Category Archives: News

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

China is on the course to unseat the US as the next leader in global health.  While the US has historically had a strong role in providing vaccinations, reducing global deaths from measles, polio, and malaria, China is evolving from a receiver of aid and vaccinations to a provider.

President Donald Trump, striving to make good on a top campaign promise, is pushing his fellow Republicans who control Congress to pass revamped healthcare legislation but the same intraparty squabbling that torpedoed it last month could do it again.

President Trump’s budget has proposed drastic cuts to foreign affairs funding – by almost 30%. This reduction in aid would hit U.S. and United Nations agencies that lead the global fight against many infectious diseases, polio among them.

On the global health front, the new administration is on the steep part of the learning curve.  And people worried about its understanding of and appreciation for the benefits of US global health spending — worries exacerbated by proposed to-the-bone cuts in the president’s budget blueprint — are hoping to fast-track that education process.

SNAP is one of the largest safety net programs in the United States, and the largest nutrition program. It currently helps 45 million low-income Americans – nearly half of them children –  pay for food each month. But while the program’s current benefits reduce hunger, they don’t go far enough to help most families to purchase healthy food.

On March 30, the Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) at the Brookings Institution hosted three expert panelists at our forum on health governance capacity to discuss the findings of the recently released Health Governance Capacity report. This was the first of six reports to be released as a part of the Brookings Private Sector Global Health R&D Project.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Polly J. Price, professor of law and professor of global health at Emory University, has been named one of 35 recipients of the 2017 Andrew Carnegie fellowship.

The Global Health Leadership Institute, founded by Elizabeth Bradley in 2009, will lose its funding from the Provost’s Office and integrate into the School of Public Health after the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30.

The 14th Annual World Health Care Congress convenes decision makers from all sectors of healthcare to catalyze meaningful partnerships and change. In 2017, faculty focus on policy and market forces impacting the healthcare business environment including consolidation, consumer empowerment, digital health, and the ongoing shift to value-based payment.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO and will be meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on May 22-31.  It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

The diplomats who met to form the United Nations in 1945 also discussed the need for a global health group; that led to the creation of the World Health Organization. Its constitution went into effect on April 7, 1948, and World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7.


The impact of environmental change can be passed on in the genes of tiny nematode worms for at least 14 generations – the most that has ever been seen in animals – scientists have discovered.

In the first study to link depression with underweight body types, the research found that both both men and women can be impacted by negative thoughts about being too skinny.

Despite the well recognized health benefits of fresh fruit consumption, substantial uncertainties remain about its potential effects on incident diabetes and among those with diabetes, on risks of death and major vascular complications.

The model of infectious disease prevention and control changed significantly in China after the outbreak in 2003 of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), but trends and epidemiological features of infectious diseases are rarely studied. In this study, we aimed to assess specific incidence and mortality trends of 45 notifiable infectious diseases from 2004 to 2013 in China and to investigate the overall effectiveness of current prevention and control strategies.

Diseases & Disasters

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Friday said vaccinations, including against Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, are provided free of charge by the Nigerian government.

The incidence of angiostrongyliasis, nicknamed “rat lungworm” illness because of its origins (it comes from a parasite in the lungs of rats via rat feces to snails and slugs and then through contaminated food or drink to humans) is on the rise in Hawaii.

About 1.24% of the 5000 Latin-American born LA residents were tested positive for Chagas disease.

While the number of deaths due to malaria has dropped by nearly two-thirds over the last 15 years, there is growing concern about the signs of resistance to existing anti-malarial drugs.

To mark the World Malaria Day on April 25th, WHO announced that the world’s first malaria vaccine is moving to the next phase and is going to be introduced in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi next year.

A new water supply system was inaugurated by the UN in Lascahobas, Haiti to combat the cholera epidemic.

More than two thirds of people living in Chile, Ecuador and Mexico are overweight or obese, costing their economies tens of billions of dollars every year, driving rates of disease and straining health services, a UN report said on Tuesday.


MIT research scientist Richard Fletcher directs the Mobile Technology Group at MIT D-Lab, which develops a variety of mobile sensors, analytic tools, and diagnostic algorithms to study problems in global health and behavior medicine

Researchers have isolated a substance in the blood of Komodo dragon that appears to have potent germ killing properties.

