Category Archives: News

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Regulations to fight climate change likely will be casualties of the incoming Trump administration, but environmental experts taking stock of the changing American political landscape said that work in the field will continue elsewhere and that a broad-based rollback of U.S. environmental protection will prove easier said than done.

2015 marks the fourth year that the Kaiser Family Foundation has been analyzing donor government funding for family planning, tracking progress against commitments made at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

Last week, the world was shocked by the news that Donald Trump would become the next United States President. In this post, Emory University’s James Michiel takes a first look at how this surprising result might influence global health in the coming years.

Programs, Grants & Awards

UN World Toilet Day highlights the urgent need to address a global sanitation crisis by providing toilets and sewage management systems and to aggressively implement programs of WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene).

Research

Domestic violence during pregnancy needs to be addressed at different levels in Nepal, where women are often dependent on others for access to health care.

Global performance of epidemiologic surveillance of Zika virus.

Dengue fever, caused by the dengue virus (DENV), is now the most common arbovirus transmitted disease globally. One novel approach to control DENV is to use the endosymbiosis bacterium, Wolbachia pipientis, to limit DENV replication inside the primary mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti.

Diseases & Disasters

Scientists say they may have found a way to protect babies in the womb from the harmful effects of Zika.

In a Sierra Leone village considered an Ebola “hotspot” during the epidemic, researchers discovered 1 year later more than a dozen people with minor symptoms of infection that had gone undetected.

Since the beginning of 2016, the humanitarian partners working in cholera response identified a risky scenario created by the increase in the number of suspected cholera cases and the decrease of funding to fight the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Friday that it no longer considers the Zika epidemic a public health emergency of international concern.

Technology

Funding for phase one of pilot deployments of the world’s first malaria vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa has been secured and immunization campaigns will begin in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Environmental Health

The Flint water crisis hasn’t gone away. Thousands of the city’s residents are still at risk from the water supply. The city has switched back to Detroit water, but experts say the distribution system will never be the same.

The EU’s environment watchdog has said air pollution is “the single largest environmental health hazard in Europe.” Around 467,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries were linked to air pollution in 2013.

Back in late September, Polk County officials spilled five gallons of fuel while refueling a generator at the Babson Park Water Treatment Plant. How do we know this? We know this because Gov. Rick Scott wants us to know this.

The Trudeau government has taken important steps to assert Canadian leadership on environmental issues after years of neglect under the Harper government.  Now it plans to phase out almost all use of coal to generate electricity by 2030, a move that will cut greenhouse gas emissions while producing significant health benefits from cleaner air.

Equity & Disparities

Unsafe drinking water is a bigger problem for minority communities in the US than for white communities, suggests a new study from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

GSK has today been ranked first in the Access to Medicine Index for the fifth time, taking a leadership position in research & development; pricing, manufacturing and distribution; and product donations.

Disparities in health and health care remain a persistent challenge in the United States. Disparities not only result in inequities but also limit continued improvement in quality of care and population health and result in unnecessary health care costs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Community health workers (CHWs) have the potential to reduce child mortality by improving access to care, especially in remote areas. Uganda has one of the highest child mortality rates globally. Moreover, rural areas bear the highest proportion of this burden. The optimal performance of CHWs is critical.

Sebastian Vollmer and colleagues (April, 2014) conclude that “the contribution of economic growth to the reduction in early childhood undernutrition in developing countries is very small, if it exists at all.”

Diarrheal disease is the second-leading cause of death for children under the age of five.  And it disproportionately affects kids in the developing world, where it’s tougher to access safe water and medical care.

The global news round up was prepared by SS.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. There is concern that climate change regulations and commitments would be watered down and would take a back seat under his presidency.

Margaret Chan isn’t backing down in her last few months in office. Early this week, she engaged member states in her fourth — and last — financing dialogue in hopes of convincing them to increase their contributions to the World Health Organization.

In this election season science and health have taken a backseat. Worse, presidential candidate Donald Trump dismissed climate change as a Chinese hoax. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, vowed to dig up what the government knows about UFOs. Science is hardly getting its due.

In an effort to prevent surgical infections, the WHO has released the “Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection” that includes a list of 29 recommendations to combat the growing burden of healthcare associated infections.

Nigeria calls for urgent action on sustainable urban development.

The World Medical Association has released a statement in support of the taxes on junk foods and sugary drinks and bans on advertising to children to prevent and curb the rising burden of obesity.

Children with disabilities in rural areas have been especially hit by cuts to Medicaid that the Texas Legislature approved last year.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The 2016 Food Governance Conference was held between Nov 1 and Nov 3 in the University of Sydney, Australia.

Research

Trends in racial and ethnic disparities in antiretroviral therapy prescription and viral Suppression in the United States, from 2009–2013.

