Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Two Ebola survivors are suing the Sierra Leone government to shed light over the disappearance of millions of dollars that the country received following the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

As 2017 ended, some key global health events, milestones and highlights from the past 12 months of efforts at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent child and maternal deaths, control the HIV/AIDS epidemic and combat infectious diseases were shared.

India’s Supreme Court on Monday put on hold a lower court’s order that quashed federal rules mandating larger health warnings on tobacco packages , in a setback for the country’s $11 billion tobacco industry.

The United Nations is predicting 135.7 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance in 2018, an increase over this year. More than 76 million people are projected to need emergency food assistance in 2018 as well.

Vaccines are one of the most important scientific inventions of all time, preventing millions of cases of disease every year and helping to consign once-deadly outbreaks to history. Yet these vital public-health tools are under threat from growing public mistrust in immunization and the rise of so-called “fake news” drowning out expert voices.

Tereza Kasaeva is to be the new Director or WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Program.  She joins WHO from Russia’s Ministry of Health. But instead of a warm welcome, she will arrive in Geneva amid potentially disabling controversy.

The Director-General of WHO has outlined his vision for a Madagascar free of plague epidemics during a three-day visit to the island nation that started on 7 January 2018.

2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity.
A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before.  The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell.

Parliament has called on government to consider increasing the budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Child Care saying it should have the highest allocation, or at least the 15 percent benchmark set out in the Abuja Declaration of 2001.

Programs, Grants & Awards

With a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, Sesame Street and International Rescue Committee will begin to work on bringing regional version of Sesame Street and related activities aimed at providing education to nearly 9.4 million Syrian refugees.

Henrietta Holsman Fore is the next executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced Friday.


Using the genetic information obtained from Wyeomyia smithii (pitcher plant mosquitoes), scientists are hoping to stop different mosquito species from feeding on blood.

Madagascar can build stronger health systems to fight plague and prevent the next epidemic.

With transmissions between family members accounting for most infections during the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the virus spread to other members in one out of three households that was home to an infected person, a study in one Sierra Leone community found.

Diseases & Disasters

The WHO has approved a new highly effective typhoid vaccine, Typbar TCV. The vaccine is made by Bharat Biotech based in Hyderabad, India and can be purchased by donors for use in low-income countries.

Three people in South Sudan have died of a suspected viral harmorrhagic fever and 60 of their contacts are being monitored for any infection, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

One million children aged six months to 10 years in Puntland and 4.2 million across Somalia were reached during a five-day measles campaign that wrapped up on Sunday, the United Nations has reported.


Yesterday’s announcement that WHO has prequalified the first conjugate vaccine for typhoid offers a major boost to prevention efforts against a disease that causes 11-20 million cases annually and up to 161,000 deaths.

Environmental Health

Plastic microbeads can no longer be used to manufacture personal care and cosmetic products in the UK. The ban on sales of such products is expected to go into effect in July.

Eucador’s state oil company has begun drilling in Yasuní National Park, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.

Equity & Disparities

In Malawi, where menstrual hygiene is a major concern among young women, menstrual cups may be an inexpensive alternative.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Huge burden of unintended pregnancies and drug-induced abortions that occur outside of health facilities confirm the need for rethinking medical abortions and improving contraceptive access, a new study shows.

A new study shows that group singing sessions can help mothers recover from postpartum depression more quickly.


Australia, you’ve done us proud…

Between September 12th and November 7th this year, Australia distributed the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, a national survey that gauged support for legalizing same-sex marriage. Unlike electoral voting, which is compulsory in Australia, responding to the survey was voluntary. The survey was returned with 61.6% “Yes” responses and 38.4% “No” responses. Even though the measure was expected to be approved, the size of the win and the unusually large participation of 12.7 million Australians out of the 16 million eligible voters added political legitimacy to it. It’s funny to think three letter strung together in the right order can mean so much to millions of proud Aussies. Several hours after the results of the survey were released, theMarriage Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced into the Australian Senate. The amendment  is a Bill for an Act to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, by amending the definition to allow marriage between two people. This is not only a time to celebrate a historic moment for the country, but to understand the vast positive impact for the LGBT community especially when it comes to health. Continue reading “Australia, you’ve done us proud…”

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Effective partnerships between governments, universities, and businesses may solve problems such as neglected tropical diseases, antimicrobial resistance, non-communicable diseases and other challenges to Global Health.

Pakistan has ordered over 20 foreign aid groups to cease operations by February. This has caused panic and confusion among the non-profit community.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Yale University has approved the creation of the Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH) led by the health sciences schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health.


Estimates of influenza-associated mortality are important for national and international decision-making on public health priorities. Previous estimates of 250 000–500 000 annual influenza deaths are outdated. We updated the estimated number of global annual influenza-associated deaths using country-specific influenza-associated excess respiratory mortality estimates from 1999–2015.

Effects of Ebola virus has been studied four decades after infection using blood samples and health history reports from 14 survivors of the 1976 Ebola outbreak. The findings show that the survivors may be able to stave off future infection.