Researchers have built a device that could harvest water from dry air and is powered by the sun.

Environmental Health

Diesel car owners might be paid to trade in their cars under UK’s new air quality plans.

While fossil fuel like oil and coal get most of the blame for climate change and pollution, agriculture also contributes to the problem. American farmers – the world’s biggest grain producers – are responsible for 9 percent of all US greenhouse-gas emissions, and rice has three times as much per acre as corn and five times that of wheat, according to a University of California-Davis study in 2012.

Environmental groups have urged the UK Prime Minister not to water down climate change and illegal wildlife trade regulations to secure post-Brexit deals.

Equity & Disparities

The Summit on Neglected tropical Diseases held in Geneva is an opportunity to identify solutions to address gaps that prevent millions of people from seeking care and  treatment.

Gender mainstreaming is a stated policy in Papua New Guinea but a new study shows that the application of this policy has often been technocratic. The study found that gender is rarely mentioned except in the context of maternal and child care programs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A new analysis shows that children and adolescent mortality burden is larger in countries with low socioeconomic status.

According to the Kenyan Demographic Health Survey, infant mortality rate has decreased from 59 per 1000 live births in 2009 to 39 per 1000 live births in 2014 and there also has been an impressive increase in the number of mothers seeking antenatal care (88% in 2003 to 96 % in 2014).

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

The President of Malta said that maternal health care for refugee women is much needed. One in 10 women in EU have no access to maternal health and refugee women are particularly vulnerable.

The WHO is supporting South Sudan’s Ministry of Health of roll out a new community health service delivery called Boma Health Initiative aimed at improving access to primary care services.

Programs, Grants & Awards

At GlobeMed’s 5th Annual Benefit Dinner, Dr. Adams discussed the importance of partnerships rather than simply donor-recipient relationships, which is a founding tenet of GlobeMed’s framework and organization.

The week of April 4th is National Public Health Week and public health professionals are celebrating the power of prevention.

The Living Goods’ project was launched in Uganda in 2007 and in Kenya in 2015. It is one of 23 projects in 43 countries that were selected by the Social Innovation in Health Initiative, out of a total of 170 nominated in 2015, as promising new ways to improve healthcare delivery.


Eating a high fat and high sugar diet when pregnant leads to metabolic impairments in both the mother and her unborn child, which may ‘program’ them for potential health complications later in life, a study in mice has shown.

A new study shows that about 21 million lives were saved due to the progress made during the MDG era.

Adults who become overweight or obese have a higher risk of dying from from heart disease, cancer or other illnesses, a new study suggests.

A new study shows that about 6.4 million deaths in 2015 can be attributed to smoking and half of these were in just 4 countries – India, US, Russia and China.

Seven months after Rio Olympics, Zika continues to plague babies in urban slums.

Diseases & Disasters

2017 is shaping to be a bad year for the measles worldwide, says Dr. Seth Berkley, who leads the nonprofit Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, devoted to vaccinating children worldwide.

Heart disease kills more people than all types of cancer combined. Every year, nearly 450,000 Americans die suddenly from cardiac arrest.  Nearly 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home, and the survival rate for an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac death is only 7 percent but can be significantly increased with prompt activation of the 911 emergency system and bystander intervention.

Direct Relief has contributed $32 million in medical resources for Colombia and Peru, where historic flooding and mudslides have killed hundreds of the region’s most vulnerable people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

Sleep deprivation may be linked to a gene mutation.  According to researchers at The Rockefeller University, there’s a variant of a gene called CRY1 that slows the internal biological clock (also known as the circadian clock) – which normally is what tells the body when to feel tired at night and when you’re ready to wake.

Cancer death rates in the United States are continuing to fall and the five-year survival rates of those diagnosed with the disease have risen, research shows.

For the first time, doctors can determine which medication is more likely to help a patient overcome depression, according to research that pushes the medical field beyond what has essentially been a guessing game of prescribing antidepressants.

Aid agencies have warned that self-harm and attempted suicides are on the rise among refugees in Greece.