Snakebite is a major public health problem in agricultural communities in the tropics leading to acute local and systemic impairments with resultant disabilities. Snakebite related long-term musculoskeletal disabilities have been a neglected area of research. We conducted a population-based, cross-sectional study in an agricultural community to describe the chronic musculoskeletal disabilities of snake envenoming.

Historically, implementing nutrition policy has confronted persistent obstacles, with many of these obstacles arising from political economy sources. While there has been increased global policy attention to improving nutrition in recent years, the difficulty of translating this policy momentum into results remains.

A new study by Pettifor et al in Lancet Global Health showed that while cash transfers have impact on HIV risk reduction, the conditionality of the cash transfers does not advance the cause considerably.

A study published in Science shows a direct link between number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime and the number of DNA mutations in tumors. The authors find that smoking one pack a day can lead to up to 150 damaging alterations to a smoker’s lung.

Diseases & Disasters

The Ebola epidemic that tore through West Africa in 2014 claimed 11,310 lives, far more than any previous outbreak. A combination of factors contributed to its savagery, among them a mobile population, crumbling public health systems, official neglect and hazardous burial practices.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday it added seven new agents, including the HIV virus and an industrial solvent to its list of carcinogens.

Cholera can kill a person in a matter of hours. It’s a severe gastro-intestinal disease, and it can trigger so much diarrhea and vomiting that patients can rapidly become dehydrated. The water-borne disease has been around for centuries, and it remains a global health risk. According to the World Health Organization there are roughly 3 million cases a year and 90,000 deaths.

A boiling pot of global conditions, like ubiquitous travel and the growing populations of developing cities, have led to an outbreak of pandemics like Ebola, Zika, SARs, and even the flu over the past decade.

Providing increased access to contraception to women in Puerto Rico during the Zika outbreak would be a cost-saving measure, including avoiding $62.3 million in costs related to Zika-linked microcephaly, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Puerto Rico reported today.

After confirmation of the first Zika Virus case in Myanmar’s largest city, the Ministry of Health is going to release a statement advising women in the Yangon region to avoid getting pregnant in the next six months.

Technology

Genetic testing could help identify breast cancer patients at high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to a study published online Nov. 1 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Environmental Health

For about 3 billion of the world’s poorest people, the simple act of cooking dinner is fraught with risk. They burn wood, charcoal, dung or crop waste, often on open fires, fouling the air they breathe. It’s no small matter: Household air pollution from cooking fire is thought to be the world’s leading environmental cause of death and disability.

A new UNICEF report estimates that nearly 300 million children breathe extremely toxic air. Overall 2 billion children are estimated to breathe air that has been deemed “long term hazard.”

According to the new Global Lead Paint Report, many paints sold in 46 low and middle income countries contain dangerous levels of lead, including nearly 70% of paints tested in Philippines.

Equity & Disparities

Investing in human resources via education is essential to improving access to surgical and anesthetic care across the globe.

Basic cancer-fighting measures—for as little as $1.72 per person—could save hundreds of thousands of lives in poor countries, according to research published yesterday in The Lancet.

A clinical trial for an injectable male contraceptives was halted due to side effects that included mood changes, depression, pain at injection site and decrease in libido.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Women should see a doctor, nurse or trained midwife at least eight times during each pregnancy, with five of those visits in the last trimester, the World Health Organization said Monday as it issued 49 recommendations to prevent deaths in childbirth.

Eight of nine children exhibiting symptoms of a mysterious illness have been confirmed to be suffering from acute flaccid myelitis, a highly infectious polio-like disease that primarily strikes children, the Washington State Department of Health announced Friday.

A therapy that successfully treats two-thirds of children with chronic fatigue syndrome is being trialled for NHS use.

Diarrheal diseases are a major causes of child mortality and one of the main causes of medical consultation for children in sub-Saharan countries. This paper attempts to determine the risk factors and neighborhood inequalities of diarrheal morbidity among under-5 children in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the period 1990–2013.

Stunting affects one-third of children under 5 years old in developing countries, and 14% of childhood deaths are attributable to it. A large number of risk factors for stunting have been identified in epidemiological studies. However, the relative contribution of these risk factors to stunting has not been examined across countries.

The number of preterm births in the United States has risen for the first time in the last 8 years from 9.57 to 9.63 in 2015.

A new study has ranked poor fetal growth in the womb as among the greatest risk factors associated with stunting among children. This study emphasizes the need to improve women’s health before and during a pregnancy.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Election campaigns are light on science. But once a new president is in office, technical issues have a way of demanding attention.

Hillary Clinton affirmed women’s right to abortion while Donald said he would appoint judges to the Supreme Court who oppose it.

Global Health Council (GHC), announced today that it has named Loyce Pace, a leader who has worked on the ground in more than 10 countries delivering health programs and mobilizing advocates, as the organization’s new Executive Director.

