Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Health care can shift so that organizations across borders collaborate to help solve health care problems. Organizations can better solve problems related to access to care, research, training and development if they work together, not competitively.

It was the ambitious sanitation campaign aimed at giving almost half of India’s 1.3 billion population access to a toilet in just five years.  And last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally declared India free of open defecation.

Bill Gates told an audience at the University of Cambridge that global malnutrition will be solved and malaria will be virtually eliminated by 2040 if world leaders choose to fund scientific innovation.

During a meeting of heads of State, ministers, health leaders, policy-makers, and universal health coverage champions, the UN chief called UHC “the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030”

Programs, Grants & Awards

NEST360° is announcing $68 million in funding commitments from a consortium, including some of the world’s largest private foundations, for the first phase of an eight-year initiative to enable African hospitals to improve newborn survival by 50 percent and to establish a pipeline of local innovators, technicians and medical staff. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded 10 grants this year to UC San Francisco researchers as part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative. The awards to UCSF total more than $40 million and will fund projects ranging from better technologies for MRI imaging of back pain, to the use of deep-brain stimulation for treating chronic pain, to a new interdisciplinary research center for low back pain.

Research

In a new study, UC San Francisco scientists used maps of brain connections to predict how brain atrophy would spread in individual patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), adding to growing evidence that the loss of brain cells associated with dementia spreads via the synaptic connections between established brain networks.

In animals, infections are fought by the immune system. Studies on an unusual virus infecting wild koalas reveal a new form of ‘genome immunity.’

Diseases & Disasters

If you visited the Philadelphia International Airport earlier this month, you may have been exposed to measles. The Pennsylvania Department of Health warned the public on Friday that anyone who visited the airport on October 2 and 3 could have contracted the viral infection.

Ebola in the DRC has been corralled into a much smaller geographical area—27 zones, compared to 207 at the outbreak’s peak, the WHO’s Michael Ryan told reporters.

Kenya is seeing more and more addicts. The number of people injecting drugs jumped by more than 50% in the past eight years and the majority of users inject heroin, the health ministry says.

The World Health Organization is meeting in the Philippines after the country announced an outbreak of polio.  Environmental samples from sewage in Manila have been confirmed as containing the virus.

The United States remains committed to fighting Ebola in Africa, American health officials said, but the scope of the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become somewhat unclear.

Technology 

An ingestible sensor that allows doctors to remotely monitor tuberculosis patients’ intake of medication has the potential to save millions of lives and revolutionise treatment for the world’s most deadly infectious disease, researchers said.

Environmental Health

Climate change poses a huge threat to global health and is likely to trigger mass migration, food and water shortages and the spread of infectious diseases, experts have warned.

Pregnant women’s exposure to extreme heat raises their risk of being hospitalized, according to a new working paper distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research — and black women, as in other pregnancy outcomes, appear to be more severely impacted than white women. What’s more, greater exposure to extreme heat can increase a newborn’s likelihood of a dehydration diagnosis and subsequent chances of returning to the hospital within the first year of life, the study found, for diagnoses including respiratory diseases and prenatal jaundice. 

Equity & Disparities

Narendra Modi is to declare that his flagship sanitation programme has ended open defecation in India, amid accusations that the scheme has sparked violence and abuse.

Six young women went to the U.N. to present a document that has no precedent: a Global Girls’ Bill of Rights.

Hundreds of thousands of healthcare facilities in low- and middle- income countries is deplorable. Take into account that this data includes developed countries. Worldwide, 1/4 lack basic water services and 1/5 lack adequate sanitation services, leaving 2 billion people without access to safe, affordable surgical care.

Foundations and nonprofits committed a new and substantial $120 million for global health at a convening in Washington, D.C., this past summer. The pledges of support focus on an urgent challenge across developing countries that doesn’t get much attention: ensuring safe water and sanitation at hospitals and health clinics around the world. 

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

In 2015, Zika virus swept through Brazil and the Americas. In the three years since it ended, the pandemic has become an object of obsession for scientists, who have published more than 6,000 research papers about it. Researchers have been able to follow long-term health consequences in children infected with the virus before birth. 