A series of interviews  and investigations shed light on how Syrian military hospitals have been used as sites of torture since 2011.

As part of a collaborative project with the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Eijkman Oxford Medical Research Unit, Jakarta and J. Kevin Baird, PhD, photos taken by photographer Pearl Gan were meant to increase awareness of the plight of people affected by malaria in the Asia Pacific.


Institut Pasteur Shanghai-Chinese Academy of Sciences (IPS-CAS), a partner of the ZIKAlliance consortium, announced that it has entered into a collaborative research agreement with Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Stock Co., Ltd. (Zhifei) for the clinical studies and commercialization of a recombinant Zika virus subunit vaccine developed by IPS-CAS.

Since their advent in the early twentieth century, antibiotics have saved countless lives, curing human beings of diseases caused by harmful bacteria. But from the beginning of the antibiotics era, in the middle of the twentieth century, scientists warned that misuse or overuse of the drugs would render them less effective, or even useless as bacteria evolved into drug-resistant forms.

Environmental Health

Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to California’s historic drought Friday, lifting emergency orders that had forced residents to stop running sprinklers as often and encouraged them to rip out thirsty lawns during the state’s driest four-year period on record.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — toxic air pollutants produced by fuel combustion – are typically treated as a local issue in places with smog and bad air quality. A recent study suggests, however, that these pollutants may actually travel long distances and affect people across the globe.

An alliance of green groups has warned that the UN-backed hydro-projects will have serious environmental consequences and has condemned the use of  climate fund for large dams.

Equity & Disparities

Since its inception, the Yale-UKZN Collaborative has expanded dramatically. Today, the collaborative focuses on addressing public health priorities in at-risk communities, while simultaneously advancing research programs and supporting the education of trainees at both Yale and UKZN.

US President Donald Trump’s recently released 2018 budget blueprint proposes deep cuts in US foreign aid, prompting a discussion on the role of such spending in improving the health and well being of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Smoking rates in the US have been falling for decades.  Yet, about 15 percent of adults – more than 36 million – continue to smoke cigarettes.

At the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s 4th Annual State of Global Health Symposium, entitled “Urban Evolution: Optimizing Women’s Health in the World’s Cities,” Lynn Freedman, professor of population and family health at Columbia University, talked about the “deeply vulnerable” population of poor women and girls who are hidden from view in the world’s cities.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Pregnant women who have gotten their booster vaccine against whooping cough (pertussis) have reason to cheer: their newborns are far less likely to get the disease than any other babies.

Many women in sub-Saharan Africa face high risks of dying from cervical cancer.  Here the chances of getting diagnosed and treated for cancer are extremely slim, unlike in developed countries that have well-funded, sophisticated cancer programs.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

William “Bill” Steiger, a global health official under former President George W. Bush who crossed swords with many scientists, is now advising President Donald Trump.

After the Trump’s administration submitted a budget to cut foreign aid, the world’s wealthiest man and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates met with President Donald Trump to discuss progress in programs for global health and development as well as domestic education.

In President Trump’s proposed budget, there’s a $54 billion bump in military spending. U.S. foreign aid would be cut by 28 percent. Global health spending beyond AIDS, malaria and vaccines will suffer.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today issued a clinical practice guideline on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for the prevention of cervical cancer. This is the first guideline in primary prevention of cervical cancer that is tailored to multiple regions of the world with different levels of socio-economic and structural resource settings, offering evidence-based guidance to healthcare providers worldwide.

Programs, Grants & Awards

March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day.  The need to receive proper education, to get a job, to live with independence, to catch up with friends, to play sport, to fully exercise our rights as equal citizens are important aspects of life for each of us and needs that no one would dream of defining as “special”. Yet for people with Down syndrome, the label of “special needs” is often used to describe them and their needs.

The Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics, the largest public health organization for people with intellectual disabilities (ID), honored the Beijing Tongren Eye Hospital, Capital Medical University in Beijing, China for coordinating medical professionals throughout China and ensuring sustainable eye health and treatment access are available to Special Olympics athletes.


Assess the prevalance of metabolic syndrome (MetS) among patients in rural Lesotho who are taking first-line anti-retroviral therapy (ART) containing either zidovudine or tenofovir disoproxil.