Two weeks after congress allocated $1.1 billion in supplemental funding to fight Zika, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today during a teleconference how the pie of Zika funding will be sliced among major players.

Who will be the World Health Organization’s next director-general? In September, the U.N. agency announced the six nominees, four men and two women.

The next WHO Director-General faces major challenges: operational responsibilities for epidemic response, universal health coverage (UHC), and the rise of non-communicable diseases.

Programs

Purdue’s chapter of Timmy Global Health and the Purdue Student Engineering Council are teaming up to host an event to contribute to Quito, Ecuador, where Timmy works with people in need of medical assistance.

Research

The Zika virus outbreak in the Americas has caused global concern. To help accelerate this fight against Zika, we launched the OpenZika project.

This is the first study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of switching to E/C/F/TAF in HIV/HBV-coinfected adults. One year after switching from predominantly TDF-based regimens to E/C/F/TAF, participants maintained high rates of HIV and HBV suppression, had improved renal function, and reduced biomarkers of bone turnover, consistent with other E/C/F/TAF studies.

Accumulating evidences have assigned a central role to parasite-derived proteins in immunomodulation.  Here, we report on the proteomic identification and characterization of immunomodulatory excretory-secretory (ES) products from the metacestode larva (tetrathyridium) of the tapeworm Mesocestoides corti (syn. M. vogae).

In this study, SIV-infected rhesus macaques were treated with an antiretroviral drug for 90 days and in addition they were treated with a specific antibody for 23 weeks. After finishing this therapy, all macaques showed sustained control of the infection as almost no SI viruses could be detected in the blood and gastro-intestinal tissues.

Diseases & Disasters

TV crew filmed as a 15th century church spectacularly collapsed in Italy yesterday as the country was rocked by a string of powerful earthquakes.

Across the globe, poor diets now pose a greater collective health risk than unsafe sex, alcohol, drugs and tobacco use combined.

Briefing the United Nations General Assembly on the humanitarian situation in Haiti following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined the urgency of additional resources to help respond to the dire needs on the island.

Hurricane Matthew, which ripped through Haiti 13 days ago, has left more than 700,000 people in an “extremely difficult situation.” United Nations Special Adviser David Nabarro said today, and while steady progress is being made, led by Haitians themselves, the response must be accelerated as the needs are still great, frustrations are high, and access to hard-hit areas remains tough.

Using a recently developed technology for analyzing DNA, the scientists found dozens of genes and two major biological pathways that are likely involved in the development of the disorder but had not been uncovered in previous genetic studies of schizophrenia.

Household air pollution created by using wood, coal and other solid fuels for cooking and heating homes is a leading cause of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases worldwide.

Scientists in India will extract DNA from more than 20 skeletons of suspected victims of devastating floods in 2013 in the northern state of Uttarak.

Tuberculosis is killing more people than thought, yet governments are not doing enough to bring the debilitating infectious disease under control, the World Health Organisation has said.

Technology

The World Health Organization, drugmakers and humanitarian groups are hammering out details of new vaccine supply system aimed at getting vital shots to vulnerable people in crises such as wars or natural disasters.

A register of patients in England with breast and other cosmetic implants has been set up to allow them to be traced in the event of any safety concerns.

Environmental Health

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the Coalition for Climate and Clean Air (CCAC) and the Government of Norway has launched a global awareness campaign in the dangers of air pollution – especially ‘invisible killers’ such as black carbon, ground-level ozone and methane – for the health of individuals and the planet.

Up to 122 million more people worldwide could be living in extreme poverty by 2030 as a result of climate change and its impacts on small-scale farmers’ incomes, a major UN report warned on Monday.

Equity & Disparities

Girls in developing countries are less likely than boys to complete schooling because of forced marriage, child labour and female genital mutulation, risking the opportunities presented by their largely young populations, said the study, launched in London.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is contributing to severe health service delivery challenges: It impedes access to already highly vulnerable populations, slows delivery of medical supplies and drugs, and exacerbates shortages of health workers.

The “Midwives voices, midwives realities report 2016″ documents the voices and realities of 2470 midwifery personnel in 93 countries and describes, from their perspective, the barriers they experience to providing quality, respectful care for women, newborns and their families.

Bangladesh has a reasonably good network of health care facilities – most recently expanding the network of community based clinics. But it still suffers from a shortage and distribution of qualified health workers.

It was amazing and very educative as a jam-packed Parliament listened to children, especially girls conducting parliamentary session right in the Well of the Parliament of Sierra Leone as ‘Honourable Members of Parliament’ in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child.

Women aged 25 to 35 are the most likely group in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to access medication online to end a pregnancy, a study suggests.

One girl under the age 15 is married every seven seconds, according to a new report by Save the Children.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Until last week, Congress had appropriated exactly zero dollars in emergency funding to support Zika prevention, public education, and reproductive health services, leaving women to bear the burden.