A new experimental vaccine has been shown to induce antibodies against heroin and prevent the drug from crossing the blood brain barrier in mice and rats.

Diseases & Disasters

Drug resistance is still the main concern for health authorities in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Yesterday, representatives from these countries called for accelerated action to eliminate malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) by the year 2030.

Firefighters in Southern California were under pressure on Saturday to contain six raging wildfires, which have destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced tens of thousands of people to flee, before fierce winds are expected to strengthen again.

If a new flu pandemic emerges, it may be easy to spot. The epidemic is most likely to appear in spring or summer, researcher have found — not in the midwinter depths of the flu season.

With the introduction of a highly effective vaccine in the 1920s and early ‘30s, diphtheria faded away in much of the world.  Today it’s largely considered a disease of the past. But now it’s back in the headlines, spreading quickly in places like Bangladesh and Yemen.

The World Health Organization says Uganda has successfully controlled a deadly outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, an infectious disease related to Ebola.

Year after year cervical cancer continues to kill more women in Tanzania than any other type of cancer.  For more than six years, IMA World Health—with funding from the IZUMI Foundation, American Baptist Churches (USA), Week of Compassion, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private donors—has supported Shirati and other health facilities to ease the burden of cervical cancer by training health workers, providing testing and treatment supplies and equipment and creating referral linkages to larger hospitals for those who require additional treatment.

Respiratory diseases from seasonal influenza takes up to 650,000 lives annually, according to new estimates released Thursday by the United Nations health agency and global partners.


A new portable low-cost diagnostic test allows people to check for iron and vitamin A deficiencies within minutes. The system includes blood sample test strip that includes three types of antibodies.

Carbon, a 3D printing technology company, is developing an inexpensive, easy-to-use, in vitro diagnostic device for TB testing.

Environmental Health

A new UN report warns that the growing electronic waste poses a major threat to the environment and human health. The report also highlights unsafe and improper treatment and disposal of e-waste.

According to a new study the exposure to air pollution can cancel out the benefits of exercise among adults over 60 years of age.

New studies suggest a link between warming of the Arctic waters and drier conditions in California.

Equity & Disparities

Publication of a new World Bank – World Health Organization report reveals that half of the world do not have access to essential quality healthcare, and 800 million people face severe financial difficulties because of healthcare costs.

Rickets and stunted growth are making an appearance among children who are malnourished and food insecure in Britain.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Assessment of BetterBirth India, the largest implementation of WHO’s Safe Childbirth Checklist, shows that even though many health centers adopted the checklist, there has not been any improvement in maternal or infant mortality rates. This could very likely be due to poor infrastructure and access to care.

Hong kong recalls imported baby milk products after reports of salmonella infections in France.

In addition to deterioration of sleep quality and quantity among children and teenagers who have smartphones and tablets in their bedrooms (even when not in use), a new study also reports that young people who spend time in front of a screen at bedtime are more likely to be overweight or obese.

This is the last round up for 2017!

Please share your thoughts on what you liked about the round up, how we could improve this section and what we could be doing differently in 2018.



Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

President Trump and other populist world leaders are dismantling funding that protects the world from future epidemics as they put national interests ahead of global health, a Pulitzer Prize-winning expert said Tuesday at Brigham Young University.

In late July, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Steering Group, chaired by the Republic of Korea, convened in Seoul to discuss ongoing implementation of the GHSA.  A partnership of 61 nations, international organizations, and non-governmental stakeholders, GHSA facilitates collaborative, capacity-building efforts to advance a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

The US opioid epidemic and the “war-on drug” language being used internationally is a cause for concern among palliative care experts, especially given a serious gap in access to painkillers in poor countries.

Programs, Grants & Awards

USAID has announced a new development impact bond called the Utkrisht Impact Bond, aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal deaths in India.

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has received a grant to study the impact of the expanded global gag rule on women’s health and wellbeing.

Chemonics International is under mounting pressure to show that the largest project ever funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has turned a corner.

One Health lies at the core of the Global Health Ethic, recognizing the highly interdependent nature of the health and well-being of humans, domestic animals, wildlife and the ecosystem we all share.

Crossing Boundaries 3 is a conference to showcase Oxford’s multidisciplinary research informing health systems strengthening in low and middle-income countries.


An increase in dengue cases from zero (pre-2000) to 35,000 in Acre State in Brazil has been attributed to landscape changes coinciding with commercial development in the state.

An economic modeling study showed that a TB-sensitive cash transfer approach to increase all poor households’ income is unlikely to be as effective or affordable to prevent TB’s catastrophic costs as a TB-specific cash transfer approach.

Diseases & Disasters

After unprecedented global success in malaria control, progress has stalled, according to the World malaria report 2017.  With 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 than in 2015, experts worry that the progress toward global malaria control has stalled. Without urgent action, there is a risk of missing the malaria control targets for 2020 and beyond.

The U.N. is voicing alarm over the spread of HIV in Egypt, where the number of new cases is growing by up to 40 percent a year, and where efforts to combat the epidemic are hampered by social stigma and a lack of funding to address the crisis.