In this analysis, we examine the effect of wages on obesity by constructing pseudo-panels to conduct a dynamic estimation of Grossman’s human capital model. The results indicate that wages have an increasing effect on obesity status.

To examine county-level geographic variation in treatment admissions among opioid treatment programs (OTPs) that accept Medicaid in the continental United States.

We analyze the evolution of mortality-based health indicators in 27 European countries before and after the start of the Great Recession. We find that in the countries where the crisis has been particularly severe, mortality reductions in 2007–2010 were considerably bigger than in 2004–2007.

Over the next 20 years, there will be 49 million new cases of HIV, a mathematical model has indicated.  This number, however, could be drastically reduced if current interventions are acted upon and a vaccine is introduced in the next four years.

Diseases & Disasters

A small but growing number of pain doctors and addiction specialists are overseeing the use of marijuana as a substitute for more potent and dangerous drugs. Dr. Mark Wallace, chairman of the division of pain medicine in the department of anesthesia at the University of California, San Diego, said over the last five years he has used marijuana to help several hundred patients transition off opiates.

People who wake at night with an urge to go to the bathroom may need to cut back on salt in their diets, doctors from Japan are suggesting.


The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Holmusk, a digital health and data analytics company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently to explore collaborations for improving healthcare delivery in the region.

A new diagnostic tool to test for up to 7 micronutrients using a single serum sample has been developed by Quansys in collaboration with PATH. This multiplex tool can help gather national data on micronutrient status and use these data to implement appropriate interventions.

Environmental Health

Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, has the potential to affect drinking water resources in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency announced in December.

Equity & Disparities

Health and health care disparities, which are differences between groups in their health status and their ability to obtain care, remain a persistent issue in the United States. This brief describes health and healthcare disparities today, highlights recent advancements in reducing disparities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and discusses how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and proposed reductions in discretionary funding may affect ongoing efforts to address disparities.

Niger’s population is set to double in about 17 years and high birth rates have contributed to this population growth. Already 80% of Nigeriens live in poverty and there is growing concern that such population expansions could lead to famines, political instability and violence in this landlocked nation.

The UN has warned that due to climate change about one in four children will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040.

Hundreds of thousands of people in India could be left without essential government services and benefits – including free school meals and uniforms, food subsidies and pensions – under new rules that make access to more than three dozen state-funded schemes conditional on showing identification.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

China has achieved a substantial reduction in maternal mortality over the past three decades, from 88.8 deaths per 100 000 live births in 1990 to 21.7 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2014, down by 75.6%. The Article by Yanqiu Gao and colleagues in The Lancet Global Health is a valuable and welcome opportunity to present progress and discuss how maternal health can be improved in developing countries.

An UNFPA representative has urged Nigeria to invest more in maternal health since it has the potential to save Nigeria nearly $1.5 billion annually.

What happens when both mothers and newborns weigh significantly more than they did just several decades ago? The question occupies one of the most active areas of obesity research.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

UN estimates that five months after Hurricane Matthew made landfall, nearly 280,000 Haitians are highly food insecure. This is largely due to failed policies and failure to provide much-needed support.

The word health resonates across borders and cultures.  That lesson was made clear during a recent trip by Military Health System leaders to three African nations, underscoring the enduring commitment of the MHS to help partners build enhanced capabilities to respond to infectious disease and other public health threats around the world.

Major associations representing physicians, hospitals, insurers and seniors all leveled sharp attacks against the House GOP’s plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, as some Republicans publicly questioned whether the measure can clear the House of Representatives.

Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled their long-awaited draft healthcare bill on Monday night, amid hopes this was the first step on a road to keeping a key election promise.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has issued the first official guidance for implementation of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “global gag rule.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has agreed in principle to a White House proposal to slash foreign aid and diplomatic spending by 37 percent, but wants to spread it out over three years rather than in one dramatic cut.

China is facing the biggest and deadliest outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in human history.  The virus causes pneumonia and death in most of its victims, which is why it tops the list of global flu pandemic threats.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Thirty percent of all freshwater is ground water.  National Ground Water Awareness Week, an annual observance sponsored by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), is March 5–11, 2017. This observance highlights how important ground water is to people’s health and the environment.