Thai authorities have decided that pregnant women infected with Zika virus can undergo abortion without legal consequences.

Venezuela has become dangerous for the healthy, it is now deadly for those who fall ill.
One in three people admitted to public hospitals last year died, the government reports.

The Census Bureau released a report last week showing continued improvements in the uninsured rate between 2014 and 2015 following the implementation of the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Boosting developing nations’ access to medical advances is top of the agenda at Berlin’s World Health Summit, but will it improve healthcare for the poorest?

Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital, has been appointed co-chair of the consensus committee on global health that will advise the next presidential administration.

It’s gratifying when global health research affects policy. This was the case when Peru’s federal government declared a state of emergency after the publication of a report by DGHI researchers showing the distressing impact of gold mining on the health of people living downriver from mines in the Peruvian Amazon.

Programs, Grants and Awards

The Health Scholars Program  provides outstanding Princeton students with funding for travel and research to pursue global health-related internships and senior thesis research, both in the US and abroad. This competitive program, administered by the Center for Health and Wellbeing, is open to students from all departments.

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

Research

Researchers have completed the most up-to-date analysis on the state of the world’s health to equip governments and donors with evidence to identify national health challenges and priorities for intervention.

In this pilot study, we found that a colorimetric system using AuNPs and MSP10 DNA detection in urine can provide fast, easy, and inexpensive identification of P. Vivax.

Cutaneous anthrax, a disease associated with biological terrorism in western countries, is common and underreported in the rural areas of Africa .It can be lethal in some cases, especially when the oropharyngeal area is affected after ingesting meat from contaminated sources.

The most up-to-date analysis of the world’s health shows that while life expectancy has increased, about 7 in 10 deaths are due to non-communicable diseases. You can access these articles here.

Researchers have sequenced the full-length genome of a Zika virus taken from a patient in Brazil and identified a virus-derived molecule that inhibits part of the infected person’s immune system.

We use national population-based survey data to quantify diabetes prevalence and met and unmet need for diabetes diagnosis and care in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We further estimate demographic and economic gradients of met need for diabetes diagnosis and care.

Diseases & Disasters

Zika infections are expected to continue rising in the Asia-Pacific region, where authorities are increasing surveillance, preparing responses to complications and collaborating on information about the disease, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Every few years, a group of federal agencies publishes a raft of data on every conceivable subject affecting older people.  At every age, the report shows, older men are far more likely to be married than older women.

It’s dangerous to be a doctor in Afghanistan.  This is what the staff deal with most days at a hospital in the country’s north-west: physical attacks by patients’ relatives; gun-wielding soldiers inside the wards; and verbal assaults and threats of bodily harm against doctors and nurses who are only trying to help.

Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon is capturing some of its tens of thousands of stray dogs, using blowpipes to sedate them for neutering and vaccinations to combat a rabies epidemic.

After Hurricane Matthew slashed through the impoverished nation of Haiti on Tuesday, leaving death and destruction its wake, the country may be facing another deadly crisis:  a surge in cholera.

Life expectancy has increased by 10 years across the globe in the past 35 years, thanks in part to efforts to treat infectious diseases such as AIDS and malaria, but diet, obesity and drug use are now major causes of death and disability while too many women still die in childbirth, data reveals.

In 2007, a World Health Organization committee said shift work “probably” had a link to breast cancer, based on studies of animals and people.  But this new work by leading UK cancer experts looked at data on 1.4 million women and found there was no association with night shift work.

The Region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death. This achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas.

A 10th of children have a “monkey-like” immune system that stops them developing AIDS, a study suggests.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is responsible for 9.4 million largely preventable deaths worldwide – more than tobacco. Thirty three percent of adults in Barbados have high blood pressure, and they develop it for largely the same reasons as people in other developing countries: not getting enough exercise and eating an unhealthy diet.

Those who are malnourished are set to be, by far, the biggest casualties of Yemen’s war. More than 6,000 people have been killed in the bombing and fighting.

International aid agencies have called for millions of dollars of funding for an urgent relief effort in North Korea after floods in the country’s remote north-east in August left 70,000 people homeless and 600,000 others in need of humanitarian assistance, including tens of thousands of children.

With more than 65 million people displaced globally – the most there have been since World War II – the global refugee crisis has captured the attention of aid groups and political leaders worldwide.

Technology

As drones quickly pick up momentum around the world in everything from military strikes to pizza delivery, Africa, the continent with some of the most entrenched humanitarian crises, hopes the technology will bring progress.

Researchers at McMaster University and two American universities have taken another step closer to developing a much more effective, “one-punch” universal flu vaccine.

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropic leader sets out an agenda of global issues that he thinks whoever wins the presidential election should address.