Women represent 70% of the global health workforce but hold only 25% of the senior roles, according to World Health Organization. Amika George and Flaviana Matata talk about how their organizations are helping women have control over their bodies and their futures. 

Researchers from Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria, sent trained observers to three urban hospitals in each country to watch pregnant women from the time they were admitted until two hours after delivery. They found that of 2,016 women directly observed, 838 (41.6%) experienced physical or verbal abuse.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

A new study by WHO, published in Lancet Global Health, found that investing $6 billion per year in eliminating hepatitis in 67 low- and middle-income countries would avert 4.5 million premature deaths by 2030, and more than 26 million deaths beyond that target date.

There isn’t a single country in the world with 100 per cent universal health coverage. All global health systems have room to improve. But UHC as it has been held up as a UN goal leaves much to be desired.

A new KFF online resource tracks more than 30 bills introduced in the current Congress that would affect global health policy.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The United States government announced US$45 million in funding to respond to the critical food security situation in the upcoming lean season between October 2019 and March 2020 in Zimbabwe.

There is a great deal of institutional interest among health professions students in joining global health programs, with more than 25% having participated during their training. However, when programs rely on short-term fixes to long-standing infrastructure and resource deficits, some of the world’s most vulnerable, poor patients can be exploited.

European University Alliance for Global Health has been launched with a press conference in Paris. Part of the European Universities alliances receiving funding by the EU Commission to collaborate across borders, the network is composed of five international partners.

Research

Visceral leishmaniasis infects an estimated 300,000 people annually and causes 20,000 deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers antimicrobial resistance to be one of the 10 threats to global health in 2019. 

Malaria, one of the world’s leading killers, could be eradicated as early as 2050, according to a new report published by The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication.

Diseases & Disasters

Measles is proving fatal at an alarming rate, far faster than Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Bangladeshi government has confirmed another five deaths from dengue fever, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country since January to 23, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) reported Tuesday.

Malaria has killed more than 1,800 people in Burundi this year, the UN’s humanitarian agency says, a death toll rivalling a deadly Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Obesity is a growing problem in many countries around the world. Obesity is reaching further into Mexico and costing their citizens and healthcare system millions of dollars.

Technology 

It is hard to get much of a reputation if nobody knows you’re around, and that has definitely been the case for mycoplasma genitalium, the tiny bacteria estimated to be more prevalent than the bug that causes gonorrhea but is almost completely off the public’s radar.

Technology designed to intercept online extremism is being deployed to tackle vaccine misinformation.

Environmental Health

Common ingredients in the cleaning sprays for your kitchen and bathroom make mice less fertile, suggesting the compounds could do the same to humans, according to a new study.

Ocean heat waves, which can push out fish, plankton and other aquatic life, are happening far more frequently than previously thought, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The climate crisis represents the biggest threat to the future of global health over the next quarter of a century, according to a survey of top medical professionals.

 

Equity & Disparities

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has published a report, Examining Inequality, on how the world is doing. In short, it’s not great. It’s even worse if you are a girl.

The darkening clouds are ominous for many in this urban neighborhood in Kampala, promising rushing rainwaters stinking of human waste from overflowing septic tanks.

 

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

UNICEF and the World Food Programme provide food and nutrition aid to North Korean children—but a lack of funds, fueled by political tension and the US-led strategy of pressure and isolation of North Korea, have limited their reach.

New Zealand’s government announced that it plans changes to the country’s abortion laws that would treat the procedure as a health issue rather than a crime.

 

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

President Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva sparred with the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday over whether rape victims should be allowed to have abortions.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Cancer is a truly global epidemic, with rates rising dramatically in low- and middle-income countries and continuing to increase in wealthier countries. Across Fred Hutch, our cancer and infectious disease researchers are making discoveries and testing new diagnostics and therapies that can have potentially worldwide impact.