She was only 21 at the time, but the event helped to inspire the fledgling scientist to crack how the brain is repaired.  The discovery reported today could potentially help millions of people with multiple sclerosis who have the opposite problem, a rogue immune system attacking part of the brain.

A 2016 study found the overall rate for stroke was 8% higher in the two days after daylight saving time. Losing an hour of sleep has also been associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and injuries.

A study published in The Lancet Global Health shows that community resource center model for women and children’s health incurred low-cost in informal settlements and is feasible and potentially replicable. This study was conducted in informal settings in Mumbai, India.

Diseases & Disasters

For the first time, doctors have tied infection with the Zika virus to possible new heart problems in adults. The evidence so far is only in eight people in Venezuela, and is not enough to prove a link. It’s also too soon to know how often this might be happening.

Arthritis costs at least $81 billion in direct medical costs annually.  The most common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia. It is a leading cause of disability, and causes pain, aching, stiffness and swelling and is not a normal part of aging.

Top infectious disease experts are warning about a rapidly spreading outbreak of deadly yellow fever in Brazil that could hit parts of the United States. The danger would be most acute if the virus starts spreading by the same mosquito that transmits Zika.

A Save the Children study charts an increase in self-harm and suicides among children as young as 12 and reports that Syrian children are suffering from toxic stress that has the potential to cause long-term damage.


The pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi sell the most vaccines and earn the most money doing so, while the Serum Institute of India sells the most vaccines at a discount, according to the first Access to Vaccines Index, which was released last week.

Environmental Health

According to two new WHO reports, nearly 1.7 million children under the age of 5 die due to environmental hazards every year.

According to a new study making small changes to our diets can mitigate effects of climate change in addition to impacting the health care system.

Equity & Disparities

Supreme Court of India has called for policies to prevent the epidemic of suicides among Indian farmers rather than providing compensation after the fact.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The pharmaceutical company Cipla cited non-payment of dues by the government and has therefore, stopped manufacturing Lopinavir syrup, life saving drug for children living with HIV/AIDS.

Given the risks posed by shifting global environment to women’s and children’s health, research on why some global health campaigns succeed can help turn this crisis into an opportunity.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Donald Trump’s election to the US presidency marks a time of global transition, with singular importance to health. The world is witnessing the rise in populist movements characterized by concerns about trade, immigration, globalization, and international organizations.

Nearly a dozen members of Congress are urging the US Army not to issue an exclusive license to Sanofi Pasteur to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus over concerns the product may be priced too high for many Americans, even though it was developed with taxpayer funds.

Programs, Grants and Awards

The third annual World Birth Defects Day is March 3, 2017. The day is designed to raise global awareness of birth defects and increase opportunities for prevention.

The government of Botswana announced a new $100 million pediatric hematology-oncology initiative this week called Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence). The new public-private partnership aims to treat children with cancer and blood disorders, modeled after successful pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment programs in the region.

Srilanka hosted the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health, Feb 21st- 23rd, to build solidarity to improve health and lives of migrants.

The February 16 Climate & Health Meeting in Atlanta brought together more than 350 scientists and public health professionals to explore the science of climate change, the consequences to public health and possible solutions.

The Institute for Global Health Innovation presented a selection of research focused on end-of-life care at February’s Global Health Forum, hosted by the Helix Centre for Design in Healthcare.


A new study predicts that South Korean women would be among the first to have an average life expectancy above 90 by the year 2030.

In a study published in the journal AIDS Brown University researchers propose a “new system of understanding and implementing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programs in clinical practices”  According to the study, it is helpful to view PrEP care as a continuum with nine proposed steps.

Diseases & Disasters

Global health officials on Monday unveiled a first-of-its-kind Llist of the world’s most deadly “superbugs” in a bid to urge businesses and governments to get serious about developing new antibiotics.

Nearly 75 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributed to just 10 causes, with the top three of these accounting for over 50 percent of all deaths. Over the last 5 years, the main causes of death in the U.S. have remained fairly consistent.