Several security problems have been identified in a software platform used by aid agencies to store data on vulnerable people.

Prognos, a New York City-based artificial intelligence company, has wrapped up a $20.5 million Series C financing round. The seven-year-old company utilizes AI to track and predict disease as early as possible in collaboration with payers, diagnostics and life sciences companies.

Environmental Health

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a leading implementer of climate change projects in developing countries, but the money that is supposed to materialize to support the developing world as climate change impacts intensify is still hard to come by.

Noting the severity of the threats posed by pollution to both people and the planet, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the need for rapid, large-scale and coordinated action by all actors to make the world pollution-free.

Arctic sea ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next few decades could impact California’s rainfall and exacerbate future droughts, according to new research.

Equity & Disparities

About 11 percent of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia every year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development, and for the 2030 Agenda to truly live up to its promise to ‘leave no one behind,’ all physical and cultural barriers must be removed to create societies that provide real opportunities for everyone everywhere, the United Nations has said.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people in poor countries. are detained every year in hospitals over unpaid bills.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The Philippines has achieved maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination status, a status given when there is less than one case per 1000 live births in every region.

Many girls get married before age 18 in the northern, Amhara region of Ethiopia.  The legal age of marriage is 18 — but the law is seldom enforced.

Air pollution significantly increases the risk of low birth weight in babies, leading to lifelong damage to health, according to a large new study.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Nearly 100 years after the 1918 flu pandemic claimed as many as 50 million lives, many of us would like to think such devastating losses will never be seen again. Unfortunately, the experts say otherwise.

Even as parts of north India are caught in the throes of a major public health emergency, and there have been calls to take urgent steps to mitigate the toxic air, the problem lies with the existing framework. It’s time for some hard policy decisions

EU is pledging 8% of its annual humanitarian aid budget to education in emergencies, an increase from 6% in 2017.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Peter Sands, a former British banker has been named as the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

At the end of the first-ever WHO health minister meeting on ending tuberculosis held in Moscow, representatives from 114 countries agreed on a set of actions called Moscow Declaration to End TB.

On Sunday, November 19, the world turned its attention to the lowly—yet incredibly important—toilet bowl. World Toilet Day was created in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.


Amish people in rural Indiana have a rare gene mutation that protects them from Type 2 diabetes and appears to extend their lifespan.

In South Africa, a country with the largest number of women of childbearing age living with HIV, authors of a new study identify perceived facilitators and potential barriers to implementing the Women’s Health CoOp in clinics and substance abuse rehabilitation centers.

Analysis of Swedish national records with over 3.4 million people and spanning 12 years showed that registered dog owners had lower rate of cardiovascular disease and lower risk of death.

Diseases & Disasters

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis and the international community must step in before it worsens, humanitarian agencies warn.

The world is in the midst of a global sanitation crisis – about 2.3 billion people lack access to even basic sanitation services.  Ensuring people around the world have access to basic sanitation services is vital to preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting our health.

The large plague outbreak that began in Madagascar in August appears to be waning, according to government case counts and local news reports.  The outbreak has infected about 1,800 people so far, killing 127 of them.

U.S. and Congolese scientists are tracking a virus. At a time when a deadly disease can cross the globe, they need to understand mysterious monkeypox.

The debate over taxing sugary drinks has turned into a ferocious global policy brawl.  In Columbia, proponents faced intimidation and censorship.


Around the globe, a staggering $455 billion intended for healthcare is lost every year to fraud or misuse.  Much of this abuse occurs in developing countries, where the loss of funds can have devastating consequences for health and development.

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering faculty and graduate students, global health experts, and technology specialists will receive $100,000 to further develop a phone-based system enabling mothers in remote villages to spot serious health problems during newborn babies’ critical first week.

Environmental Health

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked way to help the planet.

A handful of researchers in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere are methodically accumulating evidence suggesting that higher temperatures could be linked to a higher risk of premature births, stillbirths, or other negative pregnancy outcomes.

Equity & Disparities

Some nomadic communities in Africa are among the most challenging populations to reach with consistent health care. The World Health Organization estimates that there are at least 400 million people who lack access to at least one or more essential health services, leading to scores of preventable deaths worldwide.

Jeffrey Sachs, economics professor in Columbia University has said that the world’s richest are waging a war on the poor and has urged senators to not support the tax cuts or proposed changes to health care.

According to a new study, temperatures in slums in Nairobi were 5 -10℉ higher than the temperature reported by the city’s official weather station less than half a mile away.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Adverse childhood experiences are linked to health problems in teens, a new study shows.

While prevalence of stunting decreased in African nations between 2000 and 2016, the absolute numbers rose from 50.4 million in 2000 to 58.5 million in 2016.

In a new report released to coincide with World Children’s Day, UNICEF revealed that in 37 countries, some 180 million youth are more likely to exist in extreme poverty, be out of school or be killed by violence, than children in those same countries 20 years ago.