In 2014, the Senegal Ministry of Health and Social Action (MOHSA) began the development of a national eHealth strategy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced progress on several fronts to develop vaccines that protect against Zika and yellow fever viruses.

Environmental Health

According a new interactive air quality map released by the WHO, nearly 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where outdoor air quality do not meet WHO standards.

While members from the least developed countries applauded the ratification of the Paris deal, they have urged that financial support be made available swiftly in order to start implementing their plans to curb emissions.

The Quest CCS (carbon capture and storage) project near Edmonton announced last week that it successfully stored one million tonnes of carbon dioxide deep underground in its first year of operation. That’s equal to the emissions from about 250,000 cars.

Equity & Disparities

A new measure of development from the Global Burden of Disease study, called the Socio-demographic Index (SDI) aims to use a finer yardstick of development to accurately reflect the reality among disenfranchised populations.

A quarter of a billion children across the globe may not achieve their full potential because of extreme poverty and stunting, says a series of papers published in The Lancet.

New research published in the journal Urology reveals that African-American and Hispanic men in the US were less likely to receive treatment for prostate cancer. The study was based on 327,641 men diagnosed with localized prostate cancers reported to the SEER program between 2004 and 2011.

In order to achieve the education goals put forth in the SDGs by 2030, the international community needs to recruit and train 69 million teachers. South Africa and South Asia are most affected by the shortage of well trained teachers.

When it comes to health, there are many factors that influence how long and how well people will live, from the quality of their education to the cleanliness of their environment. But of all social determinants of health, research shows there is one that is perhaps the most influential: income.

Dr. Jim Kim, the president of the World Bank and one of the founders of Partners in Health, recently gave a talk about changing the focus of the World Bank, and cited two leading principles: “A preferential option for the poor and evidence-based medicine.” I could not agree more, and I suspect many in global health are guided by a similar set of values.

The 2016 Lancet Advancing Early Childhood Development series updates the science on various aspects of early childhood including epigenetic effects of adverse childhood experiences on brain development and cognition. The series also focuses on strategies for implementation of early childhood programs at scale.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

A new study that examines some major health care proposals from presidential candidates finds that Donald Trump would cause about 20 million to lose coverage while Hillary Clinton would provide coverage for an additional 9 million people.

The government isn’t regulating how highly dangerous viruses and bacteria are rendered safe for shipment, posing risks to the public, auditors say.

At this year’s United Nations General Assembly, policymakers and elected officials should increase their political commitment for breast- feeding as they work to tackle issues of critical importance related to the health, wellbeing and economic success of their 193 states. It’s directly related to our collective goals.

The United States unveiled plans on Thursday to ramp up efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) after figures showed more than half of million women and girls were living at risk.

On September 21st in New York all 193 UN member states agreed to tackle the growing resistance of microbes to antibiotics.  Drug-resistant infections now kill more than 700,000 people a year. On current trends, that number may reach 10 million by 2050.

Senate Republicans on Thursday released the latest draft of a $1.1 billion funding package to fight the Zika virus, and it contains some of the controversial funding offsets that Democrats have long opposed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to select a new director general.  It needs someone dynamic and politically astute to drive strategic reforms, say global health experts.

A study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, measured how countries, including Australia, China, India, the US and UK, performed over the last 15 years with Iceland taking the top spot for its health related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) performance.

New Zealand falls way behind our neighbours across the Tasman as a healthy country to live in, a major global study has found.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The Center for Global Health in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to honor Ernest Madu, MD, chairman and CEO of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean with its first annual Global Health Champion Award. Madu was presented with the award on Thursday, Sept. 15 as part of a celebration for Penn’s newly launched Center for Global Health.

Bill Gates, Bono among big names at Montreal conference to replenish fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

Glaxo-Smith Kline (GSK) has plans to address emerging global health issues, the company said in a Sept. 19, 2016 press release. The company put forth a series of steps it will take in order to combat several global health challenges, including access to vaccines, antimicrobial resistance, and preparation for future pandemics.

University of Iowa students now will be able to expand their knowledge of health around the world, thanks to a new major in Global Health Studies.

Research

Since December 2013, an armed conflict in South Sudan has resulted in the displacement of over 2.2 million people, more than 270,000 of whom are presently in refugee settlements located throughout Uganda. Existing literature suggests that refugees are at increased risk for a range of mental health and psychosocial problems.

Molecular surveillance identifies multiple transmissions of typhoid in West Africa.

Experimental treatment of Ebola virus disease with brincidofovir.

During 2004–2013 in Mozambique, 455,600 HIV-positive adults (≥15 years old) initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART). We evaluated trends in patient characteristics and outcomes during 2004–2013, outcomes of universal treatment for pregnant women (Option B+) implemented since 2013, and effect on outcomes of distributing ART to stable patients through Community ART Support Groups (CASG) since 2010.

