This morning I got a preview of what those of you who are signed up for Thursday’s Advocacy Day will experience. Since I will not be able to stay in DC until Thursday, I decided to take some time while I was here to visit the office of my own Congressman, Representative Michael McCaul. While the Congressman was not able to meet me himself, I spoke with DoD fellow Christian Lyons (who manages his foreign affairs portfolio) and made my case for global health funding. While he was very polite and expressed support for my concerns, he was just as eager to raise some issues of his own, so be prepared to answer questions and be on your toes!
After a long walk back from Capitol Hill, I took my “passport” to the Public Health Expo, determined to put my name in for the drawing (go free registration for APHA12!). Walking around the expo is a great way to scope out job opportunities, pick up stress balls, and get free smoothies. For me, it is also a great way to get comfortable with meeting and talking to people. If networking does not come naturally to you (it has always been awkward for me), the best way to get good at it is to practice.
In the afternoon, I attended a session on refugee health. Those presentations were particularly interesting to me, as I have done some research and writing on the side related to displacement and refugee health issues. We heard from researchers who work with refugee populations, as well as a very interesting presentation from a representative from Physicians for Human Rights.
At the IH Social this evening, members got together to chat, make connections, and reminisce as we honored this year’s section awardees. Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners. Pictures will follow soon!
The Advocacy/Policy Committee would like to invite you to participate in our first Advocacy Day, led in partnership with the Global Health Council. The day, scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd, 2011, immediately following the annual meeting in Washington, D.C., will be an opportunity for us to voice support for a continued focus on international health to our elected officials. With the intense Congressional pressure to cut the budget, our voices can make a real difference. As a participant during this exciting day, you will be provided with training materials on effective advocacy techniques to ensure your message is clearly heard. Even if you do not have advocacy experience, you need not hesitate to sign up because you will be teamed with others. Please consider joining your fellow International Health Section members on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 on Capitol Hill to advocate for a healthy globe. Interested parties should register here. Please note that registration will close on October 14th. Any questions should be directed to Peter Freeman, Advocacy/Policy Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.318.4842.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- Sanitation and hygiene are sensitive and unpopular subjects, but funding them is essential to fighting disease, ensuring basic rights and meeting millennium development goals.
- The Gates Foundation’s European director Joe Cerrell comes to the defense of the beleaguered Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, arguing to improve on its “impressive record and ensure that millions more lives are saved and the progress against global disease is secured for generations to come.”
- Almost four months into the Horn of Africa crisis, aid agencies are involved in much soul-searching as to whether they could have responded more quickly to the drought and famine.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
- A Japanese company, the Sumitomo Chemical Company, unveiled a new kind of insecticide treated bed net at a product launch in Kenya.
- Pregnant women who load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains have a reduced risk of having babies with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida or cleft lip, according to one of the first studies to look at the connection between diet and birth defects.
- A study by Stanford researchers has determined that infant health can be improved when a mother has a low-fat high fiber diet up to a year prior to getting pregnant.
- A study published in the British Medical Journal says that if current smoking trends continue until 2050, TB related deaths will jump by 40 million.
- Though young, there is a lot of potential in what mHealth can offer in developing countries. Amanda Glassman shares some ways that it can be improved.
- Researchers at the University of Washington have reported some highly problematic findings regarding a common method of birth control in eastern and southern Africa. They are problematic in that they indicate a popular injectable hormone, Depo-Provera, used by perhaps 140 million women worldwide (and often in poor settings) signficantly raises a woman’s risk of HIV infection.
- Test subjects in a Spanish HIV vaccine trial have shown a 90 percent immune response.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- A cohort of American and British researchers say that by investing in AIDS treatments, money can be saved in the long term.
- What should be the top priorities in global health? Infectious diseases? Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)? Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? A research scientist wonders at the confusion amid this sea of bad acronyms.
- Former US President Carter is leading the fight against guinea worm making a request that WHO members provide $93 million in funding to wipe out the disease. DfID has committed to support the push against guinea worm by announcing it will allocating £20 million to the effort.
- The business news channel CNBC has published an extensive report on the lucrative and growing Dangerous World of Counterfeit Prescription Drugs.