Category Archives: News

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.

Research

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.

Technology

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.

Research

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.

Technology

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.

Research

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.

Technology

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.

Research

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

Google.org and Gavi announced a new partnership today to help tech start-up Nexleaf Analytics strengthen vaccine cold chain equipment for developing countries.  Google.org’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.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Leading up to the Inauguration of President-elect Trump, experts have made the case for why global health should be a top priority for the new administration. Global health has a long history of bipartisan support and is, frankly, good business.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump aims to replace Obamacare with a plan that would envisage “insurance for everybody,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday night.

Tuberculosis’ recent surpassing of HIV/AIDS as the leading infectious killer globally has not been met with anything close to equal funding for relief.

George W. Bush’s signature PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program, which helped 11.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa get access to antiretroviral drugs, could be in jeopardy under Trump’s administration.

The BRICS bloc of nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — is a leading intergovernmental forum for cooperation of five large, fast-growing economies with significant influence on international issues, including global health.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), funded with an initial investment of $460 million from Germany, Japan, Norway, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates foundation, aims to develop vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed to contain outbreaks before they become global health emergencies.

January is cervical health awareness month.  For most people, HPV clears on its own. But for others who don’t clear the virus, HPV can lead to certain diseases, like cervical cancer, as well as vaginal, vulvar and anal cancer and genital warts.

Health experts from across the world will meet again in Cumbria to work on new ways to improve health and social care for communities everywhere.

Research

Airborne transmission of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is likely behind the majority of new cases in South Africa, according to an article just published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Severe obesity among American Indian tribal youth in the Southwest.

Forecasting Zika incidence in the 2016 Latin America outbreak combining traditional disease surveillance with search, social media, and news report data.

Up to 70 percent of hysterectomies in the United States, a quarter of knee replacements in Spain and more than half the antibiotics prescribed in China are inappropriate, overused healthcare, researchers said on Monday.

Metabolic syndrome and depressive  symptoms among rural Northeast general population in China.

Prevalence of Chagas disease in a US population of Latin American immigrants with conduction abnormalities on electrocardiogram.

Funding and publication of gun violence research are disproportionately low compared to other leading causes of death in the United States, according to new research.

Diseases & Disasters

A group of 22 pharmaceutical companies have announced a new initiative aimed at tackling noncommunicable diseases and better assessing their individual, and collective, work to enable better access to care in developing countries.

Looking back on 2016, there may not seem to be much to celebrate. In terms of global health alone, the year appeared to be one of unrelenting tragedy.  But, as we begin 2017, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

Following the recent Zika outbreak in Miami-Dade County, a multidisciplinary team of physicians has published a case study describing in detail the nation’s first locally-transmitted case of Zika.

A mouse study, published in Nature, showed altering the immune system slowed the spread of skin cancers to the lungs.

The Philippines has long remained shielded from the global HIV epidemic, but things have changed in the last decade: the country has one of the fastest-growing HIV transmission rates in the world.

Technology

At the first Digital Life Summit, iCarbonX founder Jun Wang announced that seven companies have joined iCarbonX’s Digital Life Alliance and will collaborate to give people a deeper understanding of the medical, behavioral and environmental factors that can accelerate disease or optimize health.

Environmental Health

Chile, Latin America’s leader in solar energy, is starting the new year with an innovative step: the development of the country’s first citizens solar power plant.

Our ability to solve the challenge of climate change, which is also a challenge of energy, food security, immigration, health and fair economic growth, especially for the world’s most vulnerable people, is very strong.

Equity & Disparities

According to David Nabarro, one of the nominees for director-general of the World Health Organization, the issue that most concerns him is how to ensure that there is equity in health throughout the world.  He also believes the disparities in health in our world today are big and to quite a significant extent increasing.

Bolsa Família reaches 11 million families, more than 46 million people, a major portion of the country’s low-income population. The model emerged in Brazil more than a decade ago and has been refined since then.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

The U.S. government is leading a wide-ranging and groundbreaking effort to support girls with a comprehensive approach, focusing diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance programs on improving the systems that can make or break outcomes for adolescent girls: education, health, safety, and economic security.

If Nikki Haley is confirmed as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, the strong opponent of abortion rights could be caught up in controversy over whether to define contraception and safe abortions as a human right for women, especially in developing countries.

A year after abandoning the “one-child” policy, the Chinese government is hoping to make it up to millions of women by removing their IUDs, free of charge.  But the offer, made without even a hint of an apology, has provoked incredulous outrage.

Growing up in poverty exposes children to greater levels of stress, which can lead to psychological problems later in life, a new study suggests.

The United Nations today announced that it plans to strengthen its approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse by creating a high-level task force that will develop a “clear, game-changing strategy” to achieve “visible and measurable further improvement.”

Babies should be given peanut early – some at four months old – in order to reduce the risk of allergy, according to new US guidance.

 

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Congress was back in session on Tuesday, and leaders of both houses said their first order of business will be to repeal Obamacare.