Rambling and long-winded anecdotes could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research that suggests subtle changes in speech style occur years before the more serious mental decline takes hold.

Abortion and AIDS are the two most common causes of death among Cambodian female sex workers and AIDS is the most frequent cause of death among their children, according to a small new study.


A vital race is on in laboratories across the globe to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus.  However, even if a vaccine were available today, many of the world’s poorest people would not be able to receive it due to political and economic concerns surrounding vaccine injuries.

Environmental Health

Many lessons for addressing the effects of climate change were shared throughout the course of the Climate & Health Meeting, held Feb. 16 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and one panel discussed ways we can find solutions from a less obvious source: low- and middle-income countries.

From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up.

Equity & Disparities

Sounding the alarm on behalf of more than 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and north-east Nigeria facing devastating levels of food insecurity, Secretary-General António Guterres joined other top United Nations officials today calling for “strong and urgent” action from the international community to help the already-fragile countries avert catastrophe.

More than 3500 people in the DRC has suffered paralysis (konzo) in the last 20 years. Konzo is caused not just by eating cassava but also due to poverty and severe malnourishment among people living in DRC’s rural regions.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Access to healthcare for women in Cambodia has improved drastically in the last decade with the support of donor governments including the US and Australia. Maternal mortality rates have more than halved from 2005 to 2014. Yet those gains risk being undone by new restrictions that will lead to huge cuts in funds from the US, the biggest global donor on women’s health.

Fourteen social entrepreneurs completed training intended to improve maternal and child health outcomes in Africa and graduated from the GE and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. This is the first cohort of healthymagination Mother and Child Program.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Business prides itself on solutions that generate a significant return on investment. As a rule, U.S. global health programs follow this principle. For less than 1 percent of the federal budget, global health investments have yielded impressive results above and beyond their original price tag, and are poised for even greater returns in the future.

Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine formed an Independent panel to analyze the global response to Ebola. Their work resulted in a report in the Lancet which identifies 10 important recommendations for reform.

While children in the U.S. are often required to be current on their vaccinations or receive a special waiver in order to attend public school, there is no requirement for adult vaccinations.

In this era of deep political divides and polarized opinions, we should let evidence – not politics – direct actions to benefit everyone in our country.

No More Epidemics is calling on all countries to publish their completed assessments of national capacities to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats, known as the Joint External Evaluation (JEE).

According to Robert Gebelhoff of the Washington Post, resistant malaria needs to be a high priority for the new administration and governments in the developing world.

Federal health officials may be about to get greatly enhanced powers to quarantine people, as part of an ongoing effort to stop outbreaks of dangerous contagious diseases.

The Indian government has cut ties with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has decided to fund and manage the immunization programs on its own.

In response to Greenpeace’s study that estimated that nearly 1.2 million people die each year due to high concentrations of air pollutants, India’s Environment Minister said that “there is no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation-ship of death exclusively with air pollution.”

Margaret Chan, outgoing director of the World Health Organization, is urging greater collaboration among global health organizations in the face of a challenging political environment in the United States.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, the American Public Health Association (APHA), The Climate Reality Project, Harvard Global Health Institute, the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment and Dr. Howard Frumkin, former director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, announced a Climate & Health Meeting that will take place on February 16, 2017 at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

On Feb. 14, women’s-rights activists around the world are commemorating V-Day, hoping to raise awareness of violence against women worldwide. The campaign, One Billion Rising, refers to the U.N. projections that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, or 1 billion in the world.

The Aid & Development Africa Summit 2017 is an exclusive platform uniting regional and global expertise and offering a unique opportunity for cross-sector engagement between UN and government agencies, NGOs, donors and the private sector.

In advance of the upcoming 7th Annual Global Health Conference taking place at FIU this March, FIU’s Global Health Consortium brought representatives from around the world to Washington, D.C. to evaluate the strategies for monitoring and decreasing the impact of antimicrobial resistance.

With funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, home to the nation’s first academic program in climate and health, today announces a Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education to share best scientific and educational practices and design model curricula on the health impacts of climate change for academic and non-academic audiences.


