Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • Canadian government looks to slash $377 million in foreign aid (for food and other services) to twelve of the world’s poorest countries over the next three years.
  • Alaska’s state Rep. Wes Keller will let autism insurance bill pass.
  • Alaska’s senate passes retirement system bill- offering state workers choice of retirement systems.
  • Texas board approves rules on use of stem cells.
  • States seek curb on patient bills for costly drugs.

Programs

  • A United Nations (UN) backed campaign aims to vaccinate more than 111 million children against polio in 20 African countries in just four days.
  • The Sadc HIV and Aids Fund has donated US $5000,000 to coordinate a pilot project that focuses on capacity building for communities to handle issues related to the HIV pandemic in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.
  • An FDA (Food and Drug Administration) panel has unanimously recommended approval of what would become the first ultrasound devise in the U.S. approved for breast cancer screening. It is called U-Systems’ somo•v® Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) system.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will devote 60 million US dollars to renovate/ build 65 health centers around Ethiopia. This project supports Ethiopia’s Accelerated Expansion of Primary Health Service Coverage program which aims to increase the number of health centers around the country in order to have one health center for 25,000 people.
  • Horn of Africa Emergency Health and Nutrition Project is delivering emergency health and nutrition services to refugees in the Horn of Africa and is supporting refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. The international development Association (IDA) grant supports this program of health, nutrition, and water and sanitation service delivery.
  • The 12th International Conference about African and Afro-American culture was held on April 16 in Cuba.  Its main attraction was the symposium about medicine and culture
  • The government of the Gambia in collaboration with African Development Bank and Africa Water Facility (AWF) has launched two sister projects of the National Water Sector Reform (NWSR) and Rural Water Supply Sanitation (RWSS) projects respectively, valued at US $10million, at the Coca Ocean Resort and Spar in Bijilo.
  • The Ghana Health Service has introduced two new vaccines for the cure and treatment of pneumonia and diarrhea in children.
  • Nairobi has been selected as the Kenya’s headquarter of the Global Plan for Elimination of HIV among Children and Keeping their Mother Alive.
  • The World Bank Board has approved financing of US$150 million for the Nigeria State Health Investment Project. Nigeria will also receive a US $21.5 million grant from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund, supported by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Government of Norway.
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure San Diego has announced that it will give $1.2 million to 19 local breast health organizations.
  • The World Bank has approved, on the behalf of a global trust fund, a grant of $3.6 million to increase access to affordable maternal health services for the low-income families living in the Eastern Visayas region (Philippines).
  • The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a grant of $40million for the development of the Bangladesh health sector.
  • The Tripura Government (in India) has launched an ambitious program to make its capital Agartala a Hepatitis free city, considering northeastern India’s vulnerability to this highly contagious disease.
  • Haiti launches anti-cholera vaccination campaign.

 Research

  • Studies have revealed that aristolochic acid (AA) leads to kidney failure and upper urinary tract cancer (UUC) in individuals exposed to them. AA is found in some plant species that have been used in herbal medicine for centuries.
  • According to recent study dental amalgam is linked to environmental concerns and indirect health risks. About 50 percent of mercury entering local waste treatment plants comes from dental amalgam wastes. Once it gets deposited certain microorganisms can change elemental mercury to methyl mercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish.
  • Austrian scientists at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research have found that overproduction of a growth hormone can cause liver cancer. The signaling molecule known as STAT 5 is involved in development of liver cancer due to the overproduction of growth hormone.
  • According to a study extracts from the spice turmeric, may help to prevent the people from heart attacks who had undergone a recent bypass surgery. This spice is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • A study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that eating nuts result in higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoprotein) and lower levels of C-reactive protein which can trigger chronic diseases including heart disease.
  • Researchers have uncovered thirty-two previously unidentified genetic regions associated with osteoporosis and fracture. Variations in the DNA sequences in these regions confer either risk or protection from the bone-weakening disease.
  • Studies reveal that high fat diets like the Atkins diet and the Western diet promote colon cancer growth and metastasis.
  • Study shows dental sealants effective in adults as well in preventing caries.
  • A study concludes that the diets with low carbohydrate prone people towards the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
  • A research involving X-ray crystallography offers new clues on how cancer or Alzheimer’s disease might develop.
  • SMARTer Prostrate Cancer treatment (bloodless prostrate surgery with no incisions) successful in treating the disease and ensuring quality of life after prostate cancer.
  • A new compound has been reported to prevent the spread of brain cancer in animals.

Diseases & Disasters

  • Tornados in mid-west US.
  • Earthquake with tsunami warning in parts of India (Tamil Nadu).
  • Raw Yellowfin Tuna product associated with Salmonella Bareilly outbreak recalled.

 

Stories from the Field: Realities of field work at 14,000 feet.

High in China’s western Qinghai province is a small village where project DROLMA is based. The population consists of 2,800 nomadic people who move twice a year, to and from their summer encampments which reach 15,420 feet into the sky. The conditions are harsh with short growing seasons; their traditional diet consists of roasted barley flour mixed with yak butter and salted tea. A centrally located monastery with 52 monks in residence provides the spiritual guidance for this community. It was the wisdom of one of their spiritual leaders that made the project a reality. He reached out for assistance, seeking new ideas for problems that have challenged his people for decades. Continue reading “Stories from the Field: Realities of field work at 14,000 feet.”

Stories from the Field: One individual at a time

Public-private partnerships are transforming public health, creating new opportunities to broaden our reach with new partners and ideas. Some of the terminology or business methodology used on the private side is new to those on the public sector. But over time, these differences add to the creative spirit behind such partnerships. Such differences help drive transformations for both public and private organizations, offering new ideas that are tested in one venue and become transferable to another.

Dr. Elvira Beracochea has worked in both the private and public sector, and combined these experiences to create MIDEGO. The model she developed takes basic principles of business management and tailors them to meet the needs of NGO’s. Coaching, mentoring and training are standard development tools offered in the private sector, often used to reinforce a positive culture of growth and development. For NGO’s this is a luxury, where every dollar is scrutinized and valued against the larger needs they serve. Yet for NGO’s, these development needs are just as great or even greater than in the private sector. Continue reading “Stories from the Field: One individual at a time”

Stories from the Field: Just and Lasting Change

On May 28th, Prof. Carl Taylor was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Global Health Council LifetimePhoto by Medora Hebert, Global Health Council Achievement Award for his dedication to improving the health care of the world’s most marginalized people through innovative and sustainable community-based interventions. During his acceptance speech, Dr Taylor discussed the future of global health and that new directions will be required to meet the challenges as globalization takes over. He talked about the need to focus on “peoples self reliant social change” and that the greatest problem is going to be the issue of the “worlds total health ecology”. This is when the “3-way partnership” is important; where in addition to the top down officials and programs, and bottom-up self reliant communities, a new generation of health professionals must emerge that specialize in bringing the top and bottom together to find new patterns for collaboration. When this is accomplished, Dr Taylor believes that health for all will be possible and mutual empowerment will begin. (Photo by Medora Hebert, Global Health Council) Continue reading “Stories from the Field: Just and Lasting Change”