On Dec. 18, The New York Times reported the passing of Halfdan Mahler, who led the World Health Organization from 1973 to 1988. He and other colleagues from around the world provided leadership at an International Conference on Primary Health Care in 1978 in Alma-Ata, U.S.S.R. (now Almaty, Kazakhstan) that codified the declaration that “health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right.”

Programs, Grants & Awards

Four graduate-level students enrolled in Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy are embarking on a groundbreaking internship this spring that not only will expose them to global health issues.  The four students headed to either the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic or the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, marks the first study abroad program in the college to include public health graduate students.

On 24th November we had the pleasure to meet the winning team of the “Global Health Case Challenge 2016 on Antibiotic Resistance.” This initiative results from the collaboration between the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, the EIT Health Campus programme, and the University of Copenhagen.

The Task Force for Global Health has announced gifts from the Robert W. Woodruff and Conrad N. Hilton foundations in support of a capital campaign for a new headquarters building in Decatur, Georgia.

For the fourth year running, Bill Gates has taken part in Reddit’s Secret Santa gift exchange — a small but public addition to the tens of billions already given away by the world’s biggest philanthropist.  The billionaires have given away over $29 billion — more money than anyone in the history of humanity — more than $8  billion of which was dedicated to improving global health.

Research

Creating hospital teams devoted to treating pregnant women who have sickle cell disease reduced death rates for those women by almost 90 percent, a study at a major hospital in Ghana showed.

Researchers have found a strong association between El Niño-Southern Oscillation conditions in the Pacific to observed weather and dengue epidemics in Sri Lanka.

Effect of a multicomponent behavioral intervention in adults impaired by psychological distress in a conflict affected area of Pakistan.

The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of published data and available information on the malaria situation in the Republic of Congo and to identify gaps in knowledge in order to contribute in research-based solutions adapted for the country.

Apple cider vinegar seems to help regulate blood sugar. A study published in Diabetes Care looked at men and women with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that when the participants downed two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed with a snack (one ounce of cheese), they had lower blood sugar levels the next morning.

Over the last few decades, an age-old infectious disease has been re-emerging globally: syphilis. Using techniques to analyze low levels of DNA, an international research team has now shown that all syphilis strains from modern patient samples share a common ancestor from the 1700s.

Diseases & Disasters

Nationwide, more than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2015 in the US. Of those deaths, 33,000 involved opioids such as prescription pain relievers or heroin, according to data released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eating large amounts of cured meats was linked to worse symptoms among asthma sufferers, a French study found.

Mosquitoes kill an estimated 700,000 people a year. If infected with viruses that cause diseases like chikungunya, dengue and Zika, mosquitos can transmit them to humans in one bite. Researchers have discovered that mosquitoes artificially infected with a bacterium called Wolbachia do not transmit dengue, chikungunya and Zika as easily.

Shanghai’s health authority has confirmed a new human case of infection by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, the state-owned news agency Xinhua said on Friday.

The eastern Chinese city of Wuxi will suspend poultry trade from Thursday amid fears about bird flu, becoming the second city in Jiangsu province to halt live poultry markets, it said.

In a study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, a centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, has been found to potentially aid in the treatment of tuberculosis and may slow the evolution of drug resistance.

Technology

Drugs recently approved around the world to fight cancer increased patient’s overall survival, but benefits vary depending on the drug, a new study shows.

Testing in humans has begun for the Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) vaccine, 1 of 3 candidate vaccine platforms that protected monkeys against the virus in studies conducted earlier this year.

Founded in 2011, Health eVillages focuses on enabling safe and efficient medical care in the most challenging clinical environments through mobile healthcare technology.

VIA Global Health connects healthcare equipment suppliers with distributors around the world to make it easier for underserved regions to access the quality products.  

The world now has a potent weapon against Ebola: a vaccine that brings outbreaks to a screeching halt, scientists report Thursday in The Lancet.  A vaccine with 100% efficacy?

Environmental Health

Fossil fuels represent a two-pronged attack on the health of children, a leading health scientist has warned. To foster health and well-being in future generations, society needs to dramatically decrease dependence on dirty energy.

In September, China — the world’s largest producer of carbon emissions — ratified the Paris Agreement, committing itself to reducing emissions by over 60 percent per unit of gross domestic product by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

To limit warming, nations will also likely need to physically remove carbon from the atmosphere.  And to do that, they will have to deploy “negative emissions technology”— techniques that scrub CO2 out of the air.

Equity & Disparities

The theme for National Minority Health Month 2017 is Bridging Health Equity Across Communities. Throughout April, OMH will join with our partners in raising awareness about efforts across health, education, justice, housing, transportation, and employment sectors to address the factors known as the social determinants of health.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Children in England consume half their recommended maximum daily intake of sugar at breakfast, and by the end of the day have had more than three times the healthy limit, according to research from Public Health England (PHE).

Applying inexpensive petroleum jelly to a new baby daily for the first six months of life may reduce the risk that infant will develop eczema, which can be a lifelong torment, according to a new analysis.

A Dutch medical institution has launched an investigation after discovering that up to 26 women’s eggs may have been fertilized by the wrong sperm at its IVF laboratory.

