The weekly news round-up for last week is posted below. Apologies for the delay. The holidays keep us all busy!
CDC’s report on its contributions on women’s health is available as the “Review on Women’s Health for the Year 2011” (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WomensHealthReview/?s_cid=fb1332).
Politics and Policies:
Diseases & Disasters
These headlines were compiled by Vani Nanda, MPH Candidate at West Chester University PA.
October 10 was World Mental Health Day.
October 15 was Global Handwashing Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- The U.S. Army has proposed major cuts to its work on HIV, especially in the vaccine field. Leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and other biomedical research organizations oppose the cuts.
- The WHO plans to recommend tighter nutritional standards in food aid for young children, a move activists say is necessary to improve donations from countries such as the United States.
- The US Department of Defense is funding platforms that will completely rethink how malaria drugs are developed.
- Former Bush Administration official Andrew Natsios argues the case for foreign aid: “Singling out foreign aid for disproportionate cuts—which is exactly what has happened—is a serious mistake the United States as a world leader will pay for in the future.”
- A survey of 507 Americans at the end of September sought to capture what, exactly, Americans know about the foreign aid budget. Particpiants were asked four questions about their impressions of foreign aid and opinions on why it is important to American interests. Go here to read the full fact sheet that also includes more details about the study’s methods and see below to review the results in more detail.
- The World Health Organization’s chief on Monday urged governments to unite against “big tobacco”, as she accused the industry of dirty tricks, bullying and immorality in its quest to keep people smoking.
- Berk Ozler examines some recent reports about the challenges surrounding male circumcision. In the World Bank Development Impact blog, he offers two suggestions for how to improve the programs.
- A partnership between Pampers and UNICEF to deliver neonatal tetanus vaccines is on track to eliminate the disease by 2015.
- A $258 million initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at preventing AIDS in India appears to have paid off overall, researchers say, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer new HIV infections over five years. Many aren’t quite ready to judge this project, Avahan, a success, however. The project failed in three of the six Indian states where it was tested.
- Are the Millennium Villages an intervention that can reach scale? Supporters say yes and detractors are skeptical. Madeline Bunting covers the debate in the Guardian Development.
- A report on the MGDS by United Nations Development Program, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission says that social protection programs can have a wide positive impact.
- A cancer diagnosis can leave lasting psychological scars akin to those inflicted by war, according to a new survey. More than decade after being told they had the disease, nearly four out of 10 cancer survivors said they were still plagued by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
- Researchers have found that vitamin D can be used to activate the immune system’s response to TB.
- The Paul G Allen Family Foundation is supporting the Infectious Disease Research Institute phase I TB vaccine trial with a two-year $300,000 grant.
- We know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for the heart, but can a healthy diet really overcome the effect of genes that boost your risk for heart problems?
- Vitamin E supplements significantly increased the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men even after they stopped taking them, scientists reported Tuesday. Given the popularity of vitamin E for those 60 and over, the researchers wrote, “the implications of our observations are substantial.” Those studied took 400 international units (IUs) a day.
- New studies find that young people diagnosed with HIV will now likely survive for close to 46 years thanks to improved antiretrovirals
- A Norwegian study found that pregnant women who took folic acid supplements in the first two months of pregnancy were less likely to have children with severe language delays.
- “Tobacco Control is Tuberculosis Control,” says a new study in the British Medical Journal.
- The NIH has announced that it is providing University of California San Francisco $718,136 to support its anti-malaria research.
- A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, University of Hong Kong and the Public Health Foundation of India and published in the Lancet shows that an Indian program to focus HIV intervention projects in high risk groups has dramatically reduced infection rates.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
The Supercourse team at the University of Pittsburgh has taken the initiative to spread the WHO’s definition of health, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” They have translated the definition into over 60 different languages using Google translate and have asked health professionals to review them to make sure they are correct. This global health knowledge campaign is being developed by the Supercourse team, WHO Collaborating Centre, University of Pittsburgh. Please contact Dr. Ronald LaPorte, Director, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, for more information.
July 28 was the first-ever World Hepatitis Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- As the UN gears up for its Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases this September, blogger Michael Hodin argues that by focusing on this issue, the world body has a “new shot at relevance” in an era where its importance is decreasing (and countries contemplate cutting its funding).
- Former U.S. Ambassador on HIV/AIDS Jack Chow says the CIA’s fake vaccination scheme in Pakistan, aimed at locating Osama Bin Laden, threatens to undermine a broad set of American global health initiatives.
- The U.S. government and the Gates Foundation were responsible for 85% of the steep increase in malaria funding between 2007 and 2009. Richard Tren argues that we need to diversify funding sources and focus on control efforts.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has teamed up with FC Barcelona to promote the polio eradication campaign.
- To raise awareness about violence against women in Europe, the UN has opened up a contest to design a newspaper advertisement in support of the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. View submissions and the winning entries here.
- Seattle-based development blogger Tom Paulson continues to raise some interesting issues regarding the Gates Foundation’s funding of media coverage for global health issues. Their latest venture is a weekly program on the BBC.
- Researchers have cracked the DNA code of the strain of E. coli that originated in German sprouts and killed over 50 people this summer.
- A cell phone that doubles as a blood-oxygen tester is one of the 77 mHealth innovation finalists for the Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development competition.