A new study projects that by 2035, cardiovascular disease, the most costly and prevalent killer, if left unchecked, will place a crushing economic and health burden on the nation’s financial and health care systems.  According to the study, in the next two decades, the number of Americans with cardiovascular disease will rise to 131.2 million (45 percent of the total US population) with costs expected to reach $1.1 trillion.

A new study found that nearly all of about 400,000 employees at large companies nationwide in the US face increased risk of heart disease and stroke from obesity, high blood pressure, poor diet and and other risk factors.  The findings, published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, illustrate the need for more workplace health initiatives grounded in science and evidence to inspire employee health and reduce employer costs, study authors said.

People who are overweight in their 20s and then become obese later in life may be three times more likely to develop esophageal or stomach cancer, according to new research.

CD8 T cells protect adult naive mice from JEV-induced morbidity via lytic function.

A study recently published in Virus Research took a look into the presence of Zika virus in human breast milk.

Diseases & Disasters

Early cancer diagnosis saves lives and cuts treatment costs, the United Nations health agency today said, particularly in developing countries where the majority of cancer cases are diagnosed too late.

The Zika infection has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency due to the link to thousands of suspected cases of babies born with small brains – or microcephaly – in Brazil.  But there are still many, crucial, unanswered questions.


Philanthropist and former Microsoft exec Melinda Gates said this week that the data we have on global health is improving – in part because of projects undertaken by the Gates Foundation and other philanthropic organizations — but there’s still a long way to go.

Environmental Health

On Feb 5th, Dubai residents ditched their cars to participate in the country’s 8th year car-free day initiative.

Human activity is changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces.” In the last 45 years, temperatures have increased by the equivalent of 1.7C per century and the warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

New research shows that air pollution has become such a danger that now the ill-effects of breathing in fine particulates outweighs the usual health benefits of 30 minutes of cycling each way.

Equity & Disparities

A model for fighting against hunger and malnutrition with a global reach which has been successful within and outside the region has spread worldwide, first from Brazil and then from Latin America, notes a distinction given to the current Director-General of FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation), José Graziano da Silva.

Violence toward women does not, at first sight, appear to be a problem in Hong Kong, Japan or South Korea. Overall homicide rates are among the lowest in the world — below 1 per 100,000 people — and street crime is rare. Harassment is also uncommon: women generally feel safe when going out alone at night.  But despite the veneer of safety, the three jurisdictions actually have the highest rate of female homicide victims in the world.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Nine countries have committed to halve preventable deaths among pregnant women and newborns in the next five years.

A study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found problems in the methodology and analysis in the three widely cited studies on the impact of mass deworming in Africa.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

With a single memorandum, President Trump may well have made it harder for health workers around the world to fight cancer, H.I.V., Zika and Ebola.

President Donald Trump has massively expanded the ban on providing federal money to international family planning groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information to all organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance.

In 2017 new developments, new leaders and new threats promise to tug the reins of global health organizations and send us off in unexpected directions. In fact, we’re already feeling the road change beneath us.

Global health watchers will pay close attention to Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, when the World Health Organization (WHO) will announce the final three candidates to take the agency’s top job.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Pathfinder’s board of directors named Lois Quam CEO last week after conducting an international search.

Pathfinder partners with local governments, communities and health systems to help women get vital health services.  Those services range from family planning and access to contraception, to efforts to help stop the spread of HIV, and care for women during pregnancy and childbirth.

After Trump’s ban on funding international groups whose humanitarian healthcare includes abortion counseling or services, Netherlands announced its intent to organize alternative funding for this vital area of medicine, and today a new global alliance is already rolling $10.7 million strong and up to 20 countries deep.

The Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health has awarded funding to six multidisciplinary research teams to jump-start novel efforts to address global health challenges.

The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.) today announced the 2017 class of Mount Sinai-GLG Global Health Scholars.


Bernadette Abela-Ridder and colleagues (November, 2016) describe the commendable joint efforts of WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to control rabies on a global level, including their endorsement of a global framework to eliminate human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.

Development of Plasmodium falciparum specific naïve, atypical, memory and plasma B cells during infancy and in adults in an endemic area.