Diet composition around the time of pregnancy may influence whether her offspring become obese, according to a new study using animal models.

Talking publicly about women’s menstruation has long been a taboo. But in 2016 the world made big strides over the squeamishness.

Women who took fish oil during the last three months of pregnancy significantly lowered the risk that their children would develop asthma, a study in Denmark has found.

The family of an infant boy who was critically ill is celebrating after he received a vital liver transplant in under an hour, instead of waiting weeks, months or years.

 

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

This year ends in uncertain times, for the world’s political order, the fate of a damaged planet, the seemingly boundless human suffering experienced by civilians and health care staff in war zones, and the continuing failure of antibiotics that once gave medicine its “miracle” cures.

Adopting a draft resolution on global health and foreign policy that focused on the role of health employment in driving economic growth and helping Member States move toward sustainable development, the General Assembly also held a debate on the culture of peace and elected members to the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Now that President-elect Donald Trump has selected ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, the lifelong oil man will need to field questions raised by the international development community before he can take up his job.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged US President-elect Donald Trump to expand Obamacare and ensure all Americans have access to healthcare.

In a “value for money” assessment released this month, Britain’s foreign aid agency gave top ratings to three organizations to which it donates: the World Bank; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Ban Ki Moon, in his Agenda for Humanity has requested that the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund expand its annual funding target to $1 billion by 2018.

Research

Chronic HIV-1 infection impairs superantigen-induced activation of peripheral CD4+CXCR5+PD-1+ cells, with relative preservation of recall antigen specific responses.

Viruses can evolve to become more aggressive in men than in women – at least in theory, a study suggests.

Though Zika has been known for 70 years, in many ways the virus is still poorly understood. A new phylogenetic and geographic analysis of Zika’s collected genetic sequences provides the most complete study of the virus’s history to date.

A new systematic review and meta analysis of mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis shows that deworming has little to no effect on nutrition, haemoglobin, school attendance, and school performance, though the quality of evidence was mainly low or very low.

Diseases & Disasters

Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe is set to worsen as the war has ruined the economy and is stopping food supplies getting through, driving the country to the brink of famine.

Thanks to unprecedented international cooperation, the world is making impressive progress in the fight against malaria.  According to the World Health Organization’s just-released 2016 World Malaria Report, malaria mortality rates among children under age five have fallen by 69% since 2000.

New data from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, suggest that nearly half of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy experience a serious complication, whether a miscarriage or significant birth defect, in their baby.

Global progress on controlling malaria risks stalling due to an “urgent need” for more funding, the World Health Organization warned in its annual report on Tuesday.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its involvement in humanitarian relief to refugees in the Middle East and North Africa Region.

Rabies is classified as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD), although many folks in the global north probably don’t think of rabies as a common disease, nor a tropical one for that matter.

An Egyptian woman, believed to be the world’s heaviest woman at 500 kg (1,102 lbs), will soon be flown to India for weight reduction surgery.

Technology

Malawi on Thursday launched Africa’s first drone-testing corridor as developing countries explore how drones could be used during humanitarian crisis such as floods, or to deliver blood for HIV tests.

Tanzania’s new digital health road map offers a pioneering example of “putting national government in the driver’s seat” and of systems based approaches to e-health, experts say.

A 24-year-old woman in London is thought to be the first in the world to have a baby after having an ovary frozen before the onset of puberty.

The United Nations announced today at a meeting of the world’s top agricultural scientists, that in order to achieve the world’s Sustainable Development Goals of defeating hunger and poverty by 2030, governments and the private sector must increase commitment to agricultural science and technology research.

This year’s Tech Awards, hosted by The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, shines a spotlight on startups that use technology to make lives better in poor countries.

Environmental Health

Two new studies report that methane levels in the atmosphere are increasing at the fastest pace in two decades. Methane is a greenhouse gas and has a much more potent warming effect when compared to carbon dioxide.

Clearing tonnes of plastic debris off beaches is only the first step—then comes the conundrum of what to do with it all.

Asia, the world’s largest and fastest-developing continent, has less fresh water per capita  than any other continent. This has helped foster growing interstate and intrastate disputes over shared water resources.

Climate science in the US is in an existential crisis. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cut funding for Earth science and the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives will probably make good on those promises.

Equity & Disparities

Among the estimated 1 million migrants living in Thailand along the remote Thai-Burmese border, threats to health abound.  Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diarrheal conditions and dengue fever run rampant.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Nearly a half million children will face starvation in northeastern Nigeria next year and 80,000 will die if they don’t get treatment in the humanitarian crisis created by Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising, the UN Children’s Agency warned Tuesday.

Although child survival has improved substantially in the past 15 years, the decline in neonatal mortality (particularly deaths related to neonatal sepsis) has been more modest, which has contributed to the overall non-attainment of Millennium Development Goal 4 (to reduce child mortality).

Babies made from two women and one man have been approved by the UK’s fertility regulator.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, authors have found that in contrast to premature babies who received conventional incubator care, premature babies who were exclusively breastfed and received kangaroo-mother-care have become adults with larger brains, higher salaries and less stressful lives.

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