Each May, the World Health Assembly brings a whirlwind of global health debate and discussion to the UN’s Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Research

Researchers in the United States and the Netherlands propose a new theory: global warming may have played a key role in the spread of Candida auris, a new and highly drug-resistant yeast, and suggest that this may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change, according to a study published in mBio, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

Despite substantial progress, only three African nations expected to meet global breastfeeding goals. Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe, are singled out in a new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have developed an algorithm that may predict the onset of such diseases as tuberculosis. The findings of this research were recently published in Nature Communications.

Diseases & Disasters

In epidemic preparedness, we dive deep into the core components of outbreak detection and response like laboratory strengthening and response planning. But when an outbreak occurs, it’s the strength of the system working as a whole—not the individual pieces in isolation—that determines whether it will be contained quickly or spiral out of control.

Technology

China passed a law on Saturday tightening the supervision and management of how vaccines enter the market, requiring stricter management of their production, research and distribution, after a series of safety scandals.

The Salzburg Statement on Vaccination Acceptance lays down several recommendations to combat the global fall in vaccination rates fuelled by a powerful worldwide ‘anti-vax’ movement.

Public mistrust of vaccines means the world is taking a step backwards in the fight against deadly yet preventable infectious diseases, warn experts.

Four years ago, antibiotics developer Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals Inc. had a market value of almost $2 billion. Now its shares trade for about 70 cents as investors flee the market for new drugs that kill bacterial infections.

Environmental Health

The prime minister called on the G20 countries to set targets for net zero greenhouse gas emissions.  Instead, 19 pledged to meet their targets set in the 2015 Paris agreement. The US did not sign up.

The world’s wood products — all the paper, lumber, furniture and more — offset just 1 percent of annual global carbon emissions by locking away carbon in woody forms, according to new research.

An Oakland-based environmental health group is threatening to sue the manufacturers and retailers behind two bottled water brands for failing to warn consumers about allegedly high levels of arsenic in their products. 

Equity & Disparities

Too often toxic coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power, ends up in poor, minority communities. U.S. civil rights officials are launching a deeper look at federal environmental policy to find out why.

In countries such as Zambia, Senegal and Tunisia, everyday drugs like paracetamol can cost up to 30 times more than in the UK and USA.

President Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to cross from South Korea into North Korea (in a demilitarized zone dividing the two countries). The goal was to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a diplomatic effort to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea. But the country poses much more of a global deadly force and significant security concern than just nuclear weapons.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Luciana Angueira, a social worker in Villa Fiorito, a poor neighborhood outside of central Buenos Aires, Argentina, says many of the women she sees are looking to end their pregnancies, but don’t want their husbands to know.

For 10 years, Honduran women like Emilia have been unable to legally and easily buy the morning-after pill (also referred to as the day-after pill), a form of contraception that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers a human right.

Approximately 1 million treatment courses of new tuberculosis medicines designed for easy administration in children have been ordered by 93 countries since they were first introduced in 2016, according to the nonprofit organization TB Alliance.

The report, “Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from Beirut,” reveals that girls between the ages of 10-19 living in refugee communities in this region face gender-based violence and rising child marriage — which parents are supporting less for cultural reasons, but in a bid to protect their daughters.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved the fiscal year 2020 Department of State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) appropriations bill, which includes funding for international development, global health, gender equality, and humanitarian assistance programs.

Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion this week, strict enough to rival abortion rules in countries like Brunei, Guatemala and Syria.

The Trump administration pushed the G-7 nations to water down a declaration on gender equality last week as part of its broad effort to stamp out references to sexual and reproductive health in international institutions, according to people involved in the process and drafts reviewed by Foreign Policy.

Health Ministers from G7 countries wrapped up a two-day meeting today in Paris that focused on strengthening primary health care, health inequalities for developing countries and the elimination of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The increase in the number of infectious-diseases outbreaks (e.g., Ebola, Zika, and yellow fever) around the world and the risk posed by an accidental or deliberate release of dangerous pathogens highlight the need for a sustained, multi-sectoral, and coordinated United States response. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is proud to be working with more than ten other Federal Departments and agencies in this critically important effort.