Informed risk assessment and decision making for an emerging infectious disease in the Asia-Pacific Region.

For the first time, abnormal brain development following a Zika infection during pregnancy has been documented experimentally in the offspring of a non-human primate.

By 2050, 75% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, making city planning key for addressing disease prevention and global health challenges, according to a series published in The Lancet.

Diseases & Disasters

Hookworm is a parasite that is behind millions of infections worldwide. This intestinal parasite can cause a host of complications in people of all ages.

More than a third of the burden of disease experienced by Indigenous Australians could be prevented, with tobacco and alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and diet contributing to their illnesses, data released by the Australian Institute and Health and Welfare shows.

Miami district which saw the first locally transmitted Zika cases in the US has been declared free of the virus.

Health organizations have all the right weapons to eradicate polio, but can’t deploy them because of wartime conflict in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan – the last three countries affected by the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently initiated a global health strategy, which will run between 2016 and 2021, to eliminate hepatitis C as a global health threat by 2030.

With all four strains of the dengue virus now circulating in Pakistan and outbreaks of the viral disease being reported in new areas, this South Asian country now faces a serious health problem from the mosquito-borne pestilence, researchers say.

In the five years since the civil war between President Bashar Assad’s government and rebel groups began, more than 250,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. But thanks to the White Helmets, over 60,000 lives have been saved.

Traditional strategies for delivering health services to refugees and migrants will not meet the needs of today’s 65 million displaced people, according to refugee, development and global health experts who met Thursday at a UN General Assembly side event.

Technology

A new technique may democratise vaccine production.  James Collins of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) thinks that he may have developed one.

Healthcare, the USD 18-billion healthcare technology unit of GE, has announced USD 59-million funding aimed at improving services of healthcare startups in developing countries.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged $3 billion (£2.3bn) to fund medical research over the next decade. At a press conference in San Francisco, they said their ultimate goal was to “cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century.”

Environmental Health

Volkswagen (VW) emissions cheat may lead to 50 premature deaths, $423 million in economic costs, study shows.

Australia’s offshore petroleum industry regulator is set to rule next week whether to grant oil giant BP’s application to drill in the Great Australian Bight.

While July was busy becoming the hottest month in 136 years of record-keeping, Donald Trump made no reference at all to climate change in his nomination-acceptance speech, and Hillary Clinton made only two passing references in hers.

A week before Russia’s Daldykan river was turned red by a leak from a metals plant, the UN issued a warning as chilling as it was overlooked: 323 million people are at risk from life-threatening diseases caused by the pollution of rivers and lakes.

Equity & Disparities

Gender equality remains the greatest human rights challenge of our time, and one way to achieve the goal is by empowering women to have greater choices economically and control over their lives, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today, urging the international community to spearhead efforts that provide opportunities for women and girls.

A new analysis shows that the life expectancy of people living with HIV is very different between Europe, North America and African countries.  The analysis pools the results of eight previously published studies on life expectancy, with over 150,000 people included.

Increasing evidence from scientists the world over indicates that many health outcomes — everything from life expectancy to infant mortality and obesity — can be linked to the level of economic inequality within a given population. Greater economic inequality appears to lead to worse health outcomes.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.

@MSF Video: Patents and the fight for #generics

Intellectual property protects those items that we can’t live without – think Netflix and the iPhone 7 – and those that we would surely die without, including life saving and extending medications.  Today’s video covers the latter and the barriers much of the developed world faces courtesy of patent laws that protect pharmaceutical companies.  This issue has come to recent attention as the UN’s Panel on Access to Medicines published its recommendations to Big Pharma’s chagrin.

At the crux of the UN Recommendations is a struggle that pits profits against people.  Enacted in 1995 by the World Trade Organization, the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) introduced minimum standards for protecting intellectual property, including patents on medicine.  TRIPS proved a boon for international trade, but set a 20-year patent on novel medication.  Only after the patent lapses can generic alternatives hit the marketplace.  It is at this point when many lifesaving and extending drugs are first available to the developing world.  The price tag of a medication to treat HIV/AIDS can drop from $10,000 per year to $200 due to generics.

Under TRIPS, each country has the right to a grant compulsory license, as stated in this excerpt:

Where the law of a Member allows for other use of the subject matter of a patent without the authorization of the right holder, including use by the government or third parties authorized by the government, the following provisions shall be respected:

(b)   such use may only be permitted if, prior to such use, the proposed user has made efforts to obtain authorization from the right holder on reasonable commercial terms and conditions and that such efforts have not been successful within a reasonable period of time. This requirement may be waived by a Member in the case of national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency or in cases of public non-commercial use. In situations of national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency, the right holder shall, nevertheless, be notified as soon as reasonably practicable. In the case of public non-commercial use, where the government or contractor, without making a patent search, knows or has demonstrable grounds to know that a valid patent is or will be used by or for the government, the right holder shall be informed promptly;

In layman’s terms, if it is in the public’s best interest, generic drugs can be pursued without the patent holder’s consent.