Researchers have identified biomarkers (a set of genes including those involved in immune response) that can predict progression of disease in humans infected with the Ebola virus.

Out of pocket (OOP) health spending can potentially expose households to risk of incurring large medical bills, and this may impact on their welfare. This work investigates the effect of catastrophic OOP on the incident and of poverty in Malawi.

Diseases & Disasters

Smoking consumes almost 6 percent of the world’s total spend on healthcare and nearly 2 percent of global GDP, reveals the first study of its kind, published in the journal Tobacco Control.  In 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes 17 goals that all member states have signed up to achieve by 2030. Goal 3 includes a target to cut by a third early deaths from non-communicable diseases, such as those caused by smoking, and to strengthen national implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Health officials in Brazil say there has been a sharp rise in the cases of yellow fever in the country.

Today marks the launch of End Malaria Council, a group of influential public and private sector leaders committed to eradicating malaria, convened by Bill Gates and Ray Chambers.

Tuberculosis (TB) is more than 15,000 years old. The tubercle baccilus was discovered by Robert Koch, MD, in 1882. From that initial discovery we have made dramatic strides in the diagnosis and treatment of this ancient disease. But it has only been in the past 70 years that we have developed effective anti-TB drugs to treat the nearly 10 million people around the globe who still fall sick to this disease every year.

A teenager who sued the Indian government to gain access to a new drug against multi-resistant tuberculosis was granted her petition in a ruling handed down by the New Delhi High Court on January 18, according to the family lawyer.

Technology and Gavi announced a new partnership today to help tech start-up Nexleaf Analytics strengthen vaccine cold chain equipment for developing countries.’s contribution of US$ 2 million, which will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s funding to the Gavi Matching Fund, will be used to help countries to make evidence-based decisions on the purchase and maintenance of vaccine refrigerators.

Doctors in India are to get text alerts reminding them to ask families to donate the organs of deceased loved ones as part of a campaign to solve the country’s organ shortage, which has fuelled a black market trade.

PLOS NTDs co-Editor-in-Chief Peter Hotez lists the key scientific papers refuting the myth that vaccines cause autism.

Environmental Health

Once a climate-change denier, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said during his Senate confirmation hearings that “the risk of climate change does exist, and the consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken, distancing himself from Trump’s position. But he fell short of publicly accepting the scientific community’s consensus that there is a human role.

A toxic stew from a former copper mine in Montana killed nearly 3000 late-migrating geese raising alarm and questions around how the new Trump administration is going to handle this and other Superfund sites around the country.

A new study published examines the public health risk in aluminum cookware made from scrap metals. The authors tested 42 samples of aluminum cookware from 10 countries. They found that one-third of these samples pose lead exposure hazard and have found that these cookware release significant amounts of aluminum, arsenic and cadmium.

Due to persistent conflict, severe drought and economic instability, Nigeria and three other countries face a credible risk of famine in 2017, a report has said.

Equity & Disparities

A large prospective study conducted in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has examined the health effects of bidis. Bidis are inexpensive, hand-rolled tobacco products manufactured by cottage industries in South Asia that have avoided national and international tobacco regulations. The authors find that bidi smoking is associated with “severe baseline respiratory impairment, all-cause mortality, and cardiorespiratory outcomes.”

They came from Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Switzerland, Brazil, the US and Uganda. The 20 public health experts gathered in late November in Bellagio, Italy. Their goal: Help countries strengthen public health practice so they can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many low- and middle-income countries are too scared by the threats and misinformation of big tobacco to raise the price of cigarettes, even though it would hugely benefit both health and the economy, according to a major new report.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Reinstatement of policy by Donald Trump could have ‘chilling impact’ in the Latin American region which already has high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality.

It is MSF (Doctors without Borders) policy to provide contraceptives and abortion care, given that unsafe abortion in one of the top five causes of maternal mortality. The group is now concerned about implications of the US “global gag rule” that now applies to all US-funded programs including HIV and MCH programs.

Starvation in northern Nigeria’s Borno State is so bad that a whole slice of the population — children under 5 — appears to have died, aid agencies say.

With more than 90% of refugees in Lebanon short of food and facing cuts to aid, desperate families often rely on their children to boost income.