary on Thursday noted President Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year would cut … [funding for] the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and … the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…”

Programs, Grants & Awards

Duke receives $12.5 million to study children with Autism and ADHD.  NIH funds will be used to improve early screening, develop biomarkers and test therapies.

The University is considering founding a new Global Health Institute, pending the approval of Yale Corporation, as part of a joint effort of the deans of the schools of Public Health, Nursing and Medicine.

The Medical University of South Carolina Center for Global Health has received a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study an integrated approach to screening and treatment for HIV, diabetes and hypertension in Tanzania.


Tungiasis or jigger infestation is a parasitic disease caused by the female sand flea Tunga penetrans. Secondary infection of the lesions caused by this flea is common in endemic communities. This study sought to shed light on the bacterial pathogens causing secondary infections and their susceptibility profiles to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Diseases & Disasters

The Conch Republic is still here, if dark, dirty, trashed, and weeks away from being what it was before Hurricane Irma blew in. It wasn’t devastated because, for some reason, this massive storm punched below its weight.

Hurricane Irma pounded the Bahamas before making landfall Friday night in the northern part of Cuba as it cycled toward Florida.

Hurricane Irma lashed the Caribbean today, causing at least 10 deaths, while in the U.S., Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are facing states of emergency as residents brace for the monster storm.

Hurricane Irma has landed in the Caribbean and left a path of destruction in its wake.  Images have emerged from Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda that show the powerful Category 5 storm bringing heavy winds, high water and devastation.

More than one million people have been displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, according to estimates reported by Reuters. The storm is shaping up to be one of the costliest disasters in US history.

September has already been a rough month.  Over the past week, catastrophic flooding hit Texas, an unprecedented tide of refugees entered Bangladesh, a nuclear test sent tremors across Asia and a monster hurricane ravaged the Caribbean.

Women going through midlife aren’t getting enough sleep, according to a new government report.

Brazil, which has recently suffered serious outbreaks of Zika virus and yellow fever, now faces a new threat, according to reports from local scientists: Oropouche fever.

Chagas is a deeply misunderstood disease that affects about 8 million people around the world, primarily in Latin America, and is responsible for for 10,000 deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. It is estimated that 300,000 people in the United States have it, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This past year China had the largest outbreak of a deadly bird flu since the virus was first detected in March 2013.


Tuberculosis kills almost two million people a year. A perfect vaccine could save many of them, but the one now in use — invented in the 1920s and known as BCG, for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin — has so many flaws that some countries, including the United States, have never adopted it.

Environmental Health

A new report reveals the widespread microplastic contamination in tap water in countries around the world.

Equity & Disparities

The psychological problems and related influential factors of left-behind adolescents (LBA) in Hunan, China: a cross-sectional study.

When it comes to living a long life, Italy is the place to be.  The high-heeled boot surrounded by five seas is ranked the healthiest country on Earth in the Bloomberg Global Health Index of 163 countries. A baby born in Italy can expect to live to be an octogenarian. But 2,800 miles south in Sierra Leone, the average newborn will die by 52.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Having been awarded a $120 million grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH has launched a new maternal immunization initiative aimed to provide pregnant mothers vaccines to protect their newborns from infectious diseases.

Researchers have identified six gene regions linked to preterm births, including a new gene area that suggests a role for selenium.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

A study shows a significant reduction in the India-Nepal drug trade due to the 2015-2016 Indian blockade and thus, potentially leading to shortage of medicines.

Since FY 2010, U.S. funding for global health has remained relatively flat. The FY 2018 President’s budget request proposes to reduce global health funding to $7.9 B, its lowest level since FY 2008.

Guided by the country’s oldest community-based health promotion project Nizwa Healthy Lifestyle Project (NHLP), businesses and communities in the Sultanate of Oman have joined forces to lead the charge against non-communicable diseases.

Yesterday, Global Health Council (GHC) applauded U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) who led a bipartisan group of 10 Senators to reintroduce the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S.1730).  This bipartisan legislation aims to accelerate the reduction of preventable child, newborn, and maternal deaths, putting us within reach of the global commitment to end these deaths within a generation

Programs, Grants & Awards

The WHO has launched the consultation of the draft global action plan to promote physical activity. The overarching goal is to get 100 million people more active by 2030.

Ethiopia will host an International Conference on Maternal and Child health on August 24th and 25th, the theme of which will be “Overcoming critical obstacles to maternal and child survival”.

Distance education graduate courses led by USC faculty are attracting students from around the world to virtual classrooms where they learn about global health leadership and ethics.

Hear from experts in the field, participate in collaborative exercises and network with colleagues at the 2018 UC Global Health Institute’s Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise annual retreat.

This year, five new trainees will join the Global Health Pathway for Residents and Fellows, administered by the Duke Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health, a part of the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).


In this study in French Guiana involving 12 men with ZIKV (Zika Virus) infection for whom semen samples were available, we determined the prevalence of ZIKV RNA, the duration of ZIKV persistence and potential intermittent ZIKV excretion.

Results from a new study shows that people who do not eat a Western diet (such as the Hadza people in Tanzania) have greater diversity of microbes in their guts. Additionally, Western diet seems to lead to a loss of certain bacterial species.

Diseases & Disasters

A woman’s body was discovered as Harvey’s floodwaters started dropping, while Texas says more than 48,700 homes have been affected.

Crews in Texas have found the bodies of 21 victims of Harvey’s wrath, and warned on Wednesday that the number of dead would almost certainly rise as water levels across much of the Houston area start to recede.

City officials in Houston imposed an overnight curfew to guard against opportunistic crimes as Tropical Storm Harvey continued to deluge southeast Texas on Tuesday, breaking the record for the most extreme rainfall on the U.S. mainland.