A few years after TRIPS, South Africa attempted to pass an act that would grant a compulsory license for antiretroviral therapy in response to a staggering HIV/AIDS epidemic. The act was met with a lawsuit by 40 multinational companies and the United States, citing South Africa in violation of the TRIPS agreement, though executed in the midst a public health crisis.  Despite controversy, President Nelson Mandela signed the act into law and the lawsuit was eventually dropped.  In response, the World Trade Organization signed the Doha Declaration in 2001 to further clarify the right to grant compulsory licenses.

Nearly 20 years after TRIPS and Doha, the developing world continues to suffer from catastrophic levels of health inequality.  Africa, among the hardest hit, is home to nearly half of all tuberculosis cases and 91% of HIV-positive children. Countries that attempt to circumvent TRIPS, even in the direst of public health crises, are subject to retaliation by termination of trade agreements that help keep their economies afloat.

Earlier this year, Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria, warned a large pharmaceutical company, Novartis, that a compulsory license to pursue a generic form of a popular cancer drug was imminent if Novartis didn’t lower its prices.  In a letter from the Colombian Embassy in Washington, Colombia’s government was threatened by the United States with withdrawal of support to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade zone and funding to facilitate a peace deal with a longstanding rebel group.

The exorbitant cost of pharmaceuticals can also threaten consumers in developed countries.  Recent outcry over the soaring price of the anaphylaxis drug, EpiPen, has many in the United States worried. The price of EpiPen has gone from $60 to over $600 in recent years and are now exclusively sold in two-packs, further increasing the cost for consumers.  A similar product, Adrenaclick, is not considered equally therapeutic to EpiPen and pharmacies are unable to fill prescriptions.  Another pharmaceutical company applied to make a generic version, but the application was rejected by the FDA.

This has led to repercussions such as children carrying expired EpiPens and EMTs dispensing epinephrine by syringe, which makes it much harder to administer the correct dose.  A recent article in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that EpiPens be added to a list of preventive medicines, effectively lowering the copay without lowering the overall price of the drug by the pharmaceutical company, Mylan Specialty.  The cost would likely be shifted to consumers in higher deductibles.

In light of the UN recommendations, what is the next step to guarantee medications are available to those who need them?  Dr. Bernard Pecoul of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative urges action, not apathy:

“Governments mustn’t allow the report to become yet another exercise that describes the current failures of the medical innovation system without contributing concrete steps to address those failures. Responsibility now clearly falls on them at the highest political levels to act by putting in place innovative and practical solutions.”


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Our mission to end extreme poverty by 2030 will only be realized if the international community comes together to strengthen health systems and provide lifesaving vaccinations. Both the public and private sectors play undeniably critical roles to invest in the research, development and distribution of vaccinations.

In 2015, 773 organizations received $6.65 billion to implement global health programs in 90 countries.

Joe Biden has called on the Congress to allow an up-or-down vote on funding to combat the Zika virus. Congress failed to approve the President’s asking of $1.9 billion before it went on recess.

Last week in a Washington Post op-ed, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci shed light on the ramifications of federal Zika funding shortfalls, including more than $670 million that have been directed away from other pressing public health priorities. Those dollars will run out by September 30 and Zika response will grind to a halt without additional funding.

There is growing concerns regarding the potential consequences of Bill Clinton’s departure (if Hillary Clinton gets elected) on global health programs such as the Clinton Health Access Initiative run by the Clinton Foundation.

Next week, the Dutch parliament will discuss its policy contributions in the strengthening of health systems  via development cooperation programmes. Specific attention will be paid to the containment of transnational epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak, ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemics in several parts of the world and the Zika viral disease that has spread to large parts of the Americas and some countries in Southeast Asia.

A symposium was held to honor the contributions of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Songkla to public health and medicine in Thailand and the progress the country has made over the past century.

Programs

The 2016 Triangle Global Health Conference will be held on September 30 in Chapel Hill, NC. You will get to “explore health solutions that not only transcend borders but cross traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries.”

Planetary health — the Earth’s ability to regenerate and sustain life — is under increasing pressure. Human population growth and activity increases as the climate changes and the environment bears the impact, resulting in reduced species diversity, emerging disease and diminishing supplies of available food and potable water.

Research

We describe a role for Hsp70 in circarial invasion behavior. To date, only generic stimulation with skin lipid, linoleic acid or L-arginine are known to induce cercarial invasion behavior; thus, we can begin an initial investigation of molecular requirements for host invasion and environment transition for schistosomes and possibly other parasitic organisms.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are the leading cause of premature death and disability in the Pacific. The purpose of this paper is to describe a regional, collaborative framework for coordination, innovation and application of NCD monitoring activities at scale, and to show how they can strengthen accountability for action on NCDs in the Pacific.