- A study conducted by the WHO found that France, the U.S., the Netherlands, and India have the highest rates of depression in the world, while China has the lowest. Detailed interviews were conducted with over 89,000 individuals in 18 countries.
- It is becoming more apparent that one of the most effective ways to deal with HIV/AIDS is to address neglected tropical diseases, argues the Public Library of Science in Eureka Alert.
- A study of the lifespan of HIV patients receiving combination ARV therapy by researchers at University of Ottawa has found that patients can expect to live a near normal lifespan.
- Researchers at Oklahoma University believe that a protein-based vaccine could prevent many cases of childhood pneumonia.
- Dutch researchers have found that children who were not breastfed were more likely to develop respiratory problems such as asthma.
- The first stage of trials for a new malaria vaccine by Swiss researchers in Tanzania have shown promising results.
- Has announced in a study in Pediatrics that the varicella vaccine for chickenpox has reduced the annual death toll in the United States from 105 to 14. Tests are in progress that could lead to major family planning advances. The New York Times reports on some innovations in male contraceptives that could offer safe and effective contraception.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- The Agbogbloshie slum outside of Accra, Ghana, is a major electronics waste dump. This site is an example of what happens to “donated” discarded electronics: residents burn them to extract precious metals and simultaneously exposed to a host of hazardous chemicals, as the goods release lead, mercury,
thallium, hydrogen cyanide, and PVC.
- A recent article by a global panel uses startling images to call attention to the woeful state of neglect and inadequate treatment of mental illness in developing nations.
The 2011 IH Section award winners have been announced!
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Henry Mosley
- Mid-Career Award: Neil Arya
- Service to Section Award: Donna Barry
- Gordon Wyon Award: John Bryant
Congratulations to this year’s awardees! They will be honored at the section social on Monday night of this year’s Annual Meeting, so don’t miss it!
July 11 was World Population Day. In honor of WPD this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a greater focus on providing improved health to mothers and children.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- Last week, a United States federal appeals court overturned a George W. Bush-era “anti-prostitution pledge” that required all organizations that receive US funds to fight HIV and AIDS to adopt a formal position condemning prostitution and trafficking.
- Uganda’s legislative body has passed a bill that will criminalize the intentional spread of HIV/AIDS.
- An in-depth report by Gregg Carlstrom for Al Jazeera examines the state of the new Republic of South Sudan’s health systems. Future plans appear to be in the right direction, but the present health situation is dire for the newly established
- U.S. officials are defending the CIA’s use of a vaccination program in the hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden amid concerns from international aid groups that the operation could compromise future public health efforts in Pakistan. The CIA orchestrated a hepatitis vaccination program in the city of Abbottabad in a bid to collect DNA evidence to help identify the location of bin Laden family members.
- A growing reluctance from donor countries to provide funds to help ever-wealthier China battle HIV/AIDS will adversely affect efforts against the disease’s spread, says Michel Sidibe, head of UNAIDS.
- The Medicines Patent Pool, established by UNITAID to share drug patents, has just received its first contribution from Gilead Sciences. This will allow Indian generics companies to make cheap copies of some of the best HIV/AIDS drugs.
- A new study has shown that ARVs taken by women with HIV/AIDS may have an effect on fertility.
- The United Nations praised a study showing that the use of ARVs by people with HIV can reduce chance of infection between partners by 73%.
- Mosquitoes are growing increasingly resistant to pyrethroids, the only insecticides approved by the WHO for use on bednets.
- HIV/AIDS drugs can be used to provide additional protection against infection as well as for treatment of those already affect by the disease, according to results of two studies conducted in Africa.
- Researchers in Tanzania are developing a device that uses the scent of malodorous human socks to attract mosquitoes in the wild, then poisons them. Donations of $775,000 announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada are intended to reduce the global infection rate of malaria by producing an affordable outdoor trap ranging in cost from between $4 and $27.
- A new study says that an inexpensive de-worming pill can help people become deadly to malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but for the pill to work, nearly everyone in a community would have to take the pill at the same time — and repeat monthly. The drug reduces insect lifespan, helping against malaria because only the older mosquitoes can transmit it.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- The World Health Organization says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic. The centerpiece of the plan is to strengthen the capacity of manufacturers to provide enough vaccines to immunize the world’s population against influenza.
- The WHO has certified that Uganda has successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus.
- According to a report published in March 2011 by the United Nations Environment Programme, only two in every five people in the Southern Africa have access to safe water for drinking and household use. Three quarters of those lacking access, live in rural areas and the majority of these are women and children.
- The CDC has expressed concern over the recently discovered strain of gonorrhea in Japan that is resistant to all present antibiotic treatments.
- Drug manufacturers, government representatives and pharmacists from six countries in East Africa have estimated that as much as 30 percent of all drugs on the market are either of very poor quality or counterfeit medicines.
- A lack of financial support and political will are contributing to the upsurge of measles in 33 countries. In an video interview, Andrea Gay at Measles Initiative, explains the different reasons for measles outbreaks in the developing and developed countries.
- The number of children facing death by starvation in Somalia has almost doubled since March and the country’s child malnutrition rate is now the highest in the world, the International Committee of the Red Cross warns. Aid agencies have struggled to reach Somalis affected by drought due to security concerns across the conflict-ravaged country.