Emergency workers rescued many more soaked and frightened people in southeast Texas on Tuesday as floodwaters continued to rise and officials counseled patience, warning that conditions would not improve soon.

Tropical Storm Harvey is causing catastrophic flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast as the storm lingers and continues to drop record-breaking rainfall.  Houston is experiencing unprecedented flooding, with shoulder-high water in some areas after a 20-plus-inch rainfall, and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo calling it “a 500-year event.”

The cholera outbreak in Yemen is overwhelmingly affecting rebel-controlled areas due to Saudi-led air strikes and blockades, according to a letter by researchers from Queen Mary University of London, published in The Lancet Global Health.

Sierra Leone, a country that has been battered by Ebola, civil war and massive floods, suffered yet another tragedy this week,  Government and international aid workers are racing the clock to find survivors after a mudslide struck capital city Freetown early Monday morning.

Of the many steps governments can take to prevent people from getting sick, none can save more lives than reducing tobacco use.  Around the world, 1 in every 10 deaths is caused by tobacco.  In the 20th century, tobacco use killed 100 million people, far more than World War I and II—and most of the other major wars of the past century—combined. In the 21st century, unless we act, tobacco could kill a billion people.

The Cholera epidemic in Yemen is on track to claim more than 2500 lives in the coming months. At the current rate, this easily treatable disease could kill more people than the 2013-2015 Ebola epidemic in Guinea.


Using a walkie-talkie app called Zello, volunteers in Houston and beyond (including a woman in New Jersey) have established a parallel emergency response network to supplement overwhelmed government agencies, according to The New Yorker. Volunteer dispatchers field desperate calls for help and coordinate volunteer boaters trying to reach the stranded.

Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, today announced an agreement with Lakeland Health to integrate the Philips IntelliVue Guardian Solution with automated Early Warning Scoring (FWS) at all three of the Lakeland Health’s hospitals. The IntelliVue Guardian Solution contains software and intelligent clinical decision algorithms allowing caregivers to accurately obtain vital signs and seamlessly integrate validated patient data directly to the EHR – reducing human errors and saving time.

Environmental Health

Bad news for humans about the spread of mosquito-borne disease as climate change continues to worsen. New research from the University of Notre Dame, recently published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, proposes a new way that climate change could contribute to mosquitos’ capacity to drive disease epidemics. As climate change continues to rise, so could the speed of epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika.

Equity & Disparities

Adolescent girls living in neighborhoods with wide salary gaps and low-income households showed increased thinning in the brain’s cortical thickness, which could indicate higher levels of stress.

Violence, preventable diseases and traffic accidents are to blame for a widening of the youth mortality gap between the developed and developing world, according to a new Guardian analysis of the most recent World Health Organisation (WHO) data.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Globally, nearly eight out of every 1,000 children in the general population Iis estimated to have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and and Mental Health (CAMH).

Results from a large clinical trial of a specific combination of oral preparation of probiotics  in newborns in India showed a 40% reduction in sepsis and deaths in the first 2 months of infancy. The trial ended early because it proved to be so effective.

Results from the secondary data analysis from the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) shows that one in five infants are born small for gestational age and one in four neonatal deaths occur among such infants.

A global study reveals that nearly 8 in every 1000 babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Only 2 out of the 28 International Sports Federations identified prevention of chronic diseases on their list of priorities. As gatekeepers of physical activity, federations can and must do more to combat this global epidemic.

There is growing concern that the Trump budget would set back the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

A task force organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies has recommended that it would be better to fix the US foreign aid program rather than cutting back on it.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Five Kenyan girls who invented the I-Cut App to end female genital mutilation are headed to Google headquarters with the hope of winning the $15,000 Technovation competition prize.

Experts from the CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB participated at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science held in Paris.


Early results from a Thai campaign (based on the liver fluke control model by Banchob Sripa and others) rolled out in 2016 to control liver fluke infestation are promising. The human infection rates in the worst-hit areas of the Lawa lake region are down to below 10%.

A new report finds that only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates greater than 60% and that less than half of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. The scorecard is available here.

Despite the decrease in the number of people with visual impairments globally, a new study predicts that number of blind people will triple in the next four decades.

Diseases & Disasters

Pakistan and Egypt bear 80% of hepatitis C disease burden within the Eastern Mediterranean region which has been the most affected region in the world.

An UNICEF supported mobile health clinics fill the gap in Aleppo where years of violence have destroyed the public health centers and where families have little cash to seek private health care.


According to the authors of a review paper, recent technological advances in measuring adherence to ART and PrEP will help us gain insights into adherence behavior.

A mobile health intervention that included frequent emails or texts improved adherence to infant safe sleep practices.

Environmental Health

A new study of chickens from 18 poultry farms in Northern India reveal alarmingly high rates of antibiotic usage.  

A new study has found that only 6 countries have completed the two evaluations of readiness to face pandemics; one for human diseases and the other for animal outbreaks.

By analyzing India’s reported suicides in 32 states between 1967 and 2013, along with statistics on India’s crop yields, and high-resolution climate data, researcher in UC Berkeley has shown that climate change is linked to more than 59,000 suicides in India.

Equity & Disparities

People are still reeling from the repercussions of the Greek debt crisis and subsequent budget cuts and tax increases.

Ghana, country that has long relied on community health workers (CHW) to deliver health care services, has now begun to pay the CHWs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

According to a new report, 64 of 195 countries haven’t been able to meet the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccination goals.  

In northern regions of Cameroon, babies born with HIV often die before their blood results come back. Now the government is planning to launch a program that will allow expectant mothers can get tested in an effort to reduce/prevent deaths among babies.

The foreign assistance bill proposed by the House Appropriations Committee will most likely undermine global health priorities and put women’s lives at risk.