We report three autochthonous cases of scrub typhus caused by O. tsutsugamushi acquired on Chiloé Island in southern Chile, which suggests the existence of an endemic focus in South America.

A drug that treats malaria could help ease the burden on overwhelmed health-care facilities during Ebola outbreaks, according to a study published last week in the journal PLOS ONE.

Dengue is a major mosquito-borne viral disease and an important public health problem. Identifying which factors are important determinants in the risk of dengue infection is critical in supporting and guiding preventive measures.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens for HIV could improve clinical outcomes for patients. To inform global guidelines, we aimed to assess the comparative effectiveness of recommended ART regimens for HIV in ART-naive patients.

Toxoplasma gondii oocysts are an important form of contamination with a high dispersion in the environment, but their detection is still a challenge. This study evaluated the recovery of oocysts from strawberries and crisphead lettuce.

Doctors around the world are over diagnosing the most common thyroid cancer, creating an artificial epidemic that costs billions of dollars each year in unnecessary medical costs, suggests new research.

Diseases & Disasters

A huge fire has ripped through a favela in Brazil’s most populous city, Sao Paulo, destroying hundreds of homes.

Dr. Attaran dire pre-Olympic predictions about worldwide Zika virus transmission was completely wrong, but the alarm likely aided global health.

Every year more than 800,000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.

Loneliness, which Emily Dickinson described as “the Horror not to be surveyed,” is a quiet devastation. But in Britain, it is increasingly being viewed as something more: a serious public health issue deserving of public funds and national attention.

Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have been found in the Miami area, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, marking the first time that the virus has been found in mosquitoes in the continental United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared Sri Lanka a malaria-free country, in what they’ve called a “remarkable public health achievement.”

Uganda is edging closer to eliminating river blindness from the country.  The government announced this week that it eliminated the disease in four areas of focus in the country, leaving only two more areas with active transmission of the parasite.

Researchers have found that the Zika virus can live in eyes, and research in mice may help explain why some Zika patients develop eye disease, including a condition that can lead to permanent vision loss.

Dr. Louise Ivers, with the nonprofit Partners in Health, which runs the largest teaching hospital in Haiti, is concerned that Zika is spreading as a silent epidemic.
As Zika infects large numbers of immunologically naïve populations in the Americas, significant concern has been raised about the possibility that Culex mosquitoes could be responsible for transmitting the virus.

Health authorities in Madrid are taking steps to contain an outbreak of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) that has killed one man and infected a nurse who treated him.

Technology

Attitudes about vaccines are primarily positive around the world, according to a new survey, but confidence in vaccines varies widely across different countries —with a surprising show of skepticism in Europe, for example.

In the ongoing fight against three of the world’s deadliest diseases — AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates says instability in Africa’s war-torn regions has made it difficult to deliver “the basics of health.”

Scientists say they have found a new compound that stops malaria in animal studies with a single, low dose.

Sisu Global Health, the company that makes a low-cost blood transfusion device, received the first investment from a new fund focused on Maryland startups and is closing in on $1M seed round.

Environmental Health

An increase in water temperatures is having a profound effect that, with hidden stores of frozen methane thawing out, will soon start to feed on itself.

Analyses of data from the KORA study that included 3000 participants who live in the city of Augsburg and two adjacent rural counties in Germany revealed that the risk of developing insulin resistance as a pre-diabetic state increased with exposure to air pollution. The authors found that the association between elevated blood marker (in pre-diabetic individuals) and air pollutant levels was significant.

With its large shale gas and shale oil reserves, Argentina has been attracting several oil companies. The indigenous communities in Argentina say that fracking has polluted their land and water and have now united to stop fracking.

Daldykan River near the Russian city of Norilsk mysteriously turned blood red in color. The city is among the worst polluted cities in the world and the residents feels that the color might be due to mixing of waste water and mineral oil leak from Hope Metals Plant.

Water lilies thrive not just in stagnant waters, but in warming ones. And this summer, the hottest on record, they bloomed with abandon.

Equity & Disparities

His experiences as a young immigrant proved pivotal for Pérez-Stable, who grew up to become a physician and scientist, whose research has documented the impact of language barriers and other issues on the health of Latinos. At 64, he leads the National Institutes of Health’s division for funding and guiding minority health research.

With nearly 80% of medical equipment in LMICs donated, the problem of non-functional equipment is huge. A study that looked at inventory of medical equipment from 16 countries showed that about about 40% of donated equipment are nonfunctional, compared to the 1% of equipment that are out of service in high-income countries.

The global news round up was prepared by the communications team.