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 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.
The IH Section hosted its third topic-focused conference call, on Current Developments in MCNH, took place on Monday, June 27, 2011 from 1:00 to 2:00 EST. We had several members of the IH section offer their commentary and expertise on current issues concerning maternal and child health. Speakers included Laura Altobelli, Elvira Beracochea, Carol Dabbs, Miriam Labbock, and Mary Anne Mercer. Read the summary here.
IH Section Communications Chair Jessica Keralis attended APHA’s Mid-Year Meeting on healthcare reform. There were several interesting sessions on technology implications of reform, the public health workforce, advocacy, and others. Read all about it on the IH Blog.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- In the first part of a two-part series called “The great billion dollar drug scam,” investigative journalist Khadija Sharife questions the accuracy of figures given by the pharmaceutical industry to justify the high cost of drugs.
- The American Chronicle reports how Brazil has been implementing numerous programs to reduce the rate of HIV infection within the country.
- At the 7th annual meeting of the World Conference of Science Journalists, several speakers said clinical research trials done in the developing world lack adequate patient protections as well as an ethical and legal framework.
- Arizona State University Scientists have developed recombinant attenuated salmonella vaccines which they believe will make vaccines more effective.
- A test for dengue through saliva has been developed by researchers from Singapore.
- Researchers believe that they have discovered the precise mechanism by which drugs attack and beat malaria. In doing so, they believe that they can gain a more precise understanding of how resistances are forming and develop better malaria medicines.
- A recently published report on research and development by the Malaria Research Initiative examines the current state of malaria research and offers six recommendations in going forward to improve R&D.
- A dramatic increase in support for malaria R&D since the mid-1990s puts the world well on the way to achieving global malaria control, treatment and elimination goals in the next five to six years.
- A study has found that AIDS patients who take nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors experience premature aging.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- The WHO has put together a series of graphs based on 2008 global health data to illustrate the 10 leading causes of death by broad income group. Heart disease, stroke and other cerebrovascular disease represent the top two killers in middle and high-income nations while they sit as number three and five respectively for low-income countries.
- A report published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the CDC, has determined that UN peacekeepers from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti, which led to an outbreak last fall.
- More than 350,000 women die in childbirth every year and 8 million children will die of preventable diseases before their fifth birthday. A new report concludes that more trained midwives could help save prevent millions of such deaths.
- In a recently released report, UNICEF says as many as 70% of the world’s children are exposed to violence amounting to 1.5 billion children each year.
- The drug misoprostol is saving women’s lives around the world by preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth, the leading cause of maternal death in the developing world; it is also causing controversy, as the drug can also be used to induce abortion.
- Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is on the rise and hard to cure. Médecins Sans Frontières wants people with the disease to blog about it, to find out what they really need.
- A new study in The Lancet shows that over the past thirty years the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has doubled to 350 million.
- Ghana’s Food and Drugs Board (FDB) issued a statement to warn the public against the sale of counterfeit Artesunate tablets on the market, which it claims are from China; laboratory analysis had confirmed that contained no active anti-malaria ingredient.
Many thanks, as usual, to the Toms – Tom Murphy and Tom Paulson.