Today, May 18, 2019, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar participated in a meeting with the Pasteur Institute.  He and other U.S. health officials met with Stewart Cole, President of the Pasteur Institute, and other members of the Pasteur Institute, and other members of the Institute’s senior leadership team.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Since childhood, Cynthia Luo knew she wanted to be a physician. In high school, she discovered a passion for cancer immunology research while working in the lab of a biotech company.  After spending part of a gap year volunteering at a rural health clinic in Uganda, she aspired to have an impact on global health.

Research

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports there are more than 112,000 confirmed cases of measles worldwide, as of this month – a 300% increase from the 28,124 cases this time last year.

New research suggests that coxsackievirus decreases the number of insulin-producing beta cells, raising the risk for type 1 diabetes in lab mice, according to findings published Wednesday in Cell Reports.

The legalization of recreational marijuana is associated with an increase in its abuse, injury due to overdoses, and car accidents, but does not significantly change healthcare use overall, according to a new study.

Avian malaria parasites (genus Plasmodium) are cosmopolitan and some species cause severe pathologies or even mortality in birds, yet their virulence remains fragmentally investigated. Understanding mechanisms and patterns of virulence during avian Plasmodium infections is crucial as these pathogens can severely affect bird populations in the wild and cause mortality in captive individuals.  The goal of this study was to investigate the pathologies caused by the recently discovered malaria parasite Plasmodium homocircumflexum (lineage pCOLL4) in four species of European passeriform birds.

Diseases & Disasters

There have now been 880 measles cases reported in this year’s outbreak, already the largest since 1994, federal health officials said on Monday.  An additional 41 cases were reported last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 30 were in New York State, which is having the country’s most intense outbreak, largely in Orthodox Jewish communities.

Tuberculosis (TB) may be an ancient disease, but it is still the leading cause of infectious death worldwide, affecting more than 10 million people and killing 1.6 million in 2017 alone. Last year, the UN held the first High-Level Meeting on TB. As part of that meeting’s final political declaration, member states committed to fill the $1.3 billion annual funding gap in TB research & development, and to increase overall global investments to 2 billion dollars with the aim of enabling the development and introduction of life-saving scientific innovations for those impacted by TB around the world.

The government is to send new funding and expert personnel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amid fears the rapidly escalating Ebola crisis there is spiralling out of control and could spread into neighbouring countries.

Chad’s worst measles outbreak in years will soon spread to all parts of the country as vaccination rates are too low to stop an epidemic that has already hit thousands, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Technology

Last year’s high-level political declaration on the fight against tuberculosis committed to mobilizing sufficient and sustainable financing for universal access to quality prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of tuberculosis (TB). To achieve this, we need new ideas and innovation to end TB.

In theory, a terrorist could mass disseminate the hemorrhagic virus by small particle aerosol. It is a possible but unlikely scenario because executing such an attack would take an incredible amount of technology and financing.  However, someone g executing such an attack would take an incredible amount of technology and financing. However, someone with basic skills in virology could infect only a few people with Ebola, and the event would cause worldwide havoc.

Confronting an Ebola outbreak spiraling out of control in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization announced ola s on Tuesday to change its vaccination strategy, offering smaller doses and eventually introducing a second vaccine.

Environmental Health

Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered.

Māori culture is at risk due to predicted changes in the ranges of two culturally important native plants, kuta and kūmarahou.

Equity & Disparities

In San Francisco, a hub of homelessness in the US, researchers have observed firsthand how living on the streets can accelerate aging. With an average age of 57, homeless study participants suffered strokes, falls, and incontinence at rates more typical of people in their 70s and 80s.

More people on the planet have access to electricity than ever before, however, the world is on pace to fall short on the goal of affordable and sustainable energy for all by 2030, according to an international report on the state of international energy.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Over 20 million babies around the world – about 1 out of every 7 – were born underweight in 2015, a slight improvement over rates in 2000 but not enough to meet goals and prevent global health consequences, according to a new study.

In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, ongoing armed conflict increases the incidence of gender-based violence (GBV) and presents a distinct and major barrier to care delivery for all survivors of GBV. To address the multiple barriers to providing time-sensitive medical care, the Prevention Pack Program was implemented. The Prevention Pack Program was able to provide timely and consistent access to emergency contraception, HIV prophylaxis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections for rape survivors in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

At the urging of the White House, Germany nixed language referring to “sexual and reproductive health” in a signature UN resolution taking aim at rape in conflict situations, Foreign Policy reports.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The DMU Department of Global Health’s Distinguished Global Health Internships are highly selective research opportunities that enable students to explore global health research topics at various organizations. Students have the opportunity to work with researchers on projects such as conducting systematic reviews to create evidence-based educational materials for worldwide distribution.

Research

A swarm of micro-robots, directed by magnets, can break apart and remove dental biofilm, or plaque, from a tooth. The innovation arose from a cross-disciplinary partnership among dentists, biologists, and engineers.

Diseases & Disasters

Imagine your house is gone. And yet the TV set is still standing.  That’s one of the scenes that photojournalist Tommy Trenchard documented as he visited parts of Mozambique hit by Cyclone Kenneth on Thursday.

Measles continues to spread in the United States, federal health officials said on Monday, surpassing 700 cases this year as health officials around the country sought aggressive action to stem the worst outbreak in decades.

Nearly three weeks since fighting began near the Libyan capital Tripoli, the UN health agency warned on Tuesday that “large numbers” of people are sheltering in medical clinics, while civilians continue to be killed or injured, and refugees and migrants remain exposed to clashes.

Students are currently being quarantined in Los Angeles. Mandatory-vaccination policies have been implemented in Brooklyn. Even President Donald Trump, contrary to prior assertions, today urged people to get children vaccinated.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today reported another double-digit rise in Ebola cases, as local leaders such as traditional chiefs and provincial representatives stepped up their efforts to convince community members to support the response efforts to end the outbreak.

In South Sudan mind-bending horrors abound of war, ethnic violence, rape, hunger and displacement.  But for civilians living in the shadow of conflict, the greatest danger is often being cut off from health services, whether due to violence or lack of development in the vast, remote areas that make up much of the country.

Technology

The CDC is issuing new guidance to clinicians for the treatment of severe cases of malaria.  The action follows discontinuation of quinidine, the only FDA-approved intravenous (IV) antimalarial drug in the United States.

Devout parents who are worried about vaccines often object to ingredients from pigs or fetuses. But the leaders of major faiths have examined these fears and still vigorously endorse vaccination.

Ghana’s long unsung health tech sector is getting global validation with two of its most promising startups being named among five winners for one of the most prestigious social enterprise awards in the world.

Environmental Health

Dozens of cities across the world have declared a climate emergency. Now, students behind the school climate strikes are bringing the movement to Switzerland and Germany. But what does that mean exactly?

Equity & Disparities

Sometimes it is important to go back to basics. For human interaction, one of the basics is language, the system of communication that, when applied at its best, allows us to understand each other, share, cooperate, and pull each other towards a better place. When on a collective journey towards a common objective such as the Sustainable Development Goals, with a rallying cry of “leaving no one behind” and a central aim of “reaching the furthest behind first”, this system of communication is fundamental to move beyond just the rhetorical: to be truly reached, the furthest one behind will need to understand what she is being told, and most likely, that exchange will have to be done in her own language. That principle should apply to all aspects of development, including global health.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) would “remain beyond reach” without adequate financing, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Anyone following international development is probably familiar with “stunting” — which in nontechnical terms means children being too short for their age. Over the past decade, as the world has focused unprecedented attention on undernutrition, stunting has taken center stage.

Help is needed urgently from the international community to help some 2,500 apparently stateless “foreign children” at a camp for the displaced, in north-east Syria, a top UN official said on Thursday.

Malnutrition is detrimental to the health of children. As a result of malnutrition, a child’s growth can be stunted. Additionally, both brain damage and physical impairments can arise from malnutrition.

Rates of sexual violence in El Salvador rose by a third last year, with the majority of cases involving teenage girls.

Over 19 million children in Bangladesh are vulnerable to the forces of climate change, says a new study released this month (April) by the UNICEF.

Children in some disaster-prone regions are twice as likely to be living in chronic poverty, according to new research.